Resources of Small Businesses in Connecticut

Main Street, New Britain, 1949
Main Street, New Britain, 1949

About the project

The UConn Library is creating a new collection that will gather and make accessible marketing and other original resources from active small businesses in Connecticut, to serve as a resource for students and faculty in UConn’s School of Business and to make accessible via the UConn Library’s digital repository. Through these resources students will learn how these businesses were conceived, formed, evolved, struggled through economic downturns and phenomena such as a global pandemic, and thrived.

One of the UConn School of Business’ areas of focus (for new investment) is taking a leading role in efforts to bolster the success of our state’s economic development. Small businesses are vital to the economy, and this project is designed to appeal to students who look to make a positive impact in the communities they live in. This project can also be part of entrepreneurship education. Providing a collection showing documents related to small businesses, as a means to inform budding entrepreneurs and students in the School of Business, is in the state’s best economic, manufacturing and cultural interests, both to support current businesses and to draw new small businesses to the state.

The project will build on the strong relationship between the UConn Library and the UConn School of Business. The Library will gather and make accessible the resources; the School of Business will integrate the resources into their curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students. The collections will serve as teaching resources, as instructional tools for students studying entrepreneurship and how small business form and thrive. 

Types of materials we collect

Resources will focus on how the companies were established, marketed themselves, and responded to various economic and demographic forces, even those beyond their control such as the recent Covid pandemic shutdown. Resources acquired for the collection can include posters, fliers, newsletters, annual reports, marketing videos, advertising, newspapers, state and regional magazines, commercials; price lists, menus, and other items that give a full picture of the products and services of the business. Items can be in both digital and physical formats.

The items would be donated to the UConn Archives and then available from the Connecticut Digital Archive, a digital repository that holds resources from the collections of over fifty archives, museums, historical societies and libraries in Connecticut. All physical items will be added to the UConn Archives where they will be stored and preserved.

The project will not include the acquisition of sensitive personnel or financial information. All donations are at the discretion of the business owners, and upon the recommendation of the Project Leads.

Project leads

Edward Junhao Lim, Business and Entrepreneurship Librarian, UConn Library

Laura Smith, Archivist for Business History Collections, UConn Archives