Browse Exhibits (23 total)

100 Years Since the First World War

This exhibit features three cases of material from the archives’ collection. From political cartoons to memorials, the pieces included in this exhibit provide a fascinating glimpse into America during the First World War. Woodrow Wilson in August of 1914: “The effect of the war upon the United States will depend upon what American citizens say and do. Every man who really loves America will act and speak in the true spirit of neutrality, which is the spirit of impartiality and fairness and friendliness to all concerned. The spirit of the Nation in this critical matter will be determined largely by what individuals and society and those gathered in public meetings do and say, upon what newspapers and magazines contain, upon what ministers utter in their pulpits, and men proclaim as their opinions on the street… The people of the United States are drawn from many nations, and chiefly from the nations now at war. It is natural and inevitable that there should be the…

Arte Mexicano en WestConn (en Español)

La documentación de procedencia nos cuenta la historia de cómo una obra de arte puede llegar a donde vivirá en el mundo, y esa historia puede contener suficientes giros y vueltas curiosas que incluso puede llegar a desviar la atención de la historia inicial de la creación de la obra en sí. Esta exhibición es un conjunto de arte cuya historia de procedencia comienza en México y por el momento, por extraño que parezca, se detuvo a 2600 millas al norte y este de la Ciudad de México en Danbury, Connecticut. La inspiración para esta exhibición comenzó en el año 2007 con una pieza de escultura. El entonces director de la biblioteca le pidió al personal de Archivos de la Universidad (WCSU) que retirara de la sala de conferencias una escultura de plástico y madera de tamaño mediano de una figura humana sentada. En vez de deshacerse de la escultura, tal y como se había sugerido, el archivista la agregó a una pequeña colección de arte en el archivo de la Universidad porque al personal de…

Artifacts of the Women's Suffrage Movement

2019 marks the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment (ratified by the Congress in 1919 - by the states in 1920) which made it a woman's constitutional right to vote. This is a virtual look at materials that are currently on display in the atrium of the Haas Library until 2020. WestConn was founded (1903) as the debate over whether women should have the right to vote was reaching its zenith. In fact, WestConn was established to train teachers, at first all women, in order to fulfill the State's mandates for public education. Partly, it was women like the students at WestConn who were employed outside the home that exposed the hypocrisy of excluding half of the voting-age-population from full citizenship, while relying on that unrepresented half's labor to fuel the economy. The following exhibit is a sampling of some of the items in the WCSU Archives that illuminate this pivotal period from the 1890s until the early 1920s. Though women's struggle for the right to vote…

Class of 1911, 20th Reunion Scrapbook
The Danbury Normal School class of 1911 was very active after graduation. In 1932 the organizers of their 20th reunion sent out surveys to all graduates. These surveys asked graduates about their life after graduation, their families, and whether they had a good camera they'd be willing to bring to the reunion. Respondents were also encouraged to send back photos of their family. The responses were collected into this scrapbook.

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…

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Danbury Redevelopment Appraisals

Robert Noce photo.jpg
The redevelopment of downtown area in the late 1950’s began as a direct result of the disastrous floods that struck the city in August and October 1955 and the subsequent efforts at flood control and revitalization. This exhibit concentrates on one specific focus of those redevelopment efforts, the appraisal of the residential and commercial properties in the proposed area of redevelopment. It also highlights the life and career of one of the two experts selected to perform those appraisals, Robert N. Noce, a long time Danbury resident and business, political and community leader.


Danbury’s Federal Correctional Institution (F.C.I.) has been a fixture of this region for more than 80 years. Few remember that it at first was home to many political prisoners and conscientious objectors during and after World War Two. Most recall the high profile prisoners incarcerated there, including members of the Hollywood Ten (filmmakers and screenwriters alleged to have had ties to the Communist Party), Father Berrigan, Reverend Moon, Martha Stewart and Orange is the New Black. This exhibit will touch on some of the persons who resided at Danbury F.C.I but will focus on the placement of the prison in 1938 among the hills overlooking the newly created Candlewood Lake (created in 1929) and the economic exigency that made its construction a near necessity in Depression-Era Danbury. Additionally, we’ll show that the construction was not without its detractors. The prison has also had an off and on and semi-official relationship with WestConn over the years, which is explored with…

Florence L. Anderson Scrapbook
Florence Lovisa Anderson (known to her classmates as “Flop”) was born in 1910 to Emil and Jennie Anderson who had emigrated to Naugatuck, CT from Sweden in 1901. Florence would live most of her 92 years in Naugatuck. Upon graduation from Naugatuck High School, she enrolled in the Danbury Normal School in 1928 where she became the president of the Cooperative Government Association (the precursor to the Student Government Association). According to the meeting minutes she oversaw debates over student standards and conduct, designs for class rings, the number of days in the school year (DNS was only in session 180 days while the State mandated 183), and the theft of a valuable fountain pen. Anderson and her classmates (including Davida Blakeslee Foy) documented their adventures in scrapbooks that are both held by the WCSU Archives. Anderson inscribed Blakeslee Foy’s scrapbook with this short verse: When he puts his arms around you And he looks into your eye When he tells you that he…

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.…

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.