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“The 12:25 to Waterbury.” Engine 1338 of the New Haven Railroad in Newington, Connecticut, on July 10, 1946. Photograph by Seth P. Holcombe.

Seth P. Holcombe loved steam trains, and as a youth who grew up near the railroad station in Hartford, Connecticut, he particularly admired those of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad (better known as the New Haven Railroad), the predominant railroad in southern New England from 1872 to 1969.  Mr. Holcombe was born in 1918 and lived his life in the Hartford area, graduating from Trinity College in 1941 and serving as registrar of the Morgan Horse Club (now known as the Connecticut Morgan Horse Association) as an adult.  He was also an avid photographer and took numerous photographs of the trains he loved.  His interest never wavered from the steam trains of the New Haven Railroad, so when the railroad switched to a diesel fleet in 1952 Mr. Holcombe’s interest in the railroad waned.

Seth Holcombe died in 2009 and his wife Lucy made a gracious gift of his photographs to the Railroad History Archive this year.  The collection shows trains in and around Hartford, as well as other railroad lines across New England when Mr. Holcombe would travel on excursions.  A finding aid to the collection is available at http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/asc/findaids/holcombe/MSS20120040.html and all are welcome to come to Archives & Special Collections to view this terrific set of photographs.

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections

Southern New England Telephone Company women’s basketball team, 1927

Come visit the exhibit Workers at Play: Baseball Teams, Basketball Competitions and Company Picnics, this weekend, on Sunday, July 29, between 2 and 4, and meet the exhibits curators Kyle Lynes and Laura Smith!  We’ve had a great response to the exhibit and we’re looking forward to more opportunities to show it off.

Parking on campus is easy on the weekend and all attendees should be able to park near the Dodd Research Center, on Whitney Road or close by.  We’ll have some lovely refreshments, plus the opportunity to see the other exhibits that the UConn Libraries has put up, available in Homer Babbidge Library.  For more information about the summer exhibits please visit at http://www.lib.uconn.edu/about/exhibits/.

Email me at laura.smith@lib.uconn.edu if you have questions about the reception or about the exhibit.  We’re going to start the traveling schedule soon so let me know if you want your archives, library or school to host it.

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections

A recent addition to the Connecticut Soldiers Collection at the Dodd Center are the Raymond E. Hagedorn Papers.  Chronicling the training and war service of Major Raymond E. Hagedorn of Manchester, Connecticut, the papers will be of great interest to scholars and the public at large. Describing in vivid detail his training prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, and his service in the South Pacific, the Hagedorn Papers provide an invaluable account of America’s preparation for war and life in the Army.  From Camp Blanding, Florida to Guadalcanal, and back to Manchester, the letters between Hagedorn and his family and friends provide one family’s perspective on the Second World War.

From the quality and quantity of the food, and his constant battle to stave off boredom, Hagedorn brings life in the army and the war to life. Through detailed descriptions of army victuals, island life, his health, and his wife Gertrude’s descriptions of life at home, the Hagedorn Papers illustrate the sacrifices made by Americans at home and abroad.  Exposing the reality and quotidian nature of war, the Hagedorn Papers will be an invaluable source for anyone interested in daily life during World War Two. Providing often humorous details about the environments he encounters, including squawking birds, swarms of mosquitos, the variety of fruit available, and the activities of the native populations, Hagedorn’s letters confirm the military axiom that war is ninety-nine percent boredom and one percent sheer terror.

 

Cartoon Birthday Card, Jan. 1943. Raymond E. Hagedorn Papers

 

An officer in the Army’s 43rd Infantry Division, Hagedorn traveled from San Francisco to New Zealand, New Caledonia, and Guadalcanal between October 1942 and April 1943 before being diagnosed with low blood pressure and a nervous disorder. Focusing on his declining health, and the activities he engages in to stay busy, Hagedorn’s letters lose much of their early humor and by March 1943 take on a much more serious tone.

Evacuated to the United States in April 1943, Hagedorn describes life at military hospitals in and outside of the United States and the process of medical retirement from the Army, providing a wealth of information on an often overlooked aspect of war. Plagued by poor health, and the effects of the South Pacific’s tropical climate, Hagedorn’s letters present one soldier’s ongoing struggle to remain patriotic in the eyes of the army while also maintaining his health and well-being for his family.

Retired from active duty in May 1944 Hagedorn remained in the Connecticut National Guard following the war and was eventually promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. During the Korean War, Hagedorn served as an intelligence officer and aide to Connecticut’s Adjutant General. Briefly resuming his electrical business after the war, Hagedorn went on to become the plant engineer for the New Departure Division of General Motors in Meriden, Connecticut. Retiring in 1962 Raymond Hagedorn spent the rest of his life in Manchester, until passing away on September 21, 1985.

– James Brundage, Graduate Intern

Established in 2004, the Terrence Webster-Doyle Papers contain materials having to do with bullying prevention, conflict management, peace studies, emotional response, and how psychological conditioning prevents peace and creates conflict, individually and globally.  Influenced by Jiddu Krishnamurti in 1968, Webster-Doyle began to teach classes at Sonoma State University in the search for understanding the cause, nature, and structure of conditioning.  Webster-Doyle also studied the work of Dr. David Bohm, a physicist who studies the relationship between thought and reality; A. S. Neil, the founder of the Summerhill School, an intentional community in England; and Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World which explored the nature and effect of negative conditioning.

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Webster-Doyle is a sixth Dan in Take-Nami-do karate, and utilizes his extensive martial arts experience as a focus for the exploration of the nature of conflict and its ramifications for the individual, schools, society and the world.  With his wife Jean, they founded the Atrium Society and its subgroups, Martial Arts for Peace, Youth Peace Literacy Project, and Education for Peace (http://martialartsforpeace.com/index-2.html).  His published works usually contain not only a main work but also guides for students, teachers, martial arts instructors, and parents, with worksheets, group and individual activities, with tools to chart progress in conflict resolution.

Webster-Doyle’s books, archives, and audiovisual materials are held by the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection.  His books are also on permanent display at the International Museum of Peace and Solidarity in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the Commonwealth of Independent States and at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Japan.

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

Winners of a rolling pin throwing contest at a Bristol Brass Company picnic, 1950

An exhibit now in the Dodd Center Gallery — “Workers at Play: Baseball Teams, Basketball Competitions and Company Picnics” — shows photographs from the Connecticut Business History Collections of workers around the state participating on all types of company-sponsored sports teams and enjoying company picnics, parties and outings.  You’ll see photographs of operators from the Southern New England Telephone Company at a beach outing in 1913, workers of the Thermos Company in Norwich enjoying a movie at Christmastime in 1954, and the men’s bowling team of the Hartford Electric Light Company in the 1950s, among many dozens of other fascinating historical images.  Companies represented include the New Haven Railroad, Cheney Brothers Silk Company of Manchester, New Britain Machine Company of New Britain, and Wauregan-Quinebaug Textile Company, all companies for which we hold historical records.

Sports teams and recreational activities were encouraged in companies around the United States in the early to mid-1900s because the companies believed it engendered worker loyalty, reduced worker discontent, and improved productivity.  Employees participated to reduce the monotony of work on the factory floor, to bond with coworkers, and to develop athletic skills for fun and fitness.  It was a win-win situation for all involved!

We’re having a reception for the exhibit on Sunday, July 29, from 2:00 to 4:00p.m. The exhibit will be up in the gallery until October 19, available when the building is open 8:30a.m. to 4:30p.m., Mondays through Fridays.  For more information about the exhibit please contact me at laura.smith@lib.uconn.edu or 860-486-2516.  After October this exhibit will be a traveling exhibit and we will be happy to loan it out to facilities around the state, so let me know if you’re interested in hosting it.

UConn Today, the campus magazine, featured the exhibit in their July 6 issue!  See the article here: http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2012/07/photo-exhibit-documents-history-of-%E2%80%98workers-at-play%E2%80%99/.

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections

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