Archives & Special Collections

Railroad Map of Connecticut from 1891Railroad Maps in Archives & Special Collections 

Richard Schimmelpfeng Gallery
Dodd Center for Human Rights
Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m
through August 12, 2022

Railroads brought the United States into the Industrial Age and the Modern Era. In the early 19th century we were still a new and underdeveloped nation, without the established roads and towns in Europe. Most commerce was centered on agriculture and small craft shops. The introduction of railroads made possible the Industrial Revolution and led to the country becoming a major industrial power, with an extraordinary impact on the culture, economy, industry and personal lives of the nation's people.

At the time of the first railroad charters Connecticut had an extensive turnpike network, numerous steamboat services in Long Island Sound, and two canal projects underway. While the first railroads formed along Connecticut's river valleys, ending in a steamboat port along the Sound, east-west rail lines were difficult because of the state's many waterways and inland hills. The New York & Stonington Railroad was Connecticut's first operating railroad, opening in 1837. By 1857 there were twelve railroads in Connecticut that went through 90 of the state's towns but no town was more than 14 miles from rail access. After the Civil War Connecticut could boast of 1000 miles of trackage. At its peak in the 1920s the railroads in Connecticut traveled through all but four of the state's 169 towns.

The railroad maps in the UConn Archives illustrate the wide impact the railroads had on New England. While at the time of their creation their purpose was mostly utilitarian, there are a myriad of uses for the maps today, including as sources for property searches, confirming borders, finding old lines now defunct, constructing rails to trails and for legal disputes in property ownership. Researchers regularly use the maps for the construction of model train layouts and for other personal railroad research.

The exhibit shows railroad maps and surveys from the 1820s to the 2000s, in the Railroad History Collections in Archives & Special Collections.

Past Exhibits

Homer Babbidge Library

Beth Pite image titled Havana Alley

Beth Pite, Colorscapes 

Gallery on the Plaza
Homer Babbidge Library
Open through Sunday, August 14th, 2022
Public Reception - Thursday, August 11, 5-6:30pm

Beth's art is about color, energy and capturing the essence of something rather than an exact likeness. Using loose strokes of vibrant color, she shows how it felt to be there, instead of just copying what the camera records. Her paintings suggest a human story in intriguing settings, whether bustling cities or soothing seascapes. By emphasizing color and energy, she creates an enhanced reality that elicits a deeper response from viewers.

Award-winning artist Beth Pite has been exhibiting professionally since 1997. Trained at UConn's School of Fine Arts, she is a member of the Connecticut Pastel Society and exhibits her pastel paintings frequently throughout the region. In 2011, her seascape won second place in a statewide competition for an exhibit at Connecticut’s Legislative Office Building. Beth’s work has been accepted into juried shows at West Hartford Art League, Mystic Art Museum, the Artists Cooperative Gallery of Westerly, RI, Spectrum Gallery in Centerbrook, CT, and the Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich, CT.


Anthony Foronda artwork titled Gone FishingAWAKE: The Art & Design of Anthony Foronda 

Norman Stevens Gallery
Homer Babbidge Library
Open through Sunday, August 14th, 2022
Public Reception - Thursday, August 11, 5-6:30pm

Anthony Foronda’s work has two distinct styles he calls Primitíf and Realismé. Primitíf draws on his Filipino heritage using primitive figures and playful imagery with texture and saturated color to illustrate concepts of diversity, social and political themes, and narratives. Realismé speaks to political, cultural, and social issues using images that allow viewers to “rest” on concepts and hopefully enlighten them to a “truth” like the iconic image of a stop sign telling the viewer to stop and take notice.

His work has been seen in esteemed publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and National Public Radio to name a few. He was also a regular contributor to the Miami Herald Tropic Magazine with a weekly illustration for a column called True Lies. This year, he was selected to be in the Annual Capture Illustration Book out of Australia and chosen to be in American Illustration 40, to add to his previous editions of American Illustration 26, 28, and 32.


Online Exhibits

Image description: logo for exhibit titled 25 for 25, Celebrating Twenty-Five Years of Collecting

25 for 25: Celebrating Twenty-Five Years of Collecting

Online Exhibition, UConn Archives & Special Collections

Archives & Special Collections presents 25 for 25: Celebrating Twenty-Five Years of Collecting, a virtual, year-long exhibition celebrating collections and collecting. 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, which brought together the collections and practices of the University’s Historical Manuscripts & Archives and Special Collections departments for the first time. Over the course of a year, Archives & Special Collections staff will explore 25 objects selected from the collections, engaging with and reflecting on the meaning of these objects and the activity of collecting over time. Through these objects, Archives & Special Collections celebrates the act of historical preservation and the recognition that collections constantly evolve, grow, and expand so that future educators, students, researchers, and learners may be inspired and informed by the objects within.

AMS Virtual Exhibit ImageThe American Approach to Montessori Teaching and Learning

Online Exhibition, UConn Archives & Special Collections

The Montessori method of education was first introduced to the United States in the early 1900s yet quickly fell out of favor with American educators. Widespread American interest in Montessori did not return until the 1950s, thanks in large part to teacher Nancy McCormick Rambusch. Rambusch founded the American Montessori Society in 1960, which sought to promote the Montessori method in the United States. AMS succeeded in reviving the Montessori method in the United States and gaining recognition for it as a valid educational system. This exhibit explores the origins of the Montessori movement in the United States and the Americanization of the Montessori method. It is comprised of materials from the American Montessori Society Records, which were donated to the UConn Archives in 2006 and digitized beginning in 2016.

Connecticut Businesses in WWIIHomefront: Connecticut Businesses in World War II

Online Exhibition, UConn Archives & Special Collections

The outbreak of World War II dramatically changed Connecticut businesses. Long a vibrant part of New England industry, local firms switched from making clocks and wool coats to mass producing artillery cartridges and Army pea-coats. Selections from the Connecticut business collections held by the University of Connecticut’s Archives & Special Collections paint a detailed portrait of this remarkable moment in history through the lives of the people who lived it.