Category Archives: middpoints

Shakespeare’s First Folio at Middlebury – Keynote Wednesday and more events to come!

This February, one of the most important books in the history of English literature is coming to Middlebury. This year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and to honor the centuries of the bard’s influence, the Folger Shakespeare Library is sponsoring a national tour of their collection of First Folios.

FSL logo

Considered one of the most influential books in the world, the First Folio includes 36 Shakespeare plays, 18 of which had never been printed before the First Folio in 1623. Without the First Folio, all of those plays – including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, As You Like It, and more – might have been lost forever.

From February 2-28, Middlebury College will serve as the Vermont site of the national tour, displaying the First Folio at the Middlebury Museum of Art.


To kick off this month of celebration, James Shapiro, Columbia University professor and renowned Shakespeare scholar, will give a lecture on Shakespeare’s role in American history on Wednesday February 3rd at 7:00pm in the Concert Hall.

Visit go/shakespeare for more information about events throughout the month of February, including a First Folio Festival on Thursday February 18th at 4:30pm in the Center for the Arts Lobby.

The Ski-Minded College: Winter Carnival 1950

This clip from a recently rediscovered College promotional film produced in 1950 shows how students at “one of the most ski-minded of American colleges” took advantage of all that a Vermont winter has to offer. The dulcet narration guides us through a tour of the Snow Bowl and introduces us to the Winter Carnival, “the highlight of the year, [in which] fine competitive skiing is combined with the tops in social events.” The clip also captures student broadcasters just a few months after the founding of WMCRS, the college radio station that has gone by the call letters WRMC since 1952.

Be sure to join Special Collections on February 26 during the Winter Carnival in Crossroads Cafe as we present a special screening of newly-discovered films from the college archives (follow us on Facebook or check the Carnival schedule for an exact time). Spanning the 1920s to 1950s, this assortment of sound and silent footage captures the full range of Middlebury’s historic wintertime fun— from synchronized skiing to cigarette pack snow sculptures!



College Stations Changes Name.” The Middlebury Campus, October 9, 1952.

Lemcke, Ted, “WRMC Elects New Board; Plans to Enlarge ScheduleThe Middlebury Campus, May 16, 1957.


Naila Baloch Awarded the Vermont Women in Higher Education Carol A. Moore Scholarship

On December 21, 2015, the Vermont Women in Higher Education (VWHE) awarded its annual scholarship to Chaplaincy Fellow/Muslim Advisor Naila Baloch .

The scholarship, named after Lyndon State College’s former president, Carol A. Moore, recognizes women working in Vermont higher education who aspire to advance their careers. In its eleventh year of supporting women in their professional endeavors, this scholarship awards up to $1,000.

In support of Ms. Baloch’s application, Laurie Jordan, Chaplain of the College, states: “We want our students to thrive and grow, and Naila helps us create the kind of community where that can happen. She keeps up with world affairs so that she can relate to the concerns that students experience while they are studying, sometimes far from home. She is compassionate and thoughtful in her responses to crises both on and off campus.”

Upon receiving notification of the award, Naila stated: “I am honored and delighted to be offered the Carol A. Moore scholarship, and through it to be connected to a community of Vermont women who come together to support each other and dream up possibilities for a brighter, more beautiful world, where each of us has an opportunity to be our best self and offer our gifts in service to others.”

Ms. Baloch’s scholarship will be applied towards her education and training in Mental Health Counseling through an M.S. degree at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. Ms. Baloch already holds a B.A. in Astrophysics and Comparative Religion from Williams College, where her undergraduate research focused on quantum information theory. She also holds a Master in Theological Studies specializing in Islamic Ministry from Harvard, as well as a graduate certificate from the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism in Pope Valley, California, where her focus was on counseling from a spiritual perspective.

VWHE is sponsored by the American Council on Education’s Office of Women in Higher Education, based in Washington, D.C., and has been active in the state of Vermont for over 20 years. VWHE works to foster connections among women in various sectors of higher education, promote women’s leadership and encourage and support women leaders of diverse backgrounds. The organization maintains an open membership policy and welcomes the participation of women from all levels of administration, staff and faculty. Visit for more information.

Seeking Community Members for Community-based Grant Program!

The United Way of Addison County is searching for community members who are interested in serving on the Community Impact Funding (CIF) Committee! The Community Impact Funding Process is a community-based grant program where members will be involved in evaluating financial sustainability, governance, program design and outcomes of non-profit agencies seeking United Way funding.  CIF works to engage community members in meeting the health and human service needs of the community. It is important to understand that United Way donors and volunteers expect this grant process to demonstrate that funding is predicated upon agency integrity, sound management, financial stability, the ability to identify community needs, and programs/initiatives that efficiently and effectively address those needs. This is a tremendous opportunity for those interested in leadership and community involvement. Call 388-7189 or email for more information.

We are also looking for volunteers to be FAST Tax Assistants. The program serves low to moderate income clients who are familiar with computers, but need assistance with inputting their tax information into a free online tax program similar to TurboTax. Volunteers will work primarily out of the United Way office (in Middlebury!) from February 1st to April 15th and will receive a comprehensive orientation and training. There are daytime, late afternoon, evening and weekend shifts available. For more information and/or questions, talk to Steve or Lizzy at the United Way of Addison County.

January EFAP News: Taking a Closer Look at Nutrition

e4 h

e4health  (formerly LifeScope)
January 2016 Newsletter:
Taking a Closer Look at Nutrition


Eating Right For Life
Wednesday, January 19th
12-1 pm ET
3-4 pm ET

Coffee for breakfast, candy bar for lunch, and dinner on the run? If this sounds familiar, don’t miss this opportunity to become more knowledgeable about balanced nutrition. In this webinar you will learn how to adopt healthy and sustainable eating habits that work for you and your schedule.

REGISTER TODAY! Space is limited

Click on the time you would like to attend above.

Or log on to with your username and password. On the homepage, click on “UPCOMING WEBINARS,” and follow the easy instructions.

Unable to make it to the scheduled webinars? No worries! Our monthly webinars are archived for your convenience.  Visit click on E4 University, then click on Webinars to search by  webinar title.  


Taking a Closer Look at Nutrition

Recent headlines reported that bacon may be dangerous to our health. First bacon is good for me, then it’s bad for me, then I can only have turkey bacon, then it’s okay to have bacon in small portions, and now I’m not supposed to eat it all. Sounds like a pattern we have all heard often over the past several years. Consumers are not sure what we should eat, how often we should eat certain foods, how to cook foods, or what foods we are supposed to completely avoid.


Some of you may remember when we were kids, the food pyramid. The system explained, working from bottom to top, the food groups you needed the most servings of, and as you worked your way to the top, the tip of the pyramid identified foods you needed the least of or should avoid as much as possible. The pyramid concept was created over 20 years ago by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and stayed around until about 2005. In 2005, the USDA flipped the pyramid to lie on its side, and updated the food pyramid’s look and verbiage. It didn’t go over well. The sideways pyramid was confusing and sometimes viewed as misleading; subsequently, in 2011 the USDA created a simple plate campaign, “MyPlate,” with color coded categories for food groups.

A plate is much easier to wrap your head around than a pyramid when it comes to visualizing eating and planning your meals. Basically, half of each meal should be fruits and vegetables (half of your plate), a slightly larger portion on the other side of your plate should be grains and then fill in the rest with protein (preferably lean protein). A small cup is beside your plate to represent dairy (1 – 2 servings a day) or you can substitute water here. Balancing your meals on the plate and cup concept, well that is much easier to do.


The key as most scientific studies show is to concentrate on the following:

  • Eat in moderation – all foods
  • Focus on a plant-based diet
  • Limit saturated fats (found in animal-based products, such as meat, eggs, and dairy)
  • Educate yourself (become a label reader and recipe experimenter)
  • Limit process foods (basically, if it came from the ground, that’s good, but if it came from a box or bag, it has been processed and less nutritious)
  • And move! It’s important to exercise more


Back to our beloved bacon, the World Health Organization concluded that processed meats-such as hot dogs, sausages, and bacon-can yield cancer. Studies and scientists concluded that regularly eating processed meats did increase individuals’ risks of cancers, such as colorectal cancer. Many organizations weighed in on this report such as the American Cancer Society. According to NPR, Bad Day For Bacon: Processed Meats Cause Cancer, “Susan Gapstur of the American Cancer Society says the society recommends ‘consuming a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant foods and limiting consumption of processed meat and red meat.’ ”

As research continues, diet and exercise guidelines will likely change. Health, lifestyle, and environment will also influence your diet; still, focus on plant based foods, drinking water, limiting meat and dairy, and moving. Make your diet your own, and fill you plate with healthy choices visualizing food as the fuel your body needs to operate as successfully and efficiently as possible.

e4health administers the College’s EFAP program.  To access their comprehensive web site, with many tools and articles, go to the e4health web site.
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Students are “Southbound for Christmas” ca. 1930, captured on film

This recently rediscovered clip from the 1930s in the College’s 16mm film archives shows the once-bustling Middlebury train station with students eagerly boarding a southbound train home for the holiday break. The footage also captures views of notable town architecture including the conical spire that once capped the Battell Block before it’s removal after a 1950 hurricane and  the residence of George Harvey years before it became the Fire and Ice restaurant in 1974.

As fall semester comes to a close, be sure to affix a Middlebury pennant onto your luggage, don your fur coat, and board the southbound train home for holidays!


Langrock, Joann. Middebury Stores and Busineses. Middlebury: Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History, 2002.

New book art in Special Collections

Last week we shared our newest oldest acquisition, a cuneiform-inscribed baked clay tablet from around 2,000 BCE, and today we feature our newest new acquisition, two works by Brian Dettmer.


Brooklyn-based book artist Brian Dettmer transforms books into art pieces, carving into them to uncover new meaning in the pages and to redefine the book’s role as an cultural object and knowledge repository.

Pictured above, and on display in the Special Collections Reading Room are The Smaller Big Fun Book, 2012 and Manual of Engineering Drawing, 2010. Come take a look!

Disclaimer: While we appreciate these works of book art, we do not endorse such work with any Library materials. 

A “first-rate beer” voucher, 2,000 years overdue

In special collections, visitors often ask us, “What’s your most expensive item?” Or sometimes: “What’s the oldest thing you have?”

In late November, we acquired our newest, oldest thing: a baked clay tablet that originated in ancient Mesopotamia (current-day Iraq), from roughly 2,000 BCE. This small tablet (measuring just about 1 inch x 1 inch and pictured here) is incised with cuneiform script, considered to be one of the earliest forms of writing.

With the help of Middlebury alum Seth Richardson, Class of 1990, a historian of the ancient Near East at the University of Chicago, we’re learning more about our new acquisition. Likely in British and American hands since the early 20th century, our tablet is essentially a beer coupon. That’s right. Based only on preliminary examination, Dr. Richardson translated the first line: “3 liters of first-rate beer.”

And as it turns out, the Western tradition of beer brewing began in Mesopotamia between 3500 – 3100 BCE. How do we know? Largely from cuneiform tablets like ours, which contain detailed records around beer production, the delivery of raw materials (barley, yeast, bread, flour), and the trading of beer products. Like apple cider production in colonial New England, ancient Mesopotamians lacked clean water, but had an abundance of grains and the know-how needed to ferment them. And they had the earliest known written alphabet to boot.

Funds for the purchase of this item were gifted by Jeri Bapasola, French School, 1978.


Beer in the Ancient World.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Accessed December 3, 2015.

Damerow, Peter. “Sumerian Beer: The Origins of Brewing Technology in Ancient Mesopotamia.” Cuneiform Digital Library Journal, no. 2 (2012).