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Sugarin’ Off in the 1940s

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

It’s early April and the maple sap is starting to flow, which means it’s time for one of Vermont’s most beloved traditions: The Sugaring-Off Party. This recently rediscovered clip from a 16mm film reel in the Middlebury College Archives records one such party held by students in the early 1940s.

Sponsored by the Mountain Club, the annual outing brought sugar-craving undergrads to the college’s own maple grove near the Bread Loaf Inn. Complete with an evaporation hut for processing freshly-tapped sap into syrup, the “sugar camp” boasted 1,100 trees on land bequeathed to the college by Joseph Battell in 1915. Photographs from the 1939 party even made it onto the pages of LIFE Magazine.

Mountain Club Members 1932

Mountain Club Members 1932

After hiking up to the orchard, “Sugarman” Boudreau helped the eager students collected sap and boil it to produce thick maple syrup. Like any good Vermont sugar-makers, the students diligently (and by no means begrudgingly) inspected the results with generous helpings on snow with pickles and doughnuts. Others chose the more exhaustive measure of quality control by vigorously whipping the syrup until it hardened into maple candy.

Anne Saurman of Clearwater, Florida uses an oldtime yoke to carry sugar pails

Anne Saurman of Clearwater, Florida 1948

Poetry Reading from “Please Do Not Remove: A Collection Celebrating Vermont Literature and Libraries”

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Please-Do-Not-Remove_cover-front-finalWe are pleased to present, along with the New England Review as part of their VT Reading Series, a reading from Please Do Not Remove: A Collection Celebrating Vermont Literature and Libraries. This special event will take place in the Davis Family Library Special Collections and Archives Room 101, at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 10. The book’s editor, Angela Palm, and three contributors—David Dillon, Karin Gottshall, and Gary Margolis—will read from and discuss selections from the anthology. A reception will follow, and copies of the book will be given as a door prize. Free.

Please Do Not Remove (Wind Ridge Books, 2014) is an anthology of twenty works of prose and poetry by writers who represent Vermont’s rich literary tradition. Each piece in the book is inspired by an old library check-out card and incorporates libraries in some way. Corresponding color photographs of the cards, taken by Nick Adams, accompany each work. Ten percent of the book’s net proceeds will be donated to the Vermont Library Association for as long as the publication is in print.

David Dillon is a poet who lives and writes in Vermont’s iconic Northeast Kingdom town of East Albany. His poem “Northeast Kingdom Wind Song” recently was selected as the winner of the Vermont Broadside Poetry Competition. He was born in Vermont and worked as a journalist in New York, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C., before returning home. His most recent book is From the Porch.

Karin Gottshall is the author of Crocus, winner of the Poets Out Loud Prize, and several independent press chapbooks. Her new collection, The River Won’t Hold You, won the Ohio State University Press/The Journal Prize. Her poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, FIELD, The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, and many other journals. She teaches at Middlebury College.

Gary Margolis, PhD, is Emeritus Executive Director of College Mental Health Services and Associate Professor of English and American Literatures (part-time) at Middlebury College. His third book, Fire in the Orchard, was nominated for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. His poem “The Interview” was featured on National Public Radio’s “The Story” and Boston’s ABC Channel 5 interviewed him on the Middlebury campus reading his poem, “Winning the Lunar Eclipse,” after the 2004 World Series.

Angela Palm is the editor of Please Do Not Remove. Her essay collection, Riverine, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2016 and is the recipient of the 2014 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize. She is a contributor at BookTrib and owns Ink & Lead Literary Services. She lives in Burlington, Vermont

For more on the New England Review and the NER VT Reading Series see http://www.nereview.com/ner-vt-reading-series/

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

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

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

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

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

Winter Carnival Films from the 1940s “Premiered”

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Fun in the snow at Middlebury College!  These recently digitized 16mm films haven’t been seen in more than fifty years.

This silent film montage shows scenes of the 40 meter jump on Chipman Hill, early ski trails at the Snow Bowl and the “new” 50 meter ski jump, Mountain Club outings to the winter woods, and even “aero-skijoring” on Lake Champlain.  Winter Carnival the way it was in the middle of the last century!

And this newsreel produced by Paramount Pictures in 1949 is an entertaining glimpse back into a unique moment in time.  It was shown in movie theaters throughout the country before the feature film.

 

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

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

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)

WintCarnCapture05

 

WintCarnCapture01

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

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

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
indescribable.
Her manners really
are quite nice.
Her fortune quite
desirable.
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”

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

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.

a9pf.1864.hemenwayl.a

a9pf.1886.chellismb

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

…or Instagram #middleburyselfie

Instagram


 

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