Elihu Burritt, also known as “The Learned Blacksmith”, is New Britain’s most famous son. The Elihu Burritt Library is spearheading the celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth and is planning several events for this fall semester.
Elihu Burritt was born in New Britain on December 8, 1810. He became a world citizen, linguist, abolitionist, reformer, peace activist and penny postage advocate. President Abraham Lincoln appointed him a Consular Agent to Birmingham, England. Elihu Burritt stayed attached to his hometown, and during his last years of his life become an active citizen. He died on March 6, 1879 and is buried at the Fairview Cemetery.
The library was named after Elihu Burritt in 1959. The choice of name was supported by many local organizations and Robert C. Vance, the publisher and editor of The Herald.
The opening event for the Burritt Bicentennial will take place on Wednesday, September 22 at 11:45 in the Special Collections reading room in the library.
“Elihu Burritt: Nineteenth-Century Pioneer for Transatlantic Peace, Social Justice, and Human Rights” a lecture by Dr. Wendy Chmielewski.
Wendy Chmielewski is the George R. Cooley Curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. The Peace Collection holds a significant set of materials on Elihu Burritt. Chmielewski’s work on the role of women in the U.S. and British nineteenth century peace movements has included exploring the participation of Elihu Burritt as well. She has published several works on the role of women in the peace movement and in intentional/utopian communities form the nineteenth century to the present. Her most recent publication (2009) is a co-edited collection of scholarly essays on Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams, titled Jane Addams and the Practice of Democracy.
The exhibit “When Humanity Fails”, brought to campus by the Hillel Jewish Student Organization, fills the growing schism that is arising between the dying generation of survivors and the new generation of youth that is struggling to comprehend the depths of evil that abounded in the Holocaust. While Holocaust education has certainly grown in importance, the method by which it is taught focuses on the death and destruction without teaching students about the lessons that can be learned and how their emotional and intellectual responses can be channeled into constructive action and awareness.
Dr. Vijay Prashad will present a lecture entitled “Politics, Natural Disasters, and Reconstruction” on Wednesday, March 17th. Dr. Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History as well as Director and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College. The event will be held in the Burritt Library Special Collections Reading Room (Main Level) at Noon. Light refreshments will be served.
The lecture is sponsored by The Office of the Provost and International and Area Studies.
“From Her Hands: Latin American Textile Art” opened at CCSU’s Burritt Library on February 1, 2010. This exhibit showcases three Latin American textile art forms handcrafted by women.They are Chilean arpilleras, Panamanian molas and Guatemalan weavings. The exhibit runs through the month of February.
Arpilleras are hand sewn of cotton. They are backed by burlap, called ‘arpillera’ in Spanish.These three dimensional appliqué textiles depict the history of Chile and the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in chilling detail.Scenes of torture, interment, and exile are juxtaposed with scenes of grief, loneliness, protest and, ultimately, happiness that the dictatorship has come to an end.The centerpiece is a 29” by 76” quilt portraying a complete history of the country. The display is accompanied by quotes and a poem from Dr. Marjorie Agosín, whose collection is on loan to the library.
Molas are beautifully hand sewn reverse appliqué art created by the Kuna of Panamá.The molas are both sewn and worn by Kuna women and girls. They depict daily life, spirituality and folk tales of the Kuna. Photographs by Dr. Galen Frysinger and information accompany this display, on loan from the collection of Carol Brault.
Guatemalan weavings, the traditional dress of Maya women, are created on a backstrap loom. They demonstrate craftsmanship excellence.The huipil, or traditional blouse, of Santiago de Atitlán is hand embroidered with birds and flowers.Photographs, information and books accompany the display on this subject. It is on loan from the collections of Carol Brault and Dr. Abigail Adams.
Dr. Marjorie Agosín, a noted expert on Chilean Arpilleras, will speak in the Library’s Special Collections Room on February 17, 2010 at 4PM. She will discuss the Pinochet regime and its influence on the women who created arpilleras.A slide show and refreshments will accompany the lecture.
This June will mark the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 members of the New York Police Department raided the Stonewall Inn located on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village.This time, unlike previous raids, the gay community fought back. Rioting broke out and continued for five days endingon July 2nd.
TheNew York Times thought so little of the raid they buriedthe story on page 33 the following day.Probably no one realized at the time that this event would become the iconic symbol of thegay civil rights movement.This uprising marked the beginning, as the Advocate stated, “of a movement todecriminalize, demedicalize, and devillainizeus ( i.e., gays and lesbians).”
To mark this anniversary, materials will be on display during the month of June, from Burritt Library’s extensive collection of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender books, newsletters, periodicals, ephemera and archives.
Join us for a fascinating talk with Dr. Kris Larsen, on Wednesday, November 12, from 7:00-8:00 pm in the Burritt Library classroom (third floor, Reference)
Fear, especially of the unknown, is a universally shared emotion, as famed fantasy author J. R. R. Tolkien understood well. Like Middle-earth, our everyday world is filled with uncertainty and peril, including natural forces such as earthquakes and volcanoes. With the benefit of modern science, we can understand these terrifying events as being part of the normal process of the world. Our ancient ancestors, however, enjoyed no such luxury, and described these catastrophic events in terms of monsters and malicious gods. Likewise, unusual astronomical events such as meteors, eclipses, and auroras were also considered to be “monstrous.”Geologist Dorothy Vitaliano coined the term geomythology in 1968 to describe the scientific truth hidden in some seemingly fantastical myths concerning the natural environment. Given that Tolkien clearly stated that Middle-earth is our Earth, and that the natural environment itself plays the role of a major character in his works, it is not surprising that we should find a large body of monster-centered geomythology (and corresponding astromythology) within the pages of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. Join us on an exploration of the intersection between fact, fiction, and myth in the world of Middle-earth.