Eastern Connecticut State University

Blogging for the teachers of WWI

Archives: February 2014

Could not be happier!

As of yesterday got a hold of five books on Willimantic! I cannot be any happier right now. After a very long dry spell and endless frustration I’ve tracked down the books I was looking for. Spending this weekend researching my topic in the library. Quiet a few of these are  secondary sources but thanks to their bibliographies I can track down the originals so I can collect more raw information.

1. Windham and Willimantic by Ron Robillard

2. Willimantic: Industry and community rise and decline of a Connecticut textile city by Thomas R. Beardsley

3. Remembering Willimantic: Community and college, 1920-1970 by David M. Roth

4. From Normal School to State College: The Growth and Development of Eastern Connecticut State College from 1889 to 1959

5. Historic and architectural resource survey in the town of Windham: Willimantic community development areas

Was able to sit down with a friend of mine who has a scrapbook filled with various photos of her firefighting family. She had a ton of stuff…..all from WWII and after. But in spite of this set back I’ve tracked down the number of an educator at the Windham textile Museum hopefully I can get some answers there.



I was tracking down a professor at ECSU. I had heard from a friend of mine that he had a ton of material relating to Eastern’s curriculum, specifically the course load given to teachers. I was hoping to find some stuff relating to propaganda or patriotism. The fact of the matter is teachers were trained to push nationalism throughout the entire WWI era. Sadly it turns out the lead didn’t pan out his material is primarily from the 60’s. Heading down to UCONN tomorrow afternoon to check out its library source material.


A new lead

I have also utilized the Facebook page of the Eastern History Club. Thankfully one of the members and a good friend of mine tipped me off to a professor at ECSU who has a course catalogue which explains the courses available, the workload and how the teachers at the normal school were trained. I am still waiting to hear from another friend of mine about her firefighting ancestors hopefully ill find some good material from her as well.  My thesis paper last semester was on the effect WWI had on schools in the state of Connecticut. I found that militarism, nationalism and extreme patriotism saturated the materials compared to those before the start of the war. I’m wondering if the Willimantic Normal School (ECSU) followed this pattern as well.



I’ve learned quite a bit on the history of Eastern since I’ve started working on this project. Since there are barely any sources still available about the University’s history during that era, I have been relying on newspaper articles to try and come up with some leads. The Hartford courant has given me very little information. Most of the articles included pertaining to Willimantic involve very bureaucratic matters like voting in a new police chief or a new speeding laws that  were beginning to be enforced. Information on the university involved the numbers of gradating students.


Nothing but Snow…

Its been a very difficult week here in Connecticut. Id been planning from last week to go down to the archives in Hartford this weekend to scope out any material viable for my research but the consecutive storms we have been bombarded with have made this impossible. Saturday I went down to my University’s library to get some work done but the campus was a complete ghost town. Every building was shut down. I was thinking of heading down to the library at the University of Connecticut but thankfully I just ended up going home. My car was stuck in the snow storm for about 45 minutes before someone came to pick me up.


Social Media

In spite of the fact that the University has lost much of the materials from its early years one thing that still survives is a small set of which list the names of the students who have attended. With any luck I can cross reference different names of students and see if they contributed to the war effort. Another issue that has proven to be much more difficult than expected was the fact that the school was a women’s college.  The university has one book on the history of the town and pdf on its website with an overview of the school’s history. The University of Connecticut has a very large library which I intent to utilize to fin some information. I’ve taken advantage of social media by sending out a Facebook event with contact information to people around Eastern and Willimantic.