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Four months ago, the University of Connecticut “rose from 49th to 16th place” amongst greenest colleges in the Sierra Club’s Coolest Schools rankings (Kirk). This was encouraging news, especially to Office of Environmental Policy (OEP) director Rich Miller, who asserted that: “UConn’s score shows that our sustainability efforts cover a wide range of activities and engage many people” (qtd. in Kirk). Indeed, Miller’s Husky pride seems justified given the ever-expanding campus consciousness about environmental responsibility, largely due to the countless OEP initiatives since its founding in 2002.

The conservation efforts are apparent all over campus: a recycling station is located on each dormitory floor, recycling bins are placed throughout campus, sneaker recycling drives are held annually, and UConn even participates in the ever-popular Recyclemania competition. However, the progress that UConn has made in its efforts over the years begs the question—did past UConn students ever get the recycling itch?

Naturally, the answer to this question lies in the Dodd Center. According to the Undergraduate Student Government and President’s Office records, students in the Environmental Concern Committee helped implement an experimental glass recycling program during the fall 1972 semester. This program was launched in the Towers dorms and, after having recognized its initial success, was later expanded to other campus dorms. The glass-recycling program served as a model for students hoping to implement paper and aluminum-recycling programs as well.

Unfortunately by January 1974, the Inter-Area Residence Council Recycling Committee recognized that certain dorms in the glass recycling program were having problems with “not enough voluntary action and student cooperation” (IARC Minutes). The program continued in fall 1974, though with great difficulty as enthusiasm fell.

Fortunately, such spurts of recycling-related activism—which may be considered the early predecessors to the current array of UConn OEP / EcoHusky projects—will not be forgotten, as they are well-documented here at the Dodd Center.

Krisela Karaja, Student Intern

Resources:

Glass Recycling Folder, Box 1 (1972-1973), University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government Records. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

The Inter-Area Residents’ Council Minutes, Jan. 17, 1974, Summer Recycling Workshop Folder, Box 9 (1974), University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government Records. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

Kirk, Michael. “UConn Rises to 16th Among ‘Greenest Colleges.’ ” UConn Today. University of Connecticut Office of University Communications 25 Aug. 2011. Web. 18 Nov. 2011. <http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2011/08/uconn-rises-to-16th-among-greenest-colleges/&gt;.

Recycling Committee Folder, Box 161 (1972), University of Connecticut President’s Office Records [Homer D. Babbidge, 1962-1972]. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

Summer Recycling Workshop Folder, Box 9 (1974), University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government Records. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

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Professor Koons with honeybees

Professor Koons studying honeybees with teachers, undated

“Immediate cause of death was exhaustion due to cancer of the throat.” Those words in the December 19, 1903 edition of The Hartford Courant related the cause of death for a beloved member of the campus community in Storrs.  The day before, at his home in Storrs, Benjamin F. Koons, first president of Connecticut Agricultural College, died. He was 59. Koons had begun his Connecticut career as an instructor of natural history at Storrs Agricultural College when it started its first semester in September of 1881. By the end of 1882 he was acting principal of the school for boys, and in 1883 held the position in full. He became president in 1893 when legislation changed the school into the Storrs Agricultural College, and officially admitted women.  Koons had allowed local women to attend starting in 1891, noting that in creating a boys school, the legislature did not forbid the enrollment of women.  Koons was replaced in 1898 by George Flint. In retirement, as the first president emeritus, he continued to teach natural history, maintained a botanical garden, and started the college’s first museum of natural history.

Members of Congress on Bicycles, Stewart McKinney Papers

The Clean Air controversy was exacerbated by environmental taxes on “indirect sources”—such as mall parking lots—in which large numbers of pollution-causing automobiles could potentially congregate. Again, while many environmentalists favored this notion, private industry owners and especially urban renewal project developers such as those in charge of the Stamford Downtown urban redevelopment project, felt that the Clean Air Act delivered a direct and unnecessary blow to their interests in this regard (CAA Folder, Box 23).

Similarly, the more that was learned about the detrimental effects of aerosol fluorocarbons at this time, the more agitation there was for regulation of these greenhouse gases, as well, given their potential to destroy the earth’s ozone layer. In addition to many other undesirable complications, it was revealed in 1974 that fluorocarbons caused “a chemical reaction that led to a breakdown of the ozone belt […] and dramatic changes in world weather patterns” (“Clean Air Act Amendments, 1976”).

The amendments to the Clean Air Act were not passed until 1977. These amendments included among others the extension of auto emission standards for two years, the extension of air quality standards for U.S. cities for five-to-ten years, and a three-year extension for air polluting industries to comply with standards before facing significant fines (“Clean Air Act Amendments, 1977”). However, debates over altering the act continued in the ’80s, and legislation was finally later passed in 1990. This legislation imposed greater federal standards on limiting smog, auto exhaust, toxic air pollution, etc. The 1990 amendments also included a measure that would foster more research on global warming, so that scientists and politicians alike could understand the pollution-induced worldwide environmental changes attributed to this phenomenon (“Clean Air, 1989 – 1990”).

Thus, although it wasn’t defined as such in the ’70s, global warming was the ultimate culprit behind the debate in Congress—the debate that unfortunately remains heated in recent times. In fact, the “Clear Skies” program presented by the Bush administration in 2002 was perhaps most controversial as it proposed to alter the CAA using a more market-driven approach supported by the power industry. However, this initiative was eventually rejected by environmentalists for its failure to regulate carbon dioxide emissions in addition to sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury (“Clean Air, 2003-2004”). This debate actually resurfaced only a year ago, when the proposed 2010 Clean Air Act Amendments were rejected. Interestingly enough, although this bill did address issues regarding the ozone layer, it still failed to touch upon the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions. Needless to say, the proposed bill did not become a law.

Krisela Karaja, Student Intern

Resources:

 Clean Air Act Folder, Box 23 (1975), Stewart B. McKinney Papers. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

 “Clean Air, 1989-1990 Legislative Chronology.” In Congress and the Nation, 1989-1992, vol. 8, 473. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1993. <http://library.cqpress.com/catn/catn89-0000013636>.

“Clean Air, 2003-2004 Legislative Chronology.” In Congress and the Nation, 2001-2004, vol. 11, 437. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2006. <http://library.cqpress.com/catn/catn01-426-18057-965103>.

 “Clean Air Act Amendments, 1976 Legislative Chronology.” In Congress and the Nation, 1973-1976, vol. 4, 303. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1977. <http://library.cqpress.com/catn/catn73-0009171007>.

“Clean Air Amendments, 1977 Legislative Chronology.” In Congress and the Nation, 1977-1980, vol. 5, 535. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1981. <http://library.cqpress.com/catn/catn77-0010172918>.

 Environment—Air Folder, Box 16 (1974), Stewart B. McKinney Papers. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

 Environment—Air Folder, Box 28 (1976), Stewart B. McKinney Papers. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

Stewart McKinney to D.W. Sweeney, May 24, 1974, Environment—Air Folder, Box 16, Stewart B. McKinney Papers. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

Stewart McKinney to Joel M. Berns, July 1, 1975, Clean Air Act Folder, Box 23, Stewart B. McKinney Papers. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

United States. Cong. Senate. Clean Air Act Amendments of 2010. 111th Cong. S. 2995. GovTrack.us. Civic Impulse, LLC. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s111-2995>.

The Wenham Museum in Wenham, Massachusetts is borrowing artifacts, sketches, and illustrations from the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection for their upcoming exhibit Picture This: 90 Years of Storybook Art (February 3- May 6, 2012).  Classic toy stories will come to life through more than 50 original illustrations, vintage toys, and antique books in a colorful display that is engaging for all ages. In the gallery visitors will be able to make their own picture book to take away after their visit, dress in costume to become part of the story, and use story cubes to create their own picture stories all while enjoying the illustrations and reading classics of children’s literature.

The NCLC is lending two artifacts from Nellie, a cat on her own, written and illustrated by Natalie Babbitt and published in 1989 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.   Ms. Babbitt was born in 1932 in Dayton, OH, the daughter of Ralph Zane and Genevieve (Converse) Moore. She received her B.A. from Smith College in 1954. That same year she married Samuel Fisher Babbitt, who also collaborated with her on her first book, The 49th Magician.

The Babbitt Papers hold the manuscripts, preliminary sketches, finished artwork and models for this and many other Babbitt titles, including her most famous work, the multiple award-winning Tuck Everlasting.   Seven paintings and two sketches by Ms. Babbitt will accompany Nellie and her hat to Wenham. Nellie a cat on her own written and illustrated by Natalie BabbittTo keep Nellie company, eight collages by Ed Young will be featured in the Wenham show as well.  These collages are the finished works of art for his Pinocchio, published in 1996 by Philomel.  Mr. Young, a children’s book author/illustrator and winner of many awards was born in Tientsin, China and raised in Shanghai and Hong Kong, where he was interested in drawing and storytelling from an early age.  He moved to the U.S. in 1951 to study architecture but quickly changed his focus to art.  Mr. Young has illustrated over eighty books, many of which he also wrote.

Pinocchio by Ed Young

The mission of the Wenham Museum is to protect, preserve, and interpret the history and culture of  Boston’s North Shore, domestic life, and the artifacts of childhood.  The Museum was established in 1922, making 2012 its 90th anniversary. It began as an historic house museum, but the first donor, Elizabeth Richards Horton – who also happened to be the last child to grow up in the house – donated nearly 1000 dolls to the museum that had been her childhood home, thus establishing the Wenham Museum as one of the premier museums of dolls, toys, and the artifacts of childhood from the 17th century to the present. Since then the museum has maintained a tradition of celebrating childhood and domestic life through its exhibitions of artifacts that have been a part of childhood for the past 400 years, including children’s books, toys and dolls of all kinds, electric trains, and textiles and objects of domestic life.

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Putting together your holiday music playlist?  Considering gifts of music?  My pick is Bobby Timmons’ Holiday Soul, on Prestige Records.  This rerelease by Fantasy Records of the original 1965 recording includes Bobby Timmons on piano, Butch Warren on bass and Walter Perkins on drums.  All the well known classics are improvised including Deck the Halls, White Christmas and my favorite We Three Kings.  You don’t need to be a jazz enthusiast to appreciate the “glittering” and “stimulating” nature of the tunes.  You don’t even have to enjoy the holidays.  As Jack McKinney wrote in the original liner notes, “…this album is to be played in June as well as in January, for joy and jazz are not confined to the calendar.  It is as cool and as warm as your own senses, and the effect is stimulating in any climate.” 

Fantasy Records, Berkeley California, acquired the Prestige Records catalog in 1971 and in 1983 established the subsidiary record label Original Jazz Classics, rereleasing for serious jazz enthusiasts a series of reproductions from Prestige.  Holiday Soul is one of them.  Review a listing of Fantasy Original Jazz Classics recordings held in the Charters Archive of Vernacular African American Musical Culture.

Kristin Eshelman, Curator of Multimedia Collections

Blueprint for George Coy's switchboard, 1878

On April 27, 1877, George Willard Coy attended a demonstration at Skiff’s Opera House in New Haven, Connecticut, of an exciting new invention — the telephone — given by inventor Alexander Graham Bell.   Coy, a Civil War veteran and manager of the New Haven office of the Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Company, was fascinated by the possibilities of this invention.  In November 1877 he was awarded a Bell telephone franchise for New Haven and Middlesex counties and spent the next two months getting partners and financial backing.  On January 28, 1878, the New Haven District Telephone Company, in a rented storefront office in the Boardman Building at the corner of Chapel and State Streets, opened for business with 21 subscribers, each of whom paid $1.50 per month for the service.  It was the first telephone exchange in the world.

Prior to this time the first telephones were used privately on lines that allowed allow two people on each end to communicate over very short distances.  George Coy invented the first switchboard, which, according to a writing done by the Southern New England Telephone Company (the successor to the New Haven District Telephone Company) “consisted of a wooden panel about three feet wide and two feet high, with a little shelf at its base on which the operator’s telephone rested when not in use.  Across the top were four circles of contacts which resembled clock dials, each contact connected to a subscriber’s wire.  In the center of each circle was a metal arm like the pointer of a clock, which could be connected with any one of the eight contact points…”  Apparently Coy had to improvise in constructing the switchboard by using wires from ladies’ bustles.

This blueprint is one of several Coy made after the initial installation of the switchboard, in an effort to patent the design.  More information about George W. Coy and his switchboard can be found in the records of the Southern New England Telephone Company, a collection that was donated to Archives & Special Collections in 2003, the 125th anniversary of the founding of the company and the creation of the switchboard.

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections

Dodd Center’s Tweets