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Middlebury women take a snowy ride up to Ripton, ca. 1940s

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

In this clip, members of the Women’s Forum of Middlebury College load up holiday gifts into a truck parked behind Forrest Hall, en route to the Meeting House in Ripton, VT. Upon their arrival in Ripton, local children run (and slide, trudge, and sled) to meet them. The Middlebury women, joined by a costumed Santa, distribute their holiday gifts.

Established in 1937, the Women’s Forum was itially organized to further interest in economic, political, and social issues of the day. In 1944 the group merged with the Student Action Assembly to focus on social and service work. This clip dates likely dates from the early to mid 1940’s.

Happy holidays from Special Collections & Archives.

Vermont flood of 1927, or 1938? You be the judge.

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

In our ongoing effort to digitize historical, fragile films, we discovered this unlabeled and undated film clip depicting a flood in East Middlebury:

Though we were confident that we got the location right because some of the buildings are still standing in East Middlebury, we weren’t sure about the date.  Based in part on the vintage of the cars, we assumed the flood of 1927. To test out our theory, Joseph Watson shared the link on the Growing up in Addison County Facebook group and its 2,000+ members. As a result, we revised our initial date. Based on what evidence?  First, about 52 seconds into the film clip, the camera captures a Green Mountain National Forest tool box. The Forest wasn’t established until 1932. And second, the trees in the film clip are full of leaves. The ’27 flood was in November (no leaves!) while the ’38 flood was in September. Eureka! The Facebook thread (as of December 1) is below:

 

screencapture-facebook-EMidd-Flood

We were greatly shocked with the news…

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

During a recent visit to the archives by Professor Ellie Gebarowski-Shafer’s Religion 130 class, The Christian Tradition, students plowed through 214 years of Middlebury College missionary history with College Archivist Danielle Rougeau. Amid the pages of 19th century cursive was this diary entry by Mary Martin, wife of a missionary to China and grandmother of Mabel Martin (later Mary Buttolph), Class of 1911. (Mary Martin is pictured below, circa 1865.)

Mary Martin


After the death of her husband and a young son in China, Mary returned to Vermont by way of San Francisco. After 69 days at sea, she writes her last diary entry on May 21, 1965:

We were greatly shocked with the news we heard on our arrival this morning of the assassination of president Lincoln but very glad to learn that the war is over and that slavery is abolished.

Postscript: Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865. News traveled slowly in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Her mention of this news falls smack in the middle of the page below. To learn more about Middlebury missionaries, Mary Martin, or to cut your teeth on some 19th century cursive, visit Special Collections.

Martin.1965

Don’t forget to write your mother, circa 1932

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Our own Professor of Psychology at Middlebury College Barbara Hofer writes about the modern day iConnected Parent, constantly in contact with their College-bound kids through cell phones and Skype…well, the archives recently exposed something of a connected parent, but from over 80 years ago.

Here’s a letter from October 18, 1932. The mother of Charles Edward Stevenson, Jr., Class of 1936, writes to the Director of Admissions (scroll down for the full transcription):


Stevenson 1936

Stevenson 1936b

Dear Sir

I am writing you to find out if Charlie Stevenson is alright and if he is I want to know why he does not write his mother it will be to [sic] weeks Friday since I had any word from him I sent him his laundry and a little pocket money post office money order I am trailing that now to see if he cashed it. I know that boys are dilatory about writing sometimes but I never knew Charley Stevenson to do that before that is why I am worried about him if I do not get a letter from you I am going up there to find out what is going on.

Please answer write away

Very truly yours

Mrs C.E. Stevenson

 

One day later, Mrs. Stevenson received a typescript reply (again, transcribed below to help with the faded ink):

ResponseStevenson

Dear Mrs. Stevenson,

Your letter of October 18th is at hand and I have seen your son this morning and sent you the following telegram: “Your son is well and says has written you today”. I trust that you received the wire promptly so that you have not had to worry longer as to your son’s welfare. He seemed to be in perfect health when I saw him this morning but said that he had been very busy for the last few days. As you know, the fraternity rushing has been going on for the last two weeks and the boys have little spare time, as a rule, during that period. I presume that your son had not realized how long a time has elapsed since he wrote you, but you will doubtless receive his letter right away, if it  has not already reached you.

Very truly yours,

E.J. Wiley

Buttons!

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Have you seen a classmate/professor/stranger on campus sporting a 1 inch souvenir pin with a historic Middlebury face emblazoned upon it?

Learn about those famous faces here, and visit Special Collections & Archives to nab your own button while we still have them.

ButtonMakers Pattern Template

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.

IMG_0473

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