Browse Exhibits (14 total)

WestConn's First African-American Students


It would not be until the late 1960s that the composition of college and university student body populations began to numerically reflect the African-American populations around them in the U.S.  In a 1969 photograph, members of the then newly-formed Afro-American Club can be seen giving the “Black Power” fist salute for their yearbook photo signaling an overt change in the culture at WestConn; however,  earlier in the century, the educational possibilities were quite different for those Afro-American Club members’ parents and grandparents.  The population of African-Americans was small in Danbury in the early 1900s; in 1895, there were only 14 registered births in the City of Danbury of persons considered to be “black.” Furthermore, based on photographic evidence, there was a very small number in the community that entered Danbury High School in that period.   Yet, standing in the back row of the 1906 senior class picture for the Danbury Normal School (first graduating class of the precursor to WestConn), there is a lone young African-American woman.  

Danbury Industrial Corporation

The Danbury Industrial Corporation created a three volume Danbury Industrial Survey which contains comprehensive descriptions and statistical analyses of Danbury's business and industrial community from 1918.  As the Survey states in its introduction:

Gentlemen: In accordance with our agreement, I herewith submit in the form of an Industrial Survey a report upon the economic and industrial conditions now existing in Danbury together with an analysis of such conditions and presentation of conclusions formed as a result of such analysis. 
My desire has been to prepare and present as complete data and information as possible for the purpose of assisting in promoting the industrial growth of Danbury.
The accompanying survey is largely of a confidential nature, and intended more for the assistance and guidance of your Officers and Committees, than for general distribution. Personally, I do not favor large expenditures for printed matter to be used for exploitation purposes. I think very few practical results are secured thereby. You should however have at your command, and in proper  form, such facts and data, as will assist you in presenting your advantages when negotiations are in progress.

  • l---The possibilities for expansion of existing industries,
  • 2---The possibilities for establishment of lines of manufacture allied to existing industries,
  • 3---The possibilities for development of bi-products manufacturers,
  • 4---The possibilities for development of new industries.
  • 5---The advantages and disadvantage of transportation conditions,
  • 6---The conditions relating to labor,
  • 7---The position of Danbury relative to the question of the cost of power,
  • 8---The market and distribution conditions relating to various lines of industry,
  • 9---The economic and strategic position of Danbury as compared with other cities,
  • 10---The advantages of Danbury as to factory sites and factory locations,
  • 11---The relation of civic conditions to industrial growth

I recommend that effort shall first be directed toward the providing of such advantageous manufacturing conditions in Danbury as will permit the securing of new industries, largely on the basis of merit of the city’s manufacturing location.

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HIS 298 - Truman Warner

This exhibit was created for the student of Western Connecticut State University; it is to show the life and work of Truman Warner, an anthropologist who was a director and taught for the University. He was one of the first male students to attend the then Danbury State Teachers College even though Danbury High School urged him to go to Yale. He saw the value in being able to get a bachelors degree and still be close to home. Even though he didn’t go to a private college he still became a successful teacher. Warner Hall is named after this professor because he illustrated that WestConn was a people’s college, a place filled with the history of unity and success stories of which Truman Warner was apart.

HIS 298 - The Socialist Party of America in Connecticut's Past

This exhibit reveals the significant social and political legacy of the Socialist Party in Connecticut during the half-century 1900-1950. The project challenges audiences to broaden their understanding of socialism in the state's past by revealing the mainstream victories of Socialist Party candidates Jasper McLevy, mayor of Bridgeport for nearly a quarter century (1933-1953) and Frederic Cole Smedley. Local newspaper clippings and voting records tell the story of socialism's rise to significance in the state's political arena. The extreme language and passionate oration associated with the Socialist Party is explored through a look at active socialist-communist John Mihelic's unpublished political poetry. Mihelic was also an enthusiastic collector of socialist “propaganda,” saving numerous English-language publications ranging from the 1909 to 1924. The International Socialist Reviews offers a glimpse into the impassioned imagery used by the movement’s proponents. Political cartoons in support of Bridgeport Mayor Jasper McLevy illuminate the role of emotional imagery in the socialist movement.