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Stewart McKinney With Girl Scouts on Capitol Steps

That’s right, the 1970s was a hot decade—and not just for its music and fashion. During these years the debate over air-pollution legislation was practically ablaze. The people who knew this best were perhaps the congressmen and congresswomen dealing with the legislative process at the time. One such congressman, Connecticut’s own Stewart Brett McKinney, must have felt the heat first-hand, given the countless number of constituent letters he received just between 1974 and 1976—many of which can be found amongst his papers in the Political Collections here at the Dodd. In addition to serving as a member and minority leader in the CT State House of Representatives, McKinney was also elected to the U.S. House for Connecticut’s southwestern fourth district and served from 1970 until his death in 1987.

The letters McKinney received just in the aforementioned two-year-span—letters from private industry, organizations, and unaffiliated individuals—attest to the significance of environmental legislation at the time, seeing as a noteworthy portion of the correspondence deals with various proposed congressional amendments to the 1970 Clean Air Act. The Act set firm standards for energy providers, car emissions, etc. in an effort to curb air pollution and the negative environmental and health effects associated with it. Like many others at the time, congressman McKinney was in favor of modifying the 1970 act, but opposed to drastic changes that might weaken it. The challenge, as he stated in his response to a letter from Ms. D.W. Sweeney of Stamford, was to “balance those environmental goals with what is perceived to be the long-term energy needs of the nation” (S.M. to D.W.S.).

This was crucial given the energy crisis of the early ’70s. Even those companies that may have desired to switch from coal to the slightly less harmful alternatives of oil and gas may have been unable to do so, given the limited availability and high prices of these resources. Many businessmen therefore lobbied to have the 1970 act significantly amended and emissions standards deadlines extended while other groups—such as the League of Women Voters—urged Congressman McKinney to fight to maintain the original, strict environmental standards. For instance, in his July 1, 1975 letter to another Stamford resident Joel M. Berns, D.M.D, McKinney makes it clear that “we must avoid the irresponsible course of so weakening the Clean Air Act in the name of the ‘energy crisis’ only to face the same deferred problems five or ten years from now when the clean-up job will be far more difficult and costly” (S.M. to J.B.).

Krisela Karaja, Student Intern

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It was the New Frontier. Full of “vigah”, offering service programs like the Peace Corps, and stressing physical fitness and 50 mile hikes. Later it would be romanticized as Camelot and dampened by revelations of personal failings, but in 1963, many young Americans were still enthralled by the youthful President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.  It came to an end on a November morning in Dallas, and within minutes, television and radio news brought the word that the president was dead.  After receiving the Associated Press bulletin, WHUS, the student radio station, turned a monitor out a window so that those passing the Student Union Building could hear the latest news.  In a special Saturday edition November 23, the Connecticut Daily Campus reported on the scene in the Student Union Lobby: “The shock grew and so did the crowd. They were more hopeful and at the same time more fearful. Rumor said he was dying. Everyone took another glimpse at the AP or UPI wire services and waited and prayed … Then the television announcer said, ‘President Kennedy is dead.’ It took a while until the meaning of the words were felt. Then they wept.”

Memorial to John F. Kennedy, 1964 Nutmeg

–Mark J. Roy, University Communications (retired)

There are few sources as rich in information about the state’s historical properties as the Connecticut Historic Preservation Collection (CHPC).  While its architectural surveys for about two-thirds of Connecticut’s 169 towns and over 1800 archaeological surveys are worthy of discussion, the documentation studies will be the focus of attention in today’s blog post.

Former White Tower Restaurant at 123 East Main Street, Waterbury, Connecticut. Photograph taken by Geoffrey Rossano, 2001.

Documentation studies are generated when a federal or state-funded project has to take into account its affects on historical archeaological resources. The studies document the “before” structure or when changes in the structure mitigate adverse effects of changing or destroying the building. If the building is considered irreplaceable or very important historically then the State Historic Preservation Office decides whether or not to allow the project to proceed. 

White Tower Restaurant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ca. 1930 (as the Waterbury restaurant would have looked in its heyday)
 
Industrial historian Geoffrey Rossano conducted a historical overview and assessment of current conditions of the former White Tower Restaurant, built in 1935, in Waterbury, Connecticut, in August 2001.  The report gives extensive information not only about this particular property in Waterbury, but also shows how the property was significant to the formation of White Tower restaurants (a copycat from the more famous White Castle chain), and to the history of fast-food service in the United States.  The survey tells us about the history of the neighborhood of East Main Street, and how the structure, possibly the last surviving example in the U.S. when the study was done in 2001, was an example of  “the ‘kitschy’ vernacular commercial architecture that has appeared throughout the [20th] century.” 
 
My fellow librarian Norma Holmquist, who works at the UConn Waterbury campus library, verified for me that the old White Tower building at 123 East Main Street is no longer standing.  Thanks, Norma!  Located on that spot is the Coop bookstore for the UConn Waterbury campus library (that information is courtesy of Janet Swift, another Waterbury campus librarian — thanks, Janet!). 
 
This documentation study is just one of hundreds in the CHPC, with historical details about many properties that held a special place in their towns and cities across the state.  For more information about the contents of the collection, visit the listing at http://chpc.lib.uconn.edu/.
 
Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collection
 

The blog post on November 14 showed a photograph and document from the E. Ingraham Company Records.  Here are two more documents and some more questions.

Telegram from the War Department, Hartford Ordinance District, to E. Ingraham Company of Bristol, Connecticut, December 13, 1944

Letter from E. Ingraham Company president to employees, December 15, 1944

What work is the company doing that is so important to the war effort? How has the E. Ingraham Company responded to the command from the government to step up production?  Do you think Edward and Dudley Ingraham were fair to not allow Christmas parties at the company during work time?

These primary sources conform to the Connecticut Social Studies Curriculum Framework for High School students, particularly Strand 1.2 — significant events in local and Connecticut history and their connections to United States history, grade level expectation 15 – describe how major events in U.S. history affected Connecticut citizens.

More information about the E. Ingraham Company can be found with the finding aid to the records at http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/findaids/Ingraham/MSS19800034.html

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections

Army/Navy E award presented to the E. Ingraham Company, June 16, 1944

The E. Ingraham Company of Bristol, Connecticut, was a maker of clocks and watches from its founding in 1831 by Elias Ingraham, to its demise in 1967.  It was run by descendents of Elias Ingraham for all but the last 15 years of its existence.

Letter to E. Ingraham Company from the U.S. Department of Labor, 1944

Use this photograph and the letter to create a narrative of what was happening at the E. Ingraham Company, and in the United States, at the time.  Some questions to ask include:

What was happening in the country in 1944?  What conditions would have necessitated the need for hiring girls at the company?  What kind of work were the workers doing that was so important to the government? 

More information and some more documents will come in a couple of days.  For now, use the documents, and your own knowledge of the circumstances of the time, to describe what is happening.  Let us know what you think by leaving us a comment!

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections

Storrs Agricultural College football team, 1897. Willis Hawley is standing, second from the left.

The Ultimate Sacrifice Memorial at the University of Connecticut was dedicated at the Veteran’s Day observance in 2008, but it is not the first time that fallen alumni have been remembered.  Hawley Armory, built in 1915, was named in honor of Willis Nicholas Hawley, an 1898 graduate of what was then Storrs Agricultural College. Hawley was one of four SAC graduating seniors was joined the U.S. Army to serve in the Spanish-American War. On leave in late September while still in training, Hawley visited the campus in late September. Two months later, on Nov. 18, 1898, he died of typhoid fever at a Red Cross hospital in Philadelphia, the first graduate to die while in military service, and thus memorialized with the dedication of the new armory in 1915.

 

Memorial plaque in Student Union with the names of UConn students who died while in military service.

 

In the early 1950s, Hawley and alumni who died in wartime from 1898 to 1953 were remembered when a bronze plaque bearing their names was installed in the newly opened Student Union Building.  The list included 143 names of those who died after Hawley in World Wars I and II, and the Korean War. Replaced by a mural in 1957, the plaque was never re-installed, and its whereabouts remains a mystery.

 

–Mark J. Roy, University Communications (retired)

Rainbow People, Vol. 1. No. 2. 1970

“This is Indian land, Indian water, Indian coal, Indian life that is going up in smoke” (Steiner “Black Mesa”).

Such were the words of Stan Steiner, author of various works (i.e. The New Indians, 1968) pertaining to American minority groups including Indians and Mexican-Americans. In fact, Steiner’s “Black Mesa Fact Sheet”—compiled in 1970 at the request of Navajo and Hopi tribal leaders— is included in Volume 1 No. 2 of Rainbow People, a newspaper conveniently found right here in the Alternative Press Collections at the Dodd Center. True to Steiner’s words, Indian life was literally going up in smoke—pollution-related smoke, that is. In 1966, the Navajo Tribal Council granted the Peabody Coal Company the right to explore land in the Black Mesa region of Arizona in order to generate fuel for six large southwestern power plants and for giant polluting cities such as Los Angeles and Phoenix. In exchange, the Navajo received “a mere $600,000 each year for their Nation” (Steiner “Fact Sheet”). However according to Calvin Estitty, a member of the Black Mesa Native Americans, the Navajo had not provided explicit consent to mine—they had simply consented to have the land surveyed (Steiner “Fact Sheet”).

The pollution statistics mentioned in Steiner’s fact sheet are jarring: “Sulfur dioxide emissions of 735 tons a day (267,275 tons a year). That is more than three times the health hazard […] that L.A. people suffer.” Additionally, the fly ash particle emissions of 137 tons a day were well above the LA statistic (109 /day) and almost as high as New York’s 140 tons. Indeed, the Navajo plant alone was estimated to “fill [the] sky [with] 465,125 tons of smog yearly” (Steiner “Fact Sheet”).

The Hopis, too, signed a 99-year lease with the company to strip-mine coal in Black Mesa (Committee of Concern). However the concerns amongst both native groups were not limited to air-pollution. Steiner goes so far as to criticize the New York Times’ coverage of Black Mesa as insufficient, seeing its failure to address the religious implications of strip-mining. Indeed, Black Mesa (the “Female Mountain”) has traditionally been considered a symbol of beauty, harmony, and the Navajo way. Some Navajos saw this as an example of how the “white man has unthinkingly defiled the religious belief of the Indians. He has disrupted the sacred and holy mountains” (Steiner “Fact Sheet”). The economic concerns were also significant. As one Navajo Tribal leader put it: “What will be left of our way of life? No pastures for our sheep! No jobs when the Mesa is gone! They force us into colonial economy (qtd. in Steiner “Fact Sheet”).

Although there are still groups like Black Mesa Indigenous Support that aid “the indigenous peoples of Black Mesa in their resistance to massive coal mining operations” (“Mission Statement”), Peabody Energy currently maintains the Kayenta Mine in the region. The company asserts that its “environmental and community practices on Black Mesa were recognized as a world model for sustainability” (“Southwest Operations”).

Although Steiner argues that the concerns of these “invisible” indigenous peoples are “lost in the smog” (“Black Mesa”) when being addressed in major newspapers, they can still be found right here—preserved and waiting to be read in the APC.

Krisela Karaja, Student Intern

Resources:

The Committee of Concern for the Traditional Indian. “Hopi: Black Mesa.” Rainbow People [John Day, Oregon] Vol. 1. No. 2. 1970: p. 6. Print. Alternative Press Collections. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

Hill, Gladwin. “Arizona Strip-Mining Project Leaving Navajo Land Unscarred.”  New York Times 24 Jan. 1971:  p. 55. Proquest
Historical Newspapers
. Web. 26 Oct 2011.

“Mission Statement.” Black Mesa Indigenous Support. BMIS. Web. 21 Oct. 2011. http://blackmesais.org/about/mission/.

“Southwest Operations.” Peabody Energy. Peabody Energy, Inc. Web. 26 Oct. 2011.

< http://www.peabodyenergy.com/content/247/US-Mining/Powder-River-Basin-and-Southwest&gt;.

Steiner, Stan. “Black Mesa” (letter to the editor of the New York Times). Rainbow People [John Day, Oregon] Vol. 1. No. 2. 1971: p. 14. Print. Alternative Press Collections. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

 Steiner, Stan. “Black Mesa Fact Sheet.” Rainbow People [John Day, Oregon] Vol. 1. No. 2. 1970: p. 8. Print. Alternative Press Collections. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

Picture Book Manifesto

Mac Barnett, a children’s book writer from Oakland with seven picture books and three novels to his credit, wrote the Picture Book Manifesto at the suggestion of one of his former professors. The Manifesto was published as an advertisement in the November issue of the Horn Book. Speaking to Sally Lodge for Publisher’s weekly (http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/49276-mac-barnett-spearheads-a-picture-book-manifesto-.html), Barnett explains, “I think there’s a lot of hand-wringing going on now about the picture book and its place in the market and in our culture…you hear nay-sayers who think the picture book is over, and too often the pro-picture book response is that everything is fine, that the picture books are inherently magical. And great books are a kind of magic, but kids don’t need to be told that: they already know.”  The proclamation was designed and executed by Carson Ellis and is signed by 20 other picture book creators, including Brian Biggs, Sophie Blackall, Laurie Keller, Jon Scieszka, and Lemony Snicket. The intended audience is everyone in the children’s literature world, including librarians, parents, writers, illustrators, editors, and publishers. Barnett hopes that publication of the Manifesto will spark conversations about picture books and how to make them more original and thoughtful, with a vitality that will make kids want to read.

Terri J. Goldich, Curator, Northeast Children’s Literature Collection

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