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Professor helps secure gift
from former student
May 3, 1999
When Eldon Bernstein and Fred Carstensen first met in 1984, Bernstein was an undergraduate student and Carstensen his professor.
"He showed up on my doorstep as a student who wanted to take an interesting course," says Carstensen, a professor of economics.
Since that day, Carstensen and Bernstein have been friends and colleagues. Bernstein received a bachelor's degree in political science and master's and doctoral degrees in business policy from UConn. Carstensen served on Bernstein's doctoral dissertation committee and together they have published a dozen biographies on the history of business, including an article on the history of Lender's Bagels.
Last month, with encouragement from his former professor, Bernstein and his wife Judith helped establish an endowment to gather and preserve business archives in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Combined with a gift from James V. Capua of the William Donner Foundation, the endowment will total $87,500, including a state match under UConn 2000.
Thomas Wilsted, director of the Dodd Center, says the endowment is the first substantial support for a specific collection at the Dodd Center.
Carstensen says it is important to preserve business archives: "The history of business is the most poorly documented resource of American life." Students, faculty and the public can use the business archives for research. Materials include records of the brass, textile, and mining industries and the early telephone companies. The archives also have documents and photographs of the New Haven Railroad Co.
Carstensen has been involved in the collection and preservation of Connecticut business archives since he came to UConn in 1982. He has obtained documents from the Bristol Brass Co., which he deposited in the business archives at the Dodd Center.
"Americans are enterprising people," says Carstensen. "Many immigrants came to the U.S. for economic opportunity and today, as a society, we are bound up in enterprising activity. Individual freedom depends on protecting property rights and the business archives help protect those rights. The archives are an important part of our legacy."