You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2011.

TV interviews by Billie Levy featuring authors, illustrators, editors, collectors and curators in the field of children’s literature are now available via the Libraries’ video streaming service.  The interviews are from the “Children’s Books: Their Creators and Collectors” series filmed at WHC-TV. Go to and scroll down, or go directly to the web page at  New interviews will be added as they are completed at the television station.  Miss Billie, as she is known here in the Dodd Center, is one of the founders of the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection and has donated  thousands of books, posters, greeting cards, and ephemera over the years the NCLC has enjoyed her support.  

This project was made possible by the generosity of Susan Aller of West Hartford in honor of Miss Billie, with support from West Hartford Community Television. Ms. Aller is the author of more than a dozen biographies for young people, including the stories of J. M. Barrie, Florence Nightingale, George Eastman, Louisa May Alcott, and Mary Jemison.  She has worked as a magazine editor in New York City, and her essays on a variety of topics have appeared in The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and other publications.  Ms. Aller is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and lived for extended periods in Spain and France, before coming to Connecticut in 1979.   As a collector of antique children’s books, she has been an active supporter of the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection and the Billie M. Levy Travel and Research Grants endowment fund.  Ms. Aller participates weekly in a long-standing writers’ group and is a member of the Saturday Morning Club of Hartford, a women’s writing group founded in 1876.  The NCLC is grateful for the support from Ms. Aller and West Hartford Community Television.  Thanks go especially to Nicholas Eshelman for all the tech work that made this project possible, and also to Miss Billie for her help in tracking down some of the interviews for digitization and for supplying recent interviews for inclusion in the project.   

Terri J. Goldich, Curator

In a continual effort to listen to and better serve all students, faculty, staff, and researchers, we constantly review and analyze our services to see what you want and what we can do better.  We are pleased to announce new changes and additions to our reproduction service offerings. 

Self Service Photography: Free

This service is free, quick, and easy.  This is a great service to utilize. Staff will review your equipment (camera and/or tripod) and the materials you want to copy. Once approved, you may photograph with the flash off, at the reading room tables. Sorry, no acrobatics! We also have a copy stand to assist researchers in photographing materials which is available for 3 hour bookings by appointment.  To book call: 860-486-4506 or

PDFs: Paperless and Affordable

Consider going paperless with our PDF services.  Black and white PDFs are now only $.25 per scan, the same price as photocopies!  Even more exciting is the addition of a new color PDF service for those who want a higher quality but still affordable option.  Color PDFs are available for $.35 per scan.  As we test out our newly expanded PDF services, we hope to have a 24 hour turnaround time for most PDF orders. 

High Resolution Scans: Choice

We’re still offering high resolution TIFF files at 300 ppi and 600 ppi, but we’re offering JPEG files as well now.  The pricing for 300 ppi remains at $7 and 600 ppi at $10 per scan. We’ll gladly fill your request and send you a choice of a compressed or an uncompressed file. 

For more information about all our services, check out our reproduction information page.

Stay tuned for more changes to in the future.

Marisa Gorman, Assistant Archivist

Thermos Company workers, ca. 1940s

The vacuum flask, better known by the trade name Thermos, is fairly ubiquitous in the United States.  Virtually every household has a few, to keep food at the desired temperature, be it hot or cold.  The vacuum flask was invented in 1892 by Scottish inventor Sir James DeWar and its popularily quickly spread. 

William Walker, founder of the American Thermos Bottle Company, established a Thermos plant in Brooklyn, New York, in 1907, but moved in 1913 to Norwich, Connecticut, where it became the city’s largest employer.  After World War II the company built another plant in nearby Taftville, Connecticut, and became known as Thermos Company.

In 1969 Thermos was bought by Household International and in the 1980s production moved to Illinois.  The collection held in Archives & Special Collections are not the company records but a collection of publications, photographs, company newletters, and annual reports, gathered by the company’s workers to celebrate their pride in the company that they, and many of their family members, worked for for much of the 20th century.

You can read more about the company and the collection in its finding aid, at

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections

A child laborer picks cocoa pods in the Ivory Coast. Photograph by U. Roberto Romano, 2006. 
Image from the Romano Human Rights Digital Photograph Collection, Thomas  J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

Photograph by U. Roberto Romano, 2006.

The West African country of Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer of cocoa, with over 40% of the world’s production. Despite the signing of the Cocoa Protocol in 2001, child labor is still rampant in the cocoa industry, often involving the illegal trafficking of children from Mali and Niger to work in the cocoa fields of Ivory Coast. Children as young as seven work in the fields, facing dangerous tasks of cutting down cocoa pods with machetes and carrying heavy loads. Most children are never paid for their work.

American photographer and documentary filmmaker U. Roberto (Robin) Romano has documented human rights issues for advocacy organizations around the world including GoodWeave, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, The International Labor Organization, Stop The Traffik, The Hunger Project, The Farm Labor Organizing Committee, Council on Foreign Relations and Antislavery International.

Romano’s most recent film, The Dark Side of Chocolate (2010), co-directed with Danish journalist Miki Mistrati, documents the continued allegations of trafficking of children and child labor in the international chocolate industry, despite a voluntary protocol to end abusive and forced child labor on cocoa farms by 2005.

However, in 2005, the cocoa industry failed to comply with the protocol’s terms, and a new deadline for 2008 was established. In 2008 the terms of the protocol were still not met, and yet another deadline for 2010 was set. Meanwhile, child labor in the cocoa industry continues.

For more information, see the International Labor Rights Forum’s information on child labor in the cocoa industry.

Human rights documentation is a focus of the Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. More information about the Romano Papers and other human rights collections can be found on the Dodd Center’s website.

Romano’s film, The Dark Side of Chocolate, will soon be available at the University of Connecticut Libraries as part of the Human Rights Film Collection, which contains approximately 500 films on an array of human rights themes.  An annotated listing of films is available on the UConn Libraries’ website.

–Valerie Love, Curator for Human Rights and Alternative Press Collections

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