Errol Flynn - star of stage and screen, swashbuckling action hero … and one-time Connecticut College applicant?
On October 20, 1948, Director of Admissions Robert Cobbledick received a letter from Beverly Hills attorney Robert E. Ford, inquiring about the possibility of enrolling an unnamed male client in a course or two on history or philosophy. The possibility wasn’t unheard of - Connecticut College had enrolled the occasional male student since the late 1930s - and Cobbledick responded in kind, though he did suggest that unless the circumstances were “distinctly unusual,” the client would perhaps be better suited at a co-educational or male institution.
A few days later, Ford sent another inquiry - the unnamed client was none other than the actor, Errol Flynn. Flynn made a number of inquiries to New England colleges by the sea, hoping to live off his boat while he attended classes. Unswayed, Cobbledick remained firm in his refusal, and suggested Flynn instead apply to the University of Bridgeport. 

Errol Flynn - star of stage and screen, swashbuckling action hero … and one-time Connecticut College applicant?

On October 20, 1948, Director of Admissions Robert Cobbledick received a letter from Beverly Hills attorney Robert E. Ford, inquiring about the possibility of enrolling an unnamed male client in a course or two on history or philosophy. The possibility wasn’t unheard of - Connecticut College had enrolled the occasional male student since the late 1930s - and Cobbledick responded in kind, though he did suggest that unless the circumstances were “distinctly unusual,” the client would perhaps be better suited at a co-educational or male institution.

A few days later, Ford sent another inquiry - the unnamed client was none other than the actor, Errol Flynn. Flynn made a number of inquiries to New England colleges by the sea, hoping to live off his boat while he attended classes. Unswayed, Cobbledick remained firm in his refusal, and suggested Flynn instead apply to the University of Bridgeport. 

Connecticut College … for Men?

In the 1950s, local manufacturing and production facilities like Electric Boat, Dow Chemical Corporation, and Pfizer employed large numbers of college-educated men and women in New London and neighboring Groton. Looking for opportunities for their employees to continue their studies on a graduate level, these companies approached Connecticut College in 1959 about the possibility of granting graduate degrees to both men and women.

The College was interested, but its charter specifically restricted the grating of degrees to undergraduate women. Undeterred, the College petitioned the state legislature to charter a separate institution - Connecticut College for Men - in 1959, enabling the institution to grant graduate degrees to both men and women. Connecticut College for Men operated until 1969, when it was incorporated with Connecticut College for Women after the decision to go co-ed was made.

Want to learn more? The Connecticut College for Men Records are recently processed and open for research: http://collections.conncoll.edu/rg28_ccfm/ccfm_fa.html

We recently added several new books to our Artists’ Books Collection by one of our favorite book artists, Jill Timm. Yellowstone Summer has a series of photographs of the park taken in the summer beneath a running quotation from John Muir. Gates is two spiral-bound collections of photos capturing the installation of Christo’s famous Central Park project. Water Rush is a unique structure, containing reversible images each side of a flag book. These three books (plus River D, not show here) join a very strong collection, one of the most popular in the Lear Center for teaching and exhibitions.

In the midst of processing over 30,000 campus photographs, we sometimes turn up gems like this:
President Charles Shain wards off an attack by Valkyries Warrine Eastburn (Dean of Administration) and Alice Johnson (Dean of Freshmen) during a faculty show on May 5, 1964.
Collection: Theater Department records, 1915-2014

In the midst of processing over 30,000 campus photographs, we sometimes turn up gems like this:

President Charles Shain wards off an attack by Valkyries Warrine Eastburn (Dean of Administration) and Alice Johnson (Dean of Freshmen) during a faculty show on May 5, 1964.

Collection: Theater Department records, 1915-2014

Robert Fregosi was working for New York Life when the United States entered World War II. Like many of his contemporaries, he volunteered in 1942, lying about his age to gain admission to the Army Air Corps. After nearly a year and a half of training, he joined the 390th Bombardment Group in the 8th Air Force flying as a bombardier in a B-17. Fregosi flew dozens of missions over Europe and developed a reputation for uncanny accuracy. He even drew a letter of commendation from a Luftwaffe officer for a bombing run that destroyed a German rail yard while sparing the hospital and Romanesque cathedral on either side. 

The Lear Center has a collection of records, correspondence, photographs, and clippings documenting Fregosi’s service. Pictured here are the crew of Fregosi’s plane, the Decatur Deb, with Lt. Fregosi in the back row on the left; Fregosi’s flight log for May, 1944, during which time he flew several missions over France, Belgium, and Germany; and Fregosi’s award of the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions in the runup to the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944.

Classes are over, but the renovation of Shain Library is just getting started! We’re doing our part by helping care for the campus art collection.

Questions about access to Lear Center collections during construction? Check out our FAQs, or email us at learcenter@conncoll.edu.

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cold Harbor, just outside Richmond, Virginia. The 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery saw its first action in the initial assault and suffered heavy losses (124 killed and 189 wounded). Connecticut College has a collection of about 200 letters from Lt. Homer Curtis of the 2nd, which we will be processing this summer. Here is a letter written on June 10th from Fort Ellsworth, just outside Alexandria, to which the regiment had withdrawn. Soon afterwards they would return to the front for the Shenandoah Campaign and the Siege of Petersburg.

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cold Harbor, just outside Richmond, Virginia. The 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery saw its first action in the initial assault and suffered heavy losses (124 killed and 189 wounded). Connecticut College has a collection of about 200 letters from Lt. Homer Curtis of the 2nd, which we will be processing this summer. Here is a letter written on June 10th from Fort Ellsworth, just outside Alexandria, to which the regiment had withdrawn. Soon afterwards they would return to the front for the Shenandoah Campaign and the Siege of Petersburg.

In honor of Reunion, we thought we’d show you a side of Connecticut College presidents you’ve never seen before!

Frederick Sykes: Opening the College in 1915 was no small feat, and Sykes was responsible for many details, from coordinating architects and builders to recruiting faculty to designing the College seal – and even helping build the first road in 1913.

Katharine Blunt: Blunt – Connecticut College’s “Great Builder” – opened 14 buildings during her tenure, and proudly displayed the ceremonial groundbreaking shovels around her office.

Rosemary Park: William Ashby McCloy painted this abstract portrait of Rosemary Park in 1959, as well as a more traditional portrait the same year. Park reportedly loved the abstract version, which now hangs in the Ernst Common Room, Blaustein.

Benjamin Marshall: Marshall was remembered fondly for his love of athletics and outdoor activities. He organized student hikes and picnics, and even helped build a one-room hut at Miller’s Pond for student use. Here, Marshall pours coffee during a student outing. 

Leo Higdon: On October 29, 2013, students paid tribute to Leo Higdon on “Big Hig Day,” complete with musical performances, speeches, and “Big Hig” cookies.

John Masefield was born on June 1, 1878. He served as poet laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death in 1967, the second longest tenure ever in the position (only Alfred, Lord Tennyson served a longer term). As a young man he worked as a merchant seaman and incorporated those experiences into poetry about the ocean, for which he is best remembered today. 

Charles Simmons of Stonington, Conn. was an avid collector of Masefield’s work, including print, manuscripts, and ephemera. Among the manuscript material are several unpublished poems and an unpublished play. He donated the collection to Connecticut College in 1983. The books are in the library catalog and a finding aid to the unpublished material can be found at http://collections.conncoll.edu/masefield/.

Heading to Reunion this weekend? Stop by the Lear Center and pick up a postcard (or five) in honor of the Class of 1964!