The Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge downtown honors a woman whose life was filled with music and service. She was dedicated to hospitality and the United Nations. Through jUNe Day and other events, she brought tens of thousands of international visitors to Westport.
The basement of Steinkraus Cohen’s Darbrook Road home was filled with paperwork. She never discarded a program, agenda, or the minutes of one of her Wednesday meetings.
Over 60 boxes of Steinkraus Cohen’s papers have been stored at Adams Academy on Morningside Drive North. This month, the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut is tackling them — helped by 4 talented and hard-working Staples High School interns.
Kylie Race, Claire Redmer, Savannah Schaefer and Samuel Zuckerman started the cleanout last week. They wanted this internship to learn about international relations. Now they’re getting a crash course in how Steinkraus Cohen thought globally — and acted locally — for 50 years.
The interns sorted through box after box. They found press clippings of Steinkraus Cohen with Eleanor Roosevelt, and letters from George Bush, Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan.
There were hundreds of photographs of 50 years’ worth of jUNe Days, with international visitors enjoying Westport.
With the interns’ help, the UNA SW CT hopes to create a Ruth Steinkraus Collection of papers.
Sam and Savannah are learning about archiving, and will lead the process with Joan Hass. Kylie and Claire are designing and building a new website, with Michaela MacColl. All the interns are creating original content, reflecting their own interests under Marge Neuiwenhuis’ educator’s eye.
The tagline for “06880” is “Where Westport meets the world.” Sounds like a good one for Staples’ internship program too.