Archives to House Sam Gejdenson Papers (Released: 01/19/01)
By Sherry Fisher, Office of University Communications
STORRS, Conn. -- Twenty years' worth of Sam Gejdenson's Congressional files and other records, including material reflecting his work on the Mashantucket Pequot Settlement Act, defense diversification and environmental issues, will soon be added to the archives of the University of Connecticut, thanks to the former Congressman Sam Gejdenson, who has donated his papers to the University.
The Democratic lawmaker represented the Second District of Connecticut from 1981 until 2000.
"This is a complete record of his official duties representing the Second District," says Scott Kovarovics, who served as Gejdenson's chief of staff. The documents, which will be housed in the University's Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, cover a wide range of issues. Some are of local significance, such as establishing the Quinebaug Shetucket National Heritage Corridor and efforts to protect the defense industry in southeastern Connecticut. Others have a wider scope, including material regarding "virtually every foreign policy issue of the last 20 years," Kovarovics says.
The collection consists of 182 cubic feet of materials, including correspondence, reports, news clippings, press releases, speeches, committee and issue files, and audiovisual materials. A public announcement will be made when the collection is opened to researchers.
The first child of Holocaust survivors elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Gejdenson was born in 1948 in an American displaced persons camp in Eschwege, Germany. He grew up on a dairy farm in Bozrah, Conn. He earned an associates degree from Mitchell College in New London in 1968 and a bachelors degree in political science from UConn in 1970. In 1974, he was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives, serving two terms before accepting a post in the administration of Gov. Ella T. Grasso.
Gejdenson is known as a passionate advocate for children, senior citizens and working families. He fought to bring modern technology to schools and to make college more affordable. He worked to enhance retirement security, to create jobs in the United States by promoting the export of American-made goods and services, and to protect the environment.
Gejdenson, who was defeated by Republican Robert Simmons in November, had served as co-chairman of the Democratic Task Force on Retirement Security and was the senior Democrat on the Committee on International Relations. His other committee appointments include the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress, the Joint Library Committee, the Committee on House Administration and several task forces.
The material will be added to the Dodd Center's collection of Congressional papers, which includes the papers of former U.S. Sens. Thomas J. Dodd, Prescott Bush and Francis Maloney, and former U.S. Reps. Barbara Kennelly, Bruce Morrison and William Ratchford.