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Anza-Borrego Desert by Edwin Way Teale from his 1965 book "Wandering Through Winter".

Anza-Borrego Desert by Edwin Way Teale from his 1965 book Wandering Through Winter.

“The dirt road we followed led us through a region of arroyos, desert washes and tilted plains scarred by runoff.  Clouds of fine dust trailed behind and billowed around us when we stopped.  And we stopped often.  Here we examined the purple-red of the Mexican rose prickly pear cactus, there the trails of wild burros crossing the road on their way to the water.  … We paused to watch red-tailed hawks hunting among the yuccas,” wrote Edwin Way Teale in Wandering Through Winter, his Pulitzer Prize-winning book from 1965 documenting a  20,000 mile journey from Silver Strand, California to Caribou, Maine.  Teale, a writer, naturalist and enthusiastic photographer, thrilled his readers with his discoveries and depictions of places and people he encountered along the way.  Many photographs from his travels have never been published.  Browse nearly 100 of Teale’s pictures now available in the Dodd Research Center’s digital collections.

We were honored to have Senator Ted Kennedy join us for the first Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice & Human Rights in 2003. As the nation comes together to mourn the passing of Senator Kennedy through the sharing of our collective experiences, we would like to share ours with you.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Timothy Hanan, Senator Ted Kennedy

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Timothy Hanan, Senator Ted Kennedy

Senator Ted Kennedy, UConn Chief of Police Robert Hudd

Senator Ted Kennedy, UConn Chief of Police Robert Hudd

Senator Kennedy acknowledging his introduction by Senator Dodd

Senator Kennedy acknowledging his introduction by Senator Dodd

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In this month’s edition of “item of the month”, we take a look at a unique collection of Spanish magazines and newspapers that was assembled by renowned Spanish bibliophile Juan Perez de Guzman y Boza, Duque de T’Serclaes. Born in 1852 in the town of Jerez de los Caballeros, the Duke was well known by antiquarian booksellers in Spain for his exquisite taste and voracious appetite for all types of Spanish books and publications. His ability to find and acquire unique and rare materials was legendary and it was not uncommon to find specialized bibliographies of Spanish materials citing that the only copy available was in the hands of the Duke. Toward the end of his life, the Duke collection was in deposit at the National Library in Spain, but after his death in 1934, his collection was sold in sections by his heirs. In the 1960s the Special Collections Department at the Wilbur Cross Library (the predecessor to Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center) acquired this collection of periodicals and newspaper through the famous rare book dealer and bibliophile, Hans Peter Kraus, known for being one of the few private people to own a Gutenberg Bible way back in the 1970s. Learn more

Illustration courtesy of Wendell Minor

Illustration courtesy of Wendell Minor

We are seeking volunteers to help with the 18th Annual Connecticut Children’s Book Fair!

– Saturday & Sunday, November 14-15, 2009 from 8:30am – 5:00pm
– Rome Commons Ballroom
– Rome Hall, South Campus Complex
– University of Connecticut, Storrs
– Volunteer shifts are usually two or more hours, between 8:30 am and 5 pm.

Volunteers’ responsibilities may include:
* Volunteering at the Breakfast with Clifford
* Working at the information desk or volunteer check-in table
* Working with children’s arts and crafts activities
* Serving as a door greeter or conducting a survey
* Volunteering as a costume character or tour guide for characters
* Volunteer opportunities for musicians/singers to lead 45-minute sing-alongs with children

If you are interested in volunteering at this event, please send an email to j.weinland@gmail.com including your name, home and work phone numbers and your preference for a particular job or requested time period (e.g., 9:30 am-Noon, 1- 2 pm, etc.)

We are always looking for new volunteers. If you know anyone who would like to volunteer at this event, please forward their contact info to j.weinland@gmail.com.

The Book Fair benefits the Northeast Children’s Literature Collections in Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut.

Thank you!

Les Paul, inventor and innovator of the solid body electric guitar, passed away last week.  Paul signed with Gibson Guitar company in 1950 to design and manufacture The Gibson Les Paul model, still available today.  Just as there would be no rock n’ roll without the electric guitar; there would be no Chicago blues without the influence of electrified guitar sound.  Chicago blues in the 1960s was dominated by Muddy Waters, Elmore James and Howlin’ Wolf.  Correspondent Russell Hall has ranked Howlin’ Wolf’s “Spoonful”, released on Chess Records in 1960, as having one of the top 10 great Gibson Les Paul solos.  Wolf’s band included Hubert Sumlin on a Gibson Les Paul for the single.  Have a listen.  You can hear all the bands that have been influenced since then.

Patrick B. McGinnis in the cab of a New Haven Railroad locomotive, 1954

Patrick B. McGinnis in the cab of a New Haven Railroad locomotive, 1954

August 14, 2009, is the 46th anniversary of the indictment by a Federal grand jury in Boston, Massachusetts, of former New Haven Railroad president Patrick B. McGinnis on a charge of obtaining personal profit from a deal involving the sale of railroad cars while he was president of the Boston & Maine Railroad.  McGinnis was president of the New Haven Railroad from April 1, 1954, to January 18, 1956, and was controversial from the outset.  He won the presidency through a proxy fight, ousting President Frederick “Buck” Dumaine, Jr., and during his tenure he was regarded as controversial for deferring maintenance and buying expensive new motive power at a time when the New Haven Railroad was experiencing diminishing ridership and the effects of extensive floods in August 1955, in which hundreds of miles of track were damaged.  Immediately upon being ousted as President of the NHRR McGinnis became President of the Boston & Maine Railroad, but was indicted a few years later for graft and served time in a federal prison.  Those who worked for the railroad or have studied the history of the New Haven Railroad still today debate the dastardly deeds of this flamboyant railroad president.

This photograph shows Patrick McGinnis in 1954 in the cab of a New Haven Railroad locomotive, and is from the Charles Gunn Papers in Archives & Special Collections.  You can find out more about the Railroad History Archive at http://railroads.uconn.edu/

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