This fall in the Library Atrium, view Special Collections’ new exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, an event that sparked the movement for equal rights for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Curated by Suria Vanrajah ’22, the exhibit presents a timeline illustrating the increased visibility and acceptance of queer literature in America.
On view through fall, with the companion exhibit:
Middlebury College Coming Out: A Foundation for Queer Activism Depicting Middlebury College’s LGBTQ community in the decades following the Stonewall riots.
Curated by Joseph Watson, Reid Macfarlane, ’21 and Halle Shephard, ’22. Located on the Library Lower Level.
Vermont Life was a quarterly magazine, published by the State of Vermont, covering Vermont’s “people, places and culture.” The state-owned magazine was founded in 1946 and ceased publication in the summer of 2018.
Summer 1947, painting by Norman Rockwell
The digitization of Vermont Life was undertaken to support the Middlebury College fall 2018 class: “Vermont Life’s Vermont,” taught by Professors Kathy Morse and Michael Newbury.
Vermont Life magazine was a quarterly magazine, published by the State of Vermont, covering Vermont’s “people, places and culture.” The state-owned magazine was founded in 1946 and ceased publication in the summer of 2018.
The digitization of Vermont Life was undertaken to support the Middlebury College fall 2018 class: “Vermont Life’s Life,” taught by Professors Kathy Morse and Michael Newbury.
On August 29th, 2018 Nellie Pierce ’18, joined the Library as Postgraduate Fellow for Special Collections and Archives.
Nellie reads from the manuscript of her thesis, All Is To Be Dared, in a capstone event at the M Gallery, May 2018
Nellie (Class of 2018) is a Middlebury, Vermont native. She graduated Summa cum laude, with Highest Honors as an Independent Scholar with a Cognitive Science concentration. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa as a junior, attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and was named a College Scholar (Middlebury’s highest recognition for semesterly academic achievement) eight times.
Highlights of her time at Middlebury (in the past four years, but also those since birth) have included co-hosting a philosophy-and-“Buffy The Vampire Slayer”-themed radio show on WRMC, participating in exhibits and publishing ventures at the M Gallery, and designing, printing and organizing a public reading for her interdisciplinary senior thesis.
In her new role, Nellie will join the Special Collections staff as a crusader and evangelist, promoting our collections, lionizing the history (and future) of the book, and engaging in campus and community outreach, creative event planning, exhibitions, and imaginative uses of social media and technology.
Inspired by the 18th century French philosopher Denis Diderot’s massive, thirty-five volume Encyclopédie, the current exhibition in Special Collections & Archives reveals our enduring curiosity of animals through a selection of rare and unusual books dating from the 17th through the 20th centuries.
Other works on display include Edward Topsell’s The historie of foure-footed beastes, published in 1607 in London (and possibly one of William Shakespeare’s literary sourcebooks) and a polar bear as described by Captain James Cook, the British explorer, in the 18th century, upon arrival in the Russian Arctic Circle.
Last summer, Special Collections & Archives rolled out new swag: black tote bags (er, book bags) and stickers emblazoned with the slogan My books smell good. First, we want to thank Carey Bass, Middlebury’s talented graphic designer, for the bold serif font and brash ending punctuation. But, “What does it mean?” (People have asked, with a skeptical gaze.) As well as: “Isn’t it a little vulgar?” A little behind-the-scenes seemed overdue.
In a 2010 interview in The Paris Review, the science fiction writer Ray Bradbury was asked about e-books and Kindles:
Those aren’t books. You can’t hold a computer in your hand like you can a book. A computer does not smell. There are two perfumes to a book. If a book is new, it smells great. If a book is old, it smells even better. It smells like ancient Egypt. A book has got to smell. You have to hold it in your hands and pray to it. You put it in your pocket and you walk with it. And it stays with you forever. But the computer doesn’t do that for you. I’m sorry.
That sums it up, though a little curmudgeonly. And from the Journal of Chromatography, chemists used solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to analyze volatile organic compounds emitted from a naturally aged groundwood pulp paper originating from an old book. (Read it for yourself here.) Volatile organic compounds. This is what we’re talkin’ about:
And another recent article lays out a framework to identify, protect and conserve the smells that influence the way we engage with the past. Smithsonian Magazine wrote about this research, and here’s a photograph of a scientist taking a deep sniff at the National Archives of The Netherlands.
Whatever it is that brings you to our door—poetry, history, chemistry, or a hankering to smell a centuries old book for yourself—just come. We have lots of bags left and they make memorable graduation gifts. (Totes are $5, while they last).
To mark World AIDS Day we’re sharing this film clip from the 1976 promotional film Middlebury College, a Chance to Grow which profiled Political Science major and student activist Mario Cooper. After graduating in 1977, Cooper went on to earn a law degree and became a key figure in HIV/AIDS advocacy after becoming HIV positive and witnessing the disproportionate effects of the disease in the African American community.
Though it may have once seemed like an unassuming profile of a passionate student, the clip can now be appreciated as an early view into the work of a determined activist who would later become a prominent figure in civil rights and AIDS advocacy movements. The footage and narration also poignantly show Cooper enjoying college life and friendships in a time before the AIDS epidemic changed his life and that of those around him.