Overview of Collections
Many items in our collections, and finding aids to the collections, can be found online in our digital repository.
The collection consists of newspapers, periodicals and pamphlets of the non-establishment or alternative movements, political, economic and social, of the twentieth century, primarily American. Begun in 1967 when ephemeral campus underground materials were collected by Special Collections Department staff, documentation continued through the 1970s to focus on political and social problems of the decade
The Alternative Press Collection (APC) includes thousands of national and international newspapers, serials, books, pamphlets, ephemera and artifacts documenting activist themes and organizations from the 1800s to the present. In addition to subject files on alternative organizations, posters, buttons, and ephemera from social movements in the United States, the APC contains manuscript collections, including the personal papers of activists such as Abbie Hoffman, Cal Robertson, Stephen Thornton, and Foster Gunnison; records of social justice organizations such as the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union; and various topical collections including the Poras Collection of Vietnam War Memorabilia and the Meyer Collection of Fat Liberation.
The purpose of the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection (NCLC) is to preserve the history of the creation of our best literature written for children. Emphasis is given to the perception of children’s literature as a form of art over other educational or social intentions. Archives are collected to document the process of children’s book creation by authors and illustrators in collaboration with agents, editors, designers and publishers.
Archives & Special Collections holds over 120 archives of notable authors and illustrators of children’s literature native to or identified with the Northeast and East Coast of the United States. Significant holdings include the archives of Natalie Babbitt, Barbara Cooney, Tomie de Paola, Leonard E. Fisher, Ruth Krauss, James Marshall, Richard Scarry, Marc Simont, Esphyr Slobodkina, Joseph A. Smith, Cyndy Szekeres, Leonard Weisgard, and Ed Young among others.
Archives & Special Collections develops a core collection of award-winning children’s books by participating in a children’s awards acquisition plan. The plan encompasses standard prizes such as the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, a large number of multi-cultural awards such as the Coretta Scott King and Tomas Rivera awards and international awards from Australia, Canada, England, Ireland and New Zealand. Published works in English by authors and illustrators whose archives are held are added comprehensively.
The collection documents Connecticut’s evolution from an agrarian society to one that played a vital role in the Industrial Revolution in a variety of materials, from daybooks from grist mills, dairy farms, and quarries of the early 19th century to annual reports and stock statements of companies whose dealings extended internationally in the mid and late 20th century. The majority of the archives are of businesses that made Connecticut an industry leader in the 19th and early 20th century – textiles and silk, brass and hardware manufacturing, clocks and watches, heavy machinery and tools, and telecommunications, with some collections in the areas of banking, rubber manufacturing, knitting needles, surgical sutures, toiletries and thermoses.
Connecticut History and Culture
Connecticut’s history is richly represented in many areas of business and labor, but also through its people and places. Collections such as the Leavenworth Family Papers document the lives and activities of Connecticut families as far back as the 18th century.
Connecticut Labor History
The labor history collections document the activities of workers and labor unions in Connecticut in the twentieth century. The collecting area holds collections of mainly three distinct groups: the personal papers of labor activists, most of whom were active in the mid-20th century, including Dominic Badolato, Henry Becker, Roger Borrup; labor unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO of workers at the state’s Pratt & Whitney or Hamilton Sunstrand plants; and labor councils, particularly the State Labor Council and the Greater Hartford Labor Council. Other collections include the records of the university’s Labor Education Center and two AFSCME related groups. The focus is almost solely on workers and labor unions in Connecticut in the 20th century.
Connecticut Politics and Public Affairs
The collection includes the records of delegates from Connecticut to the United States Congress from 1933 to the present (bulk, 1970-2006). In support of these materials, there are additional collections from select individuals and organizations involved in political/civic issues at the state level such as Bob Englehart, Vivien Kellems, Herman Wolf and the Caucus of Connecticut Democrats.
Ethnic Heritage and Immigration
Collection includes records of a Federal Writers Project Ethnic Groups Survey for Connecticut, oral history interviews and other materials concerning Connecticut ethnic groups.
Fine Press and Artists’ Books
Collection includes fine print and limited editions from private presses, unique fine and signed bindings, artists’ books and association copies. Since the late 1970s, Special Collections has been acquiring experimental and artists’ books to provide students of fine and graphic arts with examples of forms that challenge the conventional meaning of the word ‘book.’ Over the years, the collection has grown to include fine and small press imprints, limited edition letterpress and offset printed volumes, and contemporary artists’ books. These books represent a variety of structures, construction techniques, printing methods and themes. National and international artists are represented with works in a variety of languages. The collection also includes references sources and exhibition catalogs.
The Human Rights Collections include the Thomas J. Dodd Papers, which document his work as Chief Trial Counsel at the Nuremberg Trials, oral histories and documentation gathered in partnership with the African National Congress in South Africa, the records and library of Human Rights Internet, the records of the Coalition for International Justice, and the Refugee Case Files of the International Rescue Committee. Photographic collections, such as the Impact Visuals Photograph Collection, the Romano Human Rights Digital Photograph Collection, and the Clift Human Rights Photography Collection document international human rights violations and struggles for social justice. Among the holdings are transcripts of interviews conducted by the Center for Oral History at the University of Connecticut. Additional human rights materials can be found in the Alternative Press Collection, which contains thousands of national and international newspapers, serials, books, pamphlets, ephemera and artifacts documenting activist themes and organizations, spanning from the 1800s to the present.
Highlighted Collection: The U. Roberto (Robin) Romano Papers
Latin American and Caribbean Studies
The Latin American Newspapers collection includes approximately 2000 titles of the Latin American and Caribbean Newspapers. The collection is strongest for the late nineteenth century and contains newspapers from virtually every country of Latin America and the Caribbean. The most notable portion of the collection is represented by newspapers from Bolivia. Twenty-nine cities of Bolivia are represented with major holdings from the cities of La Paz and Cochabamba. The most notable portion of the collection is represented by newspapers from Bolivia and Peru. The Spanish Periodical and Newspapers collection is another very important collection, collected by the late Duque de T’Serclaes, the collection spans three centuries. The bulk of the materials cover the years 1800-1840 and it covers a wide variety of topics about Spain and Latin America. Spanish scholars are constantly contacting us to get access to this material.
The Literary Collections are comprised of the personal papers and manuscripts of over one hundred American and English writers. The bulk of the literary collections include the extensive personal papers of poet, literary theorist, and essayist Charles Olson, and extensive holdings of papers of poets associated with the Black Mountain, Beat, and New York Schools of poetry. Records of a number of small literary presses, as well as strong holdings of first editions, broadsides, fine and private press editions, artists’ books, and literary magazines, complement the manuscripts and document the networks of editors and contributors of which the writers were a part. Among the Literary Collections are the papers of several twentieth-century nature writers, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edwin Way Teale, Phyllis Busch, George Heinold, and John K. Terres.
Highlighted Collection: The Charles Olson Research Collection
The collection includes literary manuscripts and personal papers of selected natural history writers active after the Second World War, with an emphasis on writers whose work is intended for the general public, whose lives or work are strongly related to Connecticut or New England, or who knew or were influenced by Edwin Way Teale. Also included are organizational records of Connecticut or New England natural history societies. Diaries, literary manuscripts, field notebooks, photographs and photography equipment can be found in the collection of naturalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edwin Way Teale. The papers of several other 20th century nature writers, including Phyllis Busch, George Heinold, and John K. Terres, are complemented by book collections of early and rare natural history works in botany, ornithology, apiculture, horology, travel and exploration, and other fields.
Bird, flower, and butterfly books from the 17th century to the present, collected for their scientific texts and their exquisite color plates. The floral material is particularly strong in herbals (medical botany), and includes 18th and 19th century periodicals with color plates.
The collection provides context and support to the materials found in the University of Connecticut School of Nursing Archives. This area is particularly strong in its documentation of the professional development, status, and legal activities associated with nursing by the organizations in Connecticut on behalf of their members as well as 20th century nurse training. There is limited, but significant, documentation of information on 19th century nursing activities during the American Civil War in the Josephine Dolan Collection. Formats accepted include manuscripts, diaries, correspondence, photographs, ephemera, sound recordings, and moving images.
The collection consists of papers, records and collections of a variety of archival materials related to southern New England’s railroad heritage, dating from the 1830s and the birth of railroad transportation in the United States to the 1980s. The materials are particularly strong in representing the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, better known as the New Haven Railroad, which was the predominant railroad in the region from 1872 to 1969. Coverage is strong for the New Haven Railroad’s predecessor lines, particularly the Central New England Railway, the New York & New England Railroad, and the Old Colony Railroad.
The largest and most significant railroad collection is the corporate records of the New Haven Railroad, which consist of administrative, real estate, legal and financial files as well as an extensive array of financial ledgers and board of director’s minutes for virtually every predecessor railroad, including street railways, that merged with or were leased by the New Haven Railroad. The collection also holds an almost complete collection of right-of-way track maps of the NHRR system and other maps and railroad station drawings of properties and land owned by the railroad. Also included are many thousands of photographs of locomotives, railroad stations, crossings, equipment and personnel. There are several collections of research files compiled by railroad fans and historians.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
A diverse collection of rare books, pamphlets, and special monograph collections that support research in the history of illustration, history of the book, and all subject areas represented by the manuscript collections. Among the holdings are first editions, fine press and small press editions, limited editions, and broadsides by a wide range of 19th and 20th century American and British poets, novelists and dramatists; early illustrated botanical and natural history books from the 16th through the 19th centuries; published works produced by Latin American presses from the 17th to the 20th centuries; …
The collection was initially established as a protection program designed to remove valuable and limited edition print and non-print materials from the Library’s circulating collection. It includes rare books such as American imprints before 1820, early European printed books, political and literary broadsides, early newspapers and periodicals, pamphlets, and ephemera. Specialized research collections include the Italian Risorgimento Collection, the Belgian Revolution Collection, and the Gaines Collection of Political Americana. Also included are special materials relating to the history of the books and printing, such as specimens of illumination and early printing, art prints, bookplates, posters and graphic arts.
Spanish History and Culture
Holdings include the personal library of Jaime H. Arjona internationally known expert on Lope de Vega; the Madrid Collection which comprises books, pamphlets, magazine and newspaper articles, broadsides, ephemera, maps and pictorial works relating to the history of Madrid formed by Jose Luis Oliva Escribano of Madrid; the Spanish periodicals and newspapers collection of Duque de T’Serclaes documents reports of events in Spain’s overseas empire, particularly Latin America and Mexico covering the years 1800-1840. A listing of the Spanish periodicals available in Archives & Special Collections can be found here.
The collection was developed as a collaborative project of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research and Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center (1997-2015). The goal of the project was to assemble, preserve and provide access to the professional and personal papers of the founders of the modern public opinion survey profession. Holdings include the Papers of Elmo Roper, Samuel Lubell, Warren Mitofsky, Archibald Crossley and James Vicary, among others. The collections contain correspondence, survey instruments and reports, speeches and presentations on the topics of politics, race, consumer products and religion and conducted from the late 1920s through 2006.
University of Connecticut History
As the official repository for records of the University of Connecticut, holdings include the papers of presidents, administrative officers, and Board of Trustees; papers and selected publications of University faculty members; records of University student and employee organizations; photographs, sound recordings, films, memorabilia, student publications, yearbooks, and athletics realia; and dissertations, theses, and senior honors papers produced by University students.
The University Archives holds the institutional memory of the University of Connecticut and is the largest and most comprehensive source of information on the history and cultural heritage of UConn and its predecessor institutions. As the collective memory of the university, the Archives contains official and historical records including documentation of governance, policy, operation of administrative offices, research, programs, and publications. Unpublished materials in the Archives include photographs, films, memorabilia, administrative records of major university offices, and the papers of presidents, administrative officers, and members of the faculty. Special collections have also been established to document such important events as UCONN 2000 and the men’s and women’s national basketball championships. Formats accepted include manuscripts, diaries, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, ephemera, administrative records, sound recordings, moving images, accessible/supported electronic records. Departmental minutes, publications and programmatic information are accepted.
Vernacular African American Music
Archives & Special Collections holds the archive of Samuel and Ann Charters documenting their work recording, collecting and writing about African American music. The documents collected and created by the Charters include over 5000 recordings of African American music, over 350 pieces of popular American sheet music related to African Americans, 400 commercial video and dvd productions about African American music, research materials, manuscripts, field recordings, recording session notes and books written by the Charters and supporting the study of African American vernacular musical genres. The archive also includes all recordings by African Americans from the catalogs of Arhoolie, Document and Fantasy Records in addition to recordings of performances from the meetings of the Maple Leaf Club of Los Angeles.