TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview of the Collection

Historical Note

Scope and Content

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Container List

Series 1. Minutes 1931-1932

Series 2. Correspondence 1931-1933

Series 3. General Files 1931-1933

Series 4. Press Files 1932

Series 5. Children's Contest Entries 1932

Series 6. Photographs 1932

Series 7. History of the George Washington Bicentennial Celebration: Programs of Participation in Connecticut 1932

Series 8. Scrapbooks 1932

Series 9. Artifacts 1932


RG 055, George Washington Bicentennial Commission

Inventory of Records

Finding aid prepared by Michael Forino and Allen Ramsey.

Copyright © 2011 by the Connecticut State Library


Overview of the Collection

Repository: Connecticut State Library
Creator: Connecticut. George Washington Bicentennial Commission
Title: George Washington Bicentennial Commission records
Dates: 1931-1933
Quantity: 7.75 cubic feet
Abstract: The Commission planned, sponsored, or encouraged a variety of activities in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington. The records consist of minutes, correspondence, general files, press files, children's contest entries, photographs, History of the George Washington Bicentennial Celebration: Programs of Participation in Connecticut, scrapbooks, and artifacts.
Identification: RG055
Accession: T002715 (except where noted)
Language: The records are in English.

Historical Note

In 1924 United States Senator Simeon D. Fess of Ohio proposed that a nationwide George Washington celebration should take place during the 200th anniversary of the birth of our first president, George Washington on February 22, 1932. In December of 1924 a joint resolution was signed by President Calvin Coolidge to officially create such a celebration. The principle purpose of the celebration was to enhance American citizens' understandings of the life of George Washington.1 Washington would once again be seen as the man, the farmer, the businessman, and the statesman rather than the fictitious character depicted for decades by misguided historians.2 To ensure that the intellectual function of the celebration was maintained, President Coolidge created a National Bicentennial Commission which would supervise the proceedings on national, state and local levels.

A former music and entertainment entrepreneur turned United States representative was charged with leading the commission. Under the leadership of Representative Sol Bloom, the George Washington Bicentennial not only overcame the trials of the Great Depression but received participation on all levels, even globally. Bloom was a man of unequivocal talent in the public relations field which allowed him certain liberties to effectively govern the bicentennial commission. Bloom took his responsibility to heart and endeavored to recreate George Washington in the spirits and minds of all Americans.3

In 1931 the Connecticut General Assembly passed House Bill number 1115 which authorized Governor Wilbur L. Cross to appoint a state bicentennial commission consisting of five members whom would receive no compensation for their services. The five men appointed to the commission were Charles Welles Gross, James L. McConaughy, Ernest W. Butterfield, George S. Goddard as secretary, and Samuel R. Spencer as chairman. The Connecticut George Washington State Bicentennial Commission, under the astute leadership of the then State Librarian, George S. Godard, coaxed participation from a large number of cities and towns, engaged in interstate celebrations, national tree planting, a failed attempt at the creation of a George Washington Bicentennial Highway, national oratorical and essay contests, and the creation of several educational publications.

Participation on the city and town level was unimaginable with an astounding creation of 1,150 town and city committees, 1,432 church committees, 894 fraternal and patriotic committees, 1,658 school committees, 830 agricultural committees, and 1,670 boy and girl scout committees just to name a few. All of these committees put together an incredible 48,258 programs statewide with 91,950 news items appearing in Connecticut newspapers and 169,000 pieces of literature mailed.4

The official celebration in Connecticut took place on Tuesday, June 7, 1932 in the form of three parades that proceeded through Middletown, Wethersfield and Hartford. The parades consisted of military troops and bands, state police, women's organizations, boy scouts, girl scouts, public and parochial school children, veteran organizations, fraternal organizations, fire departments, and floats. Following the parades a luncheon was hosted by the Massachusetts George Washington Bicentennial Commission, which was attended by Governor Wilbur Cross, his official party, the Connecticut George Washington Bicentennial Commission, and other important public figures and dignitaries, in honor of George Washington's birth.5 The governor and his company proceeded to partake in the festivities in Massachusetts the following day. The end of the parades marked the conclusion of the official Connecticut George Washington Bicentennial Celebration.

Endnotes
1 William M. Ferraro, "The AHA and the George Washington Bicentennial in 1932," Perspectives on History (October 2009).
2 Richard V. Oulahan, "Coolidge depicts Washington as a man; heard by millions," New York Times, February 23, 1927 , p. 1.
3 Karal Ann Marling, George Washington Slept Here, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998), 327.
4 United States George Washington Bicentennial Commission, History of the George Washington Bicentennial Celebration, (Washington D.C.: United States George Washington Bicentennial Commission, 1932).
5 Minutes, 1932, box 1, folder 2, George Washington Bicentennial Commission Records, RG055, Connecticut State Library.

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Scope and Content

The records were arranged into nine series which document the George Washington Bicentennial Commission. The series include minutes, correspondence, general files, press files, children's contest entries, photographs, History of the George Washington Bicentennial Celebration: Programs of Participation in Connecticut, scrapbooks, and artifacts.

Series 1. Minutes, 1931-1932, consist of minutes from the Connecticut George Washington Bicentennial Commission's meetings.

Series 2. Correspondence, 1931-1932, contains the correspondence between the former state librarian and secretary of the Connecticut George Washington Bicentennial Commission, George S. Goddard and other individuals dealing with the bicentennial celebration. The miscellaneous folder contains correspondence, school bulletins, information about the George Washington Bicentennial Highway, information on Washington's trip, clippings, and correspondence about the Washington Atlas.

Series 3. General Files, 1931-1933, consist of the following topics: badges, town celebrations, certificates of merit, state and town commissions and committees, committee cooperation, Connecticut schools bulletin, contest committee, Daughters of the American Revolution, George Washington portraits, films, form letters, stickers, envelopes, interstate cooperation, medals, plaques, Lebanon war office and green, minutes of committee meetings, George Washington Bicentennial Highway, miscellaneous, Rochambeau- Washington Dinner, speeches, State Highway Department, and tree planting. The miscellaneous folder includes invitations, town celebration programs, letters, George Washington Bicentennial airplane flight postcard, Washington ball, bills, correspondence of the Connecticut Foot Guard, and a George Washington marker sketch.

Series 4. Press Files, 1932, contains newspaper clippings which cover various bicentennial events around Connecticut.

Series 5. Children's Contest Entries, 1932, includes essays, poems, scrapbooks, drawings, and music created by Connecticut school children. All of the contest entries have a connection with George Washington and the bicentennial celebration.

Series 6. Photographs, 1932, contain images of the Lebanon, Connecticut celebration, the Lebanon war office, commemorative markers, and speeches.

Series 7. History of the George Washington Bicentennial Celebration: Programs of Participation in Connecticut, 1932, is a publication of Connecticut's participation in the National George Washington Bicentennial Celebration. The publication consists of many Connecticut George Washington Bicentennial Commission records and newspaper clippings.

Series 8. Scrapbooks, 1932, Contains a scrapbook of the Daughters of the American Revolution Celebrations of the Washington Bicentennial.

Series 9. Artifacts, 1932, include music, bicentennial rubber stamps, coins, ribbons, and etched glass created by Connecticut school children and submitted with the contest entries.

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Arrangement

Series 1. Minutes, 1931-1932

Series 2. Correspondence, 1931-1933

Series 3. General Files, 1931-1933

Series 4. Press Files, 1932

Series 5. Children's contest entries, 1932

Series 6. Photographs, 1932

Series 7. History of the George Washington Bicentennial Celebration: Programs of Participation in Connecticut, 1932.

Series 8. Scrapbooks, 1932

Series 9. Artifacts, 1932

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

These records are stored at an off-site facility and therefore may not be available on a same-day basis.

See the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections policy.

Restrictions on Use

See the Reproduction and Publications of State Library Collections policy.

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Related Material

RG 005:026, Wilbur L. Cross Gubernatorial Records, box 381, George Washington 200th Anniversary Celebration, Connecticut State Library.

One of the items in this record group was a sealed wooden chest with metal plaque marked, "George Washington Bicentennial - Durham and Wallingford. To be opened 1982." Early that year, Ted Wohlsen, Unit Head of Archives, History and Genealogy, opened the chest and added a note to the register, "Returned to Town of Durham 3-3-82." A letter in the record group file notes that the Committee of Presentation representing the Towns of Durham and Wallingford gave the State Library the chest on June 15, 1933. Wohlsen "returned" the chest to the town clerk "to assist in the preparations for your celebrations."

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Index Terms

Organizations:

Connecticut. George Washington Bicentennial Commission

Persons:

Godard, George S. (George Seymour), 1865-1936
Spencer, Samuel R.

Subjects:

Connecticut. George Washington Bicentennial Commission -- Records and correspondence
Washington, George, 1732-1799 -- Anniversaries, etc

Document Types:

Clippings
Correspondence
Drawings
Minutes
Newspapers
Photographs
Scrapbooks

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Administrative Information

Provenance

George Godard kept and transferred the records in accession: T002715. The scrapbook in accession: SL208691, was presented to the Connecticut State Library by Maud Sterling Brusie, D.A.R. State Historian, on May 15, 1934.

Processing Information

Michael Forino processed the records in January-March, 2011 (Allen Ramsey supervised).

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Container List

Series 1. Minutes, 1931-1932
Box Folder
Minutes, 1931-1932 1 1-2
Series 2. Correspondence, 1931-1933
Box Folder
Correspondence - Godard, George, 1932 1 3-10
Correspondence - Godard, George, 1931-1933 2 1-4
Correspondence - miscellaneous , 1931-1933 5
Correspondence - Washington Atlas, 1932 6
Series 3. General Files, 1931-1933
Box Folder
Badges, 1932 2 7
Celebrations - Town and City
Andover, 1932 2 8
Ansonia, 1932 9
Avon, 1932 10
Beacon Falls, 1932 11
Berlin, 1932 12
Bloomfield, 1932 13
Bolton, 1932 14
Branford, 1932 15
Bridgeport, 1932 16
Cannan, 1932 17
Collinsville, 1932 18
Coventry, 1932 19
Cromwell, 1932 20
Darien, 1932 21
Durham, 11932 22
Eastford, 1932 23
East Hartford, 1932 3 1
Easton, 1932 2
East Windsor, 1932 3
Enfield, 1932 4
Grandby, 1932 5
Guilford, 1932 6
Hartford, 1932 7
Lebanon, 1932 8
Meriden, 1932 9
Middlefield, 1932 10
Middletown, 1932 11
New Milford, 1932 12
Newtown, 1932 13
North Haven, 1932 14
Redding, 1932 15
Ridgefield, 1932 16
Southbury, 1932 17
Stratford, 1932 18
Terryville, 1932 19
Thomaston, 1932 20
Thompsonville, 1932 21
Tolland, 1932 22
Wallingford, 1932 23
Waterbury, 1932 24
West Hartford, 1932 25
West Haven, 1932 26
Westport, 1932 27
Wilton, 1932 28
Windham, 1932 29
Certificates of merit, 1932 30
Commissions - State and National
Charlottesville and Albemarle County bicentennial commission, 1932 3 31
Connecticut bicentennial commission, 1932-1933 32
Massachusetts bicentennial commission, 1932-1933 33
Missouri bicentennial commission, 1932 34
National George Washington bicentennial commission, 1932 35
New Jersey bicentennial commission, 1932 36
Pennsylvania bicentennial commission, 1932 37
Wethersfield commission, 1931-1932 38
Committees
Connecticut Washington bicentennial education committee, 1931-1932 4 1
Springfield committee, 1932 2
Windsor committee, 1931-1932 3
Committee cooperation, 1932 4
Connecticut schools bulletins, 1932 5
Contest - committees, 1931-1933 6
Daughters of the American Revolution, 1932 7
George Washington portraits, 1931 8
Films, 1931-1932 9
Form letters, stickers, envelopes, 1931-1932 10
Interstate cooperation, 1932 11
Invitations, 1932 12
Lebanon War Office and green, 1932 13
Medals and plaques, 1932-1933 14
Minutes of committee meetings, 1931-1932 15
Miscellaneous, 1931-1932 16
National George Washington Bicentennial Highway, 1932 17
Speeches, 1932 18
State Highway Department, 1932-1932 19
Tree planting, 1931-1932 20
Washington - Rochambeau dinner, 1932 21
Series 4. Press Files, 1932
Box Folder
Clippings, 1932 5 1
Series 5. Children's Contest Entries, 1932
Box Folder
Contest essays, 1932 5 2
Contest - scrapbook, Warehouse Point School, 1932 3-5
East Windsor - Scantic School, 1932 6
South Norwalk - Storey School, 1932 7
Stonington - Broadway School, 1932 8
Warehouse Point School, 1932 9
Warehouse Point School - My Washington Bicentennial Notebook, 1932 9
Series 6. Photographs, 1932
Box Envelope
Photographs, 1932 6 1-9
Series 7. History of the George Washington Bicentennial Celebration: Programs of Participation in Connecticut, 1932
Box
History of the George Washington Bicentennial Celebration: Programs of Participation in Connecticut, 1932 7-8
Series 8. Scrapbooks, 1932
Box
Scrapbook of Daughters of the American Revolution Celebrations of the Washington Bicentennial, 1932-1933, Accession: SL208691, 1 volume 12
Series 9. Artifacts, 1932
Box
Artifacts, 1932 9-11