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.