Resources in the Archives Related to Reproductive Rights and Abortion

In light of the June 24, 2022, United States Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overruled previous decisions Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), Archives & Special Collections here provides a list of materials related to reproductive rights and abortion that are held in our collections.

The landmark decision in Roe in 1973 stated that “the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides a fundamental “right to privacy” that protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to abort her fetus,” while the 1992 decision in Casey modified Roe by holding that requiring spousal awareness in order to get an abortion put undue burden on married people seeking abortions.

As of the June 24 decision in Dobbs, abortion is no longer a constitutionally guaranteed right in the United States, leaving the decision to individual states. 

For those conducting research projects about reproductive rights, abortion, or related topics, Archives & Special Collections holds resources related to the topic in various media, both from pro-choice and anti-abortion perspectives. These materials range from polling information, correspondence, political documents, organizational literature, and much more.  Among some of our archives’ relevant items are:

Connecticut Women’s Educational and Legal Fund Records.  Connecticut Women’s Educational and Legal Fund (CWEALF) was founded in 1973. Related to reproductive rights, one major point in the collection is the Pregnancy Rights Project/Program, which took place in the 1980s, but CWEALF continues its work in advocacy, education, and empowerment to this day. Within the collection are publications, press releases from the organization, various writings, educational texts, administrative files, and more. Alongside reproductive advocacy, the records also include information on work CWEALF has done for LGBTQIA+ people. For more information on how to navigate this collection, a finding aid can be found online here: Connecticut Women’s Educational and Legal Fund Records

National Organization for Women, Connecticut and Rhode Island Chapters Records.  Founded in 1966, the National Organization for Women is a feminist organization, with currently around 500,000 members.  The organization advocates for women’s rights across many fronts, including reproductive health.  This collection includes informational literature, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, and more from both the Connecticut and Rhode Island chapters of NOW. For more information on how to navigate this collection, finding aids can be found online here: National Organization for Women, Connecticut Chapter Records and National Organization for Women, Rhode Island Chapter Records

Connecticut Civil Liberties Union Records.  The CCLU was founded in 1949 as the New Haven Civil Liberties Council, and is now the Connecticut affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (it currently goes by the name ACLU of CT). This collection includes records from the original NHCLC, as well as administrative records from the CCLU from 1958-90.  On the subject of reproductive rights, the collection includes legal documents from two cases: Women’s Health Services v. Maher (1979-1981) and Doe v. Maher (1981-90).  Both deal specifically with Connecticut law surrounding abortion.  For more information on how to navigate this collection, a finding aid can be found online here: Connecticut Civil Liberties Union Records

Alternative Press Collection Files.  The Alternative Press Collection consists of publications created by various people, groups, and organizations. There are many items in the collection that cover the topics of reproductive rights and abortion, both in digitized online form and solely in the physical stacks.  Below are a few links that will help to navigate the collection.

APC File Inventory – This link goes to a list of all the publications within the APC Files, both digitized and physical.

Connecticut Digital Archive – Various Publications Related to Abortion – This link goes to a digitized collection in the Connecticut Digital Archive titled “ABORTION.”  It is made up of over 200 pages of literature.

 Abortion Rights Movement of Women’s Liberation Advertisement – This link goes to an advertisement for ARM’s (Abortion Rights Movement) services to aid women in receiving, specifically late term abortions.  Also includes a letter from Sandra Sullaway, Los Angeles coordinator of ARM (February 23, 1979).

Archives Batch Search for “APC Abortion” – This link goes to a search result on the UConn Library website that includes 22 results for items in the APC Files related to abortion. 

Public Official’s Records. The following list are each their own collections, consisting of papers belonging to political officials, with each collection including text related to reproductive rights or abortion.  For more information on how to navigate these collections, finding aids can be found online at the links with each name.

Audrey Beck Papers – Audrey P. Beck (1931-1983) was a Connecticut politician and professor. She served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1967 to 1975, followed by a term in the Connecticut Senate from 1975 until her death in 1983. Prior to her political career, Beck taught Economics at the University of Connecticut.

Barbara B. Kennelly Papers – Barbara B. Kennelly (born 1936) is a former U.S. Representative from Connecticut’s 1st District, where she served from 1982 to 1999. Prior to this, she served as Connecticut Secretary of State from 1979 until 1982.

Chase Going Woodhouse Papers – Chase G. Woodhouse (1890-1984) was a U.S. Representative from Connecticut’s 2nd District, where she served two terms, from 1945 to 1947 and then from 1949 to 1951.  Prior to this, she served as Secretary of State of Connecticut from 1941 to 1943.

Nancy L. Johnson Papers – Nancy L. Johnson (born 1935) is a former U.S. Representative, where she served both Connecticut’s 6th District from 1983 to 2003 and its 5th District from 2003 to 2007. From 1995 to 1997, she chaired the House Ethics Committee. She served in the Connecticut Senate from 1977 to 1983.

Prescott S. Bush Papers – Prescott S. Bush (1895-1972) was a U.S. Senator from Connecticut, serving from 1952 to 1963.

Robert N. Giaimo Papers – Robert N. Giaimo (1919-2006) was a U.S. Representative from Connecticut’s 3rd District, where he served from 1959 to 1981.

Robert R. Simmons Papers – Robert R. Simmons (1943-) is a former U.S. Representative from Connecticut’s 2nd District, serving from 2001 to 2007. He served in the Connecticut House from 1991 to 2001, and after he left office he served as First Selectman of Stonington, Connecticut from 2015 until 2019.

Sam Gejdenson Papers – Sam Gejdenson (1948-) is a former U.S. Representative from Connecticut’s 2nd District, where he served from 1981 to 2001. He served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1975 to 1979.

Stewart B. McKinney Papers – Stewart B. McKinney (1931-1987) was a U.S. Representative from Connecticut’s 4th District, where he served from 1971 until his death in 1987. He served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971.

William R. Cotter Papers – William R. Cotter (1926-1981) was a U.S. Representative from Connecticut’s 1st District, where he served from 1971 until his death in 1981.

Connecticut State Labor Council, AFL-CIO Records.  This collection consists of the records of the Connecticut branch of the AFL-CIO, the United States’ largest labor union federation.  Relating to the issues of reproductive rights and abortion, one item that the collection has is a group of letters from people commenting on whether or not the union should take a pro-choice stance. This debate took place in the early 1990s, and since then, the AFL-CIO currently is a pro-choice organization. For more information on how to navigate this collection, a finding aid can be found online here: Connecticut State Labor Council, AFL-CIO Records

American Association of University Women, Connecticut Division Records.  Founded in the 1880s by Marion Talbot, a graduate of Boston University, and Ellen Swallow Richards, an MIT graduate, what began as the Association of Collegiate Alumnae has been supporting women who have graduated from college ever since.  This collection includes information on the organization’s history, programs it has run, legal activity, information on specific branches within Connecticut, and more.  Information on what the AAUW has done regarding reproductive rights can be found mostly in the legislative information section. For more information on how to navigate this collection, a finding aid can be found online here: American Association of University Women, Connecticut Division Records

Laurie S. Wiseberg and Harry Scoble Human Rights Internet Collection. The Human Rights Internet consists of materials related to human rights organizations from across the world, including newspapers, reports, NGO literature, books, journals, correspondence, and more.  The collection began in 1977, with Drs. Laurie Wiseberg and Harry Scobie as its founders. It includes human rights documents in many languages, including “English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Swedish, Chinese and Japanese (among many others),” according to the finding aid.  Within the collection are materials belonging to Human Rights Watch, the International Council on Human Rights Policy, Amnesty International, and Anti-Slavery International.  For more information on how to navigate this collection, a finding aid can be found online here: Laurie S. Wiseberg and Harry Scoble Human Rights Internet Collection

Connecticut Citizens Action Group Records.  Founded in the early 1970s by Ralph Nader and Toby Moffett, CCAG states that its goal is to empower citizens of Connecticut in their roles as “consumers, workers, tax payers, and voters.”  Information on reproductive rights may be found within the “Health Project” series of the collection, as well as in Director Marc Caplan’s files.  For more information on how to navigate this collection, a finding aid can be found online here: Connecticut Citizens Action Group Records

Samuel Lubell Papers.  Samuel Lubell (1911-1987) a journalist and public opinion pollster.  This collection includes notes, manuscripts, correspondence, and reports belonging to Lubell.  One portion of this collection that is relevant to reproductive rights is public opinion polling he did of students in the 1960s, with abortion being one of the topics polled about.  More broadly, he also worked on studies related to women’s issues in the 1940s and 1950s.  For more information on how to navigate this collection, a finding aid can be found online here: Samuel Lubell Papers

Stephen Thornton Papers.  Stephen Thornton (born 1951) is a community organizer in Connecticut.  Since his days at UConn organizing student protests of the Vietnam War, Thornton has been advocating for various causes, with groups such as the Peoples Bicentennial Commission, the Anti-Racist Coalition of Connecticut, and more.  This collection includes newspapers, alternative press, flyers, correspondence, notes, writings, and other forms of paraphernalia.  Within the collection are some items related to reproductive rights.  For more information on how to navigate this collection, a finding aid can be found online here: Stephen Thornton Papers

This post was written by Sam Zelin, a UConn undergraduate student in the Neag School of Education who is a student assistant in Archives & Special Collections. 

Resources in the Archives Related to the September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attacks

On the morning of September 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked in airspace over the eastern United States by terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda. Two of the planes were deliberately crashed into each of the twin tower buildings of the World Trade Center in New York City; one plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; and the fourth plane crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

These attacks stunned the United States and the world far beyond our borders; the effects were immediate and visceral. The aftermath had a long-lasting impact on many facets of society, including politics, commerce and culture.

News of the attacks greatly impacted life at the University of Connecticut. The following day a vigil was held on the Student Union Mall that brought over a thousand members of the Storrs community together in solidarity. The student newspaper, The Daily Campus, filled the paper with content related to the tragedy for most of the rest of the month.

For those conducting research projects about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Archives & Special Collections holds resources related to the tragedy available in many different mediums and from a myriad of perspectives. From congressional records to art books to newspaper clippings, the types of media created around the tragedy vary greatly. Among some of our archives’ relevant items are:

Christopher Shays Papers. Christopher Shays served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 to 2009 as a Republican from Connecticut’s 4th District. At the time of the September 11th attacks, Shays was on the House National Security Subcommittee, and was later a part of the 9/11 Commission. His papers include many documents related to 9/11 and the country’s response, including the recommendations of the Commission, lists of victims, findings on health effects, minutes from hearings and more. For more information on how to navigate this collection, a finding aid can be found online here: https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/214

Robert R. Simmons Papers. Robert Simmons was in his first year in the U.S. House of Representatives when the 9/11 attacks occurred. He represented Connecticut’s 2nd District from 2001 to 2007 as a member of the Republican Party. Portions of this collection relating to 9/11 include files marked as such, as well as Simmons’ files related to the “Global War on Terrorism,” which date from September 2001 to June 2004.  For more information on how to navigate this collection, a finding aid can be found online here: https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/658

Werner Pfeiffer, “Out of the Sky: Remembering 911.” This 2006 art book by Werner Pfeiffer was published around the five-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. It consists of a list of the victims, a small booklet written by Pfeiffer, and two constructable towers. The towers are each made of seven segments that are supported by blank inside cardboard sheets, and each stand about five feet tall. On the outside of the towers, Pfeiffer incorporated names of victims into his artwork. This work can be found in the archives’ stacks at location: D1996

Sidney Jacobson and Ernie Colón, “The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation.” Published in 2006, this book puts the findings of the 9/11 Commission into the format of a graphic novel. Jacobson, former managing editor and editor-in-chief of Harvey Comics, served as the writer, while Colón, who had worked for Harvey as well as DC Comics and others, served as the illustrator. The two collaborated once more for a sequel in 2008, titled “After 9/11: America’s War on Terror,” but that book is not available in the archives. This work can be found in the archives’ stacks at location: CLC C4476

Mimi Gross and Charles Bernstein, “Some of These Daze.” This spiral-bound art book was published in 2005 and is a collaboration between illustrator Mimi Gross and writer Charles Bernstein. Gross was near the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and began making sketches of what she saw while she was there. This book exhibits those sketches while coupling them with what Bernstein wrote, also from Manhattan at the time of the attacks, but slightly more removed in the Upper West Side. This work can be found in the archives’ stacks at location: D1882

Dark Horse Comics, “9-11: Artists Respond, Volume I.” This book was published in 2002, and features the artwork and writings of many artists, all related to the attacks. This was the first volume of a two-part effort, with all the proceeds going to organizations aiding the families of victims of the tragedy. Unfortunately, the archives does not have a copy of Volume II, but Volume I can be found in the archives’ stacks at location: C10332

Kathleen Fraser and Nancy Tokar Miller, “Witness.” This 2007 book by writer Kathleen Fraser and illustrator Nancy Tokar Miller features a poem by Fraser accompanied by eleven images by Miller. The book was created in memory of the September 11 tragedy. This work can be found in the archives’ stacks at location: D2013

The Daily Campus. This collection is made up of issues of UConn’s student newspaper, dating from 1896 to present day. As The Daily Campus has been printed daily since 1952, this includes coverage of the events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent aftermath. Throughout that month, many articles, images and other forms of media related to 9/11 were featured in the paper. In addition to coverage from directly after, the paper has printed more content surrounding significant anniversaries.

Articles of particular interest include:

  • The Daily Campus, September 13, 2001, “Students hold vigil on mall,” recounting a gathering of over 1,000 UConn students on September 12, in solidarity with victims of the attacks.
  • The Daily Campus, September 14, 2001, “Students and professors react to Tuesday’s attack,” a piece by two staff writers who interviewed multiple members of the UConn community about how they felt following the attacks.
  • The Daily Campus, September 11, 2002, “In Memoriam,” a piece written by the editorial board reflecting on the events of the day of the terrorist attacks and the year that followed.

This post was written by Sam Zelin, a UConn undergraduate student in the Neag School of Education who is a student assistant in Archives & Special Collections. 

Resources in the Archives about UConn Student Government

Various forms of student government date back to when the University of Connecticut was known as the Storrs Agricultural College, from 1881 to 1899. Since the inception of the first version of student government at Storrs its purpose has been to act as a representative of the student body and to advocate for various causes on behalf of its constituency. Some of these causes have included creating and funding other student organizations and petitioning the administration for civil rights reforms.

In the 1896 inaugural edition of the S.A.C. Lookout, the first student run student newspaper, two separate organizations, the “Students’ Organization” and “Council,” were cited as the structures of student government. The former acted as the executive wing and the latter as a senate, and lasted until the early 1920s.

The first big change in student government occurred in 1923 when the Council (by this time referred to as the “Students’ Council”) became the Student Senate. This body remained similar to its predecessor until 1933, when all student representative power was centralized in the Senate, forming the Associated Student Government (ASG). The Students’ Organization existed alongside the Senate until the reorganization of 1933, when both merged to become ASG. The structure of this new government included Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches, but these were not independent of each other, as the Elected Vice President of ASG automatically became the Chairman of the Student Senate.

A Women’s Student Council emerged at the end of the 1910s, and this body existed for over 60 years in various forms, either as the Women’s Student Government or Associated Women Students. Its end in the early 1970s coincided with the founding of the Women’s Center at UConn, along with the merging of the departments of women’s and men’s affairs.

ASG existed from its creation in 1933 until its dissolution in 1973, which took multiple years to take effect. One of the catalysts for ASG’s demise was its presidential election in 1972, where the student body, fed up with their representatives, elected “Bill X. Carlson” as a write-in option. The catch was that Carlson was a fictitious person. Thus, runner-up Dave Kaplan assumed the presidency but resigned within the year, as calls for a Constitutional Convention strengthened. By the next year, ASG was replaced by the Federation of Students and Service Organizations (FSSO), which had been selected from a list of options proposed by various students. Its structure included an eight-person Central Committee that held absolute jurisdiction, with Primary and Secondary committees under it.

The FSSO lasted a mere seven years, as a new Constitutional Convention was called at the end of the decade, leading to the inception of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). The transition from FSSO to USG was far smoother, as the FSSO was not fully dissolved as ASG was. The convention led to a transition from FSSO to USG that circumvented the total absence of student government that had occurred in the interim between ASG and the FSSO.

USG has continued as the student government of UConn since 1980. Currently it consists of Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches, made up of the Senate, the President and the Advocacy Committees, and the Judiciary respectively.

Researchers interested in UConn’s more than a century of student government will find a plethora of resources on the subject in Archives & Special Collections. From 1944 onward, the Archives has the records kept by the ASG, FSSO, and USG. Student government resources generally include student publications, presidential files, photographic prints, and more. Among some of the Archives’ relevant collections are:

University of Connecticut, Undergraduate Student Government Records. This collection is split into four series: Associated Student Government (ASG) records from 1944-1973, Federation of Students and Service Organizations (FSSO) records from 1973-1981, Undergraduate Student Government (USG) records from 1980-2008, and the records of the Inter-area Residence Council from 1970-1982. While the USG records within the collection end at 2008, the Archives has Minutes and Agendas from 1985 up to the present day. The records include Constitutions, Committee Minutes, reports, Election data, correspondence, speech transcripts, documentation of Constitutional Conventions, and more. The finding aid to the collection can be found at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/721.

University of Connecticut Photograph Collection. This collection includes over 800,000 photographic prints, slides, negatives, and postcards. For content related to Student Government at UConn, look for sections of this collection relating to Student Activities. The finding aid to the collection can be found at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/958.

The Daily Campus and other student publications. Student publications have gone by several titles before its current iteration, including the Storrs Agricultural College Lookout, the Connecticut Agricultural College Lookout, the Connecticut Campus and Lookout, the Connecticut Campus, and the Connecticut Daily Campus. Throughout the years, the paper has reported on the affairs of student government at UConn, dating back to its very first issue in May 1896.

You can find issues of the Daily Campus and its predecessors, from the Storrs and the regional campuses, dating from 1896 to 1990, in the digital repository at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/islandora%3Acampusnewspapers

Articles of particular interest include:

S.A.C. Lookout, December 1, 1898, “Student Government,” which outlines the function and structure of the Students’ Organization, as well as the Students’ Council: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860167952#page/8/mode/2up

Connecticut Campus, April 10, 1934, “Committee Formulates Plans For Election May 1,” Associated Student Government and Women’s Student Government Elections are both referred to: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860217304#page/2/mode/2up

Connecticut Daily Campus, September 14, 1976, “Finch outlines FSSO semester projects, goals,” where FSSO Chairman William Finch explained the objectives of the FSSO at the beginning of the semester: https://collections.ctdigitalarchive.org/islandora/object/20002%3A860294245#page/4/mode/2up

Nutmeg, the student yearbook. Nutmeg originated in 1915 and includes photographs and descriptions of different student governments at UConn through the years. Issues from 1915 to 1999 are available in the digital repository beginning at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A02653871

Of particular interest:

• 1934 Nutmeg’s entry on the reorganization of the Student Senate and the origins of the student government, at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A859955016#page/146/mode/2up . Also in the 1934 Nutmeg is an photograph of the 1933 Women’s Student Government, at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A859955016#page/138/mode/2up

• The 1973 issue has information about the dissolution of the Associated Student Government, at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A859981755#page/174/mode/2up

• 1979 Nutmeg’s entry on the Federation of Students and Service Organizations, featuring a Connecticut Daily Campus article entitled “FSSO committee dumps clubs,” detailing the FSSO’s recall of over $30,000 from student organizations, at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A859981740#page/168/mode/2up

University of Connecticut, President’s Office Records. This collection includes the records of all of UConn’s Presidents, starting with Solomon Mead in 1881 and currently ending with Susan Herbst, whose tenure in office ended in 2019. The collection is updated as records are periodically transferred by the President’s office for permanent retention in the Archives. While this is not a chiefly important source of information on UConn’s student government organizations, small mentions may be found in many of the Presidents’ documents.

This post was written by Sam Zelin, a UConn undergraduate student in the Neag School of Education who is a student assistant in Archives & Special Collections. 

Resources in the Archives about the UConn Marching Band

Music and bands have been a tradition at the University of Connecticut for over a century.  Beginning with small musical organizations and military bands, there were many predecessors to what is now referred to as the UConn Marching Band. The origins of the current organization can be traced back to 1939, the same year that the Connecticut State College in Storrs became the University of Connecticut. In that year Jack Brocjek, at the time an assistant instructor of music at the school, became director of the school’s “College Band” and decided to make his band open to all students, which effectively merged his with the ROTC’s band.

While the creation of the band occurred at the end of the 1930s, the 1950s was really when it gained prestige and an increase in the number of participants.  Professor Allan Gillespie took the reins in 1956, and the band grew immensely during his 25-year tenure. It was under Gillespie’s leadership that the band embarked on three separate tours of Europe in the summers of 1970, 1974, and 1978.

Gillespie’s time as director was followed by the terms of David Maker and Gary Green in the 1980s. Current director David Mills took over in 1989 and led the band in such special performances as President Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration parade, the 2003 opening of the 40,000 seat Rentschler Field in Hartford, and performing for over 100,000 fans at the University of Michigan in 2010.

Researchers interested in the UConn Marching band will find a plethora of information in Archives & Special Collections. In addition to the marching band’s official records, the UConn Archives has student publications, photographic prints, files belonging to past band personnel, administrative documents, and more. Among some of our archives’ relevant collections are:

University of Connecticut Marching Band Records.  This is the most comprehensive of all collections pertaining to the UConn Marching Band. It includes various forms of primary sources from the band, including pamphlets for performances, musical scores, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, photographs, and cassette tapes. The records date back to the early 1960s, corresponding closely with the first few years of Allan Gillespie’s tenure as band director. The finding aid to the collection can be found at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/1020

Maker Collection of the UConn Marching Band. Comprised of arrangements, arranged for the marching band by Dr. David Maker, who worked with the band for many years, dating from 1969 to 1983. The finding aid to the collection can be found at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/512

University of Connecticut Photograph Collection.  The collection holds hundreds of photographs of the UConn Marching Band. The band’s images are filed with the UConn Athletics items and are sometimes merged with the Pep Band’s photos. Another area to find early images of the marching band are those taken by Jerauld Manter, a professor at UConn from 1912 until 1953.  The finding aid to the UConn Photograph Collection photographic prints can be found at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/5. A finding aid to the Manter images is at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/946

Thousands of images from the University of Connecticut Photograph Collection can be found in the UConn Library digital repository, beginning at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3AMSS19880010. Those showing the marching band are available at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/search/marching%20band?type=edismax&cp=20002%3AMSS19880010

University of Connecticut, President’s Office Records [Glenn W. Ferguson].  Glenn Ferguson served as the President of UConn from 1973 to 1978. His records include information about plans for the marching band to travel on tour in Europe. The finding aid to the Ferguson records is at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/606

Daily Campus and other student publications. The origins of a music program at the university occurred concurrently with that of the student newspaper and are a great source to show the formation and evolution of the marching band program. The student newspaper originated with the Lookout in 1896 and transitioned to other titles, including The Connecticut Campus and Connecticut Daily Campus, to The Daily Campus of today. A full run of newspapers up to 1990 available in the UConn Archives can be found in the digital repository beginning at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860408189.

Articles of particular interest include:

Nutmeg, the student yearbook.  The Nutmeg originated in 1915 and includes photographs of the marching bands through the years. You can find issues from 1915 to 1999 in the digital repository beginning at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A02653871

Of particular interest:

This post was written by Sam Zelin, a UConn undergraduate student in the Neag School of Education who is a student assistant in Archives & Special Collections. 


UConn Archives & Special Collections Acquires the Papers of Lottie B. Scott

Lottie Bell Scott

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: archives@uconn.edu

Resources in the Archives on Storrs and Mansfield, Connecticut

As indicated in Wikipedia, Storrs, Connecticut, is a village and  census-designated place in the town of Mansfield, within eastern Tolland County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 15,344 at the  2010 census. It is dominated economically and demographically by the presence of the main campus of the University of Connecticut.

Yes.

But…

From the Pequot and Mohegan people who originally inhabited the region to the legal incorporation of the Town of Mansfield in 1702, the area around the University of Connecticut’s Storrs campus has a long and eventful history.

The Storrs name first became associated with the area in the seventeenth century. In 1663, Samuel Storrs left Nottinghamshire, England, to begin a new life in North America. Landing first in Massachusetts, he moved to what is now Mansfield, Connecticut, in 1698, where he founded a family farm in the area around UConn’s present-day campus.

The more proximate connection between the Storrs family and the University of Connecticut centers on brothers Charles and Augustus Storrs. Descendants of Samuel Storrs, the Storrs brothers were born in the early nineteenth century and raised to work on the family farm just as members of the Storrs family had done for generations. As young men, though, Charles and Augustus left the farm for New York, where both became successful businessmen.

In 1880, the Storrs brothers offered $5,000 and 170 acres of land and some buildings to found an agricultural school in Connecticut. After some investigation, the General Assembly accepted the offer and established the Storrs Agricultural School in 1881. In the following decades, the school continued to grow and change. During the 1930s, the agricultural school completed its transformation into a modern research university and after several name changes became known as the University of Connecticut in 1939. Since then, the University has continued to expand and adapt to the needs and interests of the state, the student population, and the wider landscape of higher education.

But some lineages of the late nineteenth century still remain. For example, the original Storrs post office, run by the Whitney family, still stands near Mirror Lake (though it’s not currently in use). The Storrs Brothers are still around too. Both are buried in the New Storrs Cemetery located along North Eagleville Road.

If you’d like to know more about the history of the Storrs area beyond the confines of the University, one place to look is Archives & Special Collections. Among some of our relevant collections are:

Women’s Club of Storrs Records. The Women’s Club of Storrs was founded in 1903. Originally called the College Club, the purpose of the organization was to promote literary and social culture. Membership consisted of women associated with the University of Connecticut, including some of the university’s female faculty and the wives of male faculty members. In 1917, the club changed its name to the Women’s Club of Storrs and opened membership to any women in the local community interested in joining. The collection comprises the organization’s working papers, including meeting minutes, reports, bulletins, yearbooks, as well as photographs and newspaper clippings concerning the Club’s activities. The yearbook (membership directory) of the organization is restricted for ten years from the date of publication. https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/755

Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station Records. The Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station is one of the first of its kind was established in 1888 with Wesleyan University Professor Wilbur Olin Atwater as its director. The station conducted research and experiments to further agricultural science in Connecticut. The station published its findings in bulletins that were made available to local residents. Field experiments were conducted at Storrs Agricultural School, while laboratory work was performed at Wesleyan. In 1903, Professor Atwater resigned and the station became associated solely with the University of Connecticut. The collection comprises substantial information on the early history of the station, especially correspondence between station staff and local farmers and businesses interested in their findings. https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/40

World Federalist Association, Mansfield (Connecticut) Chapter Records. The World Federalist Movement emerged in the 1930s and 1940s out of concerns about the perceived inadequacies of the League of Nations. Members hoped to create a world government that would abolish war and ensure peace by using international law to manage global problems. The Mansfield Chapter of the World Federalist Association, the oldest continually operating chapter in the United States, was founded in 1948. The collection comprises pamphlets and newsletters from both the national association and the local chapter; material on the arms race, nuclear winter, and other topics; as well as correspondence, membership lists, memos, and statements. The collection also includes the personal files of Lawrence Abbott, who ran the chapter for many years. https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/743

Storrs Congregational Church Records. The Second Ecclesiastical Society, creator of the Storrs Congregational Church, was authorized by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1737. Its parent church was the First Congregational Church of Mansfield Center. The first meeting house was built in 1745-1746 on the site of the current church, the present corner of North Eagleville Road and CT Route 195. Situated adjacent to the campus of the University of Connecticut, the church has served the town and the university jointly since the creation of the Storrs Agricultural School in 1881. The collection comprises administrative records and historical documents of the Storrs (Connecticut) Congregational Church. https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/684

Edwin O. Smith High School Records. In 1955, the Connecticut General Assembly authorized funding for the construction of a junior-senior high school in Mansfield, Connecticut, to be administered by the University of Connecticut. The purpose of the school was to provide secondary education in the Town of Mansfield, as well as to train teachers for schools throughout Connecticut. The school opened in the fall of 1958 as a division of the UConn School of Education. The University named the school after Edwin Oscar Smith, who served as acting-president of UConn in 1908. In 1987, the University formally transferred the property and buildings to the Town of Mansfield. The collection comprises administrative records and correspondence from the early years of the school, as well as blueprints from a building addition to the school in the mid-1960s. https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/361

Storrs Family Photograph Collection. The collections contains photographs of the property of Augustus Storrs in Mansfield, Connecticut, that is now part of the Storrs campus of the University of Connecticut. Monographs associated with the photographs have been separated and catalogued. https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/683

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

Another relevant place for research on the town of Mansfield is the Mansfield Historical Society.

And lastly, let’s not forget that in 2005 Storrs was named by Slate as “America’s Best Place to Avoid Death Due to Natural Disaster.” You can bet the full-time residents of Storrs enjoy that one and throw it out as often as possible.

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 about Labor Strikes in Connecticut

Near the center of the University of Connecticut campus sits Hawley Armory, one of many oblong brick buildings. Built in 1915 and named after Willis Nichols Hawley, a UConn graduate who died of yellow fever in the Spanish-American War, the armory has long served as a site for athletic events, campus gatherings, and military exercises.

Yet as the historian Jeremy Brecher reminds us, sturdy brick-buildings like Hawley Armory once appeared across the United States for another purpose. They were designed to help defend the country, though not from distant enemies but rather disturbances at home.

In the late nineteenth century, working people across the country began to organize and agitate for higher wages, improved working conditions, and a better quality of life. In these efforts, their key weapon was the strike—the mass refusal to work. But capitalists and their political allies had weapons of their own, and they didn’t hesitate to use them.

During the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, for example, when local police refused to break up strikes, governors called in state militias to do it for them. In these grisly skirmishes, armories proved useful to government officials intent on breaking the power of workers. Even though the Great Railroad Strike ended in failure, labor militancy continued in the following decades, and the strike remained an essential tactic for workers.

As a leading industrial state, Connecticut has been home to a fair share of labor unrest, much of it well documented in the business and labor collections held by Archives & Special Collections.

One early example was the 1935 strike of 1,000 workers at the Colt Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company located along the Connecticut River in Hartford. In the middle of the Great Depression, workers routinely used work stoppages and picket lines to improve their working conditions. And the workers at the Colt plant had good reason to strike. As one striking worker, Leo LaForge, later recounted, “There was, in them days, no holidays, no vacation, no sick days, no time and a half.”

The strike was a raucous affair, involving violence and intimidation against workers, as well as an attempted bombing of the plant manager’s home. Students from Yale and Wesleyan University even joined the picket lines. Yet despite new laws protecting collective bargaining, the company refused to negotiate with the workers and the strike was eventually called off after a few weeks.

Workers at the Pratt and Whitney Division of the Niles-Bement-Pond Company had greater success when they went on strike in 1946. Organized by Unity Lodge 251 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, several thousand workers refused to work in an effort to achieve higher wages. They aimed to raise their pay 18 ½ cents an hour, equal to industry-wide rates. The company’s president, Charles W. Deeds, rejected the worker’s demands, citing labor costs and supply shortages left over from World War II.

But the striking workers had the wind at their backs. In the years 1945-1946, the United States saw the largest strike wave in the nation’s history. In 1946 alone, as many as four million workers walked off the job. Despite concerted opposition from management, and tensions with local authorities, thousands of Pratt & Whitney workers led mass pickets at the plant. After twenty-one weeks, the company eventually settled, agreeing to a 12-cent raise.

The years after the Pratt & Whitney strike saw significant improvements in the lives of American workers. Between 1947 and 1973, the working-class standard of living nearly doubled, and much of that growth owed to the strength of organized labor. Yet the heyday of the labor-management accord would not last long. Organized labor’s fortunes began to wane as early as the late 1960s.

In 1967, for example, 100 workers at the Sessions Clock Company in Bristol, Connecticut, voted to go on strike. Through their union, Local 261 of the International Union of Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers, the workers at Sessions, many of them women, sought a 20-cent pay increase. The company response was all too familiar. Picketing workers were beaten at one point during the strike, sending one union organizer, James Ingalls, to the hospital.

After nine weeks, the union accepted a 10-cent pay increase and the workers returned to the factory. Despite the measured success, the writing was on the wall: organized labor was in decline. Only a few years later, the same union representing workers at the Sessions Clock Company was lobbying members of Congress to increase worker protections. Foreign competition combined with laws allowing corporations to easily move production was battering once-thriving union towns. Rather than face strikes, companies closed plants and moved them to areas with low taxes, low wages, and laws that made it difficult to unionize.

Since the 1970s, the declining fortunes of organized labor has been a key feature of American life. But this trend may soon be changing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018 saw more work stoppages than at any time since 1986. Either way, there’s no better time to explore the exciting history of strikes in Connecticut, and no better place to do it than Archives & Special Collections at the University of Connecticut. Among the relevant collections are:

Henry Stieg Collection of the Pratt & Whitney Company The collection comprises materials gathered by Henry R. Stieg, a master gage inspector at the Pratt & Whitney Division of the Niles-Bement-Pond Company from 1940 to 1973 and departmental steward in the Unity Lodge Local 251 of the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers and, after 1948, Unity Lodge, Local 405 of the United Automobile, Aircraft and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, CIO. The materials include publications, newsletters, flyers, and memoranda related to the company and unions, including the 1946 strike. They also contain drawings and machine plans, reports and maps, correspondence, contract proposals, as well as other union-related material, such as work agreements, job evaluations, newspaper clippings, and pamphlets. The finding aid can be found here: https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/679

James A. Ingalls Papers The papers comprise materials generated and gathered by James A. Ingalls when he served as a Field Representative of the International Union of Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers, AFL-CIO. They include contracts, correspondence, legal records, financial records, and newspaper clippings. They also contain notes from when Ingalls represented Connecticut local chapters to negotiate contracts, resolve strikes and lockouts, and develop collective bargaining agreements, pension plans, and compensation and health benefits packages. Included in the papers is material on the 1967 strike at the Sessions Clock Company. The finding aid can be found here: https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/454

Nicholas J. Tomassetti Papers Nicholas J. Tomassetti was a labor organizer associated with the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers Union, as well as a Democratic representative to the Connecticut General Assembly. The papers document Tomassetti’s labor activities and involvement in the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers Union (UE) and include correspondence, reports, administrative and legal records, strike and negotiation materials, directories, minutes, publications, scrapbooks, photographs, and newspaper clippings. The finding aid can be found here: https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/705

Ralph J. Pancallo Papers Ralph Pancallo was a long-standing member of the International Typographical Union (now the Communications Workers of America). Pancallo also served as vice president of the Connecticut State Labor Council, secretary and president of the New Britain Central Labor Council, and as both president and treasurer of the New Britain Typographical Union #679 (now the Connecticut Typographical Union #679). The papers comprise materials collected by Pancallo, including union meeting minutes, financial ledgers, printed materials, correspondence, clippings, convention reports, programs, and films. Other materials include publications from a variety of local typographical unions, as well as the AFL-CIO. The finding aid can be found at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/584

University of Connecticut, Center for Oral History Interviews Collection The collection comprises interview transcripts conducted by the University of Connecticut Center for Oral History, and individuals and programs associated with the Center. The Center began life as the Oral History Project in 1968 and after expanding over the 1970s was made a center by the UConn Board of Trustees in 1981. The collection includes the transcripts of interviews with workers who participated in the 1935 Colt strike, along with other collections focused on labor and industry in Connecticut. The finding aid can be found at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/984 and digitized material can be found here: https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A19840025

We invite you to view these collections in the reading room at Archives & Special Collections. 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 D-Day and the Normandy Invasion

On June 6, 1944, the day now 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 solidarity movement, we invite you to view these collections in the reading room at Archives & Special Collections. 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://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/818

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://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/721

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://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/577

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://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/528

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://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/648

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/islandora%3Acampusnewspapers

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. Issues of Nutmeg from 1915 to 1999 can be found in our digital repository 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. 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://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/543
  • 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://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/276
  • 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://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/847
  • 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://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/830
  • 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://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/1010
  • 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://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/206

We invite you to view these collections in the reading room in Archives & Special Collections 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.

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%3Acheneyworkers
  • 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://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/archival_objects/190789. 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://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/797), the Southern New England Telephone Company Records (https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/207) and the Thermos Company, Taftville Plant, Records (https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/701).
  • 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. The issues we hold of Along the Line can be found in our digital repository at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860565482

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.