A History of Bread Loaf

Bread Loaf began as a 300-acre farm and was transformed by Joseph Battell into a 30,000-acre wilderness. Regaining his health on that Ripton farm inspired Battell’s 50-year passion to preserve the wild lands and lifestyle that had strengthened him and, he believed, would do the same for future generations.

When Middlebury College inherited Battell’s vast legacy in 1915, however, it was received with skepticism: managing an inn, a farm, and a wilderness was well beyond Middlebury’s mission and means. 

It was the success of the 1920 “experiment” of the English School at Bread Loaf Inn that encouraged, and eventually convinced, trustees that Bread Loaf could define a unique academic experience and enhance the college’s strong sense of place. The commitment to both is realized in the Bread Loaf Mountain Campus. 

On the occasion of its centennial, we celebrate the founding of the Bread Loaf School of English and its home, a place to connect, to imagine, and learn. 

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