“Rights of Freedom: African American Property Rights in the Antebellum South” – Feb 22, at 3 p.m. in Room 122 of White Hall

In recognition of Black History Month, the WCSU Department of History and the WCSU Archives will host historian Ryan Bachman for a discussion about “Rights of Freedom: African American Property Rights in the Antebellum South” Feb 22, at 3 p.m. in Room 122 of White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The talk will be free and the public is invited. For more information, call (203) 837-8484.

Vietnam Oral History Project

Check out Cody Clark and Alec Florio’s interviews with Vietnam veterans. Cody and and Alec conducted the interviews as part of their fall 2016 independent study for the History Department with advisor Dr. Marcy May. We plan to offer this project as a ready-made independent study for interested WestConn students. Speak to a faculty member of the History Department or Archivist Brian Stevens (stevensb[at]wcsu.edu) for details.

Click here to check it out.

Hidden Old Main online exhibit

While “Old Main” is WestConn’s oldest and probably most iconic building, its interior and uses have changed considerably over the last century. For many years it was the college’s only or main building (hence the name Old Main) and its original design answered the multiple needs that had to be met by a single facility.

This exhibit aims to bring to light some aspects of this building now no longer visible to most visitors.

Click to view the exhibit

This project was undertaken by the 2015 Herb Janick Archives Fellow, Jon-Thomas Caprino, ’15.

Herndon Dowling Collection donated to WestConn

Associate Professor of Biology at Western Connecticut State University, Dr. Theodora Pinou has arranged for the transfer to WestDowling_001Conn the Herndon G. Dowling Herpetological Library. Dr. Pinou is the Coordinator Secondary Education Science, Herpetology, Snake Systematics at WCSU and was awarded the “Excellence in Teaching” Award by the WCSU Chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success in the spring of 2014. When a Dr. Pinou was a student, Herndon Dowling was her teacher and mentor in herpetology. Dowling’s seventy years of herpetological field studies took him to Mexico, through the United States, Galapagos Islands, Burma, Germany, and India. He was a snake systematist with major interests in snake morphology and its influence upon snake evolution. In addition to fieldwork, Dowling spent much time in museums and working with herpetological collections observing, recording, and analyzing specimens. His notes include measurements, detailed scale counts, osteology, hemipenes, coloration, behavior, and patterning where possible. It is estimated that Dowling examined and recorded data from nearly all known snake lineages and genera. His notes and documentation are unique and invaluable to the field of herpetology.

In addition to Dowling’s notes there are maps of snake distributions, photographs, statistical data, and original drawings of snake skulls, vertebrae, hemipenes, scale patterns, and hyoid bones. Each drawing represents a dedicated museum specimen or a specimen in Dowling’s osteological collection now housed at Pinou’s research lab at Western Connecticut State University. Tissue samples for most of the later specimens are banked in the research labs at the University of Maryland and Western Connecticut State University. The collection also includes published materials (books and journals) including all of Dowling’s scientific and pDowling_004opular papers and correspondence that span his scientific career.

It is the intent of the WCSU, its Archives and Biology Department that this important collection be utilized by students, faculty and researchers beyond WCSU. Dowling’s historical research in the field of herpetology is unique among other collections in this discipline, and is also unique in subject matter to collections at WCSU. The intimate understanding that Dr. Pinou possesses regarding Dowling’s research makes her a vital component in processing and making these materials accessible to researchers.

(images show Dr. Pinou reviewing pieces from the Dowling collection)