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Special Collections & Archives Celebrates Founder’s Day

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

To mark Founder’s Day, the original Middlebury College Charter signed by the Governor of Vermont on November 1st, 1800 will be on view in Special Collections on Nov. 2nd. Stop by and see it along with other documents from the College Archives that date from the time of our founding.

Can’t make out the cursive? Read the transcript here.


This document represents both the incipit of our College’s narrative as well as the laborious road to the college charter itself. After two failed petitions to the Vermont General Assembly in 1789 and 1799, Middlebury faced opposition from the institution that received the first university charter, the University of Vermont. Though UVM had been chartered in 1791, the institution’s doors had yet to open at the time Middlebury petitioned to open the College. In fact, they had yet to elect a president or establish a college edifice. Fearful of losing their state funding and lands, UVM sought to prevent a new college from forming. However, due to the state’s population increase (Vermont’s population grew from 84,000 to 154,000 between 1791 and 1800) and UVM’s slow start, there was a clear need for a place to educate Vermonters at home. Middlebury, with its newly constructed Academy Building (a $4,150 project funded by public subscriptions) founded by Gamaliel Painter, proved the perfect place to serve the College and Vermonters at large. Thus, the town’s college was founded with the signing of the charter, just 39 years after the town itself was chartered.


Source: Stameshkin, David M. 1985. The Town’s College: Middlebury College, 1800-1915. Middlebury, VT: Middlebury College Press.

Caves and Cathedrals

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

This October 3-4, our students in Bordeaux and Poitiers, accompanied by their godfathers, Kane and François, and their godmother, Lauriane, enjoyed a weekend trip to Dordogne.  There, they visited the caves Grand Roc and Lascaux 2, as well as the prehistoric shelter, Laugerie Basse.  They also went on guided tours of Périgueux and Sarlat, visiting the Périgueux Cathedral and the bell tower of the Church of Sarlat (which includes a ride in a glass elevator!).   They enjoyed discovering the local cuisine with dishes such as confit de canard (duck confit) and potatoes, et a gizzard salad (salad adorned with gizzards), and apple pie.    The even had the chance to try their hands at some prehistoric hunting methods!





the department of La Dordogne








cathédrale_Périgueuxthe Périgueux Cathedral






Prehistoric hunting techniques!



à table!




                                                                                the group!





the godfathers and the godmother


view of La Roque-Gajeac de la Gabare from the boatGabare


grotte Grand Roc




in the Grand Roc cave









                  The students in front of the Périgueux Cathedral







Lascaux 2 English

Grand Roc English

Laugerie Basse English


Lascaux 2

Grand Roc

Laugerie Basse

Map of the trip:

Dordogne 2015



Free Community Concert and Fireworks Saturday, Oct. 10

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Help celebrate the inauguration of Laurie Patton as Middlebury’s 17th president by coming to a free, family-friendly concert on campus on Saturday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. The great triple bill features the iconic Québécois band, La Bottine Souriante, singer songwriter Taylor Watson, and Brad Corrigan, cofounder of the band Dispatch. The concert starts at 7 p.m. on the main quad on Old Chapel Road. Fireworks will follow the concert at 9:45 behind athletics. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and dress for cool fall weather. This is a no-alcohol event. For more information about the inauguration weekend, visit http://www.middlebury.edu/inauguration.

The Library Celebrates President Patton’s Inauguration

Categories: Midd Blogosphere


After populating various campus buildings for the last few weeks, banners portraying these eight leading women from Middlebury’s history now stand in the Davis Library atrium in honor of President Laurie Patton’s inauguration, taking place this Sunday, October 11th. Additional information about each of these women can be found at go/specialblog or in person at the library.
May Belle Chellis

Mary Annette Anderson 

Charlotte May Johnson

Rhoda Mabel White

Eleanor Sybil Ross

Catherine Emma Robbins 

Viola Chittenden White 

Gertrude Cornish Milliken

Will you be the next Midd woman to make history? Picture yourself among these women by posting a selfie with the display (tag @middleburyspecialcollections) on instagram, or emailing specialcollections@middlebury.edu.

Paris visits Normandy

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

This Saturday and Sunday, 28 students from both the undergraduate and graudate programs here in Paris had the chance to visit Normandy.  They left early Saturday morning, heading for Bayeux to see the famous Bayeux Tapestry (which tells the story of  William the Conqueror and Harold Godwinson which led to the Battle of Hastings), to visit the the Bayeux Museum, and to marvel at the beautiful Bayeux Cathedral.  Next, they were off to Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery where they had a guided tour of the cemetery and visited the memorial museum.  On Sunday the students enjoyed a guided tour of the Mont Saint-Michel and then got to explore a Norman farm as well enjoy a home-made goûter (snack) of brioche and rice pudding, as well as fresh apple juice and cidre (hard cider) prepared for them by the owners of the farm.

cathbayblog  Bayeux Cathedral


cimamblog                                                                   At the American Cemetery



gray (but beautiful)  skies at the Mont Saint-Michelmsmblog







Catherine Emma Robbins, A Long Trail-blazer

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

In honor of the inauguration of Laurie L. Patton as the seventeenth president on Sunday, October 11, 2015, Special Collections & Archives will feature remarkable women from the College’s history in eight temporary exhibits spread across campus, now through October 5th. Catherine Emma Robbins can be found in the Virtue Field House and in Atwater Dining Hall.

Catherine Robbins Long Trail 2
The Three Musketeers on the Long Trail at Hazens Notch (left to right Catherine Robbins, Hilda Kurth, and Kathleen Norris)

Four years after graduating from Middlebury College in 1923, Cornwall, Vermont, native Catherine Emma Robbins became the first woman to hike the Long Trail in its entirety—without a male guide. She, along with her two companions—Hilda Kurth, who fled to the mountains to avoid a man who wanted to marry her, and Kathleen Norris, who, despite her father’s death, resolved to make the trip on her own—made headlines across the country as “The Three Musketeers.” Robbins’ motto for the trip, “The Musketeers must get there!,” embodies the camaraderie and drive that inspired her both as a hiker on the Long Trail and as a three-sport athlete and Theta Chi Epsilon sorority member at Middlebury.

After the hike, she continued teaching in Vermont high schools. She died at age 97 but not before her two granddaughters, Cara Clifford Nelson and Amity Clifford [Robichaud] reprised the hike in 1997, seventy years after Robbins blazed the trail, raising funds for the Green Mountain Club’s Long Trail Protection Campaign.


Catherine Robbins yearbook
Catherine Robbins’ Yearbook Photo 1923
The 1924 Long Trail Guidebook used by Robbins on her hike with her notes, provided by granddaughter Cara Nelson 
Catherine Robbins Clifford with granddaughters Amity Robichaud and Cara Nelson, (and a Middlebury poster in the background). Photo provided by Cara Nelson
Final page in Catherine Robbins’ Long Trail scrapbook; provided by Cara Nelson

Davis Library Fall atrium exhibit: Old Friends and New: Writers in Nature, 1847-2000

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Two new exhibits have cropped up in the library this week – “Old Friends and New: Writers in Nature, 1847-2000” in the atrium and “Reading Nature” in the lower level Harman Reading Room. Both feature books that explore literary and scientific human interaction with the environment to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Environmental Studies at Middlebury College.


The main floor exhibit “Old Friends and New” contains books and archives produced by authors deeply rooted in the natural world.

From Henry David Thoreau to John Freidin, this collection showcases the importance of nature as it exists outdoors as well as within the minds and pages of these authors.

John Muir and John Burroughs, 1909
RERobinson in woods
Artist, naturalist, and writer Rowland Evans Robinson (1833-1900)

















Title page, Julia Butterfly Hill's The Legacy of Luna, 2000
Title page, Julia Butterfly Hill’s The Legacy of Luna, 2000