Tags » Special Collections


Winter Carnival Vintage Films Premiere and Hot Chocolate Bar, February 13

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Recently rediscovered films in the College Archives from the 1940s will be shown for the first time in more than sixty years.

See Winter Carnival the way it was, before Gore-Tex and fiberglass: ski jumps on Chipman Hill, races at the Snow Bowl, aero-skijoring, and more.

When: Friday, February 13, 2015, 4:30 – 6pm

Where: McCullough Crossroads Cafe (The Juice Bar)




Sporty sweethearts, wishbones, and sausages: Vintage Valentines from the Archives

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From Special Collection and Archives, drawn from our collection of American postcards and ephemera:

Valentine Golf
Valentine Thoughts
My heart’s a golf ball
for your “game”
You always with
me “score”
If I could only
win this “match,”
You’d “tease” my
heart no more.
© 1914

Valentine tennis

A Greeting to my Valentine
My heart goes
bounding o’er
the net,
A “lose game” we being,
Before another sun has set
I hope the game to win
© 1911

Valentine wishbone

I wish you knew 
a certain girl.
Her style is
Her manners really
are quite nice.
Her fortune quite
Her portrait this: they
call it fine.
And she’s your own true Valentine.
Date unknown.

Valentine Baloney 2
Valentine Baloney 1

It’s NO BALONEY when I say I LOVE YOU!
(Postscript: Yes, that dog/butcher’s arm swings back and forth. Technically, it’s called a “mechanical card” and the hinge is original.)
Date unknown

Davis Library spring exhibit, “Before the Selfie: A Century of Student Portraits”

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Our spring exhibit features photographic portraits of Middlebury students striking serious poses for the camera and at times, goofing off.

In other words, one hundred years of awe-inspiring facial hair, evolving fashion trends, and outdoor leisure pursuits.



How will you be remembered? Email a selfie to the Archives at specialcollections@middlebury.edu

…or Instagram #middleburyselfie



Photo credit: Lewis Hemenway, Class of 1864, Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives and May Belle Chellis, Class of 1886.

“Joseph Battell: A Centennial Appreciation,” a talk by David Haward Bain, Monday, February 23rd

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Joe Battell, ca. 1860 -HSM, Stewart Papers, vol. 9

February 23, 2015 is the centennial of Joseph Battell’s (Class of 1860) death. Bread Loaf land baron (in his day the largest private landowner in Vermont), environmentalist, crusading newspaperman, Middlebury College trustee, philanthropist, unreadable novelist, eccentric Joseph Battell left his stamp on his homeland.

David Haward Bain presents an illustrated “magic lantern” talk on Joseph Battell’s life and works.

When: February 23, 2015, 4:30pm

Where: Abernethy Reading Room, The Axinn Center at Starr Library, Middlebury College

Refreshments will be served.

Sponsored by Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives, the Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest, the Environmental Studies Program, Middlebury History Department, and the Stewart-Swift Research Center, Henry Sheldon Museum.

David Haward Bain has taught creative writing and literature at Middlebury College for 28 years, and has been affiliated with the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference for 35 years since his first-book fellowship in 1980. His books include Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad, Bitter Waters: America’s Forgotten Naval Mission to the Dead SeaThe Old Iron Road: An Epic of Rails, Roads, and the Urge to Go West, and Sitting in Darkness: Americans in the Philippines, as well as The College on the Hill: A Browser’s History for the Bicentennial of Middlebury College and Whose Woods These Are: A History of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, 1926-1992.

Photo credit: Joseph Battell circa 1860. Courtesy of the Henry Sheldon Museum, Stewart-Swift Research Center

Historic NYC Post Card Exhibit at Davis Family Library

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RRE post card banner

Who would guess that an artist born and bred on a Vermont farm would create some of the most iconic postcards of New York City? Rachael Robinson Elmer’s ground-breaking “Art-Lovers New York” postcard series is currently on exhibit at the Middlebury College Davis Family Library, on the upper level, through April 17th, 2015. The exhibition, on loan from RokebyWashington-Arch Museum and sponsored by Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives, presents all twelve cards, as well as biographical information, historical context, and the three postcards of London that originally inspired Rachael.

Rachael Robinson Elmer changed the aesthetic of American postcards. She pioneered the fine art city view card when her Impressionist paintings of popular scenes in her beloved New York City were produced as postcards by P. F. Volland in 1914. Her “Art Lover’s New York” cards were immediately copied by dozens of artists in New York and elsewhere.

artist Rachael Robinson Elmer was born at Rokeby to artist parents Rowland Evans and Anna Stevens Robinson in 1878. Her art education began before she had even started school and continued with a young people’s summer art program in New York City and later, at the Art Students League. She moved to New York as a young woman and commenced a successful career as a graphic artist. Rachael married businessman Robert Elmer in 1911 and died prematurely in February 1919 in the Spanish flu epidemic.


The Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives holds the extensive historical correspondence collection of the Robinson Family on long-term loan from Rokeby Museum.  The books of Rachael’s father, Rowland E. Robinson, are part of the Abernethy Collection of American Literature and the Flander’s Ballad Collection.  See our previous blog post, Reading Rowland Out Loud, for more on that.


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

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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: