Horace Ward Bailey was a native Vermonter who served the state in many capacities, from state Senator and U. S. Marshall to State Railroad Commissioner and member of the Champlain Tercentenary Commission, but he may well be best remembered for his collection of Vermont pamphlets, which “was one of the most complete in the country and included some of the rarest known specimens of the early days of the history of the State,” according to a memorial volume written by his friends.
After Mr. Bailey’s death in 1914, his collection of Vermont pamphlets was purchased from his estate for the library at Middlebury College. For many decades this collection of 130 bound volumes of pamphlets had a paper index, but was otherwise uncataloged and unused. Thanks to a recently completed ten-year project by the Catalog Department, the pamphlets have been cataloged, and the most unique and interesting pamphlets are being digitized as well.
The earliest pamphlet in the collection dates back to 1794 and other pamphlets date from the very early 1800’s to Bailey’s death in 1914 and cover a broad range of topics, from town histories to railroad annual reports and a report on the Dred Scott decision on slavery. As we celebrate the quadricentennial of the discovery of Lake Champlain by Samuel de Champlain in 1609, it is worth noting that there is an extensive collection of materials on the Lake Champlain and Hudson River Tercentenary among the Bailey Pamphlets.
All of the cataloged pamphlets (well over 900) can be found in Midcat by doing a title search on Bailey’s Collection of Vermont Pamphlets. The pamphlets are shelved in the locked portion of the Vermont Collection, which is in Special Collections.
Many thanks go to the staff of the Catalog Department for their hard work and tenacity in completing this ambitious project.