Vanishing Vermont: Peacham Photographer's Book Captures 'Last Of The Hill Farms'

Dec 7, 2017

Photographer Richard Brown moved to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom in 1971, where his photographs of the people, places, and landscapes of this corner of rural Vermont captured a disappearing way of life for the state's fading hill farms. 

His new book, The Last of the Hill Farms: Echoes of Vermont’s Past, collects a series of black and white photographs of Vermont’s farmers and farm communities during their decline in the 1970s. The pictures also capture a Vermont closer in many ways to the 19th century than the 20th: a world of hand tools and wood stoves, of horse-plowed fields and hand-shorn sheep, of land being worked by what would become a final generation of farmers.

"Cooking Supper," Queechee, 1977. Theron Boyd was one of Brown's favorite subjects to photograph. Brown writes he lived in a house with no electricity or running water, and planted and harvested his cattle feed by hand.
Credit Richard Brown, courtesy

Brown said this world was “the most beautiful thing I had ever seen,” and aimed to use his camera to “bear witness to this compelling world where it still lingered.”

Today Brown lives in Peacham, Vermont. His photographs have appeared in Vermont LifeAudubon, and The New York Times.

Correction 5/8/2017 6:18 a.m.: A previous version of this post misstated the title of Brown's book in one instance. It has now been corrected.

Broadcast on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2017 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.