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Mansfield Connecticut Landscapes, a set on Flickr.
Landscape photographs of Mansfield Connecticut made by Harry L. Garrigus before 1912 are now available on Flickr.
William B. Young was an avid fan, enthusiast and historian of the Connecticut Company, particularly its trolley cars, which controlled the street railroad system that provided public transportation in the state’s towns and cities from 1905 to 1948. Mr. Young, born in 1942, spent much of his youth in Stamford and Roxbury, Connecticut, where he explored local trolley right-of-ways, collected railroad documents and memorabilia, took photographs, and rode the trains at every opportunity, not just in the state but across the country. While earning a degree in history (focusing many of his term papers on transportation history) at Yale University he worked summers as a Conductor on the Chicago Transit Authority. After he graduated in 1966 he was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy, serving as a Naval Aviator during the Vietnam War, and continued as a flight instructor after the war, when he left active duty in 1977. After his service he became a database programmer and lived in North Carolina until his death in December 2010.
Mr. Young compiled an enormous and extraordinarily comprehensive collection of materials about the trolley system which includes publications, photographs, timetables, maps, postcards, manuals, and reports. He corresponded with an extensive network of other knowledgeable railroad and trolley historians, where the minutiae of the cars and the broad history of the company were discussed and dissected with equal interest and regard. His ultimate goal in amassing this information was the creation of a car roster database, which classified each car in the system by number, owner, purchase cost, weight, roof, type, builder, first year in service, accident history, motor type, compressor type, and controller.
In February 2011 Mr. Young’s sister, Mary Young, contacted the archives about donating the collection. In the time between this initial contact and its ultimate donation in June 2012, Ms. Young and her sister Lucy gathered the materials from Mr. Young’s home in North Carolina, separated those materials most appropriate for donation, boxed and organized the materials by format, created “finding guides” and other descriptions to ease discovery of the materials, and provided much of the written information about Mr. Young and the company that helped place it all in context. This comprehensive collection is now available for use by the general public, and its finding aid, which includes long descriptions of the life of Mr. Young and the Connecticut Company, is available at http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/asc/findaids/wbyoung/MSS20120077.html. An electronic version of the database will be made available by the Shore Line Trolley Museum, but an extensive printout of the database can be found with the collection here in Archives & Special Collections.
The Connecticut Company, which by 1907 was controlled by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, operated most of the trolleys and buses in Connecticut, with fourteen divisions and, at its peak in the 1910s, a roster of over 2200 cars and nearly 800 miles of track that either ran in or connected twelve major Connecticut cities. Ridership started to drop in the 1920s and systems were abandoned by the 1930s. The last trolley ran on September 25, 1948, in New Haven, as the post-war boom of personal ownership of the automobile became widespread.
Connecticut is lucky to have two trolley museums to preserve this important aspect of transportation, including the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven (http://www.shorelinetrolley.com/) and the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor (http://www.ct-trolley.org/).
The archive is deeply grateful to the family of William B. Young for this valuable collection that will serve as a vital resource for this corner of the state’s transportation history.
Laura Smith, Curator of Business, Railroad and Labor Collections
in 1938, the first major hurricane to hit New England since 1869 made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane. The full force of the hurricane reached Long Island in the afternoon, the eye making landfall in Suffolk County (LI) shortly after 3:00 pm. By 4:00, the eye had crossed the Sound and made a second landfall just east of New Haven, Connecticut. Current analyses have labeled the hurricane at Category 3 intensity at both landfalls and place the maximum sustained winds in the 120–125 m.p.h. range. After crossing Long Island Sound, the hurricane sped inland. By 5:00 pm, the eye had crossed Connecticut and moved into western Massachusetts, reaching Vermont by 6:00 pm.
Betsy Pittman, University Archivist
Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center would like to remind its readers of the significant roles in our lives played by Congress and the Constitution. Congress week is sponsored by the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress (ACSC), which was founded in 2003 as an independent alliance of organizations and institutions which promote the study of the U.S. Congress. The theme of this year’s national celebration is “Congress: Chosen by the People.” Article 1, Section 2 and the 17th Amendment of the Constitution give citizens the right to elect their members of Congress. With the presidential and congressional elections just around the corner in November, it is important to remember our civic responsibility to choose our representatives in government. Documentation of Congress and how it works can be found in the papers of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation housed in the Dodd Center. A complete list of the political collections open for consultation is available on the A&SC website.
Constitution Day recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. This year also marks the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787. Connecticut had two representatives sign the Constitution, William Samuel Johnson and Robert Sherman. Sherman also signed the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence, making him one of only two people to sign all three documents. Both Sherman and Johnson were influential in creating a system of representation in Congress where the rights of smaller states like Connecticut would be protected. In the end, the Great Compromise created two branches of legislature: the House of Representatives where states are represented proportionally, and the Senate where every state is guaranteed two senators regardless of size.
Today, UConn is observing Constitution Day by hosting a “watch party” from 1:30-2:30 p.m., in Konover Auditorium (Dodd Center). The program is an hour-long presentation showcasing the national scene and dilemmas that faced Americans on September 22, 1862. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has arranged for a special live stream performance and discussion focused on the ramifications of emancipation. Several renowned Civil War scholars from around the country (University of Richmond, Columbia University, and Duke University, among others) will participate in the presentation. Perspectives from Frederick Douglass, enslaved people from the South, Northern free blacks, the White House, and others will be highlighted.
For community members who wish to view the panel from their classrooms/offices, please use the following link to connect: emancipation.neh.gov/live/.
–Krista Miller, Intern
In our continuing efforts to make our collections available online we present to you a set of Railroad Commissioner Reports of the State of Connecticut, now available through the HathiTrust at http://archive.org/search.php?query=%22uconn%20libraries%22%20%20railroad%20%22annual%20report%22. This is done courtesy of our cooperative relationship with the Boston Libraries Consortium and the Digital Programs and Preservation and Conservation staff here at the UConn Libraries.
The railroad commissioner reports are very rich documents, published yearly between the 1850s until 1911, and provide details about bridges, structures and track laid for each railroad in the state as well as the expenditures and income. Many of the issues have details about train accidents and lists of the members of their board of directors, important information for any railroad researcher.
Many of these reports were donated by a long-time donor of railroad materials, Mr. Leroy Beaujon of Roseville, California. Mr. Beaujon has a soft spot in his heart for the Central New England Railway, which ran in western Connecticut and eastern New York State until it was taken over by the New Haven Railroad in the early 1900s. He grew up on Canaan, Connecticut, so his interest in the railroads of that area was formed early in his youth and has remained throughout his life. We are pleased that we can make Mr. Beaujon’s gift of the railroad reports available not only to the researchers who visit us here at Archives & Special Collections but to anyone, anytime and anywhere.
Check out the reports online, and enjoy!
Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections