Join us Thursday, December 14th at 4:00pm in the Davis Family Library Atrium for a reception to honor and enjoy the current Special Collections exhibition, Holiday Greetings from Robert Frost and the Spiral Press, curated by College Archivist Danielle Rougeau.
Light refreshments will be served.
On display for the first time since 1961, when Corinne Tennyson Davids donated the Wales Hawkins Memorial Collection of Frostiana to Middlebury, Robert Frost’s complete set of 28 holiday cards tell the story of an artistic collaboration spanning more than three decades. Robert Frost and the Spiral Press created holiday greeting cards of the highest craftsmanship and design from 1929 until 1962. Works of art in themselves, the cards also stand as true first editions of the chosen poems. Frost became a true champion of fine letterpress, and commented that “the Spiral’s typography and printing found things to say to my poetry that hadn’t been said before.”
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. Gertrude Cornish Milliken can be found outside Rehearsals Cafe in the Mahaney Center for the Arts and in Old Chapel.
After 34 years on the Advisory Board of the Women’s College at Middlebury College, Gertrude Ella Cornish Milliken understood that women students needed more than advisors recommending change—they deserved a seat at the table. In 1947 she asked President Stratton “to consider the possibility and the appropriateness of appointing one or more women to serve on the Board of Trustees.”
Milliken had dedicated her life to educating women: she founded House-in-the-Pines, a private boarding school for girls, in 1911—just 10 years after her graduation—and had retired as its principal after 33 years. The Board of Trustees responded on June 14, 1947, voting to add women to its membership and in 1948 appointed Milliken as Middlebury’s first woman trustee.
In 1955 her colleagues made her a life member of the board, the first woman to receive the distinction. With Alumnae represented, the Advisory Board was discontinued in June 1949, and Milliken served until her death in 1969.
Leading up to 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. Viola Chittenden White can be found in her old haunts of The Axinn Center at Starr Library and BiCentennial Hall, now through October 5th.
From 1933 to 1957 at Middlebury College, Viola Chittenden White built one of the most outstanding collections of American literature in the country as Abernethy Curator. The first woman to be honored as a Yale Younger Poet (for Horizons in 1921), and the first scholar to produce a doctoral dissertation on Herman Melville (1934), Dr. White acquired in 1939 what is still the single most valuable book—and one of the most valuable items—owned by Middlebury: Henry David Thoreau’s personal copy of Walden with his hand-written notes. In 1940 she published Not Faster Than a Walk, a yearlong diary of nature writing and observations of Middlebury and its nearby landscapes.
Leading up to 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. Eleanor Sybil Ross can be found in Sunderland and her own Ross Fireplace Lounge, now through October 5th.
Alumna, English Professor, and Dean of Women, Eleanor Sybil Ross wore many hats at Middlebury College. After graduating in 1895, Ross taught at North Wales Academy in Pennsylvania, Rutland High School in Vermont and Boise High School in Idaho before responding to President Thomas’s urgent need for a Dean of Women with intimate experience at the college.
In a letter to Ross he writes, “I have wondered if the sensible thing to do [is] to take one of our own graduates, who knows the college and Vermont girls and Vermont homes and Vermont ideals…and work sensibly…for the things Middlebury wants done.” With her own “visions of what Middlebury should be to her daughters” and her drive to “bend every effort in this direction,” Ross returned to Middlebury in 1915 to serve as an Assistant Professor of English and as the Dean of Women for the next 30 years, making her Middlebury’s first alumna administrator. As one of the earliest members appointed by the president to the Advisory Board of the Women’s College, she raised awareness of the problems within and recommended changes necessary for improving women’s education. In 1953 she died in her hometown of Rutland, Vermont.
See what Ross looked like as a student and more here!
Leading up to 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. Rhoda Mabel White can be found in Sunderland and Ross Fireplace Lounge, now through October 5th.
Rhoda Mabel White graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1906. As a doctoral fellow in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Rhoda Mabel White became Middlebury’s first Dean of Women and simultaneously its first woman faculty member in 1909. She served as Assistant Professor of Sociology and Dean of Women until 1911.
In her introductory letter to President John Martin Thomas
she writes, “I believe I could serve your College and its young women as a ‘builder of a College for women’.” This manifested both in her support of female students and in the physical makeup of our campus when, at the president’s invitation, White consulted with architect W. Nicholas Albertson to design the interior layout of Perasons Hall. Erected in 1911, Pearsons became the first building designed exclusively for women.
She demonstrated her self-proclaimed “unbounded enthusiasm for the higher education of women” in her contributions to the American Association of University Women, constantly striving for the advancement of women in higher education.
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.
Charlotte May Johnson was born in Jacksonville, Vermont and prepared for Middlebury College at Northfield, Massachusetts Seminary. Three years after her 1901 graduation, she traveled to Shanghai, China where she became Principal of the Bridgman Memorial School and Missionary and Middlebury’s first alumna to teach as a foreign missionary. After eight years, she returned to the U.S. to give lectures on China and later settled as a teacher in Denver, Colorado. Despite her limited means as a missionary, she demonstrated her dedication to Middlebury by contributing $3 of her first paycheck in China to President John Martin Thomas’s fund for new buildings and faculty members. In his efforts to raise funds for this cause, President Thomas appealed to D.K. Pearsons (namesake of Pearsons Hall) to help finance new laboratories, a building, and teachers . . . without raising tuition. In a letter to Pearsons, Thomas mentions Charlotte Johnson as “one girl, [who] going as a missionary 2,000 miles into the interior of China, has promised me $3 from her first salary. That is the kind of stuff we are making.”
Her contributions to the College were far from just financial. Her work after graduation impacted even the makeup of the student body. While in China, she advocated for an international student who later enrolled at the College with her help and the support of President Thomas.
Her ability to bridge international, cultural, and educational boundaries adds her to the ranks of outstanding women who have served Middlebury College through history.
Leading up to 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. Mary Annette Anderson can be found in Axinn and Bicentennial Hall, now through October 5th.
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.
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 Neligh, 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!