University of Connecticut, Semester of the Thirties Records
Scope and Contents
The collection includes administrative records and printed materials associated with the presentations that took place as part of this program in addition to 56 audiotapes.
The collection is open and available for research with the exception of the audiotapes in Series III which require the production of listening copies to be made.
Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.
In the Spring of 1969 the University of Connecticut devoted a whole semester to the study of the 1930s. An all-campus venture, the project drew on all the resources of the University and brought in distinguished visitors, some of whom had been cultural figures of that decade. Called "The Semester of the Thirties," this experiment in higher education probably brought together more aspects of a decade in cultural, political, economic, and social history than any such project undertaken by a university. A $30,000 grant from the Ford Foundation paid for the expenses of inviting guest speakers.
The core course was a series of lectures given by professors from twelve departments. This core course stated on February 3, 1969, and concluded on March 27, 1969. Following this were lectures and colloquia by guest speakers which were divided into three topic areas: Literature and Social Commentary, History and Public Affairs, and the Arts. The core course and the presentations by guest speakers represent the most essential material offered, but are only a part of the total activities which also invovled short-term and semester length courses in different departments; a film series; exhibitions at the Benton Museum and Wilbur Cross Library; coverage by University radio, television stations and the Connecticut Daily Campus; as well as entertainment events, all concentrating on the "Thirties Experience."
The idea for "The Semester of the Thirties" came about partly in response to student requests for course offerings which were "relevant" to their concerns, to the present world situation--it was a recognition that trends in the 1960s among students toward radical politics or an increased consciousness of poverty in the United States were a return to concerns and issues which had their beginnings in the 1930s. The idea was conceived two years before its realization in 1969. It was said to have been patterned after the Free Unviersity model, and to have had as one of its goals the exposure of the student to the manifold potentialities within the University. Enthusiastic participation and attendance was one measure of the semester's success. Additional information can be found in the summary report found in Box 1, Folder 1 of the collection.
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Language of Materials
In the Spring of 1969, the University of Connecticut devoted a whole semester to the study of the 1930s. An all-campus venture, the project drew on all the resources of the University and brought in distinguished visitors, some of whom had been cultural figures of that decade. Called "The Semester of the Thirties," this experiment in higher education probably brought together more aspects of a decade in cultural, political, economic, and social history than any such project undertaken by a university.
Series I: Administration includes reports of "The Semester of the Thirties." The first report is a short summary with a a nearly complete descriptive list of the contents of the tapes and transcripts of the lectures by both the faculty and guest speakers. A more complete report is the Final Report to the Ford Foundation. This report includes copies of printed materials, brochures, press releases and similar items also contains complete lists of all course and events as well as documents related to the organization of the project (i.e., budgets and proposals). The series also includes information on the planning of the semester as well as a copyof the initial proposal dated June 1968, memoranda and minutes of a planning meeting dated May 8, 1968. Publicity and publications created in conjunction with the Semester of the Thirties include The '30's Times, The 30's Experience (pamphlet), mailers about specific programs, notes, correspondence and a display card for the special exhibits shown at the Wilbur Cross Library.
Series II: Lecture and Presentation Transcripts include transcripts of most of the lectures, symposium and colloquium by both the faculty and guest speakers. Speakers include: W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, John Lehmann, Paul Goodman, Malcolm Cowley, Carey McWilliams, Granville Hicks, Jack Conroy, Arne Bontemps, Erskine Caldwell and Sybel Moholy-Nagy. Of particular note in this portion of the collection are the papers from the conference on John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath and from the symposium on the Spanish Civil War, the highlight of which was a lovely discussion between Stephen Spender, Emiliana Noether (scholar) and other participants--some of whom spoke from personal experience. Few of the presentations associated with the history and public affairs portion of the project were recorded and are therefore not represented in the collection.
Series III: Lecture and Presentation Recordings contains the sound recordings of the presentations and lectures. They are separated into two groups: those for which there are transcripts and those which have not been transcribed.
The materials in this collection were gathered and maintained by the Dean's Office in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences prior to their transfer to Special Collections.
Provenance and Acquisition
The collection was transferred from Special Collections to Historical Manuscripts and Archives in August 1979. In 1995, both these departments merged to form the present Archives & Special Collections.
- Charitable uses, trusts, and foundations Subject Source: Fast
- Civil War (Spain : 1936-1939) Subject Source: Fast
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- Nineteen thirties Subject Source: Fast
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- University of Connecticut, Semester of the Thirties Records
- Archives & Special Collections staff
- 2012 January
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Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository
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