About Laura Smith

Archivist

Resources in the Archives: Pre-1830 Materials

While most of the papers, records, and collections housed in the Archives & Special Collections date from the mid-nineteenth and twentieth centuries, we do get inquiries for documents from periods before the 1830s. There are a variety of collections that document the history of Connecticut and the United States before the 1830s, some even dating from the colonial period. Some of these collections include materials on the administration of the local and federal government, such as the Gaines Collection of Americana. Other collections, such as the records from the Slater Company and Hartford Bank, present a variety of lenses with which to view the establishment and growth of influential Connecticut businesses. Also collections which have documents before 1830 include the personal papers of Connecticut families. Family papers, besides being valuable for genealogical purposes, offer a wealth of information in the form of deeds, wills, receipts, and personal correspondence and papers. One notable example is the Henry Hill Papers, which includes a journal documenting life on a plantation in Brazil in the 1820s.

Local and Federal Government documents:

Gaines Collection of Americana: this collection contains a variety of documents from 1786 through 1842, which were collected by Connecticut scholar and attorney, Pierce Welch Gaines (1905-1977). The materials in this collection include legal documents, personal and professional correspondence, receipts, and official reports issued by the federal and state government. One notable document signed by Alexander Hamilton in 1790 details the Treasury Department’s concern with the payment of duties. The collection contains other interesting examples of commerce and government business during the early American republic, some detailing aspects of Connecticut’s history. For example, the collection includes a tax notice issued by Connecticut’s government from 1800 announcing the tax on “Dwelling-Houses, Lands and Slaves” within the district. Gaines also collected political pamphlets and periodicals, some related to Connecticut’s constitutional politics in the early nineteenth century, however these are part of the library’s main catalog. The finding aid is available at: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860138330

Connecticut Business & Local History

Slater Company Records: These records detail the history of a Griswold, Connecticut cotton textile mill shortly after its founding in 1809. First established by John and Lafayette Tibbits in the Jewett City borough of Griswold, the Jewett City Cotton Manufacturing Company experienced limited success until it was eventually sold to Samuel and John Slater in 1823. Samuel Slater had immigrated to America from England in 1789 and built the U.S.’s first cotton mill in Rhode Island, and with the help of his brother, incorporated the latest technological advancements from England. The Slater brothers made significant improvements to the Jewett mill, turning it into a prosperous cotton manufacturer and providing employment for many in the area. The mill remained under the control of the Slater family for the rest of the nineteenth century. Much of the materials in this collection concern the financial business of the Slater mill at Jewett City. These include administrative accounts, correspondence, daybooks, cashbooks, ledgers, as well as labor and production records. The finding aid is available at: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860135006

Hartford National Bank & Trust Company Records: this collection includes documents from the Hartford Bank from the late eighteenth century through the twentieth century. Established through the efforts of influential Connecticut men, including Noah Webster, John Trumbull, and Jeremiah Wadsworth, the bank was granted a charter from the state on May 29, 1792. It opened to the public on August 8, 1792 on Pearl Street in Hartford. Although it would eventually move to other locations, the bank has always been an important part of Hartford’s business center, and it contributed to the development of Connecticut’s insurance industry. It became the Hartford National Bank in 1865, when it became part of the national bank system. The collection includes financial records dating back to 1792, some of which include daybooks, deposit ledgers, checkbooks, and balance sheets. Also part of the collection are an assortment of corporate records, such as minute books, records of agreements and contracts, and correspondence, with some documents dating to before 1830. The finding aid is available at: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860289303

Hartford National Corporation Records: In 1969, the Hartford National Bank and Trust Company was purchased by the Hartford National Corporation (HNC). The documents in this collection supplement the Hartford National Bank & Trust Company Records, as they include records from the Hartford Bank from the time of its founding. The pre-1830 records in this collection includes an assortment of financial records, such as a daybook, ledgers, and a record of original subscriptions.
The finding aid is available at: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860124073

Hampton Antiquarian and Historical Society Collection: this collection is comprised of the Hampton Antiquarian and Historical Society’s archive. While the collection includes items that date up until the early twentieth century, it also contains a variety of documents from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that illustrate the lives and business of people who lived in Hampton, Connecticut. Documents dating before 1830 in this collection include wills, deeds, and family letters, as well as store ledgers and account books from businesses in Hampton. Also included are official town documents, for example legal contracts and correspondence concerning road construction in the area.  The finding aid is available at: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860133980

Wauregan and Quinebaug Company Records: this collection holds the records of the Wauregan and Quinebaug textile mills, as well as a variety of documents related to members of the Atwood family, who were connected to the management of the mills from the early nineteenth century. While most of the materials in this large collection date from between 1850 and 1950, there are some records before 1830. These detail Atwood family history, and include land transactions, surveys, and deeds going back to 1809. The finding aid is available at: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860134117

Sargent and Company Records: Founded in the mid-nineteenth century, Sargent and Company was a manufacturer of locks and hardware based in New Haven, Connecticut. Established by Joseph B. Sargent, Sargent and Company began as a commission business in New York City. In 1865, Sargent moved his company to New Haven, Connecticut, where it made small hardware items which were then sold to manufactures in New York. By 1900, the company had grown to become one of the largest in the lock and hardware industry. Most of the records in this collection are from after 1850, however it contains earlier materials related to Joseph Sargent and his family. This includes family correspondence (the earliest from 1720), as well as records such as receipts and contracts that detail the business and finances of the Sargent family from the early nineteenth century. The finding aid is available at: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860134544

Family Papers:

Fitts Family Papers: this collection is made up of personal documents from a family located in Ashford, Connecticut. The primary individuals mentioned in the collection are Stephen Fitts, John Moore, and Frederick Knowlton. The collection includes correspondence, legal papers, bills and receipts, tax records, deeds, and other papers dating from 1770 to 1909.  The finding aid can be found at: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860128094

Leavenworth Family Papers: this collection includes both personal and professional documents that span many generations of the Leavenworth family of Connecticut. The first Leavenworth documented in the collection is David Leavenworth, who fought in the Revolutionary War. The collection contains a small assortment of legal documents from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, many of which concern the granting and division of land. The finding aid is available at: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860118336#ref3

Smith Family Papers: The Smith family founded and ran mills in the Canterbury area of Connecticut from the mid-eighteenth century until the 1940s. The collection includes personal and business-related documents, including letters, financial records, ledgers, account books, and daybooks, with the earliest business records date from 1774. The finding aid is available at: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860138668

T.S. Gold Family Papers: this collection contains a wide variety of personal papers, legal and financial documents, correspondence, printed material, and memorabilia regarding the Gold and Cleveland families. Much of the collection details the life and work of Theodore Sedgwick Gold (1818-1906), who was the co-founder of the Cream Hill Agricultural School in West Cornwall, Connecticut. Gold also helped establish the Connecticut State Agricultural Society in 1853, and was a trustee of the Storrs Agricultural School from 1881 to 1901. While most of the collection dates from the second half of the nineteenth century, it contains a number of legal and financial documents from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, as well as family letters from the 1820s. The finding aid is available at: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860134074

Henry Hill Papers: this collection contains family correspondence to and from Henry Hill, who was born in Guilford, Connecticut in 1778. Hill was appointed by President Thomas Jefferson in 1808 as U.S. Consul to San Salvador, Brazil. He resigned from this post due to health issues in 1819, and moved to a large plantation, Columbiano. Eventually, in 1833, he returned with his family to the U.S., and lived in Buffalo, New Yok, until his death in 1841. The Henry Hill Papers include many personal letters from Henry Hill to his wife, Lucy, before she joined him in Brazil. In one notable letter to Lucy, Hill gives a description of San Salvador upon his arrival. The collection also contains letters from Henry and Lucy’s children and other family members. Besides correspondence, the collection includes financial and government documents, as well as a fascinating account of Hill’s voyage to Columbiano, which includes details of everyday life on a plantation growing coffee, cotton, and sugar cane. The finding aid is available at: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860120373#ref3

We invite you to view these items in the reading room in Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Our staff is happy to assist you in accessing these and other collections in the archives.

This post was written by Alexandra Borkowski, a UConn PhD student and student assistant in Archives & Special Collections.

Resources in the Archives on D-Day and the Normandy Invasion

On June 6, 1944, the day now and forever known as D-Day, the Allied Forces of World War II stormed the beaches of Northern France in an effort to liberate France and Europe from four years of German occupation. Led mostly by the military forces of the United States, Britain, and Canada, D-Day’s Normandy landings were the turning point in the war that eventually led to the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of the war in Europe in May 1945.

Archives & Special Collections has materials with references to D-Day and the Normandy Invasion although not as many as we had hoped. While we have several sets of letters by soldiers from Connecticut who served in World War II we found that many of those soldiers were either stationed on bases in the U.S. at the time or were fighting in other theaters. Those who might have been involved made little contemporary mention of the battles, a couple of them noting in their letters that they had been instructed by their superiors to specifically NOT write home about the invasion. We found that even the university records have scant contemporary mentions to the event, particularly in student publications, because  by the time of the invasion in June 1944 school was out of session for the summer.

Despite these disappointments there are some items in the collections, particularly these:

Andre Schenker was a Professor of History at UConn and a world affairs commentator for station  WTIC in  Hartford in the 1940s. His series of programs during the years of World War II made him one of the best-known commentators in the state. One of his most notable commentaries was of D-Day, and can be heard in our digital repository at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A859909662. Transcripts of this and his other broadcasts can be found in his papers.

Thomas J. Dodd served as Executive Trial Counsel at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, after the war, where Nazi leaders were put on trial to answer for their crimes against humanity. In his position on the United States prosecution team Dodd gathered evidence from German records to support the arguments. Dodd’s family donated these documents, all transcribed in English, and they are now one of our most used and strongest collections. Among the files is “Shooting of Allied Prisoners of War by 12 SS Panzer Division in Normandy, France, 7-21 June, 1944” which details the acts perpetrated by the Nazis immediately after D-Day. This document can be found in our digital repository at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A5466#page/1/mode/2up

The UConn Center for Oral History conducted interviews for the project “Voices from the Second World War.” One of the interviews is with Robert Conrad, who served in the Army Air Force beginning in 1942. Conrad was a mechanic who was sent overseas to England in the 356th fighter squadron and was crew chief on P47 and P51 fighter aircraft.  In his interview, conducted in March 2000, he tells of the preparations made to the airplanes in the lead-up to D-Day.

Also in the “Voices from the Second World War” project is an interview conducted in December 1999 of Franklin Johnson, who was in the 110th Artillery, where he discusses the preparations of his unit for the Normandy Invasion, particularly the secrecy and confusion surrounding it.

Other projects in the Center for Oral History project, which can be found in the digital repository, make mention of the Normandy Invasion, including interviews by Harold Burson (https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860389827#page/3/mode/1up), Benjamin Ferencz (https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860389823#page/17/mode/1up), and Manfred Isserman (https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860389820#page/2/mode/1up). Each of these men were interviewed for the “Witnesses to Nuremberg” project but noted their D-Day experiences in their interviews. Maurice Barbaret, interviewed for the “Connecticut Workers” project, also refers to Normandy at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860307439#page/9/mode/1up

The Southern New England Telephone Company produced an employee newsletter – The Telephone Bulletin – that extensively reported on SNET men and women who served overseas during World War II. Following the Normandy Invasion there were several notices in the publication about employees who participated or were killed in the invasion, or served in France.

Like SNET, the New Haven Railroad had an employee newsletter — Along the Line — where the activities of individuals were noted, particularly those who served during World War II. The August 1944 issue of the newsletter notes those railroad employees who were wounded or killed in the invasion.

James W. Wall was a Boston area photographer whose work focuses mainly on the locomotives and trains of Massachusetts, primarily in the 1930s when he was a teenager. The collection also has photographs taken by Wall when he served in the Army during World War II. Little is known about Wall but that which we do know is gathered from the photographs he took. The collection includes several images taken in France, particularly in Cretteville and Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, in July and August 1944, showing local scenes, other servicemen, and fighter planes.

Resources in the Archives on the Central American Solidarity Movement of the 1980s

In 1979, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, or Sandinistas), a revolutionary political party organized on Marxist-Leninist principles, came to power in Nicaragua by helping to overthrow the long-ruling Somoza family dynasty. Soon after, the Sandinistas faced concerted opposition from the Contras, a loosely-affiliated set of guerilla groups opposed to the new left-wing government. The U.S. administration of Ronald Reagan directly supported the Contra rebels, providing them with money, training, and supplies. After this support became illegal by acts of Congress in 1982-84, the Reagan administration secretly used the profits from illegal arms sales to Iran to continue funding the Contras, an action that later erupted into public view with the Iran-Contra Affair.

The New York Times recently reported on how Vermont Senator and Democratic-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders opposed the actions of the Reagan administration during this period. But Senator Sanders was not the only one: thousands of Americans became involved in opposing the Reagan administration’s support for reactionary forces across Central America in the 1980s. Some of the organizations and individuals involved in the Central American solidarity movement resided here in Connecticut, a history well documented by materials held in the Archives & Special Collections at the University of Connecticut Library.

For example, materials from local chapters of Witness for Peace (WFP) and Pledge of Resistance (POR), two of the largest organizations involved in the Central America solidarity movement, can be found in our extensive Alternative Press Collection. Witness for Peace was founded in 1983 by faith-based activists opposed to the Reagan administration’s support for the Contras. During the 1980s, WFP chapters brought thousands of Americans to Central America to document the horrors of war and accompany Central Americans in warzones. Pledge of Resistance, also founded by faith-based groups in 1983, grew into a national campaign to get ordinary Americans to pledge their opposition to U.S. intervention in Central America. By the time Ronald Reagan left office in 1989, as many as 100,000 people in the United States had made the pledge, and many thousands had also participated in non-violent protests against Reagan’s policies.

The Alternative Press Collection also holds records from similar organizations, such as the Connecticut Central American Network and the Connecticut Committee for Medical Aid to Nicaragua, among many others. Archives & Special Collections also hold the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) Archive of Latin Americana, an extensive collection of primary and secondary sources on Latin America. These materials include significant documentation on the Central American solidarity movement from both the United States and Central America. Finally, the archives also holds other relevant collections like the International Rescue Committee, Central America Records, an organization dedicated to helping immigrants from Central America reach the United States in the 1980s and 1990s, and the personal papers of Steve Thornton, a labor activist and organizer from Hartford, Connecticut, whose papers contain a range of documentation on activism against U.S. involvement in Central America.

If you’re interested in learning more about the 1980s Central American solidary movement, we invite you to view these collections in the reading room at Archives & Special Collections in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Our staff is happy to assist you in accessing these and other collections in the archives.

This post was written by Shaine Scarminach, a UConn History Ph.D candidate who is a student assistant in Archives & Special Collections. 

Resources in the Archives on Student Life at UConn

In December 1967, the University Of Connecticut Faculty Senate tasked its Student Wellness Committee with taking the temperature on campus. After a series of systematic surveys conducted between 1968 and 1971, the committee presented a comprehensive assessment of student opinion over the years. The results were not encouraging.

Based on their surveys, the committee found a “clear and constant decline” in the number of students satisfied with their education at UConn. Student government, parking, and housing all came in for particular criticism, yet larger issues lurked beneath the surface. “A general state of uneasiness,” the committee noted, “pervades much of [the students’] outlook.”

In the survey’s early years, the U.S. war in Vietnam figured prominently. But by 1971, the turmoil of war, the draft, and student protest had been replaced by “a feeling of powerlessness, uncertainty of goals, uncertainty of finding a job after graduation.” In their assessment, the committee found students to be “evolutionary oriented not revolutionary oriented.” Most wanted the same things as their parents: a good career, a chance to meet people and form relationships, a meaningful life.

Not everything was bad, though. The committee also indicated that students deemed much about the university desirable. They praised the beautiful campus, the diverse student body, the moderate expenses, and the overall value of a UConn degree. The only thing left to do, the committee reasoned, was to take stock of student grievances and make changes where possible.

Have you ever wondered what life was like for students at the University of Connecticut “back in the day”? How did students experience their time on campus? What did they like and dislike? What were their hopes and fears? How did these change (or not) over time? Archives & Special Collections of the University of Connecticut Library holds a wealth of material for those interested in exploring these and other questions about student life at the University of Connecticut. Among the relevant collections are:

University of Connecticut, Senior Survey Records. The collection comprises administrative records associated with opinion surveys conducted by UConn between 1969 and 1975. The surveys cover student opinions on everything from administration, courses, housing, Greek life, and campus mood. The bulk of the collection consists of individual students responses made up of mostly hand-written responses along with general identifying information. The collection also contains administrative summaries for some years. The finding aid can be found at: https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860129464

University of Connecticut, Undergraduate Student Government Records. The collection comprises the administrative records of the UConn’s student government from 1944 to 1985. The records document changes in the name and structure of the student government, as well as the different topics and issues the organization addressed. Topics addressed range from the quality of housing to registration difficulties to political issues and student-led initiatives, such as a campus recycling program. Minutes and agendas for the Undergraduate Student Government from 1985 through the present are also available although they have not yet been integrated into the collection. The finding aid can be found at: https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860133785

Campbell Collection of the Organization of Graduate Student Action. The collection comprises materials related to a the Organization for Graduate Student Action (OGSA), an organization of graduate students that formed in opposition to the attempt by Governor John Rowland and UConn administration to remove graduate students from the state employee health plan in 2003. The materials range from general information on the state health plan and OSGA advertisements to correspondence with officials and surveys with students. The finding aid can be found at: https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860115445

University of Connecticut Memorabilia Collection. The collection comprises ephemera and artifacts associated with UConn that add a material depth and diversity to the textual collections on university life. The collection helps to illuminate student life at UConn through material objects, such as posters, programs, invitations, clothing, pins, buttons, and other artifacts. These materials can be a useful way of supplementing the record of student life found in textual materials. The finding aid can be found at: https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860133446

University Scrapbook Collection. The collection comprises scrapbooks that document programs, activities, events, and individuals associated with UConn. Similar to the memorabilia collection, the scrapbooks add another useful supplement to the official textual materials from university offices. They cover a range of subjects and time periods, with some dedicated to specific organizations and others produced by individual students. The finding aid for this collection can be found at: https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860133444

Student Publications. The collection comprises digitized issues of student publications from multiple UConn campuses. The most significant collection comes from the Storrs campus, including extensive runs of early to contemporary student newspapers like the Lookout and the Daily Campus. These newspapers provide one of the most detailed portraits of student life at UConn over the years. Along with the official student newspapers, publications like Contact, Caliper, and the UConn Free Press provide alternative views and information about specific student groups and their activities on campus. The digitized items can be found at: https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3AUConnArchives

Nutmeg. The collection comprises digitized copies of UConn’s student yearbook from 1915 to 2008. The yearbooks provide extensive information about students and student life from each year available. Along with class rosters, the yearbooks contain photographs and information about clubs, athletics, activities, awards, and topical material. The finding aid can be found at:
https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A02653871

University of Connecticut Photograph Collection. The collection comprises digitized photographs from throughout UConn’s history. The extensive collection includes photographs of students from all periods of the university. The collection also covers extensive areas of interest, from dining halls and dormitories to the library and classrooms, to athletics and recreation on campus. These materials provide an indispensable visual records of student life at UConn. The finding aid for this collection can be found at: https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3AMSS19880010

We invite you to view these collections in the reading room at Archives & Special Collections in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Our staff is happy to assist you in accessing these and other collections in the archives.

This post was written by Shaine Scarminach, a UConn History Ph.D candidate who is a student assistant in Archives & Special Collections. 

Resources in the Archives on the Civil Rights Movement as depicted in Children’s Literature

She had not sought this moment but she was ready for it. When the policeman bent down to ask “Auntie, are you going to move?” all the strength of all the people through all those many years joined in her. She said, “No.”—From Rosa

Imagining the moment when Rosa Parks was arrested for protesting segregation in 1955, Nikki Giovanni is one of many authors of children’s literature who has made the history of the Civil Rights Movement accessible to a younger audience. By focusing on well-known and pivotal events that helped to galvanize the movement, such as Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus, or Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, authors and illustrators bring to life the struggle of African Americans who fought for equal rights under the law during the 1950s and 1960s. Books like Rosa educate young readers about the fight for social justice during a time of rampant racial discrimination and inequality for blacks in America. Introducing children to concepts such as racial violence and intolerance, authors and illustrators have the delicate task of explaining these concepts in a way that will encourage empathy in young readers. They often do so by depicting this history through the eyes of children, and considering how children would have participated in or been affected by these events.

Many titles on the topic of Civil Rights can be found in the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection at Archives & Special Collections. These books tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement in different ways, from how people joined in historic marches, to the methods people used to stand up against segregation. Some of them focus specifically on historical figures, such as Rosa Parks and Dr. King, in order to show their courage in times of adversity and to honor their legacy. These books are valuable resources for educators in elementary and middle schools. As the country continues to grapple with the effects of its past, educating young readers about this aspect of U.S. history is an important step in encouraging tolerance and awareness.

The Northeast Children’s Literature Collection available at Archives & Special Collections includes a variety of titles concerning the Civil Rights Movement, most of which have been published within the last twenty years (note that the call number for each book is placed after the year of publication):

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott:

  • Edwards, Pamela Duncan, The Bus Ride that Changed History (2005) CLC C4260
  • Giovanni, Nikki. Rosa (2005) CLC C4109
  • Kittinger, Jo S., Rosa’s Bus (2010) CLC D6405
  • Pinkney, Andrea Davis, Boycott Blues: How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation (2008) CLC D2342
  • Reynolds, Aaron, Back of the Bus (2010) CLC D2710
  • Romito, Dee, Pies from Nowhere: how Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott (2018) CLC D9629

Historic Marches:

  • Clark-Robinson, Monica, Let the Children March (2018) CLC D9667
  • Evans, Shane, We March (2012) CLC D6844
  • Johnson, Angela, A Sweet Smell of Roses (2005) CLC D1393
  • Partridge, Elizabeth, Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary (2009) CLC D2448
  • Shelton, Paula Young, Child of the Civil Rights Movement (2010) CLC D6401
  • Swain, Gwenyth, Riding to Washington (2008) CLC D2562

Martin Luther King, Jr.:

  • Bausum, Ann, Marching to the Mountaintop: how Poverty, Labor Fights, and Civil Rights set the Stage for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Hours (2012) CLC C8192
  • Bolden, Tonya, M.L.K.: Journey of a King (2007) CLC C5135
  • Bunting, Eve, The Cart that Carried Martin (2013) CLC D7202
  • Duncan, Alice Faye, Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: the Sanitation Strike of 1968 (2018) CLC D9630
  • Michelson, Richard. As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Amazing March Toward Freedom (2008) CLC C5719
  • Nelson, Kadir, I Have a Dream (2012) CLC D6631
  • Pinkney, Andrea Davis, Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song (2013) CLC D6995
  • Pinkney, Andrea Davis, Martin Rising: Requiem for a King (2018) CLC D9631
  • Rappaport, Doreen. Martin’s Big Words: the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (2001) CLC D591
  • Woodson, Jacqueline. Martin Luther King, Jr., and His Birthday. 1990. CLC A14499

Desegregation of schools

  • Coles, Robert, The Story of Ruby Bridges (1995) CLC D9093
  • Kanefield, Teri, The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement (2014) CLC D7890
  • Rappaport, Doreen, The School is not White! A True Story of the Civil Rights Movement (2005) CLC D1435
  • Tonatiuh, Duncan, Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & her Family’s Fight for Desegregation (2014) CLC D7573

Other notable books:

  • Bass, Hester, Seeds of Freedom: the Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama (2015) CLC D8280
  • Brantley-Newton, Vanessa. Let Freedom Sing (2009) CLC D2570
  • Corey, Shana, A Time to Act: John F. Kennedy’s Big Speech (2017) CLC D9519
  • Haskins, James, Bayard Rustin: Behind the Scenes of the Civil Rights Movement (1997) CLC C1349
  • Hunter-Gault, Charlayne, To the Mountaintop: My Journey through the Civil Rights Movement (2012) CLC C8284
  • Levy, Debbie, We Shall Overcome: the Story of a Song (2013) CLC D7194
  • Pinkney, Andrea Davis, Sit-in: How Four Friends Stood up by Sitting Down (2010) CLC D2808
  • Ramsey, Calvin A., Ruth and the Green Book (2010) CLC D2670
  • Ramsey, Calvin A. & Bettye Stroud, Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend: A Civil Rights Story (2011) CLC D6351
  • Weatherford, Carole Boston, Freedom on the Menu: the Greensboro Sit-ins (2005) CLC D1389
  • ZuHone, Diane, This is the Dream (2006) C9893

We invite you to view these items in the reading room in Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Our staff is happy to assist you in accessing these and other collections in the archives.

This post was written by Alexandra Borkowski, a UConn PhD student and student assistant in Archives & Special Collections.

Resources in the Archives on the History of Rights

 

The concept of rights stretches back centuries, if not millennia. Whether the natural rights of the Ancient Greeks or their Enlightenment descendants, the Rights of Woman in the Age of Revolution, or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after World War II, ideas about, and claims for, rights have accompanied many of the major events and developments in world history.

Organizing and advocacy around rights played an especially important role in the course of U.S. history. The early twentieth century experienced an efflorescence of movements agitating for women’s rights, African-American rights, the right to protest and free speech, among many others. The decades after World War II saw a similar flowering of activity around rights, whether revitalized versions of the aforementioned movements or subterranean currents rising to the surface as with movements for LGBTQ and disability rights.

Later decades also saw the emergence of movements around consumer protections and human rights, in the United States and abroad. But whatever their subject, individuals and organizations dedicated to expanding rights help us to understand how people throughout history have contested authority, protested discrimination, and secured official recognition.

Archives & Special Collections of the University of Connecticut Library holds a wealth of materials for those interested in exploring the history of rights in greater depth, especially the history of local movements in Connecticut. Among the relevant collections are:

Connecticut Commission on Civil Rights Collection. Founded in 1943, the Connecticut Civil Rights Commission aimed to help the State of Connecticut overcome problems of racial discrimination and prejudice. The organization focused its efforts on gathering information about racial discrimination in the state; investigating incidents of discrimination and filing legal sanctions when appropriate; and educating the public about the state’s diverse population and the problems of racial and ethnic discrimination. The collection consists of pamphlets distributed to state offices on the commission’s work and related issues, as well as bulletins and pamphlets related to state and federal civil rights legislation. https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860113036

Connecticut Civil Liberties Union Records. The Connecticut Civil Liberties Union, a local affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, was founded in 1949 as the New Haven Civil Liberties Council. The CCLU is a non-partisan and non-profit organization dedicated to upholding the rights of Connecticut residents. The collection consists of archival materials documenting the CCLU’s work and history. The records contain the administrative files of the New Haven Civil Liberties Council (1949-1958), the administrative files of the CCLU (1958-1990), as well as material relating to some of the CCLU’s major court cases, such as Women’s Health Services v. Maher (1979-1981), Doe v. Maher (1981-1990), and Sheff v. O’Neill (1989-1998). These latter records consist of court documents, trial transcripts, correspondence, and research materials. https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860124277

Connecticut Citizen Action Group Records. Founded in 1971, the Connecticut Citizens Action Group was the state’s first consumer advocacy organization. Created by Ralph Nader and led by Toby Moffett, the CCAG directed its efforts at informing, organizing, and mobilizing the citizens of Connecticut to take action on issues relevant to their everyday lives. The group helped lead local residents in campaigns against illegal business practices, consumer fraud, utility-rate increases, and environmental pollution, among many other issues. The collection consists of significant archival materials documenting most of the major consumer and public interest issues taken up by the organization. It also contains records on the organization’s history, structure, chapters, and other institutional information. https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860133772

Phyllis Zlotnick Papers. Phyllis Zlotnick was a pioneering disability advocate from Connecticut. Born in 1942, Zlotnick had muscular dystrophy, an inherited disease that causes the loss of muscle mass. Using a wheelchair to get around, Zlotnick spent most of her early life and education facing obstacles to accessibility. In response, she dedicated much of her professional life to advocating for people with disabilities. She worked as a legislative liaison for Connecticut Easter Seals and later for Connecticut General Assembly member Ernie Abate. She also served on the National Council on Disability and helped to draft the Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark piece of legislation passed in 1990. Zlotnick was an expert on issues of accessibility and a fierce advocate for disability rights. The collection consists of newspaper clippings, photos, personal records, advocacy literature, and other media related to Zlotnick’s life and work. https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860356463

Roberto (Robin) Romano Papers. U. Roberto (Robin) Romano was an award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and human rights educator. Through photography, film, and educational activity, Romano documented the lives, poverty, and rehabilitation of children around the world. His work focused, in particular, on the issue of child labor, and his papers contain material on carpet making in South Asia, resource extraction in West Africa, and migrant farm labor in the United States, among other topics. His extensive collection of papers consists of photographic prints, digital video, educational publications, research files, correspondence, and much more. Much of this material is available through our online collections as digitized or born-digital materials. https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860115768

Marriage Equality and LGBT Activism in Connecticut Oral History Collection. In 1991, Connecticut became one of a few states to pass a comprehensive anti-discrimination law concerning sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit. The state also helped lead the way in advancing LGBTQ rights with laws around adoption, civil unions, and same-sex marriage. The Marriage Equality and Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Activism in Connecticut Oral History Project was a pilot project of Archives & Special Collections. The collection consists of eleven oral histories with leading activists in Connecticut who have been a part of the marriage equality movement and involved in other forms of LGBTQ activism in the state and beyond. The interviews were conducted by Valerie Love and transcriptions for some are available through our online collections. https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860114422

We invite you to view these collections in the reading room at Archives & Special Collections in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Our staff is happy to assist you in accessing these and other collections in the archives.

This post was written by Shaine Scarminach, a UConn History Ph.D candidate who is a student assistant in Archives & Special Collections. 

Resources in the Archives for the History of Photography in the 19th Century

 

Photography, or the process of recording an image through the manipulation of light on a light-sensitive material, has undergone a significant evolution since the invention of the first complete photographic process in the 1820s by Nicéphore Niépce. Building on Niépce’s work, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre created the first photographic process available to the public in 1839. Known as the daguerreotype, it consisted of a detailed image on a sheet of silver-plated copper, and was popular between 1842 and 1856. In order to create an image, the plate was coated in light-sensitive silver iodide, and then placed inside of a camera and exposed to light. After exposure, the plate was developed using heated mercury, which reacted to the iodide and formed an image through the combination of silver mercury. The image was then fixed through a solution of salt. Daguerreotypes were particularly susceptible to damage such as tarnishing, and thus were usually placed behind glass and a metal mat inside of a small case.

The next major photographic process was the ambrotype. First appearing in 1854, the ambrotype was popular from 1855 to 1861. They were made using a collodion process, which involved coating a piece of glass with a layer of iodized collodion, and immersing the glass in a solution of silver nitrate to form silver iodide. While still wet, the plate was exposed to light in the camera, and then developed and fixed immediately. Ambrotypes consisted of an image on the front side of a single plate of glass, with the back of the glass covered with a piece of black paper or cloth, so that the negative appearing image looked positive. Like daguerreotypes, they were delicate and thus were placed in a case under a protective mat and glass.

Derived from the ambrotype was the tintype, which was invented in 1856. The tintype was popular between 1860 and 1870, and it relied on the collodion process like the ambrotype. However, instead of glass, the image was produced on a thin sheet of iron covered by a lacquer or enamel coating. Tintypes were commonly used for portraiture, however they were the first photographic process to capture a wide array of subjects, because they were relatively easy to produce and were inexpensive. Tintypes were commonly displayed in paper envelopes or folding cards.

The carte de visite was the next important development in photography. Appearing 1859, this type of photography was popular between 1860 and 1880, and had a significant impact on consumer photography. This process was particularly attractive to consumers because the materials were less expensive than in other photographic processes, and the image had a more natural appearance than the tintype due to its use of the albumen process of printing. It was also the first photographic process to use a glass negative, which meant that multiple copies of the image could be produced. As a result, people started collecting and sharing photographs on a large scale, and photograph albums started to become popular in the early 1860s. Carte de visite images were developed on a very thin sheet of paper, which was then affixed to a piece of card stock, and were all the same size.

The cabinet card followed the carte de visite. First developed in 1866, this type of photography was popular between 1875 and 1900. The cabinet card became known for its use as the best medium for the family portrait. It was developed using the same process as the carte de visite, however the image of the cabinet card was more than double the size of the carte de visite. Initially, the quality of the image was not that different from the carte de visite, however by the 1880s, advancements in camera technology and the introduction of new photographic papers led to significant improvements in image quality.

The collections available at Archives & Special Collections allow us to trace the development of photography throughout the nineteenth century:

  • American Brass Company Records: Founded in 1893 with the consolidation of several different companies, the American Brass Company grew to become one of the largest brass manufacturers in U.S. history. The collection includes records and items dating from around 1800 to 1978. An important part of the collection consists of photographs that detail aspects of the company’s long history. The types of nineteenth-century photographs included in this collection are daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, and cabinet cards. The finding aid is available at https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860129472.
  • Margaret Waring Buck Papers: This collection consists of the personal papers and memorabilia of illustrator and naturalist Margaret Waring Buck (1905-1972). Besides original artwork and manuscripts, the collection contains many photographs from the nineteenth century. This collection includes examples of the daguerreotype, ambrotype, tintype, and carte de visite. The finding aid is available at https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860138800.
  • University Railroad Collection: This collection is made up of a wide variety of publications, reports, maps, artwork, and photography all associated with the history of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. Formed in 1872 when the New York & New Haven and Hartford & New Haven railroads merged, the company became the primary method of transportation in southern New England. Examples of daguerreotype and ambrotype photography can be found in this collection as part of the Ferdinand Leppens Papers. The finding aid is available at https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860140983.
  • Oliver O. Jensen Papers: This collection consists of the personal and professional writings, records, manuscripts, and photographs of writer and editor Oliver O. Jensen (1914-2005). Examples of the tintype, carte de visite, and cabinet card can be found in this collection. The finding aid is available at https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860118803.
  • Ellen Emmet Rand Papers: This collection is made up of biographical materials of painter and illustrator Ellen Emmet Rand (1875-1941). It includes tintypes from Rand’s family history. The finding aid is available at https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860257637.
  • Human Development and Family Studies Department Collection of Photographs and Ephemera: This collection features many examples of the tintype, carte de visite, and cabinet card. The finding aid to the University of Connecticut Photograph Collection is available at https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860133571

We invite you to view these collections in the reading room in Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center if you need resources on history of photography. Our staff is happy to assist you in accessing these and other collections in the archives.

This post was written by Alexandra Borkowski, a UConn PhD student and student assistant in Archives & Special Collections.

A Great Moment in UConn Athletics History: The Men’s Basketball Team’s 1999 NCAA Championship

The 1998-1999 men’s basketball season at the University of Connecticut was unlike any other. Since the arrival of Coach Jim Calhoun in 1986, the team had grown by leaps and bounds, winning an NIT title in 1990 and achieving great success thereafter. But the Huskies had yet to capture the biggest prize of all—the NCAA national championship.

From the beginning, though, the 1998-99 season looked different. The Huskies started off with a 19-0 winning streak, though injuries tripped the team up in February 1999 with losses to Syracuse and Miami. But the Huskies would remain undefeated for the rest of the season. And many of the team’s victories were hard won—nine wins came only after the team had been trailing at half-time.

Personnel was key. While college teams tend to lose players after only a few seasons, the Huskies began the 1998-99 season with its full starting line-up from the previous year: senior Ricky Moore, juniors Richard “Rip” Hamilton, Kevin Freeman, and Jake Voskuhl, and star sophomore Kahlid El-Amin. Remarkably, this line-up almost never returned. Rip Hamilton was tempted to leave UConn for the NBA after two seasons, potentially motivating his close friend Kevin Freeman to move on as well.

Yet a discussion with Coach Calhoun convinced Hamilton to change his mind, and Freeman decided to stay too, not wanting to leave his friend and teammate behind. The whole team even had a chance to strengthen their camaraderie on and off the court with an overseas trip to London and Israel during the summer.

By the time spring rolled around, the Huskies were ranked number three in the nation, and were a top seed in the West, playing the opening round of March Madness in Denver. Yet the team to beat was Duke’s Blue Devils, the top-ranked team in men’s basketball and a strong favorite to win the championship.

The UConn players got a sense of the long odds in their hotel room the night before the final game. Gathered around the television, they saw images beamed in from Durham, North Carolina, where throngs of Blue Devils fans were already adorned with championship gear. The premature victory lap pulled the team together, steeling them for the big day.

Coach Jim Calhoun, however, arrived at the championship game feeling calm and confident. While Duke’s team was impressive, Calhoun sensed his player’s experience and determination would carry them to a win. Nevertheless, things did not look so serene on the court. Duke took an early 9-2 lead and bested the Huskies at half-time with a score of 39-37.

Yet the Huskies fell into an old pattern—pushing forward during the second half toward victory. After a series of before the buzzer free-throws delivered by El-Amin, UConn ultimately beat Duke 77-74 under the dome of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Many have named the March 29, 1999, championship game as one of the greatest match ups in college basketball history.

But the real show may have been the adoring crowds that greeted the Huskies when they returned home to Connecticut. A day after the final game, adoring fans lined the state’s bridges and roads to cheer as the team traveled to campus from Bradley International Airport and made the bus trip back to Storrs to greet waiting fans in Gampel Pavilion.

A victory parade around Hartford, a trip to the White House, and many other celebrations would cement the 1999 NCAA championship as an event to remember in the history of UConn sports.

For those interested in learning more about that historic season, Archives and Special Collections holds a range of materials related to the championship game, along with other collections on UConn sports. We invite you to view these materials in our reading room in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center and our staff is happy to assist you in accessing these and other collections in the archives.

This post was written by Shaine Scarminach, a UConn History Ph.D candidate who is a student assistant in Archives & Special Collections. 

 

Resources in the Archives to Find an Obscure Person

 

Historians usually have no trouble finding information about famous people. After all, if someone was prominent and well known then there is often a record of him or her. A book may have been written, photographs taken, official documents deliberately saved, all because of that person’s fame, or notoriety. If someone was famous then finding enough information to put together the puzzle that was his or her life is relatively easy.

But what about finding resources about someone who wasn’t famous? Someone who was decidedly UNfamous, just a regular person, a “common” man or woman? How do we find historical evidence that a certain obscure person existed? How do we create a narrative of that person’s life to the point that we know where he or she lived, worked, married, and parented on his or her journey through life?

[Let me now pause to write that when I use the words “obscure,” “ordinary,” or “common,” I am not making a value judgment on a person’s worth. We all know that people who lived their lives without becoming famous can be virtuous and extraordinary.  I am referring only to people whose lives were lived but there is now scant evidence in the way of physical documents that were saved and available in a place like Archives & Special Collections.]

Archivists routinely help researchers find information about people who led lives that didn’t lead to fame. Often the questions come from genealogists, when people research their ancestors. This type of researcher often only has family lore, or stories passed from generation to generation, about their ancestors who may have lived perfectly normal lives but whose moments passed without much documentation to support these moments. Having worked with countless genealogists I can assure you that these searches are often the most frustrating, and heartbreaking, that we have to deal with. Frustrating because the information is so elusive; heartbreaking because of the researcher’s hopes for information.

So what resources can we refer to in Archives & Special Collections that may provide something – anything – for the researcher of an obscure person? The good news is that there are many potential sources; the bad news is that all of them would require extensive research time and it is very likely to provide nothing verifiable for a researcher. But we’ve worked with enough genealogists to recognize that they are the hardiest of researchers, willing to slog through countless handwritten labor journals, hoping for that one nugget of information.

[Let me pause again to note here that if you’re looking for information about someone who was affiliated with the University of Connecticut, as a student or faculty or staff member, that’s a whole different story. While we can’t guarantee that we can find information about every person who spent time at the university it is at least a possibility. Please contact our reference desk at archives@uconn.edu and you will be directed to our University Archivist.]

The collections that are most likely to have something about obscure people are from our Connecticut Business Collections. While many of these collections have no worker files, there are many that do have labor records that may have an individuals’ name. These records include:

  • Worker cards from the Cheney Brothers Silk Manufacturing Company of Manchester, Connecticut. These worker cards were created from the 1900s to the 1930s and give a plethora details about the company workers that allow an almost complete record of a worker’s life, listing the jobs he or she worked while employed by the company with dates, noting the address where he or she lived, place of birth, nativity of the worker’s parents, if he or she could understand English, and other vital details. These worker cards, thousands of them, were scanned and are available in our digital repository, at https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3AMS19840026
  • The Wauregan and Quinebaug Company, a textile mill in Wauregan, Connecticut, has an extensive set of labor records with a file for each worker who stopped working for the company from 1938 to 1957. The listing of the workers can be found here: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860134117. Please note that there are some restrictions on the use of these records.
  • For some of our collections the only information that provides names of workers can be found in company newsletters. The collections where you can find these types of sources include the New Britain Machine Company Records (https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860115781), the Southern New England Telephone Company Records (https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860138740) and the Thermos Company, Taftville Plant, Records (https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860132926).
  • One of our largest business company records are those of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (better known as the New Haven Railroad), and we get countless inquiries for information about those who worked for the railroad system, which encompassed all of southern New England from 1872 to 1969. At the peak of its business in the 1920s the New Haven Railroad employed over 30,000 people in the four states of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. When the New Haven Railroad’s successor made the donation of the railroad’s records in the 1980s no personnel files came to UConn. But, there is one source to refer to, which are issues of “Along the Line,” the company’s employee newsletter, which began publication in the 1920s. Although the newsletter stopped publication during the Great Depression it resumed in the early 1940s and continued, sporatically, into the early 1960s. While by no means a thorough source for information about every worker it is the only item we can provide that has the potential for information about those employed by the railroad.

Many of the business collections have extensive sets of photographs, but a researcher will invariably find that an extremely small number of them will have any identification of the persons in the image. I would ballpark that of the tens of thousands of photographs of non-noteworthy persons that we have in the archives perhaps 1% of them will include the name of the person.

There are a small number of other resources in the archives where there is the possibility of information about an ordinary person, many of them sets of oral history interviews usually done for ethnic history studies. Among them include:

This list is by no means complete simply because almost any archival resource from any of our collections has the potential to provide information about an obscure person. Check the digital repository (http://archives.lib.uconn.edu/) and inquire at our reference desk for sources about your personal favorite ordinary person and we’ll see what we can find.

Resources in the Archives about Women at UConn

 

In 1893, after an act of the Connecticut General Assembly, the rustic Storrs Agricultural School was remade into Storrs Agricultural College, a first step on its way to becoming the major research university we know today as the University of Connecticut.

Along with a new name, the college expanded its course offerings, hired new faculty, and admitted new students—most notably, it officially opened its doors to women. Some members of the General Assembly initially tried to bar women from attending, only to be defeated in the end. Even so, it would have been a belated effort. Records indicate that by 1893 about twenty women had already taken classes at the school, either because of the forward-thinking president Benjamin F. Koons or simply because no law existed to discourage them.

Either way, women’s presence at UConn continued to expand in subsequent years. More and more female students attended classes, played on sports teams, and engaged in student activities in and around the campus, while female faculty and staff assumed a greater number of academic and administrative positions. Today, women account for a slight majority of students at UConn, and the evolution from that first twenty students to women’s prominent role on campus today is amply documented by the university archives.

Archives & Special Collections holds a wealth of materials for those interested in exploring the integral role of women at UConn. Among the relevant collections are:

  • President’s Office Records. The collection comprises extensive material relating to each presidential administration at UConn. The records from Glenn W. Ferguson’s presidency (1973-1978) are especially relevant. They contain significant material on attempts to include women’s concerns in the university’s affirmative action plan, and the controversy and activism around the denial of tenure to English professor Marcia Lieberman. The finding aid can be found at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860134674
  •  UConn Women’s Center Records. The collection comprises books, correspondence, notes, fliers, clippings, publications, legal records, and transcripts relating to the University of Connecticut’s Women’s Center from 1970 to 1989. The UConn Women’s Center was founded in 1972 after concerted student activism and continues to exist today. It provides a range of social services, educational opportunities, and community outreach at the University of Connecticut around a host of issues relating to women and beyond. The finding aid can be found at http://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860116494
  •  UConn Women’s Studies Program Records. The collection comprises grant files, administrative records, announcement, fliers, and publications. The University of Connecticut’s Women’s Studies Program began in 1974 and was the first official program for women’s studies in Connecticut. Similar to UConn’s Women Center, the Women’s Studies Program formed after concerted efforts by students, faculty, and staff to include women’s interests and issues on campus, especially amid a renewed wave of feminist organizing in the 1960s and 1970s. The finding aid can be found at http://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860115771
  • One Hundred Years of Women at UCONN Collection. The collection comprises the contents of a scrapbook created to document the 100 Years of Women activities at UConn during the 1991-1992 academic year. The scrapbook contained photographs, clippings, programs, announcements, memoranda, correspondence, flyers, brochures and posters. The scrapbook was created by a committee formed by President Harry J. Hartley in 1991, and then led by Professor Cynthia Adams, to develop a year-long program of activities to celebrate the role of women in UConn’s history. The activities included a convocation, lectures, presentations, awards and an exhibition. The finding aid can be found at http://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860131611
  • Athletic Communications Office Records. The collection comprises materials concerning the full range of UConn athletics, including basketball, softball, field hockey, tennis, swimming, and many other sports. Records for individual sports contain publications, media guides, statistics, correspondence, press releases, newspaper clippings, and other materials, many over long periods of time. The collection also holds a significant archive of press releases and other general materials. Overall, the collection represents some of the most extensive coverage of UConn athletics and provides a detailed portrait of women in sports at UConn. The finding aid can be found at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860123050
  • Student Newspapers. The collection comprises digitized issues of student newspapers from multiple UConn campuses. The most significant collection comes from the Storrs campus, including extensive runs of early to contemporary student newspapers like the Lookout and the Daily Campus. These newspapers provide some of the most far-reaching and wide-ranging coverage of student life at UConn. Both the student newspapers and the student yearbook supply a useful means to chart the history of women at UConn. The finding aid can be found at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/islandora%3Acampusnewspapers
  • Nutmeg. The collection comprises digitized copies of UConn’s student yearbook from 1915 to 2008. Similar to the student newspapers, the student yearbook provides a useful means of understanding the evolving place of women at UConn. The yearbooks contain information on individual students, clubs, sports, campus activities, academics, and information on particular academic years. The yearbooks furnish an especially useful means to survey the expanding presence of women at UConn, both in terms of faculty and students. The finding aid can be found at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860133446
  • University of Connecticut Photograph Collection. The collection comprises digitized photographs from throughout UConn’s history. The extensive collection of photographs documents women in all aspects of university life, from sports and academics to university clubs and social life. The finding aid can be found at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3AMSS19880010

We invite you to view these collections in the reading room at Archives & Special Collections in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Our staff is happy to assist you in accessing these and other collections in the archives.

This post was written by Shaine Scarminach, a UConn History Ph.D candidate who is a student assistant in Archives & Special Collections. 

Litchfield County Writers Project Presentations, 1993-2014, Now Available Online

This post was written by Sarah Morin, a Simmons University graduate student who completed a digital stewardship and metadata internship in Archives & Special Collections.  Ms. Morin received her MLIS degree in December 2018.

For over two decades, the Litchfield County Writers Project (LCWP) has endeavored to support, preserve, display, and celebrate the writers of Litchfield County in ways that further enrich UConn and our community’s creative life.

This program was originally created by Adrienne Lyon, a former director of UConn Torrington, and further developed by Davyne Verstandig, a gifted interviewer, poet, and lecturer at UConn. From 1993 to 2014, the LCWP hosted a range of rich and fascinating lectures, interviews, dramatic readings, and performances by writers and artists of all types and genres. In the earliest days of the program, Lyon spoke of her dearly held dream of making these presentations accessible to the world. Today, over 100 of them are now available online for public viewing.

There is such a wide and wonderful variety of topics that everyone is sure to find a presentation that piques their particular interest. Notable luminaries who gave moving and memorable presentations include Frank McCourt (author of Angela’s Ashes), Madeleine L’Engle (author of A Wrinkle in Time), Tom Schiller (writer for Saturday Night Live), Paul and Linda Fusco (creators of ALF), Candace Bushnell (author of Sex and the City), Barbara Parsons (wrote her memoirs in prison under the tutelage of Wally Lamb), and Gina Barreca (acclaimed academic and humorist). And this list is by no means a comprehensive or complete accounting of all the distinguished writers, artists, musicians, poets, scholars, reporters, filmmakers, and documentarians who presented in the program.

The LCWP presentations can be viewed at the Connecticut Digital Archive

Resources in the Archives on Artistic Responses to the U.S. Participation in the Vietnam War

 

The United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War was a divisive chapter in American history. Lending economic and military support to the South Vietnamese government against the Communist North, Washington’s participation in the conflict lasted from the early 1950s to 1973. While in the beginning there was general public acceptance of the war, by 1965 opposition to American involvement in Vietnam grew due to the increasing deployment of troops and the rising number of casualties. In July of 1965, the U.S. government doubled the number of draftees to 35,000 each month. Graphic news footage of the fighting also contributed to the public’s disapproval. Opposition took the form of anti-war demonstrations and draft resistance, and protests broke out on university campuses across the country. Although the U.S. officially withdrew from Vietnam in 1973, it left an indelible mark on the lives of veterans, local communities, and American society.

During and after the United States’ involvement in the conflict in Vietnam, citizens reacted to the war through varied artistic expression. Art became a powerful form of protest and activism, as it was used to raise awareness of social issues and inspire Americans to join the movement against the war. Additionally, once the U.S. began to withdraw troops, people used art to commemorate the war and the loss of life, as well as to consider U.S. involvement overseas. The creative response demonstrates how people participated in American society and civic life, as well as how they contributed to a growing social movement during the 1960s and 1970s.

The collections available in Archives & Special Collections allow us to examine a variety of artistic responses to U.S. engagement in the Vietnam War:

  • Poras Collection of Vietnam War Memorabilia: This collection includes a wide variety of materials from the Vietnam War era, including buttons, photographs, fliers, booklets, posters, stamps, flags, audio recordings, and comic books. The collection contains pamphlets and flyers with artistic illustrations in protest of the war, as well as official propaganda in support of the war. The finding aid is available at https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860115772.
  • First Casualty Press Records: This collection is comprised of poetry and fiction submitted to First Casualty Press to be considered for publication. The works were written by Vietnam War veterans concerning their experiences of the war. The collection also contains correspondence between the First Casualty Press and authors, publishers, and readers, as well as materials related to the publication process. The finding aid is available at https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860138522.
  • Adam Nadel Photography Collection: This collection consists of thirteen large photographs of Cambodian and Vietnamese people who were affected in some way by the Vietnam War. Recognized internationally for his work, Adam Nadel completed a project on war and its consequences in 2010. Many of the individuals featured in the photographs of this collection are war veterans, both male and female. The finding aid is available at https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860114426.
  • Bread and Puppet Theater Collection: Founded in 1963, the Bread and Puppet Theater was made up of an experimental theater troupe whose performances combined puppets, masks, and dance. Performances focused on political and social issues, including protesting the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. The collection consists of illustrated story scripts, handbills, and performance programs, including a small newspaper from 1967 with illustrations from the theater’s story script about the violence in Vietnam. The finding aid is available at https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860130712.
  • Storrs Draft Information Committee Records: The Storrs Draft Information Committee was a counseling center on the University of Connecticut’s campus that was established to help men of draft age during the Vietnam War. This collection includes information associated with draft counseling, draft resistance, and protest movement groups at UConn. In particular, the collection contains information on how to renounce U.S. citizenship, documents detailing draft law, and American deserter and draft resistance newspapers from Canada. Some of these documents contain unique illustrations and photographs. The finding aid is available at https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860124336.
  • Alternative Press Collection (APC): Founded by students in the late 1960s, the APC includes newspapers, books, pamphlets, and artifacts covering activism for social and political change. This includes multiple volumes of a bulletin called the “Viet Report” from 1965-1986. While the “Viet Report” primarily consists of articles from a variety of perspectives on the war and the state of Vietnam, artwork in the form of illustrations and photographs are also included. These reports can be found in our digital repository beginning here: https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A01641656.

We invite you to view these collections in the reading room in Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center if you need resources on the artistic response to the Vietnam War. Our staff is happy to assist you in accessing these and other collections in the archives.

This post was written by Alexandra Borkowski, a UConn PhD student and student assistant in Archives & Special Collections.