Mystery Photo

a stack of mystery photos

UConn has a mystery. Four, in fact. As the team in the University’s Archives & Special Collections works on digitizing the thousands of photos owned by the library, they occasionally come across images with little if any background information. In each issue of Inside UConn Nation, we’ll give any clues we have to mystery photos, then we’ll need your keen eyes and strong memories to review the images. If you recognize anyone, or anything, that can help date the photo and explain what’s happening in it, let us know by filling out the form at the bottom of the page.

Our first batch of mystery shots comes from an ROTC collection that Archives researcher Nicholas Hurley has uncovered.

photo of four students training with a M1 81-mm mortar

1. Mortar Team

This is a mortar team, possibly, and instructor and three cadets in the mid-1950s. The weapon they are training on is an M1 81-mm mortar. Do you recognize anyone or the building behind them?
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mystery photo of a student wearing a gas mask

2. Mask Man

The insignia on the uniform indicates this man is an Air Force Staff Sergeant, and he’s obviously a “Radiation Monitor.” Can anyone tell us anything else about this image? A date range? More info about the Passive Defense School noted in the sign?
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mystery photo of three uniformed students taking an oath from a fourth student

3. White Uniforms

“We know the uniforms are Marine Corps, and it looks like three of the men are taking an oath, so this appears to be a commissioning ceremony for military officers. To my knowledge, however, UConn has never had a Marine Corps ROTC program, hence the confusion,” Hurley said. Could it be that UConn students had the option of accepting a commission into the USMC via a Naval ROTC program at one time? Do you recognize anyone?
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mystery photo of a protesting student

4. Protest

Hurley is fairly sure this photo is from the 1968 Military Day ceremony, an annual event held at Memorial Stadium where ROTC cadets received their officer’s commissions. “In 1968 the ceremony was the site of major Vietnam protests related to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War,” Hurley said. “I would just like to know more about this particular incident: Do any alumni know who these two men are? What else happened on that day?”
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Housed in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center in Storrs, Archives & Special Collections acquires and preserves specialized research collections and makes them available for students, faculty, staff, alumni, scholars, and the public. Plan a visit to see unique displays, including the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection. Or start by viewing the Digital Collections online—the most popular collections are Connecticut History, UConn (of course!), Activism, and Historic Maps. If you’re a history buff, you’re going to devour the scholarly lessons and quirky roads less traveled in the Archives blog.

You can support work of the Archives & Special Collections with a gift to Fund for Excellence in Archives and Special Collections.

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