Author Archives: Mikaela Taylor

“Shall we their fond pageant see?” A Midsummer Night’s Dream May 5-8!

While our February Folio fever has passed, the Shakespeare celebration continues with the theater department’s upcoming production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Come watch the latest show in the long legacy of Shakespeare at Middlebury with performances at 7:30pm Thursday-Saturday, May 5-7 and 2pm Sunday, May 8th in Wright Theater!

MID_127_15_MSND_Art_v14-OL

And be sure to catch Special Collections’ archival exhibit featuring historic costume and set designs of past Middlebury Shakespeare productions! On display for a limited time in the atrium of Davis Family Library.

Middlebury's 1971 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream
Middlebury’s 1971 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream
TheTempest1978
Original watercolor costume design by legendary Middlebury costume and set designer Capp Potter for the 1978 production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

First Folio Festival Thursday!

Join us this Thursday February 18th to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the First Folio! exhibit at the Middlebury Museum of Art.

Starting at 4:30pm in the Center for the Arts lobby, there will be musical and theatrical performances, guided tours of the exhibit with professors of English and American Literature Timothy Billings and James Berg, children’s activities with Page One Literacy, and sweet and savory Renaissance refreshments.

FestivalPoster

Shakespeare’s First Folio at Middlebury – Keynote Wednesday and more events to come!

This February, one of the most important books in the history of English literature is coming to Middlebury. This year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and to honor the centuries of the bard’s influence, the Folger Shakespeare Library is sponsoring a national tour of their collection of First Folios.

FSL logo

Considered one of the most influential books in the world, the First Folio includes 36 Shakespeare plays, 18 of which had never been printed before the First Folio in 1623. Without the First Folio, all of those plays – including Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, As You Like It, and more – might have been lost forever.

From February 2-28, Middlebury College will serve as the Vermont site of the national tour, displaying the First Folio at the Middlebury Museum of Art.

TitlePageFirstFolio_FirstFolioFolger

To kick off this month of celebration, James Shapiro, Columbia University professor and renowned Shakespeare scholar, will give a lecture on Shakespeare’s role in American history on Wednesday February 3rd at 7:00pm in the Concert Hall.

Visit go/shakespeare for more information about events throughout the month of February, including a First Folio Festival on Thursday February 18th at 4:30pm in the Center for the Arts Lobby.

Anderson Freeman Resource Center Opening Weekend!

Two distinguished alumni are returning to Middlebury as the faces of the Anderson Freeman Resource Center, celebrating its opening weekend to coincide with Alumni of Color and Martin Luther King Weekend, January 15-17, 2016.

Mary Annette Anderson and Martin Freeman represent the struggles and triumphs of the beginning of diversity at Middlebury College, and Special Collections & Archives is pleased to see their impact on College history continue in the form of the new Resource Center.

 

Mary Annette Anderson, class of 1899, was the first woman of color to graduate from Middlebury College. She earned the title of Valedictorian and went on to teach as a university professor in New Orleans and Washington, D.C.

 

middarchive.middlebury
Martin Henry Freeman graduated from Middlebury in 1849 and became the first African-American Professor and College President at the all-black Allegheny Institute (later Avery College) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An advocate a movement of black Americans to Africa, he himself relocated to Liberia where served as a professor and later President of Liberia College in Monrovia.

 

The opening weekend festivities begin with a keynote address by UCLA and Columbia Law School professor Kimberlé Crenshaw at 7pm in Mead Chapel. On Saturday professors, alumni, staff, and students will speak about the “History of Diversity and Student Activism at Middlebury College” at 12:30pm in Wilson Hall, followed by an official opening ceremony at Carr Hall and a talk by Professor of History William Hart on these two iconic alumni at 2:30pm.

For more information visit the events calendar or AFC’s official Facebook event.

Special Collections & Archives Celebrates Founder’s Day

To mark Founder’s Day, the original Middlebury College Charter signed by the Governor of Vermont on November 1st, 1800 will be on view in Special Collections, 101 Davis Family Library, on Nov. 2nd. from 1p-5p.
Can’t make out the cursive? Read the transcript here.

  The charter represents both the incipit of our College's narrative as well as the laborious road to the college charter itself. After two failed petitions to the Vermont General Assembly in 1789 and 1799, Middlebury faced opposition from the institution that received the first university charter, the University of Vermont. Though UVM had been chartered in 1791, it's doors had yet to open. Fearful of losing their state funding, UVM tried to block Middlebury's establishment. However, due to the state's population increase (Vermont's population grew from 84,000 to 154,000 between 1791 and 1800) and UVM's slow start, there was a clear need for another institution to educate Vermonters at home. Middlebury, with its newly constructed Academy Building (a $4,150 project funded by public subscriptions) founded by Gamaliel Painter, proved the perfect place to serve the College and Vermonters at large. Thus, the town's college was founded with the signing of the charter, just 39 years after the town of Middlebury itself was chartered. Source: Stameshkin, David M. 1985. The Town's College: Middlebury College, 1800-1915. Middlebury, VT: Middlebury College Press.

Happy Hallowe’en from Special Collections & Archives: Pumpkins and Postcards and Portents – Oh My!

What better way to wish a friend or loved one a “Happy Halloween” than with a postcard depicting a wacky, spooky, romantic Halloween tradition? Today these postcards, now archived as part of a collection of historical postcards in Special Collections, offer a glimpse of Halloween pastimes with Scottish, English, and Irish influences that became party games for early twentieth century Americans.

While we recognize bobbing for apples and roasting chestnuts as typical autumnal activities, these postcards illustrate the soothsaying power Halloween inspires in every household item – from magic mirrors to apple augurs. Who knew that uprooting kale blindfolded in the dead of night could reveal specific details about future loves? Or that an apple peel denotes the initials of your future spouse? Only on Halloween, October’s very own Valentine’s Day.

Nuts, Kale, & Cabbage

Anthropomorphized nuts, paired off with the titles “Uncertainty,” “Hope,” “Despair,” and “Happy Ever After,” represent the practice of interpreting the behavior of chestnuts in a fire. Those participating would assign two chestnuts to a couple and observe whether the chestnuts burned together, jumped apart in the flame, crackled loudly, or came together.

Postmarked 1911
Postmarked 1911, Peoria, Illinois

A couple was said to live a long happy life together if their corresponding chestnuts burned brightly and quietly next to each other, or their relationship would end in disaster if they crackled contentiously and popped in different directions.

In a similar gastronomical theme, partygoers would collect cabbage or kale from the garden blindfolded and ascribe various meanings to the experience. Perhaps in continuation of ancient harvest celebrations, this ritual took on romantic implications in the American Hallowe’en context.

c132_halloween_card_cabbage001

If the selected cabbage or kale was difficult to unearth, it denoted difficulty in a relationship. Kale with clumps of dirt stuck to the roots signified a rich husband, and the size, shape, and taste of the kale foretold the physical attributes and personality of a future spouse.

 

Open Flames & Apple Peels

Another postcard depicts a daring party game in which a stick was suspended horizontally from the ceiling with an apple impaled on one end and a lit candle affixed to the other. The stick was sent spinning while guests attempted to bite the apple – without getting burned by the candle. The skill with which one could capture a bite indicated their fortune in love, and if a player got burned in the game, he or she was certain to be “burned” by a lover. (Special Collections & Archives does not endorse any of the activities described in this post. Please don’t try this at home.)

halloween_apple_candle

Apples weren’t just for group play. An apple peel when thrown over the shoulder could disclose a future spouse’s initials, and an unintelligible result denoted spinsterhood (though the reader could interpret her apple peel liberally).

halloween_apple_paring

 

Postmarked 1912, Brooklyn, NY
Postmarked 1912, Brooklyn, NY

 

Blindfolds & Finger Bowls

Another fun party game used bowls of different substances, illustrated in these postcards. Blindfolded players would select a bowl, and its contents would reveal their fate. Clear water signified marriage to a young and fair mate, vinegar denoted widowhood, and an empty bowl meant solitude.

1909
Postmarked 1909, Duluth, Minnesota, sent to Cleveland, Ohio

 

Postmarked 1923, Williamsport, PA, "From a Friend"
Postmarked 1923, Williamsport, PA, “From a Friend”

Mirror, Mirror

Mirrors also took on special powers on All Hallow’s Eve, as depicted on the following postcards.

In fact, your true love’s face was said to appear in a mirror if you performed various activities on Halloween night. Such as, brushing your hair…

Postmarked 1909, St. Paul, Minnesota
Postmarked 1909, St. Paul, Minnesota

…abandoning your party guests to steal to your room with a Jack-o-lantern…

halloween_mirror

…or, walking down the cellar stairs backwards with a candle in one hand, a mirror in the other, and a mouthful of salt. If you didn’t trip and break your neck, you would live happily ever after with your love until a peaceful, sodium-induced demise.

halloween_cellar

All in the name of love and the spirit of Halloween!

c132_halloween_card_joyful001
These lurking mirror-gazers were sent to Jackson, Michigan in 1910 with the mysterious note, as seen below: “GESS WHO I AM IF YOU CAN.”


c132_halloween_card_joyful002

References

Arkins, Diane C. Halloween: Romanic Art and Customs of Yesteryear. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing, 2007.

C-132 Historic Postcards & Ephemera, Special Collections & Archives, Middlebury College.

Happy Hallowe’en from Special Collections & Archives: Pumpkins and Postcards and Portents – Oh My!

What better way to wish a friend or loved one a “Happy Halloween” than with a postcard depicting a wacky, spooky, romantic Halloween tradition? Today these postcards, now archived as part of a collection of historical postcards in Special Collections, offer a glimpse of Halloween pastimes with Scottish, English, and Irish influences that became party games for early twentieth century Americans.

While we recognize bobbing for apples and roasting chestnuts as typical autumnal activities, these postcards illustrate the soothsaying power Halloween inspires in every household item – from magic mirrors to apple augurs. Who knew that uprooting kale blindfolded in the dead of night could reveal specific details about future loves? Or that an apple peel denotes the initials of your future spouse? Only on Halloween, October’s very own Valentine’s Day.

Nuts, Kale, & Cabbage

Anthropomorphized nuts, paired off with the titles “Uncertainty,” “Hope,” “Despair,” and “Happy Ever After,” represent the practice of interpreting the behavior of chestnuts in a fire. Those participating would assign two chestnuts to a couple and observe whether the chestnuts burned together, jumped apart in the flame, crackled loudly, or came together.

Postmarked 1911
Postmarked 1911, Peoria, Illinois

A couple was said to live a long happy life together if their corresponding chestnuts burned brightly and quietly next to each other, or their relationship would end in disaster if they crackled contentiously and popped in different directions.

In a similar gastronomical theme, partygoers would collect cabbage or kale from the garden blindfolded and ascribe various meanings to the experience. Perhaps in continuation of ancient harvest celebrations, this ritual took on romantic implications in the American Hallowe’en context.

c132_halloween_card_cabbage001

If the selected cabbage or kale was difficult to unearth, it denoted difficulty in a relationship. Kale with clumps of dirt stuck to the roots signified a rich husband, and the size, shape, and taste of the kale foretold the physical attributes and personality of a future spouse.

 

Open Flames & Apple Peels

Another postcard depicts a daring party game in which a stick was suspended horizontally from the ceiling with an apple impaled on one end and a lit candle affixed to the other. The stick was sent spinning while guests attempted to bite the apple – without getting burned by the candle. The skill with which one could capture a bite indicated their fortune in love, and if a player got burned in the game, he or she was certain to be “burned” by a lover. (Special Collections & Archives does not endorse any of the activities described in this post. Please don’t try this at home.)

halloween_apple_candle

Apples weren’t just for group play. An apple peel when thrown over the shoulder could disclose a future spouse’s initials, and an unintelligible result denoted spinsterhood (though the reader could interpret her apple peel liberally).

halloween_apple_paring

 

Postmarked 1912, Brooklyn, NY
Postmarked 1912, Brooklyn, NY

 

Blindfolds & Finger Bowls

Another fun party game used bowls of different substances, illustrated in these postcards. Blindfolded players would select a bowl, and its contents would reveal their fate. Clear water signified marriage to a young and fair mate, vinegar denoted widowhood, and an empty bowl meant solitude.

1909
Postmarked 1909, Duluth, Minnesota, sent to Cleveland, Ohio

 

Postmarked 1923, Williamsport, PA, "From a Friend"
Postmarked 1923, Williamsport, PA, “From a Friend”

Mirror, Mirror

Mirrors also took on special powers on All Hallow’s Eve, as depicted on the following postcards.

In fact, your true love’s face was said to appear in a mirror if you performed various activities on Halloween night. Such as, brushing your hair…

Postmarked 1909, St. Paul, Minnesota
Postmarked 1909, St. Paul, Minnesota

…abandoning your party guests to steal to your room with a Jack-o-lantern…

halloween_mirror

…or, walking down the cellar stairs backwards with a candle in one hand, a mirror in the other, and a mouthful of salt. If you didn’t trip and break your neck, you would live happily ever after with your love until a peaceful, sodium-induced demise.

halloween_cellar

All in the name of love and the spirit of Halloween!

c132_halloween_card_joyful001
These lurking mirror-gazers were sent to Jackson, Michigan in 1910 with the mysterious note, as seen below: “GESS WHO I AM IF YOU CAN.”


c132_halloween_card_joyful002

References

Arkins, Diane C. Halloween: Romanic Art and Customs of Yesteryear. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing, 2007.

C-132 Historic Postcards & Ephemera, Special Collections & Archives, Middlebury College.

The Library Celebrates President Patton’s Inauguration

web_header_resize2

After populating various campus buildings for the last few weeks, banners portraying these eight leading women from Middlebury’s history now stand in the Davis Library atrium in honor of President Laurie Patton’s inauguration, taking place this Sunday, October 11th. Additional information about each of these women can be found at go/specialblog or in person at the library.
all
May Belle Chellis

Mary Annette Anderson 

Charlotte May Johnson

Rhoda Mabel White

Eleanor Sybil Ross

Catherine Emma Robbins 

Viola Chittenden White 

Gertrude Cornish Milliken

Will you be the next Midd woman to make history? Picture yourself among these women by posting a selfie with the display (tag @middleburyspecialcollections) on instagram, or emailing specialcollections@middlebury.edu.