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Kitchens across the United States are bracing for the beginning of the baking season marathon that commences every year just before the fourth Thursday in November and continues through the dropping of the ball signaling the arrival of the New Year.  So for those of you who may be bored or uninspired by the offerings of today’s celebrity chefs, the variety of cookbooks in the holdings of Archives & Special Collections may be what you’re looking for.  The collection contains a wide variety of cuisine for all palates.  A sample of the titles are shown below.

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The staff of Archives & Special Collections wishes everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and best of luck in this baking season!

Betsy Pittman, University Archivist

Jonathan II

Jonathan II, 1935

Jonathan the Husky has been the mascot of the University of Connecticut since 1935, four years before Connecticut State College became the University of Connecticut. The first Jonathan, a black, brown, and white animal, was short-lived, hit by an automobile only weeks after his arrival on the Storrs campus. His successor, and the one that started the tradition of an all-white Husky mascot, made his much anticipated debut on November 8, 1935. His would be a long career, serving until his passing in 1947.  In 1936 he chased Brown’s bear mascot up a tree, requiring Providence police and fire fighters to get the bear down.


–Mark J. Roy, University Communications (retired)

COSTEP-CT, a group based in Connecticut that encourages disaster preparedness and recovery in the state by individuals as well as organizations, has developed some basic guidelines for recovery efforts for storm damaged family heirlooms and antiques.

The guidelines describe basic activities for  cleaning and drying water-damaged materials including paper based items, framed artwork, photographs, textiles, leather, bone/ivory, metal and sound and video recordings.  COSTEP-CT also provides contact information for materials requiring more than basic care.

Betsy Pittman, University Archivist

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

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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


Congress Week observance September 16 – 22, 2012

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:

–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  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

“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 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

Dodd Center’s Tweets