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Summer Language School on Film in the College Archives

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Drawn from our newly digitized historic 16mm films, a taste of what life in the Summer Language Schools was like in the middle of the 20th century.  Enjoy!

German School Dancing Considered the forerunner of all the Middlebury Language Schools in 1915, the German School established its home in Bristol, Vermont and flourished under the direction of the dynamic Ernst Feise throughout the 1930s and 1940s. The seven-week program strove for students to “live and work in an atmosphere as distinctly German as if they were traveling in Germany.” Integral to that goal was learning to perform dances native to German culture, wearing native German dress. (We love the people watching from the bushes!)

French School Outings In this clip from the early 1940s, students and faculty of the French Summer Language School take a break from classes and enjoy the program’s long-running tradition of weekend trips off-campus. With a beautiful view from the top of Chipman Hill, they roast bacon-wrapped sausage and sing songs. In another outing, they can be seen picnicking on the shores of Lake Dunmore at the Waterhouse Pavilion.

Honorary Degree  On August 8, 1946 French Ambassador to the United States Henri Bonnet was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Middlebury College president Samuel S. Stratton. André Morize, a close friend of Bonnet’s and the retiring director of Middlebury’s French Summer Language School was also honored at the ceremony. This clip shows the reception held outside of Mead Chapel following the event. Attendees include the poet Robert Frost.

And finally, a documentary film crew spent time in the College Archives in the summer of 2014 gathering sound recordings, film clips, and photos for this short film marking the centennial of the Summer Language Schools. Thanks to the Language Schools for making this film widely available.

From the College Archives: Middlebury Commencement Through History

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

We are thrilled to introduce a new series, From the College Archives, curated by Josh Kruskal, ’15. In the weeks of his last semester, Josh, a prized Special Collections staff member, scoured 200 years of Middlebury Kaleidoscopes in search of historic and day-to-day moments. In Josh’s inaugural post: Commencement. In his photo essays to come, look for themes such as Students and Their Dogs, Downtown Middlebury, Halloween Costumes, and many more.  Congratulations Josh, and enjoy…

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Sugarin’ Off in the 1940s

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

It’s early April and the maple sap is starting to flow, which means it’s time for one of Vermont’s most beloved traditions: The Sugaring-Off Party. This recently rediscovered clip from a 16mm film reel in the Middlebury College Archives records one such party held by students in the early 1940s.

Sponsored by the Mountain Club, the annual outing brought sugar-craving undergrads to the college’s own maple grove near the Bread Loaf Inn. Complete with an evaporation hut for processing freshly-tapped sap into syrup, the “sugar camp” boasted 1,100 trees on land bequeathed to the college by Joseph Battell in 1915. Photographs from the 1939 party even made it onto the pages of LIFE Magazine.

Mountain Club Members 1932

Mountain Club Members 1932

After hiking up to the orchard, “Sugarman” Boudreau helped the eager students collected sap and boil it to produce thick maple syrup. Like any good Vermont sugar-makers, the students diligently (and by no means begrudgingly) inspected the results with generous helpings on snow with pickles and doughnuts. Others chose the more exhaustive measure of quality control by vigorously whipping the syrup until it hardened into maple candy.

Anne Saurman of Clearwater, Florida uses an oldtime yoke to carry sugar pails

Anne Saurman of Clearwater, Florida 1948

Clothing Guide 1944-45, from the Archives

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

For the 1944-45 school year, the Student Union published these handy HELPS AND HINTS as part of a clothing guide (for women). For example, “No Rubber Boots are to be worn to the dining-rooms, or to lectures and concerts unless the weather is very severe and there is no opportunity to change.” And don’t get us started on shorts. “Shorts are never to be worn in the dining rooms…they are never to be worn downtown unless one is going through town on a bicycle. Then don’t stop to shop or have a coke. Plan those shopping or coking expeditions for sometime when you don’t have shorts on.” Unless, of course, you remembered your leg make-up.


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“Joseph Battell: A Centennial Appreciation,” a talk by David Haward Bain, Monday, February 23rd

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Joe Battell, ca. 1860 -HSM, Stewart Papers, vol. 9

February 23, 2015 is the centennial of Joseph Battell’s death. Bread Loaf land baron (in his day the largest private landowner in Vermont), environmentalist, crusading newspaperman, Middlebury College alum (Class of 1860), trustee, philanthropist, novelist.

David Haward Bain presents an illustrated “magic lantern” talk on Joseph Battell’s life and works.

When: February 23, 2015, 4:30pm

Where: Abernethy Reading Room, The Axinn Center at Starr Library, Middlebury College

Refreshments will be served.

Sponsored by Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives, the Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest, the Environmental Studies Program, Middlebury History Department, and the Stewart-Swift Research Center, Henry Sheldon Museum.

David Haward Bain has taught creative writing and literature at Middlebury College for 28 years, and has been affiliated with the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference for 35 years since his first-book fellowship in 1980. His books include Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad, Bitter Waters: America’s Forgotten Naval Mission to the Dead SeaThe Old Iron Road: An Epic of Rails, Roads, and the Urge to Go West, and Sitting in Darkness: Americans in the Philippines, as well as The College on the Hill: A Browser’s History for the Bicentennial of Middlebury College and Whose Woods These Are: A History of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, 1926-1992.

Photo credit: Joseph Battell circa 1860. Courtesy of the Henry Sheldon Museum, Stewart-Swift Research Center

Winter Carnival Films from the 1940s “Premiered”

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Fun in the snow at Middlebury College!  These recently digitized 16mm films haven’t been seen in more than fifty years.

This silent film montage shows scenes of the 40 meter jump on Chipman Hill, early ski trails at the Snow Bowl and the “new” 50 meter ski jump, Mountain Club outings to the winter woods, and even “aero-skijoring” on Lake Champlain.  Winter Carnival the way it was in the middle of the last century!

And this newsreel produced by Paramount Pictures in 1949 is an entertaining glimpse back into a unique moment in time.  It was shown in movie theaters throughout the country before the feature film.

 

Winter Carnival Vintage Films Premiere and Hot Chocolate Bar, February 13

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Recently rediscovered films in the College Archives from the 1940s will be shown for the first time in more than sixty years.

See Winter Carnival the way it was, before Gore-Tex and fiberglass: ski jumps on Chipman Hill, races at the Snow Bowl, aero-skijoring, and more.

When: Friday, February 13, 2015, 4:30 – 6pm

Where: McCullough Crossroads Cafe (The Juice Bar)

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