You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2010.

Prof. Ken Noll (far left) and students with their exhibit "Mark Twain and Herbert W. Conn"

As curators we often work with undergraduates on their class projects, and I recently had the opportunity to work with Professor Kenneth Noll of the Molecular and Cell Biology department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  Prof. Noll devised a project for a INTD class he taught this semester, “Mark Twain and Herbert W. Conn: Science in Literature and Society in Late 19th Century Connecticut.”  We all know who Mark Twain is but who is Conn?  H.W. Conn was a very prominent scientist at Wesleyan University in the late 1800s/early 1900s, and although he was not a faculty member at what then the Connecticut Agricultural College (now known as UConn), he was the driving force in establishing the Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station.  Prof. Noll’s objective for the class was to have the students create an exhibit that describes Conn’s work as the Connecticut state microbiologist, juxtaposing it to Mark Twain’s 1905 essay, “3000 Years Among the Microbes,” which deflates human beings’ inflated sense of importance. 

Ken Noll and the exhibit, in the Plaza Alcove at Homer Babbidge Library

The class, all of them freshmen honors students, was split into three groups to research Conn and Twain, as well as the science behind Conn’s work, particularly his 1893 Chicago World’s Fair exhibit on dairy microbiology.  The students used many materials in Archives & Special Collections, including photographs from the University Archives, Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station catalogs, and maps, and made a field trip to the Connecticut Science Center.

 The result is an exhibit now up in the Plaza Alcove in Homer Babbidge Library until December 17. 

On December 6, at 11:00a.m., there will be a celebration of the exhibit that will feature a reading from Twain’s story by retired Prof. of Dramatic Arts Jerry Krasser and Prof. Noll.  The public is invited to the celebration, in the Class of ’47 room in Homer Babbidge Library

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections


The Cranberry, photographed by Don Ball, Jr.

Sometimes when it’s my turn to write something for the blog, and nothing immediately comes to mind, I will then think of an anniversary that can be celebrated, or a holiday that is approaching, and how the archival material can illustrate that event.  With Thanksgiving fast approaching I thought “what’s in the archive that touches on this holiday?”.  One of the best ways to explore the archives is by using the search box to the finding aids, available on our front web page ( and from the first collections page (  I decided to have some fun and put in search terms related to Thanksgiving.  Here’s what I got:

Thanksgiving: 14 hits, mostly from political and Children’s literature collections, including a Thanksgiving themed popcorn tin in the Tomie dePaola collection.

Thanks: 5 hits, mostly related to expressions of gratitude from the creators of the collections.

Turkey: 23 hits!  Wow!  But it won’t surprise you to read that the vast majority of these hits are on references to the country, not the bird, in political collections.

Gobble: only 2 hits, including the title “Gobble Gang Poems” by the poet Ed Sanders.

Gobbler: 1 hit, in the Ted and Betsy Lewin Papers (a children’s illustrators collection)

Stuffed: 7 hits! but mostly referring to stuffed toys, stuffed animals, and stuffed furniture (huh?  What kind of collection is THAT?  It’s a railroad collection, if you can believe it, a description of a photograph of the interior of a plush railroad car).

Football: Lots of hits there — 55 of them!  Most of them from the University Archives collections, references to UConn football, of course.

Cranberry: 4 hits, including the photograph that you see above of The Cranberry, a diesel locomotive owned by the New Haven Railroad, taken by photographer Don Ball, Jr.

Squash: 5 hits, three of them referring to the game, one to the vegetable, and one to a Leaf-Footed Squash Bug.

There were 5 hits for “pumpkin” but NONE for “pumpkin pie”.  That is just so wrong.  There’s always room for pumpkin pie in the archive, right? 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections


Tuesday, November 11, 1941.  Armistice Day.  I met my classes as usual.  At 8 o’clock I met my elementary economics classes, discussing economic problems of natural resources.  At 9 o’clock I met the consumption class giving back their recent hour examinations, and finishing the work on housing. I also made a bare start on a discussion of savings.

 Bill Mattson reached Willimantic at 11.11 by train from  Boston, and Edith met him there.  Ernest Russell drove down from Hadley and arrived at my office just before noon, as I got back from my 11 o’clock class.  We drove home, and met Mattson.  The two men stayed for dinner, supper, and over night.  As usual, Edith put on a wonderful display of culinary art and of old-fashioned hospitality.

 Thus begins the journal entry for this day in 1941 by UConn faculty member and later Provost, Albert Waugh.  A tireless and meticulous diarist, Waugh recorded his daily activities both mundane and extraordinary throughout his life, allowing researchers to see first hand what was happening in Storrs, Connecticut, from the time of his hire in 1941 through his retirement in 1973.  

The Waugh daily journals have been available for research as part of the Waugh papers since their donation in 1985.  An invaluable resource for several University histories, the journals were originally considered for digitization in the late 1990s when the University Libraries received its first IMLS grant for what is now known as Connecticut History Online (  The sheer volume of the journals made this impossible and the CHO project went on to digitize predominantly images (approximately 14,000 at last count) over the course of the next several years.  Technological advances in more recent years, however, has made the option of electronic access to the materials viable.  In the last year, Archives & Special Collections, with the permission of the Waugh family, has digitized the entire 30 plus span of journals.  In the next several months, researchers will be able to access PDF (portable document format) copies of the journal entries directly from the finding aid, completing one of A&SC’s largest digitization efforts.   

There was also a happy side effect to this lengthy project, in addition to meeting the Waugh family and hearing their stories first hand.  Collaboration with the Waugh family on this project resulted in the discovery of additional journals!  Subsequent donation of these new discoveries has expanded the dates of Waugh journals from 1941-1973 to cover the period from the 1920s through the early 1980s. 

As soon as we go live, it will be announced here so stay tuned!

     Betsy Pittman, University Archivist

November 13-14, 2010, on the Storrs Campus of the University of Connecticut at the Rome Ballroom

The Connecticut Children’s Book Fair is two days of fun for the whole family, featuring presentations and book signings by well-known authors and illustrators, and tons of books for sale. Enjoy storytelling, crafts, holiday shopping, balloon animals on Saturday and a puppet show, City of Hamburgers, on Sunday. Maisy, Danny the Dinosaur, Biscuit, and of course Clifford the Big Red Dog will be visiting throughout the Book Fair.  There will also be a special teen panel on Sunday: “Giving Teens a Voice: Writing and Editing Teen Fiction” led by David Levithan with guest speakers Eliot Schrefer, Samantha Schutz, and Natalie Standiford.  

Go to the Book Fair’s web site at for complete information.  

See you at the Fair!

UConn Faculty & Students  – Please take a few minutes and help the UConn Libraries help you

From:      Brinley Franklin
               Vice Provost, University Libraries

The University of Connecticut Libraries needs your help and participation in the Fall 2010 LibQUAL+TM  Survey.

The LibQual+TM Survey has been used by more than 1,200 libraries internationally to periodically and consistently track, understand, and act upon their users’ opinions of library service quality.

As in the past, the LibQual+TM Survey results will inform our Libraries’ planning on how to best provide library services to the UConn community. This survey process has been reviewed by UConn’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and all responses are confidential and will not be associated with a respondent’s e-mail address or other personal information.

One participating student* (grad or undergrad) will win a $500 GIFT CARD from the UConn Co-op!

The link to the survey can be found in your e-mail.  If you missed the e-mail, have questions, or need assistance in any way, please contact

Please complete the survey by:  December 10, 2010

Thanks for participating!

* Participation in the drawing is optional.  Eligible students must be registered to take classes at the University of Connecticut during the Fall, 2010 semester; have completed no more than one online survey;  have entered an optional “” e-mail address at the time the online survey form is completed; not be an employee of the State of Connecticut, including student employees of the University, or of the UConn Co-op; permit the University of Connecticut to make public a photograph, name, home town, academic year and major of the winning entrant; agree to any rules and restrictions placed upon the use of the gift certificate by the UConn Co-op.

The Dodd Research Center is one of the sponsors of the first state-wide book festival, to be held at UConn’s Greater Hartford campus on May 21-22, 2011.  In addition to the Dodd Center and UConn, other sponsors include the CT Center for the Book at the Hartford Public Library, the UConn Co-op, the CT Library Association, CT Humanities Council, CT State Library, and the CT Commission on Culture and Tourism.  The Honorary Chair of the Festival is Wally Lamb, award-winning author of She’s come undone, I know this much is true, and The hour I first believed, among other fiction and non-fiction works.  Mr. Lamb will be the featured speaker at a Gala Reception on November 20, 2010 at the Town and County Club in Hartford and the public is welcome to attend.  For tickets and other information, please go to the Festival’s web page at or send an email to    

Other authors appearing at the Festival will include Dick Allen, Connecticut’s award-winning Poet Laureate for 2010-2015; Ronald L. Mallett, a physics professor at UConn and author of Time traveler; Diane Smith, an Emmy Award-winning TV journalist and author of six books based in Connecticut, and many others listed on the Festival’s web site.  The Festival will bring together writers of books for adults and teens and activities will include readings, signings, storytelling and other presentations, great food offered by area restaurants, and an activity tent for kids aged 3-12.  Watch the web site for the schedule of events.   See you at the Fair!

Please join the Human Rights Institute, the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) for the third film of the monthly 2010-2011 Human Rights Film Series: Human Rights in the Americas.  More information and a full listing of films in the series are available on the Dodd Center’s website.

Film poster for "State of Fear," directed by Pamela Yates.

November Film: “State of Fear”
Directed by Pamela Yates

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
4:00 pm, Konover Auditorium
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center   

Film Synopsis:   

State of Fear” is set in the deserts, mountains, and jungles of Peru, and tells a gripping story of escalating violence and repression, and of courageous resistance by human rights defenders. Terrorist attacks by the Shining Path guerrillas provoked a military occupation of the countryside. Military Justice replaced Civil authority, widespread abuses by the Peruvian Army went unpunished, and the terrorism continued to spread. Eventually nearly 70,000 civilians died at the hands of the Shining Path and the Peruvian military.

Through vivid depictions of several horrific attacks in Peru’s mountains, as well as through revealing, poignant interviews with victims, soldiers, and insurgents, the film shows the agony that Peru’s war inflicted. The film is narrated primarily by members of Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, who emphasize that, if internal war is not to recur, we must understand its various causes and know its tragic effects.

 For more information about this and other events at the Dodd Research Center, please go to

Las Hijas de Eva, Puerto Rican women magazine

An issue of Las Hijas de Eva, Semanario consagrado al bello sexo: Literatura, Música, Teatro, Noticias, Modas y Anuncios.

The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center through the years has developed  a very unique collection of Latin American and Caribbean materials that support the research of the Latin American and Caribbean studies program on campus. One of the collecting areas has been on Puerto Rico.  The Puerto Rican Collection consists of two different acquisitions– the Geigel family library and the Puerto Rican Civil Court Documents. The Geigel family library, which is the core of the Puerto Rican Collection,  includes over 2,000 volumes of books, pamphlets, government documents (mainly from the US government) and some periodicals, that document the social, economic, political and literary history of Puerto Rico during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.

The collection was acquired from the Geigel Family from Puerto Rico in the early 1980s by the recommendation of the then UConn history professor Dr. Francisco Scarano. Owed privately by Doña Luisa Geigel de Gandía, resident of Santurce (San Juan, Puerto Rico), this library represents the collecting efforts of three generations of Geigel family members.


A pictorial riddle

The collections time span covers from 1800 – 1977 but the bulk of the collection is from 1850-1950. The collection includes many first editions of literary books and rare printing of newspapers and magazines from the late 19th century.

For the item of the month, I am showcasing a very unique title, the periodical Las Hijas de Eva (1880), a late 19th century women magazine edited by many well-known Puerto Rican writers and intellectuals, both men and women, such as Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, Lola Rodríguez de Tío, Manuel Tavárez, etc… The magazine followed the same stylistic format found in 19th century Spanish women magazines  and it was digitized as part of a bigger project, the Spanish Periodicals and Newspapers: Women’s Magazine Digital Collection. What make this magazine unique is the fact that it had many women contributors writing articles and poetry which was unusual in late 19th century Puerto Rican society. This weekly magazine includes articles (written by men and women authors), poems, travel accounts and word games and puzzles.

Salto de Caballo--crossword game

Another type of word game, Salto de Caballo.

To find the books and periodicals in the Puerto Rican Collection, you can search for individual titles using the UConn Library catalog HOMER.

For further information about these materials, contact Marisol Ramos, Curator for Latin American and Caribbean Collections.   More information about the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center and using the archival collections can be found here.

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