Archives Are for Everyone – Join Us! Open House March 28

Students encountering materials from the Alternative Press Collection in the John P. McDonald Reading Room, image by Zoey England.

Come visit – a lot is new!

On Thursday, March 28, 2024, from 3-5 pm, Archives & Special Collections will host an open house to welcome our community into our newly-renovated John P. McDonald Reading Room. More information about how to find us is available on our website

We have recently updated our reading room to enhance patron services, instruction, and exhibition for our unique and diverse collection. This open house will feature curated materials on display and staff archivists to engage with about the work we do.

Learn about the 1974 Black student sit-in

In conjunction, the archives will be opening a new exhibition in the Schimmelpfeng gallery to mark the 50th Anniversary of the 1974 Black student sit-in at Wilbur Cross Library. During the sit-in, 370 students occupied the library at varying times across three days. The sit-in was the culminating event during a semester-long campaign of student organizing to demand representation and resources for students of color at the University of Connecticut. 

Through curated documents this exhibition will feature the perspectives of the student organizers, the Afro-American Cultural Center, the University and its administration to remember this campus-wide call to action which resonates to our present day.  This 50th anniversary is also an opportunity to highlight approaches to student activism and the centrality of the library as an institutional setting both for democracy and also one vulnerable to upholding systems of oppression. 

Talk with an archivist

Have a question about your research interests? Want to learn more about Zine making?  All are welcome to explore the archives and hear from archivists about how we can connect you to your history!

We hope you join us

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. If you have further questions or accommodation requests, we are eager to have you contact us

Introducing Aeon: A New Online Request System for Archives & Special Collections 


We’re excited to announce that a new researcher registration and request system is now available in Archives and Special Collections!  

If you’ve done research in the Archives previously, you’ll be familiar with our online booking form through a platform called Springshare, as well as our separate reproduction request form. We are introducing a new system, Aeon (created and supported by Atlas Systems), which will be taking the place of these online forms, so you’ll be able to do everything research-related through one online platform, including: 

  • Registering as a researcher (a one-time process) 
  • Making appointments 
  • Making requests for materials for both in-person visits and reproductions. 
  • Viewing your request history so you have full citation information for all the materials you’ve consulted 
  • Viewing the status of your reproduction requests and downloading reproductions you’ve requested 

If you are a UConn affiliate (student, staff, or faculty), you’ll be able to use NetID single sign on to create and sign into your Aeon account. If you are a researcher who has created an Aeon account previously at another institution, you won’t need to make a new account, and can use your pre-existing account. All other researchers will create a new account.  

When using the “book an appointment” or “request reproductions” buttons from the Archives and Special Collections homepage, you’ll now be directed to sign into your Aeon account or create a new account if you don’t yet have one. 

ASC staff have prepared a guide for patrons to help you register for and navigate your new Aeon account. For more information or for help setting up your account, please email us at  

Forgotten, Neglected and in Ruins: Abandoned Industrial Spaces in Connecticut

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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 — 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.

Encounters with the Natural World:  Work by Margaret Waring Buck, Katherine Shelley Orr and Jean Day Zallinger  

The artists and scientists presented in this exhibition began observing their natural surroundings at a young age.  One is the daughter of a draftsman, one a trained portrait painter, one a self-described “doodler and daydreamer” who loved the sea.  Either formally or informally, all have used art to communicate through visual representation what they systematically observed.  Each shared their observations in non-fiction books for children in the hope of instilling a strong desire to learn and a curiosity about the world.   

On view are paintings, drawings, sketches and notes answering the question “what do I see around me?”  These artists responded to what the author of The Beginning Naturalist, Gale Lawrence, encouraged her readers to do, “begin to look at what’s around you, ask yourself questions about what you see, and find answers.  Only in this way will you establish a meaningful and lasting relationship with the natural world – of which you, too, are an important part.”    

This exhibition is being shown to complement Raid the Archive: Edwin Way Teale and New Works on view at the William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, from January 17 to March 10, 2023.   

UConn Archives & Special Collections 

Richard H. Schimmelpfeng Gallery 

January 31, 2023 – April 21, 2023 

The Many Faces of Vivien Kellems, 1896 – 1975 

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Archives & Special Collections announces the opening of a new exhibition, “The Many Faces of Vivien Kellems,” featuring the life and achievements of the inventor, activist, businesswoman, political candidate, and philanthropist, Vivien Kellems.  The exhibition marks the completion of a multi-year project to digitize the Kellems Papers; generously funded by Suzy Kellems Dominik over the past several years. 

Vivien Kellems was born 7 June 1896 in Des Moines, Iowa, to David Clinton and Louisa Flint Kellems. Shortly after her birth, her parents, both Christian Ministers, moved their family to the west coast and settled in Eugene, Oregon. The only girl of a family with seven children, Vivien developed a rugged and competitive personality from an early age. Attending the University of Oregon, she made her mark as the only female on the debate team. Vivien Kellems obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1918 and a master’s degree in economics shortly thereafter. After graduation, she moved to New York City pursuing a doctorate from Columbia University and then, nearer the end of her life, University of Edinburgh.  

While she resided in New York, her older brother, Edgar E. Kellems, invented a significant improvement to an existing cable grip, which he patented in the late 1920s. With the patent as a foundation, Ms. Kellems founded Kellems Cable Grips, Inc. in 1927, moving the new company to Stonington, Connecticut. In the early years, the company’s devices were used most notably during the construction of the Chrysler Building, George Washington Bridge, and later played a vital role in production of wire and artillery shell grips used during World War II.  Her thirty-year tenure as president of the Kellems Company brought many challenges, travel, and opportunities for expansion.  For example, during WWII, Kellems’ business interests and travels converged with her personal life—bringing unwanted attention and controversy. Vivien’s connections and subsequent relationship with Count Frederic von Zedlitz, a German national from a prestigious family, was scrutinized by the U.S. Congress because of her “love letters” to a “Nazi agent.” 

In addition to her business interests, Vivien Kellems was actively engaged in various struggles for justice as she fought for women’s equality, equal suffrage along party lines, and tax reform. As a member of the Liberty Belles, Vivien led by example as the group encouraged equality of women in the home, workplace, and society. Running as an independent candidate for U. S. Senate, Ms. Kellems protested strict party line voting that only required a single lever pull rather than voting individually for a preferred candidate. She made several bids for United States Senate, for the Connecticut Governorship in 1954, and, in 1964, led the Barry Goldwater Presidential Campaign in Connecticut. 

Vivien Kellems practiced active civil disobedience to support her positions on state and government practices, particularly those of taxation and party voting. She famously sat in a voting booth for nine hours straight before fainting from exhaustion in her protest of the party lever. With her degree in economics, unfair taxation by the government was a frequent and long fought battle. In 1948, alongside her business partner and brother David Kellems, she protested the “requirement” of withholding taxes from her employees’ checks claiming, “if they wanted me to be their (tax) agent, they’d have to pay me, and I want a badge.” A lengthy court battle ensued, during which it was determined that the Kellems Company would go bankrupt if taxes were not withheld and paid. Admitting defeat on this issue, Kellems turned her focus to the inequality of taxes paid by single individuals compared to married couples.  The income tax law enacted after World War II required unmarried citizens to pay twice the amount of income tax than did those citizens of equal earnings who were married. In protest, from 1965 until her death, Vivien Kellems would send in blank tax forms with her signature. Coming close to victory many times in the United States Supreme Court during the first half of the 1970s, Ms. Kellems’ fight in this case came to naught.  She died before her final appeal was heard in 1975.  On this issue, she traveled the country speaking at numerous events and appearing on television to highlight the cause of the singles income tax.  She amassed a nationwide fanbase who wrote to her extensively in support and admiration for her campaign against unfair taxation. 

Vivien Kellems left a vibrant legacy, documented in an impressive collection of photographs, business records, legal and tax documents, political ephemera, and memorabilia that is available for research and study in the University of Connecticut’s Archives & Special Collections.  Come and explore the story of a trailblazing firebrand who faced great odds but refused to back down. 

The exhibit is scheduled to run through 13 January 2023 and features highlights from Vivien Kellems storied life, focusing on her activist causes, business achievements, and political aspirations.  The installation of exhibit documenting the life of this remarkable woman is also in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the University of Connecticut Women’s Center.  

The Famous Ghost Train of the New York and New England Railroad

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On March 16, 1891, the opulent White Train, a luxury passenger train of the New York and New England Railroad, pulled out of Summer Street station in Boston on its first run, set to arrive in Grand Central Station in New York City in six hours. The Boston Herald reported that people lined the route through the city and suburbs “and gazed with mingled curiosity and delight at its handsome appearance.” 

The train was pure Gilded Age splendor – its parlor cars were fitted with velvet carpets, silk draperies, and white silk curtains. The chairs were upholstered in gold plush; full-length glass mirrors were installed at each end of the cars. The coaches were heated with steam piped directly from the locomotive, an improvement over the fat-bellied stoves used in ordinary coaches. Pintsch gas lights brightly illuminated the coaches, replacing oil burning lights normally in use. 

The dining car’s menu included baked striped bass with Italian sauce, roasted spring lamb, ribs of beef, sauté of chicken with mushrooms, and a wide array of vegetables, salads and desserts, with every fine wine and liquor available. There is no question that this luxury train was meant to serve the exquisite tastes of the robber barons and financial kings of the time. 

The White Train’s name was literal – all of the cars were painted white. On its first run the crew, which included the famous locomotive engineer Gene Potter, wore white coats or overalls, white caps and white gloves. As time passed, when the white cars traveled through the countryside, particularly at dusk or in the evening, observers came to refer to it as an “eerie apparition.” Thus the White Train was soon better known as the Ghost Train. 

In 19th century America, the railroad train held a place of prominence as the fastest mode of transportation. As the century progressed and more railroad lines were formed throughout the country, the railroad companies competed on which could produce the fastest trains. Prior to the 1880s travel between the financial centers of New York City and Boston usually involved steamships along Long Island Sound, connecting with trains in New London, Connecticut, or Fall River, Massachusetts. It wasn’t until 1893, when the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad completed its Shore Line Route, that passengers could ride uninterrupted between the two cities. 

The New York and New England Railroad (NY&NE) was one of several inland routes, running from Boston to the Hudson River. Despite promoting itself as the “Air Line Route,” a reference to a route that cut through Connecticut and central Massachusetts on a diagonal, giving the impression it was faster than the Shore Line routes, it had to contend with the region’s many grades, curves and lightly constructed bridges. That did not deter the NY&NE’s goal of dominating passenger service between New York City and Boston. 

The NY&NE debuted its first high-speed train along the Air Line Route in November 1884.  Named the New England Limited, it was initially successful but by the late 1880s began to lose ridership to the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad’s Shore Line trains, which included the The Gilt Edge and the Shore Line Flyer. 

In an effort to bring back customers to its inland route the NY&NE transitioned the New England Limited into the White Train, which was touted as the height of luxurious travel. The White Train was actually two trains, each leaving New York or Boston at 3 p.m., arriving at the other city at 9 p.m. 

When leaving from Boston the train traveled 86 miles through central Massachusetts into Connecticut, on a right-of-way owned by the NY&NE, with no stops until it arrived in Willimantic, where it changed engines. The train then went on to Middletown and New Haven, completing its journey into Grand Central on right-of-way owned by the NYNH&HRR. 

The NY&NE found the cost of keeping the white cars clean to be exorbitant, and the Ghost Train lasted just four and a half years. Its last run was on October 20, 1895, and was succeeded by the Air Line Limited. That same year the NY&NE was taken over by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. The Air Line Limited ran until 1902, and passenger service ended on the old Air Line route by 1937. 

The Ghost Train lives on in legend as one of the Gilded Age’s most opulent and noteworthy trains. This poem was distributed to its passengers on its first run in 1891, and well describes its impact at the time. 

List, oh list to the railroad bard, Our new “White Train’s” the latest card; List to the poets’ dulcet rhyme, This train is always in on time!

Spread the glad news wide and fast The White Train’s come to Town at last! Such beautiful cars have never been seen, Outshining in splendor the sun’s bright sheen. 

Without a jar, or roll, or antic, Without a stop to Willimantic, The New England’s Limited takes its way, At three o’clock each and every day. 

One half the glories have not been told, Of that wonderful train of white and gold, Which leaves every day for New York at three, Over the scenic NY & NE! 

Special thanks to historian Richard A. Fleischer for his help in clarifying the many confusions involving 19th century New England railroads, editing this writing and providing research and photographic materials. 

Activism at the High School Level

Over the past six months, I have had the privilege of working to digitize the Alternative Press Collection (APC) here at the University of Connecticut Archives and Special Collections. While the APC contains publications created by all kinds of people that discuss all kinds of topics, a large portion of the collection focuses on activist movements during the 1960’s and 1970’s. I began working to digitize files from the APC after I graduated from UConn and have thus looked at a lot of different materials dealing with many different forms of activism. 

When studying the history of activism in the United States, a lot of sources will focus on the groups and movements that were either created by or largely consisted of young adults, particularly those in college. This is hardly surprising, given that college communities are most often structured in a way that encourages students to spend substantial amounts of time together and discuss current events, which often leads to like-minded individuals coming together over specific topics. College students also have easier access to resources such as printing which makes spreading awareness easier than it otherwise would be. When all these things are put together, they create a recipe for large activist groups that can leave behind tangible evidence of their activities and their beliefs. 

One branch of activism that is less frequently discussed, however, is high school activism. This is, again, not unexpected. High school students have access to fewer resources than their college-level counterparts and are often subject to more restrictions around where and when they’re able to assemble. But teenagers across the country have always been a part of activist movements. Within the Alternative Press Collection here at the UConn Archives and Special Collections, there are several different publications created by High School activists who had hoped to give students access to points of view other than what they might get from their parents and teachers, and to spread awareness of movements and events that they might not otherwise hear about.  

The different publications come from across the country and cover topics ranging from nationwide movements all the way down to local issues, from an investigation into the legal rights of American high school students to a discussion about an income tax versus a sales tax in Windsor, Connecticut. Some of these publications also claim that the administration at their schools have explicitly forbidden them from writing and publishing these articles, yet they have decided to do so anyway, despite the possible consequences. In an issue of ‘The Brick; A Really Heavy Paper,’ for example, an anonymous contributor describes the pushback this publication received from school boards and administrators in various schools in Nassau County, New York. 

“In one school, (we cannot mention its name in print) the Brick has been forced underground. Having been refused permission by the principal and distribution off campus is impossible we must do it in school. Our aim is to reach the students and we will do whatever is necessary to achieve this.”  

Publications like The Brick serve as important reminders that activism has no age limit. To see more examples of High School activist publications, follow this link to the Alternative Press Collection High School Publications folder.

Finding Primary Sources Online

With so many primary sources available online researchers don’t necessarily have to travel to an archives to find what they need. Academic and cultural heritage institutions have spent the last many years scanning large swaths of their collections and making them available in digital repositories, or have highlighted their collections in online exhibitions. Given the vast amount of primary sources held in the institutions’ physical spaces the resources that are available online are often just a drop in the bucket, but for many researchers the materials now available online have been as helpful as if they had made the trek to the research institution.

These databases are some of the best we know to provide primary sources to any researcher:

How to find archival materials in the UConn Archives:

The UConn Library digital repository holds holds scanned items from the archives. Note that while there are over 1,000,000 scanned items from the UConn Archives this represents only a small percentage of our overall collections:

Information about all of our collections, some of which may be digitized but most of which are not in the digital repository: 

The UConn Library’s catalog, which provides information about published sources in the UConn collection but also leads to primary sources, at

If you’re not finding what you’re looking for from the UConn Archives please contact us directly, at, to discuss your research with our staff.

How to find sources in other archives in Connecticut:

The Connecticut Digital Archive has digital collections from dozens of cultural heritage institutions in the state (including the UConn Library), at

Connecticut Archives Online is a searchable database of the finding aids to collections in the state, at, at, provides stories on Connecticut topics, often illustrated with archival sources.

Connecticut History Illustrated

Connecticut State Library Digital Collections

Yale digital collections, and

How to find finding aids and research guides, with information about collections in the United States:

ArchiveGrid, which provides access to over 5 million finding aids of collections across the United States and internationally,

Online Archive of California

How to find archival collections at archives in the United States:

The Digital Public Library of America provides access to digital collection across the United States, It also provides themed primary source sets and online exhibits at and If there is any one source to go to for comprehensive information about digital collections this is it!

National Archives catalog, their resources for students and teachers,, and their online research tools:

Smithsonian Institution, at

The Library of Congress digital collections, at and their digital newspapers, at

Digital Commonwealth, which provides access to digital collections in Massachusetts,

Calispere, of the University of California system,

New York Public Library

New-York Historical Society,

Avalon provides access to documents in law, history and diplomacy from ancient times to the present

The UConn Library has a guide to eResources available primary to members of the UConn community,

Published historical resources, which can often be used as primary sources:

HathiTrust— — provides access to millions of historical books and journals online

Google books,

Research guides to help you get the most from primary sources:

Primary and Secondary Sources Overview,

What is a Primary Source?,

Latin American & Caribbean Studies Guide – Primary Sources,

Library Reflections: Cameran Kershner ’22

This reflection was written by Cameran Kershner ’22, who joined the UConn Library as a student employee in the Collections Strategy department and as an intern in Archives & Special Collections. Cameran will pursue graduate work in library and information science at the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s School of Information Sciences this fall.

In pursuance of my future career goals, this year I decided to seek out work experience in UConn’s very own Homer Babbidge Library as well as an internship in the Archives & Special Collections. At Homer Babbidge, I was hired as a collections assistant where most of my work was done with the Hathi Trust. The primary goal of the partnership was to take physical copies of books that we have here in the library and compare them page by page to the matching online scans in the Hathi Trust database. While it might seem like tedious work, the point of this job being done is to assure researchers and students that they are able to have the best quality materials available to them. As for my internship, I spent months pulling materials stored in our Archives to compile a research guide filled with sources about the Civil Rights Movement and the student activism surrounding this issue.  

Both experiences have familiarized me with the inner workings of library and archive systems such as how to read the categorization classifications for pulling materials and how to conduct thorough research. Since I primarily did most of my work individually, I have also learned how to manage myself as well as grow confident in my ability to problem solve. One of the most important skills I believe I learned was how to communicate effectively. In my internship I was constantly scheduling meetings to track my progress and reaching out to other professionals to ask for research suggestions. This taught me just how integral communication is to run a library efficiently. 

My interest in Library Sciences came about accidentally, as I was just doing a bit of research into the qualifications needed for law librarianship. Once I began to read into what it consisted of and just how many avenues could be opened to me by pursuing this degree, I grew quite passionate about it. The specific area that I hope to focus on is academic and public librarianship, as I feel strongly about working with people as much as possible. I think this is what I like best about both of my experiences – the ability it has to help people. I was able to provide scholars and students alike with the means to learn all while making it easier for them to do so. Knowledge is power, and the knowledge gained from accessing these resources could lead to new research discoveries and breakthroughs that help us understand the world around us better. 

What makes the world of library sciences so special to me is that no matter what profession you choose within its sphere, you are giving people access to unlimited information. We can use the materials the archives and libraries provide us to learn about the past, supply context to the present, and change the future.  

Resources for the Study of Student-Led Civil Rights Activism, 1960s-1970s

A project created by Cameran Kershner, UConn English Department Writing Internship, Spring 2022

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As the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum in the early fifties, a massive response followed in the form of black activist groups emerging across the country. There are famous faces that appear in history books such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, who have contributed enormously to the fight for equal rights. However, a large percentage of those who participated are the students who led protests on campuses across the country, carrying on the fight against systems of oppression in their own communities in order to create opportunities for equal representation, education, employment opportunities, and a fair future for all.

In an overview of what these sources have in common, each shows the intersectionality that’s present between the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and the working-class struggle – showing how Black Americans were disproportionately affected by issues of racism, classism, and economic and academic disparities. They also show how students and the younger generations as a whole were becoming aware of these issues and how this inequality was playing out on their own campuses, and how they leveraged the privilege they had to advocate for a fair and equitable learning environment for students and faculty of color.

Here at UConn’s Archives & Special Collections, there are numerous resources that can help provide insight into the actions of both large and small organizations and what they have done for their communities. These sources are located in the Alternative Press Collection, home to many resources that document revolutionary and justice movements throughout time. What makes this collection special is that most of the materials were collected contemporaneously, or at the moment. Flyers that were pulled off of telephone poles or picked up at protest meetings, underground publications spread through word of mouth, and newspapers hot off the presses into students’ hands and held as a symbol of rebellion within UConn’s archives. If this unique look at the Civil Rights Activism interests you, below are a few sources that might help answer some of your questions:

General Resources of Civil Rights Activism: The Civil Rights Movement was a struggle for social justice that took place mainly during the 1950s and 1960s for Black Americans to gain equal rights under the law in the United States. To help battle racist injustice, organizations began to form across the country in order to make changes that benefit their communities. In an effort to provide context for the larger issues affecting African Americans during this time, UConn has many resources available that dive deeper into these larger organizations and their work to fight against oppression.

  • Black Panther Party: A newspaper published by the Black Panther Party that explains their ideas and values. It addresses the ten main points of the Black Panther Party, which include items like freedom, employment, housing, education, and police brutality. It also lists the six points of attention which are ways to avoid being brutalized by the police and how to perform within the Party while preserving their values. This resource can be found here: APC File, Black Panther Party, Black Panther Party
  • The Panthers: Communist Guerrillas in The Streets: A pamphlet promoted by the Black Panthers that lists all the officers within the Black Panther Party by name and position. It includes the Minister of Defense, Chairman, Minister of Information, Chief of Staff, and Minister of Culture. Each member included has a bio that explains what their position does to help further the message of the Panther Party. This resource can be found here: APC File, Black Panther Party, The Panthers: Communist Guerrillas in The Streets
  • Civil Rights Journal: United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice. A collection of newsletters from the 1990s penned by Benjamin F. Chavis, most significantly recognized as an assistant to Dr. Martin Luther King and the President of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. The newsletters document cases of civil unrest all around the country and are a call to action for the black community to join the fight for advancement in fair institutions. Some of the specific issues addressed in these letters include the Rodney King case, the downtick in employment opportunities for minorities, attacks against Asian-Americans in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and the increase in violence against African American men. This resource can be found here: APC File, Civil Rights Journal, Civil Rights Journal: United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice

Student-Led Organizations: Racial injustice was an issue that was not localized to any one area, it spread across the country and was prominent in working, social, and academic circles creating tension between American citizens. Many people were outraged by these blatant acts of discrimination and felt compelled to do something about it, leading to protests in workplaces and schools. College students especially began to lead the way in bringing these issues to light, following the path of the famous activists before them to erect change on their campuses. UConn ASC has managed to gather sources that highlight the formation of campus activist groups, as well as the development of the network that made nationwide protests possible.

Students For A Democratic Society

  • Indict The US Government For Genocide: A pamphlet published by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) claims that Nixon’s policies on education and unemployment are overtly racist and blame the African American community instead of the institutions in place. The authors break down the different foundations Nixon has put in place, namely the policies that urge the separation of white and black working classes in order to avoid their merging and increased the fight against classicist oppression. Other issues addressed include the distortion of black crime in the media, the below-average living conditions in black communities, racist academic publications, and police brutality. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #1, Indict The US Government For Genocide, 3rd Edition
  • SDS National Constitution: Leaflet that explains the creation of the Students for a Democratic Society and the values they hope to uphold. The publication goes on to include the eleven articles that make up the organization’s constitution, guidelines that explain the conditions of membership, university chapters, chain of command, and elected official positions. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, SDS National Constitution
  • Resolutions Passed at the SDS Convention: The June 1969 issue of the Students For a Democratic Society’s (SDS) newsletter, New Left Notes. While the publication addresses many issues, there are many sections that address black issues and liberation exclusively. The first section entitled The Movement Must Serve the People – The Schools Can’t points out how education systems are hesitant towards the black liberation movement, reacting to the teach-ins happening across the country negatively. The second section, Divide With Racism addresses how the government has created a narrative that frames black workers in a negative light to keep the working class racially divided. The third section, Smash Racism is a call for action to students across the country. It urges white students to advocate for their fellow oppressed peers and gives them tactics to help aid the fight. The fourth section, Less Talk, More Action goes into an in-depth reflection on how schools foster racist environments through classicist ideals. They target the working class by using their taxes to pay for University functions, they allow racist academic ideologies to be circulated around campus and have racist employment practices. The authors ask white students to protest these issues in order to help their fellow students. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Resolutions Passed at the SDS Convention
  • SDS: Two GIs in the Struggle: An interview between a student reported and two Vietnam vets named, David Kline and Guy Smith. Both G.I.s are of different races, which has influenced their experiences while in Vietnam. Kline and Smith explain how racism was apparent within the companies, but the severity of the situation they found themselves in, formed a string of trust that exceeded prejudice. In terms of student activism, both G.I.s see it as a performative act. The students are coming from a place of privilege, as many soldiers didn’t get the chance to go to college themselves. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, SDS: Two GIs in the Struggle
  • Indict the Government for Racist Acts, Genocide: An issue of the SDS penned newspaper New Left Notes specifically focusing on the Miami Democratic Convention. While the whole newspaper does not center on Civil Rights matters, there are a few sections worth noting that address certain racist institutions perpetrated by the government. The authors call for the indictment of the American government for their acts of police brutality against black liberators. They suggest prison time for those who kill protesters and medical researchers who experiment on black men and women. They back up their claims of these crimes through the evidence of public administration programs such as welfare, medical insurance, school systems, and housing. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Indict the Government for Racist Acts, Genocide
  • SDS Sends Racists Packing: A list of all the racist faculty members and scholars at universities across America and what the SDS has done for each situation to stop their spread of false information. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, SDS Sends Racists Packing
  • SDS Anti-Racist Teach-Ins: A pamphlet published November 5, 1973, by the Boston SDS that explains the rise in racist ideology and research from Professors, and how it relates to oppressing the working class and keeping them from joining forces. They provide examples of University students and faculty rising up against this by protesting, publishing exposes, petitions, banning certain literature, and holding teach-ins. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, SDS Anti-Racist Teach-Ins
  • Stop Government Racism: An SDS newspaper clipping from 1973 that speaks about American involvement in the Vietnam War. The fighting across the ocean has led to wage cuts and forced labor plans in the United States. The students and Universities fighting these issues are being urged to silence themselves from speaking out. The authors go as far as to compare the current situation in America as a police state or Nazi Germany. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Stop Government Racism
  • Open Admissions: A proposal to the SDS Convention: A proposal brought to the SDS Convention in 1978 that asks for the stop of the exclusion of people of color in Universities. The adherence to this proposal will help fight racism and classism as well as allow activist groups to work together, all while bridging the gap between the white and black working classes. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Open Admissions: A proposal to the SDS Convention
  • Fight Racism!: A pamphlet that chronicles the SDS members’ experience fighting racism. The first article talks about how schools like Harvard, San Francisco State, and Colombia all held protests in an attempt to bridge the gap between the white and black working classes that the wage gap had caused. The second article focuses on the SDS at Berkley and how they are drawing attention to the racist administration and faculty who have pushed racist academic materials in the curriculum. The third article critiques San Francisco State’s methods of protesting in order to determine what works and what fails during the protesting process. The final article touched on the protests going on at Yale against the administration in order to protect the workers employed on campus. The school had been engaged in racist hiring and firing practices, singling out black women, Latinx, and other non-white staff,  as well as paying low wages. The students emphasized the importance of standing in solidarity with the on-campus workers. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Fight Racism!

Nationwide Student Effort Against Racism

  • Demonstration Inauguration Day Flyer: An informational flyer from Berkeley students in 1970 that protests the Vietnam War as it inhibits people of all ethnicities from fighting oppression in America. The handout also includes different workshops that address the issues of racism in the war, racism against farmworkers, and why students should be protesting the war altogether. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #1, Demonstration Inauguration Day
  • Born To Be Unemployed: A Critique of Richard Herrnstein’s “I.Q.”: A newsletter that was written by the University Action Group (UAG)  in a critique of Harvard psychologist Richard Herrnstein’s paper entitled “I.Q.” The article claims that victims of unemployment, low wages, and racism have no one to blame but themselves for their oppressed conditions. The paper also includes that African Americans have lower I.Q.s than other races. This was met with outrage as Harvard students and the UAG claimed this ideology is harmful and blatant racism, and even ask the University to consider Herrnstein’s termination. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #1, Born To Be Unemployed
  • “I.Q.”: In order to provide context for the critique of the article, researchers may want to read the original piece written by Richard Herrnstein. This specific copy of the article included footnotes at the bottom of each page disproving the scientific evidence provided by Herrnstein in his claims that the black working class is oppressing themselves due to having a lesser intelligence. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, I.Q.
  • Vietnam: A Racist War!: An informational flyer explaining why the Vietnam War is rooted in racism as the G.I.’s are taught to view Vietnamese as sub-human. It then approaches the subject of racism on the homefront and how white protesters have done nothing to stand in solidarity with the black protesters who suffer through police brutality when advocating for the same cause.  This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Vietnam: A Racist War!
  • Fight Unemployment!: A demonstration flyer that talks about how the war has led to high unemployment rates and the government’s reframing of the issues to poise the black working class as insubordinate. The flyer urges both the white and black working classes to join together to fight the issues and lists the time and place of a demonstration that protests said issue. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Fight Unemployment!
  • The Winning Way – Build The Worker-Student Alliance: A pamphlet that explains the fight between workers and employers due to wage cuts, long hours, and subpar working conditions. It advertises a protest to help bring awareness to these issues on March 20th (year unknown). The organizers also offer advisement for those who cannot protest by suggesting they help support the protesters by handing out flyers, bringing them food, and gathering money for the cause. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, The Winning Way
  • Fight Racist Unemployment; the U.S. Out of Southeast Asia: Another flyer advertising the March 20th protest, this one being held in Massachusetts. Explain Nixon’s policies causing a rise in joblessness (welfare and compensation not paying enough), which in turn affects people of color the most as they are the first to face the effects. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Fight Racist Unemployment 
  • A Day Against Racism: A list of speakers for an organized event in 1973 at Boston University that includes different workshops to address racism in public institutions. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, A Day Against Racism

University of Connecticut’s Activism: This collection offers insight into the University of Connecticut’s own participation in the anti-racist and anti-war movements happening at the time. Much of the fight was performed by the UConn chapter of the Students For a Democratic Society, a group that was responsible for a myriad of protests and concessions carried out by the University. The administration also actively worked hard to make the campus accommodating for all students with strict no-tolerance policies against discrimination. What we see with most of these sources is a form of continuous dialogue between students and faculty.

Student Organizations and Activism

  • The University of Connecticut: A Critical Approach: This is a teach-in program held at UCONN in 1966, that discussed the relationship between students, faculty, and administrators. It was meant to highlight the importance of the University’s contribution to the larger society. This resource can be found: APC File, Student Movements, and Demonstrations — Connecticut. University. [1965-1966], The University of Connecticut: A Critical Approach
  • Information Sheet and Issues: In the Professor Krimerman-McCarthy Case: This resource informs readers about the student and faculty protest in Wilbur Cross Library in an attempt to reunify the Anthropology Department after a huge rift caused by differing opinions on academic racism. The demonstration was met with resistance from President Ferguson, who called in the state police and held an open trial in an attempt to dismiss the protesters from their positions in the school. This exhibited the administration’s active attempts at silencing those who spoke out against racist school policies. This resource can be found: APC File, Student Movements, and Demonstrations — Connecticut. University. [1973-1976], Information Sheet and Issues: In the Professor Krimerman-McCarthy Case
  • Racism, Busing, and the Boston Schools: The notes and recorded information from a meeting held in UCONN’s Student Union on October 9, 1975, by the Committee Against Racism (CAR). The contents of the gathering included the racist attacks against young students in Boston carried out by the group called Restore Our Alienated Rights (ROAR). In 1974, they harassed a school bus full of young black students and campaigned against the segregation of schools. In response to these racist actions, CAR organized anti-racist parent-teacher associations, church groups, community groups, and its own members to oppose racist groups attacking children by 1975. The group also petitioned for more integrated schools, hiring of minority teachers, more bilingual education programs, and the impeachment of Lousie Hicks which gained over 35,000 signatures. This resource can be found: APC File, Student Movements, and Demonstrations — Connecticut. University. [1973-1976], Racism, Busing, and the Boston Schools
  • Connecticut Daily Campus: An excerpt from the May 9th, 1970 issue of the Connecticut Daily Campus that includes President Babbidge’s statement on minority groups at UCONN. The President makes it clear that improving the educational quality for minority students is at the top of his list, especially increasing the quality of financial aid and employment opportunities. Through the support of the University’s black community groups, implementation of supportive programs and extra funding, as well as the employment of more diverse faculty, it was reported that the admissions of minority students doubled. President Babbidge ended the statement by declaring this a national issue affecting academic institutions across the country and not just in the vacuum of Connecticut universities. This resource can be found: APC File, Student Movements, and Demonstrations. Connecticut. University. [1969 – 1970] #2, Text on President’s Statement – On Minority Groups
  • The Black United Front Newsletter: The first issue of a series of newsletters published by the Black United Front (BUF), a student-led organization at Michigan State University (MSU). A few issues touched upon in this newsletter are the newly elected officers within the club, the Jackson State murders that occurred in May 1970, and the implementation of a summer job program for black students at MSU. There is also an opinion piece penned by Barney Young, a state news reporter, who was critical of how the school’s administration handled the meeting of deciding the appointed officers within the BUF. Lastly, there are the results of a survey taken by black freshman and sophomore students in which they give their opinions about what the school can do to better support African American students. Where this resource can be found: APC, The Black United Front, The Black United Front Newsletter
  • UCONN Committee to Free Angela Davis: A flier created by a UConn committee hoping to free activist Angela Davis from imprisonment. It includes a statement by Davis talking about how the media is painting her to be a criminal and that she is being treated as an example to other revolutionaries. The flyer then explains that she is being charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping, due to her association with Jonathan Jackson, a man who disrupted a trial in California at gunpoint in order to free three black men. Where this resource can be found: APC File, UCONN Committee to Free Angela Davis, UCONN Committee to Free Angela Davis

Administrative Responses:

  • University of Connecticut Board of Trustees Minutes: A good source to gain perspective on the administration’s handling of the multiple protests throughout UCONN’s history, is the Board of Trustees Meetings. Every assembly held has exact conversations recorded, allowing readers to follow the Board member’s decision-making processes. A few topics discussed during these meetings were the expansion of financial aid for non-white students, the establishment of the African American Cultural Center, the allocations of funds to African-American clubs and organizations, and the proceedings that dealt with acts of racism on campus. Where this resource can be found:  
  • The President’s Newsletter: An official statement given out by President Babbidge on October 13, 1969, addressing an incident that had occurred the night before. There was damage to property carried out by racist motivations, as indicated by the racial slurs accompanying the violence. The President made it known that racial attacks were not going to be tolerated in any capacity, going as far as to threaten police presence on campus if it no longer felt safe for non-white students. Also included is the appointment of  Dr. Frederick G. Adams as Ombudsman of the Committee for Racial Respect. In which he will receive complaints focused around racial matters and either hand out appropriate punishments himself or pass them up the chain of command. You can read more about the process of coming to this decision in the Board of Trustees Minutes linked above. Where this resource can be found: APC File, Student Movements, and Demonstrations. Connecticut. University. [1969 – 1970] #2, The President’s Newsletter (October 13, 1969)

Files Highlighted: If these selected materials have piqued any interest, and you would like to further research similar content, here are some folder highlights in the Alternative Press Collection so that you may find what you are looking for:

  • Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #1 and #2
    • If your research is focused specifically on the student aspect of protesting, these files are where I suggest you look. The Students for a Democratic Society or the SDS spent much of their time advocating for the rights of on-campus workers as well as the removal of recruitment officers from the university environment. While this guide was created around their work in the fight for racial equality, there are many materials within these folders that discuss protests for other issues as well. 
  • Student Movements, and Demonstrations. Connecticut. University. [1969 – 1970]
    • If it is specific issues that have happened at the University of Connecticut you are interested in, this file is where you’ll find the information about it. Most notably, the folder chronicles an incident on the university campus that involved racist language and damage to property. Included are meeting notes from the Board of Trustees that not only address the incident, but also the creation of the solutions that followed. There are also correspondences between the President and the students to keep them informed of his thoughts and what he had planned to do about the issues of racism on campus.
  • Student Movements, and Demonstrations — Connecticut. University. [1973-1976]
    • The premise of this folder is in direct succession to the 1969-1970 folder. It is filled with materials that notify students about the growing organizations to fight against racial inequality while simultaneously allowing inclusion for black students. A specific collection item that might grab your attention is a flier highlighting the establishment of the Black Women’s Collective. This was a club that allowed female black students a place to make friends and feel safe on campus.

Now Available – James Marshall recordings

K-Fai Steele, 2019 James Marshall Fellow, holding a cassette recording from the Francelia Butler papers.

Now available in the CTDA – a series of audio recordings of lectures delivered by author and illustrator James Marshall to Francelia Butler’s Children’s Literature course from 1976-1990. Marshall is best known for the George and Martha series of picture books. The recordings span 16 visits Marshall made to Dr. Butler’s class, and demonstrate with wit and humor Marshall’s thoughts on writing, illustration, the publishing industry, and creativity. Butler’s course became one of the largest and most popular courses at the University of Connecticut, in part because of the opportunity it offered students to learn from guest lecturers that included Madeleine L’Engle, Maurice Sendak, and Isaac Bashevis Singer, among others. 

In Butler’s obituary, the New York Times described her course as “a platform for reform.” Butler lifted the academic standing of the study of children’s literature, establishing the journal Children’s Literature and the Children’s Literature Association in 1972 and helping to create the children’s literature division of the Modern Language Association.  

Listen to the recordings and learn more at

Resources in the Archives about the UConn Marching Band

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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

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

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 A finding aid to the Manter images is at

Thousands of images from the University of Connecticut Photograph Collection can be found in the UConn Library digital repository, beginning at Using the search term “marching band” will bring up the images.

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

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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 available in the UConn Archives can be found in the digital repository beginning at

Articles of particular interest include:

  • Connecticut Campus, October 17, 1939, “Broucek Leads New Band Of 53 Pieces” which chronicles the joining of UConn’s football and R.O.T.C. bands
  • Connecticut Daily Campus, September 17, 1956, “Husky Marching Band Prepares for Successful Fall Season on the Field,” includes a call for new students to join the marching band. The article includes a portrait of Allan Gillespie in his first year as director.
  • Connecticut Daily Campus, April 6, 1977 with a biography of Allan Gillespie, who ran the marching band for decades.
  • Daily Campus, September 20, 1990, “UConn’s marching band cheer on the team,” makes mention of Gary Green, director of bands, and refers to the recent hiring of David Mills as an assistant.  Mills took over the job of director later that year and has been in the position ever since.

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

Of particular interest:

  • 1940 Nutmeg’s entry on the newly formed university band
  • 1958 issue, which includes photos of Director Allan Gillespie and a formation that the band did that year
  • 1971 issue that mentions the first overseas trip to Europe

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