The UConn Archives is sorry to hear about the death of one of our donors, Norman H. Finkelstein, on January 5, 2024. He was an author of over 20 non-fiction books for young readers, a retired school librarian for the Brookline (Massachusetts) Public Schools and teacher of history for the Prozdor Department of Hebrew College. Among his writing honors are two National Jewish Book Awards, the Golden Kite Honor Book Award for Nonfiction and a “highly recommended” award from the Boston Author’s Club.
In an interview with Contemporary Authors published in 2011 Finkelstein remarked, “Readers often want to know what keeps me going as a writer. When I asked the late CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt to share a memory of Edward R. Murrow, about whom I was writing a biography, Kuralt responded: ‘Beginners need confidence; of course, I never had the nerve to ask Murrow for advice directly, but if I had, I believe he would have said, “Become good at what you do, and everything else will take care of itself.”‘ I couldn’t have said it better myself. I would, however, add two more words, persistence and patience.” (Source: “Norman H. Finkelstein.” Gale Literature: Contemporary Authors, Gale, 2011. Gale Literature Resource Center, link.http://gale.com/apps/doc/H1000112338/GLS?u=22516&sid=bookmark-GLS&xid=2702ce1e. Accessed 9 Jan. 2024.)
Old Saybrook Railroad Station Interlocking Tower, Old Saybrook
Abandoned railroad interlocking tower, broken and boarded up windows, next to tracks
Chromium Process Company Facilities, 113 Canal Street West, Shelton
Interior of abandoned factory floor, wall covered with grafitti that reads "Eat Acid, See God"
Roosevelt Mills, Vernon
Exterior shot of factory overgrown with trees, bushes and fines. Most windows are gone.
Mattatuck Manufacturing Company, 1981 East Main Street, Waterbury
Interior shot of dilapidated, abandoned factory floor
Sometimes it is hard to recall that the Connecticut of not too long ago was an industrial powerhouse. From the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s the state was a major producer of brass, tools, textiles, clocks and household goods that were valued throughout the nation, and the world. While Connecticut today is still an industrial engine, we remember a time when large factories teemed with workers and railroad lines traveled into almost every town and city in the state.
There is a mix of emotions when we view images of abandoned factories and railroad stations. There is a nostalgia for the past, one that we know through old photographs or movies, a time we somehow imagine was simpler. Or there is a curiosity in the creepy side of the structures, covered in vines, roofs sagging, broken windows, old equipment splayed about the factory floor, and, if we’re lucky, perhaps a spray of graffiti on the walls.
Now available in the Richard Schimmelpfeng Gallery in the Dodd Center for Human Rights is an exhibit that shows photographs from the Railroad History Collections and the Connecticut Historic Preservation Collection, both held in the UConn Archives.
The foundational collection for the Railroad History Archives are the corporate records of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, better known as the New Haven Railroad, which was established in 1872 from the merger of smaller lines throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island, southern Massachusetts and eastern New York, and spanned from Grand Central Terminal in New York City to Boston. Other collections, from photographers, collectors and historians, supplement the corporate records and provide resources that illustrate the impact of the railroad on the industry and culture of the region until it was absorbed into Penn Central in 1969.
While the railroad collections provide documentation on the entire New Haven Railroad region, for purposes of this exhibit we have focused exclusively on Connecticut sources.
The Connecticut Historic Preservation Collection (CHPC) is comprised of architectural and archaeological surveys, maps and documentation studies of historic buildings and sites in the state. They are provided to the UConn Archives by the State Historic Preservation Office. The CHPC materials you see in the exhibit are almost solely those in the documentation studies series, which were created by professional industrial historians to document historical properties that were planned for demolition or renovation.
The exhibit is available Mondays through Fridays, 8:00a.m. to 4:30p.m., until October 13.
Several historians have graciously aided us with this exhibit, by either providing their advice or expertise of railroad properties, or by allowing the use of photographs they have taken of abandoned sites.
Robert Joseph Belletzkie has done extensive research into the history of Connecticut railroad stations. He created and maintains a website – Tyler City Station, at http://www.tylercitystation.info/ — that details the history of virtually every station and depot in Connecticut.
Matthew Chase is dedicated to a project to document the deterioration of the Cedar Hill Rail Yard, located in New Haven. His Facebook page, Friends of Cedar Hill Yard, has hundreds of photographs of the yard, both historical and in its deteriorating condition in the present day.
Richard A. Fleischer is a historian, writer and photographer with a broad and deep knowledge of the history of New England’s railroads.
J.W. Swanberg is a former railroad employee, photographer and historian of the New Haven Railroad, with a lifetime of knowledge about railroads in Connecticut, the region and the world. He is the author of the seminal history of the New Haven Railroad’s locomotive fleet, New Haven Power, and has written extensively on topics related to railroads in the region.
May 19 – August 11, 2023 Archives & Special Collections Dodd Center for Human Rights Curated by Graham Stinnett, Archivist
On display is the creative work of David Sandlin (b.1956), comics artist and printmaker. His multi-volume Guggenheim Fellowship project, 76 Manifestations of American Destiny, charts a dreamlike interstellar course from the Big Bang to the present historical moment. Volume 1 of this series depicts iconic references which continuously appear throughout each volume as specters of a disembodied past. In Sandlin’s work, America’s presidents, military icons, and cultural trademarks wreak havoc on the psyche of the family (the artist’s own) caught between cultural performance and the dead weight of its umbilical living past.
Additionally on display are monographs and artist’s books drawn from Archives & Special Collections which illustrate the source material for an artists’ interpretation and the proliferation of ideas through varying degrees of enculturation in print. Featured are early printed pamphlets of President George Washington’s farewell address from 1796 (a character featured prominently in Sandlin’s 76 series), as well as other art forms like poetic interpretations of the Declaration of Independence, and children’s books relating to the science of the Big Bang, the founding fathers, and histories of the Western frontier and the myth-making they engendered. Featured across from Sandlin’s work is the Artists’ Book author Mike Taylor (b.1976) who similarly explores the current state of politics in America through the historical record of presidential speeches, congressional documents, and their foretelling of a dystopian future.
Starting in 2021, Archives & Special Collection’s acquired 76 Manifestations of American Destiny Volumes 1-4 and will add the final volumes to the collection as they are completed.
The UConn Archives & Special Collections podcast d’Archive will release it’s 50th episode on April 24th, 2023 with a live broadcast at 10am EST on 91.7fm WHUS. Beginning in August of 2017, the Archives staff began expanding its outreach program to the airwaves by training on sound engineering and radio protocols in order to effectively bring its collections to new audiences. Since then the radio program and podcast has featured weekly episodes drawing from countless collections held by the Archives & Special Collections and amplifying the expertise of over 60 collaborators ranging from past and present archives and library staff, artists, journalists, curators, faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, high school students, visiting fellows and international students, activists, alumni, collectors and donors, family, and friends.
Join us for a curated celebration of American Archives Month, behind-the-scenes tours, zine-making, giveaways, refreshments, and more!
Free and open to the public. All are welcome.
American Archives Month gives archives around the nation the opportunity to highlight the importance of records of enduring value. At UConn Archives we believe that archives reveal by enabling people to examine and better understand the past, that archives inspire by being useful for many purposes, and that archives are for everyone!
This is also the closing event for the exhibition Days and Nights of Prints and Punk in the Schimmelpfeng Gallery, providing your last chance to see the evolution of the punk rock scene over 4 decades.
October 12 is also #AskAnArchivist Day.
Archivists around the country will take to Twitter to answer your questions about any and all things archives. This day-long event, sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, will give you the opportunity to connect directly with archivists in your community—and around the country—to ask questions, get information, or just satisfy your curiosity. No question is too silly . . .
#AskAnArchivist Day is open to everyone—all you need is a Twitter account. To participate, just tweet a question and include the hashtag #AskAnArchivist in your tweet. Your question will be seen instantly by archivists around the country who are standing by to respond directly to you. Have a question for a specific archives or archivist? Include their Twitter handle with your question.
The process of conducting archival research can be daunting and seem confusing, especially for those who are new to working in an archive. UConn Archives & Special Collections wants to help demystify the research process by providing you with our top 10 tips for doing archival research, which should help with increasing research efficiency and productivity during your visit.
Here are some strategies and suggestions for working in the archives from our experienced team of staff and student workers. From planning your visit, to navigating the archive, to processing your research when you are home, we hope that this information will help guide you on your research journey, wherever you may be.
Closing Event & Archives Open House October 12th, 4 – 6 pm.
The UConn Archives & Special Collections presents Days and Nights of Print and Punk, showcasing the roughly four decades of punk rock aesthetic documented through the Alternative Press Collection. From the 1970s punk rock of bad attitudes and discontent in England and the U.S., seeds were sown to propagate a unified front of thumbed noses to the status quo. Those same attitudes of youth rebellion were reinterpreted from problems into solutions by each successive generation drawing from positive mental attitude, feminism, DIY socioeconomics, animal rights, and anti-racism. Through show flyers, riot grrrl and skate zines, t-shirts, stickers, vinyl, cassettes, and posters, the evolution of the scene has demonstrated its adaptability for youth movements from the late 1970s to the present day. This exhibition also features selections of performance photographs from the traveling exhibition Live at The Anthrax from the Joe Snow Punk Rock Collection. Joe photographed the thriving Connecticut Hardcore Punk (CTHC) scene in the late 1980s during the final years of The Anthrax club in Norwalk, CT (’86-’90). Shot on 35mm black and white Kodak film, these images represent historical documents that bring the viewer as close to the action as possible, providing an intimacy into this subcultural space from 35 years ago. The photographs were selected and reprinted with the intent to highlight the primacy of analog at that time as well as the aesthetics of the not-so-distant past illuminated by a sweat tinted flash bulb.
This exhibition is drawn from the following archival collections:
Andrews Punk Rock Collection, Fly Zine Collection, Kauffman Zine Collection, King Alternative Press Collection, Noelke-Olson Button Collection, and Snow Punk Rock Collection.
D-I-Y Zine Basics September 29, 12:30-1:30pm via Zoom Zines are DIY publications that have served as modes of expression as well as communication for underrepresented subcultures and social movements, including punk. They are analog and use a collage aesthetic to combine image and text in visually engaging ways. In this virtual workshop, learn about DIY publications with Archivist Graham Stinnett and Metadata Librarian Rhonda Kauffman to get started making your own zines. Held in conjunction with the exhibitions, Days and Nights of Print and Punk at UConn Archives’ Schimmelpfeng Gallery and Wild Youth: Punk and New Wave from the 1970s and 1980s at the William Benton Museum of Art.
Suggested materials list: • 1 sheet of letter sized paper • Magazines, newspapers, stickers to collage with, preferably images with high contrast. • Glue stick or tape • Sharpie fine and ultra fine permanent markers • 1-inch and ¾ inch alphabet stickers in various colors • Patterned Washi tape
Level Up materials list: • Label maker • Plastic bone folder • Alphabet stamps w/ink pad • Long arm stapler • Typewriter • Photocopier
A project by Nicole Catarino, UConn English Department Writing Intern, Spring 2022. Background by Melissa Watterworth Batt, Archivist
Literary periodicals of the 1900s exerted a strong influence on the poetics and shifting literary trends of the twentieth century. Many of these periodicals were edited by writers themselves and deliberately circulated outside, or on the margins, of popular media.
With the introduction of the personal computer and new offset printing technology in the 1970s, independent presses, often short-lived and with small budgets, thrived. Non-profit publishing organizations of the period assisted with distribution, providing grants to establish presses and distribution networks internationally.
Ironically, small print runs, while less profitable, enabled independent presses to stay afloat during the economic turmoil of the 1980s when many corporate, commercial publishing companies cancelled or suspended operations in the literary marketplace. By the mid-1980s, a diversifying publishing industry offered new writers, including non-English language writers, expanded opportunities for publication.
My name is Nicole Catarino, an English major and literary translations minor here at the University of Connecticut, graduating with the Class of 2022, and for the length of the Spring 2022 semester, I have been an intern at UConn’s Archives and Special Collections Department working with Archivist Melissa Watterworth Batt. My internship project revolved around the Archive’s collection of little magazines and the published translations one can find in these literary journals.
“Little magazines” are defined as periodicals produced with small budgets and a limited team, and experienced small print runs and limited distribution. These publications were often short-lived. Today, the Little Magazine collection here at UConn is comprised of over 700 titles from the 1920s to the 2000s, representing a wide array of writers and writing styles, experimental works, graphic novels, zines, and artists books.
However, despite the Little Magazine Collection’s diverse grouping of literary journals and other periodicals, Archivist Watterworth Batt and I realized that very little research had been conducted for the genre of literary translations. That’s when we arrived at the initial idea for my internship project. My goal was to create a cohesive bibliography of little magazines in the collection that published translated works in their journals.
We decided to set our focus on the little magazines that were founded or running in the 1980s because that was the era in which publication started to become cheaper and more accessible. As a result, independent writers and editors began to create journals that stepped away from the themes and content of mainstream publications and instead focused on experimental styles, forms, and genres while also providing a space for new and emerging writers. Archivist Watterworth Batt and I agreed that if there was ever a time for translations to become more popular in the world of little magazines, it would be the 1980’s.
Ultimately, the reason why I chose to focus on literary translations, of all genres, was for two purposes. One was because as a student minoring in literary translations, I knew that a detailed bibliography about where to find translation-focused literary journals would be a fantastic resource for both students and professors alike. My second reason, however, stemmed from my own love for translations and my frustration that this genre of literature is frequently not given the same credit and valor as other literary genres. Translations are complicated and elegant facets of literature that allow us to share cultural stories, folklore, and perspectives on the human experience that otherwise would go unnoticed or unheard due to the language barrier. For this reason, I wanted to highlight these kinds of creative works and find how many resources there are for this genre of literature here at UConn.
The bibliography I created for this project contains six main categories in the spreadsheet: the title of the little magazine that published the translation, the original language the piece was written in, the writer who wrote the original piece, the translator who wrote the translation, the volume and number of the corresponding issue and when it was published, and then any other interesting writers of note or extra information about the journal that I may have discovered. The purpose of this last section was to emphasize just how important little magazines are for writers by listing many famous authors and poets who got their start by publishing in little magazines—like Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, and Adrienne Rich, among others.
My hope is that, aside from providing a useful resource to translators and researchers, this bibliography will help stir more interest in the Archives’ magnificent collection of little magazines, so if you have the chance to browse the collection, I highly encourage you to do so!
Archives & Special Collections of the UConn Library has recently acquired the papers of Lottie B. Scott, UConn alumna (‘86), author, civic organizer, and civil rights advocate from Norwich, Connecticut. Ms. Scott’s papers [1969-present] include records from her work with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Norwich chapter, from the 1960s-2010. A founding member of the chapter, Ms. Scott held multiple positions including arts liaison, first vice president, and president.
Ms. Scott’s civic involvement is documented through her service in various positions (often as the first woman of color) with the Norwich Arts Council and the Rotary Club, as a board member of Backus Hospital, and in her work for the Commission for Human Rights and Opportunities over 22 years. Her ongoing contributions to her community are also documented through the various awards and recognition she has received from local and national organizations and individuals of distinction. Ms. Scott’s 2018 memoir Deep South – Deep North: A Family’s Journey is included in the collection, chronicling her family history during the Great Migration from Longtown, South Carolina to Norwich.
For more information on accessing the Lottie B. Scott Papers, contact the UConn Archives: firstname.lastname@example.org
This guest blog post is written by Aidan Brueckner, a graduating honors student majoring in Digital Media and Design, and minoring in Human Rights which he completed an internship for at the Archives & Special Collections in the Spring Semester of 2021. Aidan’s descriptive work can be found in the Alternative Press Collection online.
It is no secret that youth activism is on the rise. Across the world, demonstrations occur for myriad reasons related to racial justice, climate change, drug control, and countless more key issues. Not only are these matters far-reaching across all aspects of society, touching on numerous disparate sectors, but the apparent frequency of social justice events is increasing quickly as well. The push for recognition and change from a world that has proven unforgiving and unfair is picking up steam. Naturally, college-age students tend to be a large portion of the ones driving these agendas, as the nature of college itself encourages collaboration and a drive to excel, as well as an increased emphasis on critical thinking. Most importantly, however, college allows students to collect as a group of like-minded individuals, and presents them with an opportunity to make their voices heard. UConn is no exception, having had a well-documented history of activism on campus from its inception. Much of this activism is contained within the Archives, and this semester I had an opportunity to explore and evaluate some of it.
In the Spring semester of 2020, an exciting use of historical photographs by UConn Digital Media and Design students brought to life the images of student protest in the 1960s and 1970s held by the University of Connecticut Archives. In collaboration with Assistant Professor Anna Lindemann and MFA graduate Instructor Jasmine Rajavadee of the Digital Media and Design Department, the Motion Graphics 1 class (DMD 2200) spent a portion of their semester in the archives to understand the context of photographic collections and practice their skills on digital collection items. This exploration led to the creation of new uses for the recorded past. The class assignment drew on digitized 35mm negatives, Kodachrome color slides, and black&white photographic prints to demonstrate a 4D animation process of still images to bring static subjects to life. Collections utilized for this project ranged from the Cal Robertson Collection of anti-nuclear demonstrations in New London, Howard S. Goldbaum’s Photography for the Daily Campus newspaper documenting anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in Storrs, New York, and Washington D.C., and University of Connecticut Photography Collection images of the 1974 Black Student sit-in at Wilbur Cross Library. To view a selection of the Student Unrest Photography in 4D project, follow this link to our Youtube page.
This is the second time that the UConn Archives has worked with Prof. Lindemann and the DMD department to utilize photographic collections for class projects, the first drew on child labor images from the U. Roberto Romano Collection which can be viewed here.
The following essay is an extended closing remark to the exhibition Day-Glo and Napalm: UConn from 1967-1971, by guest curator and contributor, George Jacobi (’71).The exhibition runs until Friday, October 25th, 2019.
Thanks to the GI Bill, the Fifties are a favorable time for most Americans home from the war to build a career and raise a family. Powered by Unions as well, the rise of the largest middle class in history finally includes some Black and Latino citizens. Suburbia is invented. The 1964 World’s Fair in New York promises we’ll all be working far fewer hours and getting there in a flying car, asserting that technology only benefits mankind. Robots will do the tough jobs. The future seems so far away that this is almost believable. Are white kids in New England spoiled? Compared with previous generations, sure we are, and so has each generation since. Growing up then is generally benign, and the result is a chance to examine ourselves and America with less national responsibility than our parents. Our patriotism thus leans toward social betterment, not defense or personal economic progress.
Under the veneer of white middle-class American life rumblings of unrest have begun. Academics are suggesting that modern society is unfulfilling. Rachel Carson has shown America that it is in the process of killing nature with chemicals. Kerouac has been “On the Road” and Jackson Pollock has blown up the art world. Jazz has turned from big band dance music into individual expression. Ginsburg writes “Howl” and thus comes out as a gay man; the book is immediately banned. Yet in Greenwich Village people are “suddenly free of the shackles, the baggage of tradition”: Liam Clancy. Nevertheless, beatniks are portrayed as a joke on TV. The political and cultural events that took place at UConn during the years 1967 to 1971 of course reflect wider American historical forces. For simplicity, label these Politics, Spirituality, Culture, and the Arts. In reality, they are jumbled together; breaking them down in order to clarify each is a rare side benefit of the passage of time.
The following account lists this history, phenomena that took place or began prior to 1967. By that year, society is increasingly seen by an influential youth minority as hypocritical or empty of value. It has become apparent that the norms are mythological and serve only the powerful. Alienation results with what is initially a quiet insurrection against uncritical acceptance of the status quo. While most of the country isn’t paying attention, there is a cultural shift; all of a sudden something changes. Several small groups at first, an anti-establishment minority slowly appears. Most folks in America and at UConn in the mid-1960s go about their own lives whether they are sympathetic to this rebellion or not. A majority of UConn students, including us, will spend most of our hours being students.