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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

Davis Library Fall lower level exhibit: Reading Nature

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.

brown pear signs less text“Reading Nature” on the lower level of the library features books by scientists, botanists, naturalists, artists, and poets from the beginning of the 18th century to the 20th century. Each captures nature in a new way, redrawing the frames through which we understand the natural world.


Pages from Annie M Ward's "Notes on Botany," 1850-1860
Pages from Annie M Ward’s “Notes on Botany,” 1850-1860


"Cloud Crystals: A Snowflake Album Collected and Edited by a Lady" by Frances Chickering, 1864
“Cloud Crystals: A Snowflake Album Collected and Edited by a Lady” by Frances Chickering, 1864
Butterfly diagram from "The Aurelian" by Moses Harris, 1840
Butterfly diagram from “The Aurelian” by Moses Harris, 1840; Recent Gift of Julia Emerson, Class of 1965





A Parisian scavenger hunt

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

To help our Parisian undergraduate students get to know each other, Paris, and the transport systems better, we organized a scavenger hunt for which they had to travel through Paris using different types of transport and doing different tasks.  We paired them up and sent them off!   First step: take the metro for 5 stops, then get out, choose a direction and walk that way for 15 minutes.  Then they were to take the closest bus and ride that for 5 stops also, then get out and ask the first person they met where the nearest post office was located.  After a few more directions like these, we asked them, once they had reached their final destinations, to write a poem about, draw a picture or  take a photo of  their surroundings, accompanied by a clever and original caption which they were then to send to us, the Middlebury team, so we could vote for which submissions we liked the most.   The pair with the best contribution would win tickets to a play!

Well, the results are in and we have our winners: Ms. Shubha Ganesan et Ms. Laura Noerdlinger!  These two students took the prize because they went above and beyond he directions in the scavenger hunt and it was clear that they were enthusiastic and engaged in the activity.  They each now have a ticket for a play at La Comédie Française this November!


Here are some of the photos Shubha and Laura took documenting their adventure through Paris:


Laura et Shubha explorent Paris (et les arbres)

Laura and Shuba explore Paris (and trees)


“Nous avons visité une église…”

“We visited a church…”



(“Et nous avons pris une selfie!”)

(“And we took a selfie!”)



“Nous avons trouvé le bureau de poste!”

“We found the post office!”  (one of the steps of the scavenger hunt!)




“Notre destination finale était le parc Montsouris où nous nous sommes assises sur un arbre”

“Our final destination was Montsouris Park where we sat in a tree!”


Congratulations again, Laura and Shubha…and enjoy the play!



Here are some other scavenger hunt submissions!



Carmina Moorosi and Emilia Calderon

« Nous n’avons pu l’échapper. La quatrième fois c’était le charme. »

“We couldn’t escape it.  The fourth time was the charm.”



Cherish Molezion andFredy Rosales




Violet Kolzoff and Wentao Zhai

« Une californienne et un chinois sauvegardé par une anglaise au gare nommé en allemand dans le capital de France »

“A Californian woman and a Chinese man saved by an English woman at a German-named train station in the capital of France!”


Thank you to all our students who sent us these wonderful photos; it was a pleasure for us to see your great smiles and that you enjoyed the scavenger hunt!


A bientôt!











Nobly Served Exhibit: Mary Annette Anderson

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Mary Annette Anderson was the first woman of color to graduate from Middlebury College and the first woman of color to be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She was born in Shoreham, Vermont to William Anderson, a former slave who traveled north after the Civil War and purchased his own farm, and Philomine Langlois of French Canadian and Indian heritage. Her formal education began in the Shoreham School, continued in the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies in Massachusetts, and culminated at Middlebury College, where Anderson graduated as valedictorian of the Class of 1899. As Valedictorian, she delivered a Commencement address
entitled “The Crown of Culture.” Additionally, she was the first woman to address the distinguished guests—the College president, trustees, alumni, and professors—at the “Corporation dinner,” and her graduating class sang a poem she penned at their Class Day celebration.

After graduation, she moved to New Orleans, Louisiana where she taught at Straight University for one year before joining the Howard University faculty in Washington, D.C. She taught English and Rhetoric there until 1907 when she married fellow faculty member, Walter Lucius Smith. Eventually she returned to Vermont with her husband, who completed postgraduate work at the University of Vermont. She died in 1922 at age forty-seven.

As a part of our exhibition, “Nobly Served: Leading Women of Middlebury College,” banners of Mary Anderson can be found in Axinn and Bicentennial Hall now through October 5th.

Nobly Served Exhibit: May Belle Chellis

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

In honor of President Laurie Patton’s inauguration, Special Collections and Archives will mount a campus-wide exhibition showcasing eight exceptional women throughout the College’s history. Our community is thrilled that President Patton has joined the ranks of these founders, marking a momentous step in Middlebury College history.

We first recognize May Belle Chellis, one of the first three women admitted to Middlebury College in 1883 and the first woman to graduate in 1886. Chellis’ presence and accomplishments forced the trustees to make accommodations – including a special curriculum, dedicated study and living space, and awards for scholarship – so that women could attend the College. “The faculty were not going to require us to do the regular work that the boys had,” Chellis reminisces, “but [May Bolton, Class of 1887, Louise “Daisy” Edgerton, Class of 1887, and I] insisted that we ought to do it just the same.” Chellis captured the highest rank in Greek at the end of her freshman year, graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and delivered her essay “The Growth of Criticism” at the 1886 Commencement.

She went on to become Preceptress at both Black River Academy in Ludlow, Vermont and Gates Academy in Neigh, Nebraska, and Principal at St. Peter High School in Minnesota. She married Joseph Andrew Doremus in 1898 and raised five children.

Keep an eye out for our exhibition around campus and additional posts featuring more iconic Middlebury women!