President Harry Truman once said “The only thing new in the world is the history you do not know.” Because the site around Twilight Hall and the Middlebury Municipal Building has recently been a topic of community conversation, we thought people might be interested in these photos from the Middlebury College Archives. For more information on the history of the site and adjacent buildings, see pages 11 and 12 of A Walking History of Middlebury.
Click on the photos to enlarge them and see more detail.
View of Middlebury from Old Chapel in 1867. Notice the building site of the Academy (now Twilight Hall) that replaced the previous wooden structure.
Academy Building in 1893, seen from the east end of the park between College St. and Main St.
Graded School in 1900 seen from College St. just east of Weybridge St.
The Graded School in 1900 seen from the corner of Main St. and Cross St.
Recently, while digitizing some song recordings from the Helen Hartness Flanders Ballad Collection, we discovered an undocumented recording of a man reading from Rowland E. Robinson’s book Uncle Lisha’s Shop: Life in a Corner of Yankeeland. We recognized it as a Robinson story because of the characters mentioned, so we searched the online version of one of his most popular books for the word “voter”, which seemed unlikely to be a common word in the story, and we found that the text being read starts on pg. 13, seven lines from the bottom of the page. We recommend that you read along in the book while listening to the recording. Click here for the online text and listen to the recording by clicking the icon below.
The reader takes on the accent of two of Robinson’s classic characters, a “Yankee” and a “Cunuck”, aka French Canadian. Robinson wrote most of his fiction in the 1890s and it was very popular, particularly in Vermont, right up through the 1930s and 40s when Flanders was collecting her ballad recordings. Unfortunately we don’t know who the reader is or when the recording was made. The ballad recording that precedes it on the tape was originally on a disc, which means it was recorded between 1939 and 1950, but the story on the tape seems to be covered over by the ballad recording, and how that happened is a bit of a mystery yet to be solved, and we can’t be certain the singer of the ballad is the same person reading the story. We may eventually discover a more complete version of the reading.
For more about the Flanders Collection and to hear some of the recordings visit this site.
The home of Rowland E. Robinson is a museum open to the public in nearby Ferrisburgh. www.Rokeby.org
The Middlebury College Archives is searching for a movie about the College filmed in 1948. It features scenes shot at the Snow Bowl in the winter and the main campus in the spring. We’ve placed a request with Paramount Picture, which originally produced it, and we’re waiting to hear back from them. But we also thought it was possible that somebody associated with the College might have a copy somewhere. If you know where a copy can be found, please let us know. SpecialCollections@middlebury.edu 802-443-3028.
Article in the Nov. 4, 1948 issue of The Campus about the release of Sno’ Time for Learning
The winning bid on the Archive of Civil War paymaster Erastus Hibbard Phelps, Middlebury Class of 1861, was made at auction by Andy Wentink, Curator of Special Collections & Archives. The archive was one among nearly 350 lots of American History, including Civil War, materials offered by Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati, OH, last Friday morning, December 2. The Phelps Archive comprises 334 letters, 4 diaries (3 from Civil War years), 2 bound volumes including a photo album containing portraits of graduates of the Middlebury Class of 1861, many of which are inscribed to Phelps. The archive also includes two photos of Phelps previous to his years at Middlebury, his paymaster sidearm (a Colt 1851 Navy 36 caliber pistol), what is believed to be his sheepskin winter jacket worn on duty, and a leather documents trunk carried during his service.
With the merger of Collection Management and portions of Academic Consulting Services, it became clear that the area needed a new name to reflect its expanded scope.
I’m therefore pleased to announce that the name for this area is now Research and Collection Services (RCS). While many portions of the website still reflect the old names — and it will take a while before we’ve eradicated all remnants of Collection Management/Academic Consulting Services from the website, email distribution lists, HR/Banner information, etc. — please consider the name to be effective immediately. We’ll try to get the changes made expeditiously.