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Vintage Robert Frost on film

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Luckily, 16 mm film, common from the 1920s through the 1960s, is relatively durable stuff. This particular reel of film, which sat in the Middlebury College archives for over forty years, depicts Robert Frost for two glorious, full color minutes. For the first time in nearly half a century (thanks to a film preservation lab in Philadelphia), watch as Frost harvests vegetables from his garden at his Ripton, Vermont cabin (down the road from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference), frolics with his dog Gillie, and walks his mare Steeplebush and her colt Shadbush. Frost and Kay Morrison pop fresh berries into their mouths. Summer time on the mountain!

Read the Middlebury NewsRoom story about this film.

A busy start to 2014 in Special Collections

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Special Collections has enjoyed a busy start to 2014 with several J-term classes visiting this week to use our collections for coursework. Here’s a group from Prof. Kacy McKinney’s class Space and Place in the Graphic Novel. Students learned about the history of illustrations in books, viewing everything from a 1484 illuminated Latin text, to recently published graphic novels.

Students viewed a wide selection of illustrated books.

Students looking at a wide selection of illustrated books.

Special Collections Director Rebekah Irwin shares a large format art book.

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Prof. McKinney and students view illustrated books from the 16th to the 18th century.

Civil War letters from the Middlebury College Archives featured on VPR.

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Last week Jane Lindholm from Vermont Public Radio visited the Middlebury College Archives to find out more about a recent gift of Civil War letters. To listen to the story and see more images, visit the VPR web site here!

C-120-1868-03_01

Reading Rowland Out Loud

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

UncleLishasShop

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

Seeking 1948 film “Sno’ Time for Learning”

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

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. 4th issue of The Campus about the release of Sno' Time for Learning

Article in the Nov. 4, 1948 issue of The Campus about the release of Sno’ Time for Learning

Two New Civil War Collections Won for Special Collections

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
Erastus Hibbard Phelps Collection

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.

Andy also made the winning bid on another Civil War archive, 54 Letters of 2nd Lieut. Ephraim L. Hackett, Wisconsin 1st Light Artillery. Born in Maine in 1837, Ephraim L. Hackett was living in Baraboo, Wisconsin, in August 1861, when he enlisted as a Sergeant in the 1st Independent Battery, Wisconsin Light Artillery. Small in number and mobile, the Battery recruited barely over 100 men before being sent into the field in Kentucky that Fall, then went on to fight up and down the Mississippi Valley until the end of the war.

These two important Civil War collections significantly enhance Middlebury’s already impressive Civil War era archival holdings including the Aldace Walker (Middlebury Class of 1862) Letters, the Calvin Parker Letters, the Civil War Archive of Professor Kit Wilson, and nearly 100 Civil War era letters from individual writers.

The purchase of the Phelps and Hackett archives was made possible through the generous partial funding from the Friends of the Davis Family Library, the Middlebury College Museum of Art, the Julian W. Abernethy Fund, and the Davis Family Library.

Special Collections spotlight

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Watch this for a lovely feature by the Addison Independent on Middlebury College Special Collections and Andy Wentink’s journey to his current place as Curator!


Also of local/Middlebury College interest: the music on the video is by Middlebury alumna Anaïs Mitchell from her recent “folk-opera”, Hadestown.