|July 2005 |
Welcome to the next generation of the CONNector. When we first moved our newsletter from offset print to electronic production in 2003 we used PDF to retain the look of the print version. To make better use of evolving technology we are no longer trying to replicate the print newsletter. Instead we have created a "new" newsletter that you will find easier to navigate and read. We will continue to provide you with articles that inform you about the State Library - its services, policies, fantastic collections and dedicated staff. Your comments will continue to guide us in creating the CONNector.
Please let us know what you think.
Kendall F. Wiggin, Connecticut State Librarian
Judge Simon Bernstein honored
At the 1965 Constitutional Convention, Simon Bernstein tenaciously fought to get an amendment on public education before the Convention. As the convention neared an end, Democratic Chair John Bailey, who had repeatedly rebuked Bernstein, finally gave in leaving Bernstein an hour to draft an amendment. He consulted the Department of Education to clarify language and with ten minutes to spare, Bernstein presented his amendment that became Article Eight, section 1 of the Connecticut Constitution which states: "There shall always be free public elementary and secondary schools in the state. The general assembly shall implement this provision by appropriate legislation." Article Eight forms the basis for the state Supreme Court's judgment in the Horton and Sheff cases that every child in Connecticut must be given a free and equal education. On May 18th,2005 Judge Bernstein, now 92 years old, was honored at a ceremony in the Legislative Office Building. As part of the ceremony, the State Library was presented with the actual draft of the Article. The Article, along with a photograph of Judge Bernstein will be displayed in the State Library.
Photo:Eric Bailey,American Federation of Teachers, CT
Budget Increases for State Library
The FY05-07 budget passed by the General Assembly included two important increases in the State Library's appropriations. After years of level funding (which resulted in actual decreases in purchasing power) the book budget will increase 9.3% in FY06 and 18.7% in FY07. The Museum of Connecticut History has sustained repeated staff reductions over the past ten years leaving only two full time positions to carry on the Museum program. Beginning in January the staff will increase by one with the addition of an education curator funded in the new budget. The rest of the State Library budget remains level funded for the next two years.
Who was your Town Legislator in 1851?
Search online for this information at the Connecticut State Library website! The database of Connecticut General Assembly Members from 1776 to the present is now available at www.cslib.org/connga.asp This database was created early last century and has been updated and maintained by the Law/Legislative Reference Unit's Bill Room at the Connecticut State Library.
The database lists state Senators serving between the years 1776 and 2005 and House members from 1849 to 2005. Members of the 1902 and 1965 Constitutional Conventions are also included.
Denise Jernigan, Unit Head, organized and directed a team of Law/Legislative Reference staff members who worked to transform the massive manual card file into a digital database. This database has 16,000 records with eight fields each for a total of 128,000 data entries and can be searched either by last name of the legislator or by name of the town. The categories for each legislator's entry are last and first names, middle initials, the chamber of the General Assembly in which the legislator served, the town the legislator represented, the political party affiliation, the terms the legislator served and the date of death.
The Upper Body of the General Assembly was not known as the Senate until 1818. Until that time the body was called the Assistants and consisted of twelve citizens chosen by statewide voters as opposed to the Representatives [or Deputies] who were chosen by the voters of a particular town. In 1776, the twelve Assistants were Jabez Hamlin, Elisha Sheldon, Eliphalet Dyer, Jabez Huntington, William Pitkin, Roger Sherman, Abraham Davenport, Joseph Spencer, Oliver Wolcott, Samuel Huntington, Richard Law and William Williams.
Hilary Frye, Legal Reference and Electronic Resources Librarian
The "T" in Volunteer Stands For "Team"
Volunteers come in many varieties. They can be just about any age. They can have unbelievable talents to offer. They are energetic, caring, eager to please...but best of all they are unique! Volunteers provide us with the ability to accomplish projects outside the realm of our normal activities.
One of the wonderful things that happens at Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH) is that it is impossible to tell who are volunteers and who are staff. Staff and volunteers function seamlessly as a team. Service and communications with patrons are mostly by phone, mail or e-mail, or fax, so very few patrons visit the library, and most of what the staff and volunteers do is "behind the scenes". Our volunteers seem to understand the importance of what they do without direct contact with the patron being served by the program.
Some of our volunteers are from Rocky Hill High School. Once a year the school has a volunteer day, "Lend A Paw" (they are the Terriers!), when students spend part of their school day in a community program working on special projects. The Key Club has also performed after school community service hours at the library. Wethersfield High School has provided volunteer time for vocational training and community service. Once a year we participate in the United Way's Day of Caring when corporate volunteers spend the day at facilities around Greater Hartford.
Often the same volunteers have participated at LBPH several years in a row, walking into the library and immediately going to work on one of many on-going projects. Our patrons have contributed many hours in volunteer service. In some way they feel they are giving back to a program that has given them so much, especially greater independence. Then there are the patron's family members who want to volunteer because of the pleasure the service has given to their relative.
United Way has also provided us an opportunity to let interested persons know about some of the volunteer needs we have through their "Volunteer Solutions" website. We have acquired many volunteers with technical skills and gardening experience. The best way we have gotten volunteers is through word of mouth. If your volunteers are happy, they bring in other volunteers. If you let the volunteer know they are special and are providing a service or using a unique talent to help with a special project they keep coming back and tell others about it. Recognition programs are planned annually, but we have found that the best recognition is a "Thank you" each time a volunteer comes to "work" and letting them know that because of their unselfish contribution of time and talents they have made it possible to provide an enhanced service to our library patrons.
Carol Taylor, Director - Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
The State Library is distributing free iCONN bookmarks to any library in Connecticut that requests them. Please use the request form located at
iCONN Bookmarks There is an image of the newly designed bookmark at that site.
Senator Lodge Knocks Down a Constituent
It was hard to stay focused on the job at hand when, as I was inspecting new microfilm this headline caught my attention: "Senator Lodge knocks down a constituent ... Victim of Assault Arrested." The microfilm is for the April 2, 1917 issue of the New Haven times-leader.
The Connecticut Newspaper Project completed microfilming the 1892-July 1916 issues of the Evening Leader and New Haven times-leader before the project ended in 2002. Now, in cooperation with Yale University, work has resumed. By the end of June, microfilming of the April 1916-May 1919 issues will be complete. Work will continue, until the last known issue, December 31, 1926, is filmed. It will probably be next year before all the microfilm is available. See: http://www.cslib.org/cnp.htm
Microfilm is still considered the best way to preserve newspapers. Properly made and stored film has a life expectancy of 500 years. Because access is greatly enhanced if the newspapers are digitized, the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities have begun the National Digital Newspaper program.
The Preservation Office of the State Library is looking forward to the reports on the best ways to create and present digital images of newspapers.
The State Library encourages local projects that microfilm newspapers by offering advice about how to start a microfilming project, providing copies of newspapers needed to fill gaps and storing the master negatives. These services are available to state agencies and qualfied nonprofit organizations.Go to:
ePartners Go to for more information on the state newspaper microfilming contract.
For information about the Preservation Office at the State Library see: http://www.cslib.org/presoffc.htm
Jane F. Cullinane, Preservation Librarian
Ribbon Cutting in Bethel
On May 27, 2005, Bethel Public Library had their ribbon cutting ceremony for their expanded library. They received a $500,000 State Public Library Construction grant from the State Library to assist with this project. The library will be moving in and acquiring more furniture. The official dedication will be in July.
Mary Louise Jensen, Building Consultant
Developments in Serial Cataloging
In the library world, serials are the rare and exotic birds with the brilliant plumage. A serial publication can also be as elusive and difficult to categorize as a tropical bird. Publishers exercise a degree of whimsy with serials that is completely lacking with regular books. Publishers change the titles, or the number of issues which appear annually; sometimes they skip issues or create special issues which are separate from the normal numbering system.
CONSER is the name of the program with which the Library of Congress has valiantly addressed the task of sorting out the colorful world of serials. They have enlisted a small army of David Attenboroughs, intrepid souls who slog through the swamps and dung heaps sorting and cataloging. This is a very elite army, all as talented and dedicated as David Attenborough. Connecticut State Library is proud to have been enlisted as one of the members of CONSER.
In his message welcoming CSL to the program, Les Hawkins, CONSER coordinator at the Library of Congress, cited "the contributions that CSL will make in its government, law, and policy serials as well as the work done as part of its digital archiving and preservation projects." CSL is now the second state library with CONSER status, and the first to be accepted since the program's inception in the early 1970s. Crucial to the success of the State Library's application was the portfolio of high-quality original bibliographic records that State Documents Cataloger Glynis Georgie prepared and submitted for examination.
CONSER members input, authenticate, and modify serial cataloging records on WorldCat, a shared international database, or contribute original records. Authentication is the process of approving the bibliographic elements in the record and making the records available.
Hilary Frye, Legal Reference and Electronic Resources Librarian
The Real Story Behind the Headlines: the History of Landmark Legislation
Legislative history provides an intimate and sometimes startling look at the workings of democracy. The laws which express our conscience as a society and guide our behavior are derived through a tortuous series of negotiations called the legislative process. Nearly all of these deliberations are a matter of public record and Connecticut is one of the few states which
mandate that the state legislative body record and deposit its proceedings
in a central archive. The Law/Legislative Reference Unit at Connecticut
State Library is the official repository for these documents and has a vast
collection which dates back to the turn of the 20th century. For decades,
judges and attorneys have consulted this legislative history collection when
arguing and deciding court cases in which they must determine the proper, or
improper application of a statute. As unique archival documents,
legislative history volumes do not circulate or leave the library. Not
even a judge could remove a legislative history volume without a subpoena!
Law/Legislative Reference has published the first issue in a new series of landmark legislative histories which will facilitate access to this rich
resource. The new landmark series will have copies which circulate to the
public. The library also plans to digitize the series and make it available
at the State Library website.
Legislative history has a broad educational appeal and is a rich source for educators. Increasingly, savvy professors and teachers are introducingtheir students to primary sourcedocuments such as legislative history. Now the legal and educationcommunities will be able to borrow parts of the legislative record.
Each issue will be devoted to a public act which created a legal, social or economic landmark and will include items not found in the traditional legislative history volumes. In addition to transcripts reprinted from the history volumes, the landmark series will include documents from another archive: legislative committee files. These documents vary from act to act but can range from uncalled amendments and internal committee votes to letters and memoranda. Each issue will include a glossary of terms and a
summary of the act. The name of the series is Connecticut Legislative
Histories. Landmark Series and the call number of the series is
KFC3606.C66 The first issue is No. 95-16, "An Act Concerning Lethal
2005: Public Act 95-1 Death Penalty
Public Act 95-16 Lethal Injection
Public Act 73-137 Capital Punishment
Public Act 69-828 Penal Code Reform
Public Act75-342 Freedom of Information
2006: Public Act 59-329 Connecticut Stock Corporation Act
Public Act 63-490 Taxation and Preservation of Farm, Forest and Open Space
Public Act 79-483 Product Liability Actions
Public Act 93-228 Workers Compensation Reform Act
Public Act 98-25 Electric Restructuring Act
Public Act 90-113 Abortion
Public Act 91-3 (June Special Session) Connecticut Income Tax
2007: Public Act 78-16 Bottle Recycling Act
Public Act 92-237 Stalking
From the 1991 Senate debate on the constitutional spending cap for the
budget: " programs such as Medicaid, AFDC, grants to towns, consent decrees amount to the figure of $2.6 billion which would have to be excluded from any kind of a cap, so I don't see that this is going to do a whole lot to control expenditures.."
Legislative history in Connecticut is the verbatim transcript of public
hearings, House and Senate floor debates.
From the 1972 Senate debate to prohibit discrimination based on
"I detect a soupy sentimentality toward women and no real love for women.
He used the word female as though this is a sort of lesser being. To say
that merely a few aggressive females brought this amendment about is
absolutely false. All progress in civil rights has been made by
aggressive people. If he had his way, women would not vote."
--Senator Roger Eddy refuting the remarks of another member.
Hilary Frye, Legal Reference and Electronic Resources Librarian
The Floods of 1955: A Fifty-Year Perspective
On November 3, 1955, the Connecticut Flood Recovery Committee's final report declared, "Connecticut was the hardest hit victim of the worst flood in the history of the eastern United States."1 The state endured Nature's fury in two major floods, one on August 19 and the second on October 16. Both were results of torrential rains. On August 13 Hurricane Connie dropped four to six inches of rain on Connecticut.
Five days later, another hurricane, Diane, dropped an additional fourteen inches of rain in a thirty-hour period between Thursday morning and Friday noon. The floods came on the 19th. The greatest loss of life and destruction to property occurred along the Mad and Still Rivers in Winsted, the Naugatuck, the Farmington, and the Quinebaug in the Putnam-Killingly region. Governor Abraham Ribicoff personally visited the scenes of destruction. President Dwight Eisenhower declared Connecticut a disaster area. The survivors, however, hardly had time to recover when the second flood took place. From October 14 through the 16th, heavy rains once more saturated the state. Gale winds and high tides resulted in new destruction along the shore in towns such as Norwalk. Again Governor Ribicoff visited sites of destruction, and the President issued a second declaration designating Connecticut as a disaster area. 2
On March 19, 1956, Governor Ribicoff made the following statement before the United States Senate Appropriations Committee listing "what the 1955 floods cost Connecticut:"
- "91 persons dead and 12 others missing and presumed dead
- 86,000 persons unemployed
- More than 1,100 families left homeless
- Another 2,300 families were at least temporarily without shelter
- Nearly 20,000 families suffered flood damage
- Sixty-seven of our 169 towns were affected by the floods
- The damage to individual property, to business, to industry, and to State and municipal facilities has been estimated at almost half a billion dollars" 3
The State Archives in the Connecticut State Library has photographs of the 1955 floods in Picture Group 160, Floods and Hurricanes in Connecticut, Boxes 4 and 5, Record Group 005, Records of Governor John Dempsey, Boxes A-497 and A-497B, and Record Group 069:124, The Louis S. Edman Collection. The photographs in PG 160 came from a variety of sources including the Naugatuck Daily Times, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, U. S. Coast Guard, and many unidentified photographers. The photographs in Governor Dempsey's records came from the New Haven Railroad Company.4 Louis Edman was a public relations photographer and local columnist for newspapers in eastern Connecticut. His primary client was Congressman William St. Onge of the Second District. In the early 1950's, he was a member of Putnam's local Zoning Board and in 1955, the year of the flood, he was a member of the City Council. On August 19, he photographed the flood in Putnam from the air.
1Report of the Connecticut Flood Recovery Committee to Governor Abraham Ribicoff (November 3, 1955), page 1.
2Report of the Flood Recovery Committee, page 1, 3.
3 "Statement by Governor Abraham Ribicoff to be Presented to Appropriations Committee, U. S. Senate, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, March 20, 1956, pages 1-2.
4 In 1955 Dempsey was Mayor of Putnam and Executive Aid to Governor Abraham Ribicoff.
Part of the "Operation Noah" Disaster Map of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, Disaster Relief Office, New England Division, Boston, Massachusetts from Final Report (May 1958).
Naugatuck, August 19,1955, Photograph by M. Rallis, PG 160, Floods and Hurricanes in Connecticut. Images used with permission of the Naugatuck citzen news.
Researchers should also consult gubernatorial records of Governor Abraham Ribicoff in Record Group 005, boxes 682-686.
The State Archives will accept donations of photographs, motion picture film and letters containing stories of the Floods of '55. Please contact State Archivist Mark H. Jones at (860)-757-6511 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark H. Jones, State Archivist