You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2012.

In today’s Daily Campus, read about the Annual Aetna Writing Prize Program and the presentation of writing prizes to UConn students including Daniel Allie, who was awarded the Kathleen Gibson McPeek Scholarship for his essay “What does not change: Charles Olson’s Projective Verse and The Kingfishers”.  Daniel Allie is an undergraduate English major who, prior to his becoming a student employee here, conducted extensive research in the papers of poet Charles Olson held in Archives and Special Collections.  Congratulations Daniel!

Melissa Watterworth Batt, Curator of Literary Collections


In the years that I have been a curator here in Archives & Special Collections I have been fortunate to work with a wide array of researchers, from academic scholars, graduate and undergraduate students, and genealogists to railroad fans, lawyers and preservationists, but I admit to you all right here and right now that I get the most satisfaction when I work with middle school and high school students, those who are at the early point of discovering the wonder and power of primary sources.   And one of the ways we get to work with young students is to help them find the resources they need for National History Day projects.

Never heard of National History Day?  Here is the description of the contest from the website at

“Each year, more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide participate in the NHD contest. Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries. These products are entered into competitions in the spring at local, state and national levels where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators. The program culminates in the Kenneth E. Behring National Contest each June held at the University of Maryland at College Park.”

The theme for the 2013 contest is “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events,” and, a project of Connecticut Humanities, is helping provide primary sources to NHD students by creating a new series of essays called “Turning Points.”

Thomas J. Dodd at the Nuremberg Trials, 1945-1946, from the Thomas J. Dodd Papers

We here in Archives & Special Collections are collaborating with by choosing materials from our collections and providing these sources and essays for students to use for their NHD projects.  Two of the essays are currently online (with more to come), which include:

Connecticut Lawyer Prosecutes Nazi War Criminals at Nuremberg, which describes the work of Thomas J. Dodd, who served on the Executive Trial Council at the Nuremberg Trials following World War II, and the tragedy of Kristallnacht, a turning point that unleashed the persecution of European Jews by the Nazi regime.

Reporting News of Pearl Harbor, which tells of how Andre Schenker, a professor of history at the University of Connecticut and a commentator for Hartford radio station WTIC in the 1940s, reported this shattering world event — a turning point in history if there ever was one — to his Connecticut listeners.

There are more “Turning Points” to come, so stay tuned.  Also, if you haven’t tooled around then spend a few minutes with this extraordinary resource, reading the essays and looking at the unique photographs and documents.  There is a lot to learn there about the history of Connecticut!

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections

Student Union

The University of Connecticut Student Union opened its doors to the UConn community sixty years ago today.  Since 1952 the students and building have changed a bit, but the Student Union is still physically in the center of campus and serves as the “center of activity for students, faculty and staff…designed to enhance the quality of student life, support co-curricular activities and contribute to the University’s educational mission.”

–Betsy Pittman, University Archivist

Hartford Electric Light Company duck pin bowling team, 1950s

October 19 is the last day to view the Workers at Play exhibit, now showing in the Dodd Research Center Gallery anytime the building is open, Mondays through Fridays, 8:30a.m. to 4:30p.m.  We’ve had a great response to the exhibit and appreciate all of the nice comments everyone’s given.  Come see it before it’s outta here!

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections

Thermos Company employees playing bingo, ca. 1950s

Connecticut Archives Month, October 2012

The poster for Connecticut’s recognition of Archives Month highlights the fragility of our documentary and cultural heritage.  Repositories throughout the state, like Archives & Special Collections at UConn, actively acquire materials that document events, actions, individuals and organizations that are Connecticut and its residents to protect, preserve and make it accessible into the future.  During Archives Month, everyone is encouraged to visit a repository and learn more.  A list of activities being held in the Dodd Research Center, where Archives & Special Collections is located, can be found online.

–Betsy Pittman, University Archivist

Dodd Center’s Tweets