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West Cornwall Covered Bridge

CHPC documentation study done in 2002 of the West Cornwall Covered bridge over the Housatonic River


Have you ever been curious about the architectural and archaeological history of properties in Connecticut? Did you know that the Dodd Research Center is a virtual one-stop-shopping destination for information about thousands of historical properties and of hundreds of archaeological digs in the 169 towns in the state? It’s true! The Connecticut Historic Preservation Collection, a listing of which can be found at, has information about architectural and archaeological studies done by professional archaeologists and historians, located at the Dodd Research Center. We receive them from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism’s Historic Preservation & Museum Division. The studies date back to the 1970s and are current up to the present. Unfortunately, none of the surveys are available online so you’ll have to come visit us at the Dodd Research Center to take a look at them. We look forward to helping you find the properties you’re searching for!

CHPC documentation study done in 1985 of the Israel Putnam School in Putnam, Connecticut

CHPC documentation study done in 1985 of the Israel Putnam School in Putnam, Connecticut


As the first Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection, Attilio Frassinelli would have had many stories to tell. In this case, it would be about a housewife from Connecticut who saw an ad to buy a car for 1,395 bananas and decided to bring the bananas to the dealership. When they didn’t honor the ad, she went to Commissioner Frassinelli for help.
Banana Trade Ripens

In a dedication cermony this past Sunday, the Frassinelli family donated the papers of the late Attilio “Pop” Frassinelli to the Dodd Research Center. Frassinelli’s biography is full of wonderful and interesting surprises.

Atillio "Pop" Frassinelli
A life-long resident of Stafford Spring, he was a mill worker, business owner, President of the Rotary Club, Justice of the Peace, insurance agent, the Connecticut Boxing Guild’s “Boxing Man of the Year”, dancer and First Selectman to name a few. In 1955 he was appointed as the first Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection and later, in 1966, elected Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut.

In the words of his granddaughter Dianne Bilyak, family and friends gathered in the Dodd Center “not just to honor, remember, and celebrate Pop, but also to gather as a family and be reminded of our collective history.” We are pleased that the family has chosen the Dodd Research Center to care for and house this important collection to the history of Connecticut.

Summer Session Picnic, 1942

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, Oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

Although recorded 37 years after the release of Kodachrome 35mm silde film, the song “Kodachrome,” written by Paul Simon captures the feeling many people have about the remarkably stable film stock. “Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day….” Kodachrome slides from the late 30s, 40s and 50s have retained their ture color with no fading or color shifting. If you want to see what University life really looked like in that period, make sure you visit the exhibition The University of Connecticut in Kodachrome, 1939-1959 scheduled to open May 26, 2009 in the HBL Gallery on the Plaza. These photographs make those decades seem like yesterday. It’s cliche to say history will come alive, but it will.

The Dodd Research Center received the “Outstanding Ally Office/Department Award” by the University of Connecticut’s Rainbow Center last night at the Lavendar Graduation Ceremony.  The award recognized our public outreach efforts to educate the community on LGBTQ issues.  One of those recent efforts noted included the exhibit “From the Margins to the Mainstream:  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer History, 1968-2008,” a historical and contemporary look at materials published by the LGBTQ community.  Included in the program was a screening of the film “After Stonewall”.  The award also recognized the continued effort by the curators to actively collect documents of value to the research of LGBTQ issues.  

For more information on the materials in our collection, here is a quick link to the Alternative Press Collections main page

Popcorn puzzle

What does a round puzzle of a bowl of popcorn have to do with Herman Wolf?   What about an assortment of brightly colored shapes?

Abstract puzzle

We’re not sure.  Herman Wolf’s earlier years were filled with membership in the Socialist Party and government employment.  During the second World War, Wolf’s governmental employment was extensive.   He directed labor-public relations for the British Mangement-Labor Commission, wrote a war handbook entitled Labor Defends America, and directed a staff for the War Production Board, which supplied  war plant Labor-Management Production Committees with ideas and materials for impoving efficiency.    After the war, Wolf spent two years as Director of the Fuller House, Inc. of Wichita, Kansas, a corporation created to promote the building of R. Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Dwelling Machine (the Fuller House). In 1946, he moved to Connecticut and began Herman Wolf Associates, a public relations firm.  He was involved in politics, serving as chief campaign aide in the successful campaigns of Abe Ribicoff, John Dempsy and Ella Grasso. 

In 1972, Wolf closed down his public relations firm for a brief time to become Executive Vice President of the Design Science Institute of Washington D.C., a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the philosophy and works of R. Buckminster Fuller.   

These puzzles are a part of his collection, and could be public relations pieces, architectural designs, or maybe just a hobby.  I think they are examples used for the war plant committees of how a staff spending time doing puzzles can be inefficient (thanks Megan and Dan!)  For more information on Herman Wolf, please see his online finding aid.

Join archivists from the Dodd Research Center as they give advice on what you can do to preserve your memories at home.  So bring your treasures and we’ll see you there!!

Thursday, April 16

Second Congregational Church
Route 44
Coventry, CT

Suggested donation of $5 to help repair the roof of the Strong Porter Barn in Coventry.

Sponsored by the Dodd Research Center, Coventry Historical Society and the New England Archivists.


To celebrate National Poetry Month, a new exhibit showcasing works of Beat writers in various media from 1957 to 1966 opens April 6, 2009 at the Dodd Research Center.  The exhibit features letters, manuscripts, little magazines, photographs and audio recordings from the extensive literary collections held by the Center’s Archives and Special Collections.


Post-war America of the 1950s witnessed a blending of cultural influences and the emergence of new forms of performance, music, and visual arts.  Recent scholarship on writers and writings during this period emphasizes the role that art, media and popular culture had on the American literary imagination and on expressions of the individual in society.


Beat writers including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and William S. Burroughs experimented with literary narrative, forms and mediums whether in reaction to or as a result of social and cultural influences of their time.  This exhibit highlights the works and collaborations of Beat writers from the 1950s and invites viewers to explore further questions.  What role did form and media play in making the work of the Beats known, available and accessible to readers?  How or did the threat of media censorship impact expression?  Did Beat writers help to usher in a new print culture or, rather, did they aim to dismantle it?  How or can literature shape a movement?


View “Words ‘Alive Like Animals’: An Exhibit of Beat Writers” at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, McDonald Reading Room Gallery, April 6 to May 2, 2009.  Gallery hours: 12:00 to 4:00, Monday through Friday.


Exhibit curated by Benjamin Miller, B. A. candidate in English, University of Connecticut.

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