Author Archives: Rebekah Irwin

About Rebekah Irwin

Director of Collections & Archives at the Middlebury College Libraries.

Summer Language Schools, looking back

Explore our newest online archive: Middlebury Language Schools. This collection includes archives from Middlebury’s Summer Language Schools, which began in 1915. When completed, the collection will include all the annual bulletins from 1915 through 2007, a history of the Language Schools up to 1975, annual reports, photographs, and scrapbooks.

Language School bulletin, 1949

Language School bulletin, 1949

Henry David Thoreau died today, May 6 (1862)

How will you observe the life and death of Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862), the American writer and naturalist?


Thoreau, August 1861 © Wikimedia Common

By taking a quiet walk?

By turning off your cell phone? Your computer?

By having a deep conversation with a friend, colleague, or family member?

By getting out a sheet of paper and writing a letter? (Yes! By hand.)

By randomly squeezing a Thoreau quote into a conversation today?

Or, by visiting Special Collections in the Davis Library 101 to visit our display of Thoreau artifacts: his inkwell, bricks and timbers from his cabin at Walden Pond, books from his cabin library, and more.



Physics and Special Collections featured in the Boston Globe

What do experimental physics and Middlebury Special Collections have in common?

The Boston Globe featured the work of experimental physicist Carl Haber, the Northeast Document Conservation Center, and Middlebury College Special Collections as well as Harvard University and the Woody Guthrie Archives in a recent article, “Technology saves echoes of past from silence.” Our newly scanned sound files will start arriving this summer, Stay tuned!

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New to the library, April edition

In addition to the recently announced Annual Reviews of Economics and Chinese Newspaper Archive, more new library collections are rolling in:

Research Databases


Journals, etc.


Nope, nothing new in this photo. Starr Library, 1945

A little look at Middlebury’s dwarf-sized books

We’ve been talking a lot about little things in the College’s Special Collections & Archives as we pay extra attention to pocket-sized books in our midst. Our smallest book (so far) is a 2 inch tall History of the Bible, published in Cooperstown, New York, in 1836 (pictured below).  The general definition of a miniature book is anything under 3 inches. We’re assembling miniature books up to 5 inches, since we’ve found big books and tiny books don’t play nicely on the shelves together and can cause damage to each another over time. You can learn more about miniature books here or visit us and ask to see our mini books yourself.

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Thanks to our hand-model, Joseph Watson, Preservation Manager and Special Collections and Archives .