TABLE OF CONTENTS
Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
405 Babbidge Road, Unit 1205
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-1205
Residents of the state of Connecticut of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian descent have a natural interest in the lands of their heritage, collectively known as the Baltic countries. In 1987, the Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian Alliance of Connecticut (ELLA) was formed to alert federal and state officials on issues concerning their respective countries. In particular, ELLA was formed to provide the media with accurate information on Baltic causes. Through these efforts, ELLA promotes a better understanding of the historic Baltic peoples as well as their contemporary problems.
From its inception, ELLA made Baltic independence its primary goal. Black Ribbon Day Commemorations and rallies in Hartford sharpened the general public's awareness of the Baltics' struggle. At the same time, the board of directors of ELLA began a serious lobbying effort in behalf of Baltic independence that centered on the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed on 23 August 1939. Consequently, in 1991 when the “January Crisis” occurred and Soviet paratroopers cracked down on the independence movement, ELLA was ready to respond to Soviet disinformation, but, more importantly, able to give precise information about the bloody crackdown in Lithuania and Latvia. ELLA telegrammed the President and wrote members of Congress urging an immediate Soviet withdrawal.
For about a decade ELLA was a liaison and a lobbying organization to the thirty thousand Americans of Baltic descent living in Connecticut who maintain strong ties to their homeland. Of equal importance, ELLA has underscored Baltic events to all citizens who are interested in promoting democracy throughout the world.
Ilvi Joe-Cannon, formerly of of Bolton, Connecticut, and in Tallinin, Estonia, as of 1997, donated the ELLA papers to the Dodd Research Center Archives & Special Collections in 1997. She was born in Viljandi, Estonia, but in 1944 fled to the West with her mother, brother, and two sisters, to avoid being deported to Siberia. In 1950 after having stayed in displaced persons camps in Germany, the family immigrated to the United States. In 1961, Ilvi Joe-Cannon received her B.A. from the University of Connecticut and in 1966 she received her M.A. from Indiana University.
Joe-Cannon, one of the founders of ELLA, later became chair of the organization. Continuing with work on Baltic causes, in 1994 she became the chair of the Baltic, Central, and East European Coalition (BCEEC), which is comprised of ELLA; the Polish-American Congress, the District of CT, Inc., the Hungarian Club, and the Ukrainian Congress Committee.
The papers of the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian Alliance of Connecticut consist of materials gathered by charter members of ELLA, in particular Ilvi-Joe Cannon, in an effort to document the history of the organization. The papers consist primarily of correspondence, newspaper clippings, facsimiles, photographs, and memorabilia. In addition, they include records of two other lobbying groups, which have similar objectives to ELLA's, the Joint Baltic American National Committee and the Baltic, Central, and East European Coalition. The papers also include records and correspondence from the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Series I: ELLA, (1986-1994) contains a statement of purpose, minutes of meetings, annual reports, fundraisers, and chronologically arranged lobbying files. The papers also contain letters from members of Congress, which include, Christopher Dodd, Joseph Lieberman, Bruce Morrison, Gary Franks, Barbara Kennelly, Christopher Shays, Alfonse D'Amato, Nancy Johnson, Rosa DeLauro, and Sam Gejdenson. Presidents Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, and Clinton also registered their support for Baltic independence. Cannon has included in the ELLA papers an extensive collection of newspaper clippings on Black Ribbon Day to recall the infamous 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
Series II: Other Organizations (1987-1996)consists of chronologically arranged reports from the Joint Baltic American National Committee, the Baltic, Central, and East European Coalition of Connecticut, and the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Series III: Related Papers (1938-1996)includes materials on privatization in Estonia, Estonian culture, personal testimonies, books, White House invitations, an ELLA survey, USID News, ELLA related concerns, and correspondence. The papers are arranged alphabetically by subject. Included in the ELLA papers is Joe-Cannon's personal narrative, A Mighty Hand: The Story of an Estonian Family.
Restrictions on Access
There are no access restrictions on this collection.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.
Archives & Special Collections has a substantial collection of materials pertaining to Connecticut's ethnic communities. For detailed information on these collections please contact the curator or ask at the reference desk.
This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Baltic States—Foreign relations—United States.
Baltic States—Politics and government.
Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian Alliance of Connecticut—History.
[Item description, #:#], Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian Alliance Of Connecticut (ELLA) Records. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.
Ilvi Joe-Cannon of Bolton, Connecticut, donated the ELLA Records in 1996.