BRIDGEPORT, CT – The archive of Housatonic Community College (HCC) is now keeping company alongside Wesleyan University, Yale, UCONN, and other prestigious Connecticut colleges in Connecticut’s Archive Online (CAO).
The largest community college archive in the state, HCC’s repository of original resource material contributes to the understanding and evolution of the institution and its community. It began in 2013 by Esther Watstein, then a member of the college’s public relations staff, who started the collection with news clips to preserve Housatonic’s history.
“I just felt that we ought to be keeping these items, I knew I had to save this stuff,” said Watstein. “What people don’t understand is an archive is never done, you’re always collecting. I’m continuously urging faculty and staff to archive things rather than throwing them away.”
Today the archive contains newspapers, yearbooks, catalogs, press coverages, athletic programs, photographs, museum records, class schedules, sports trophies, oral histories and more, dating from the college’s inception in 1966. With guidance from UCONN’s archivist team, Watstein systematically categorized the materials and today she manages the impressive repository, which measures 71.5 cubic feet and occupies 450 sq. ft. of space.
“Archiving Housatonic’s history is an important part of understanding the growth of our great institution. Remembering how far we’ve come and the role we’ve played in the communities we serve helps us to better chart a successful future,” said Dr. Dwayne Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Housatonic Community College.
Last month, at Watstein’s request, HCC’s archive joined Connecticut’s Archive Online. The expansive online resource lists finding aids for many of the state’s major archives and provides researchers the ability to search across 7,000 of Connecticut’s archival collections.
“CAO makes materials findable,” said Brian Stavens, CAO Administrator and Western Connecticut State University Archivist. “For smaller organizations, CAO provides a venue to put their finding aids online and be able to be searched in the same pool as larger organizations. By joining CAO, Housatonic is signaling that it adheres to the best practices in the field and that they’re presenting themselves side by side among the largest archives in the state.”
“We are very proud to be part of this resource,” said Watstein. “While only a fraction of the HCC Archive is posted as yet, we are working diligently to get it all there.”
To contribute to the story of Housatonic’s history, contact the Housatonic Community College Archive by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 203-332-5226. Organizations wishing to join Connecticut’s Archive Online may do so by visiting https://archives-library.wcsu.edu/cao/ .