History

Steve Zind / VPR

A century ago, home life in Vermont revolved around the wood burning cook stove. Meals were prepared, bread baked and hands warmed from the heat it produced. 

Stoves with names like Gold Coin, Priscilla and Charm Crawford may have faded into obscurity, but they still have an allure for some people, including Bill Wilber, who makes a living restoring them.

Namelos Editions

Will Poole's Island, a new novel by Vermont writer Tim Weed, is a perfect fit for the Thanksgiving season. It's historical fiction set in the colonial era, and it tells the story of an English boy who becomes immersed in a native community.

Library of Congress

Award-winning author and food historian Rebecca Rupp has written more than 20 books and published over 200 articles. Rupp lives in northern Vermont and recently published an article online for National Geographic Food called Eat, Drink and Be Merry. It examines the cultural significance of food and its power to bring people together.

Vermont Edition sat down with Rupp to talk about her new article and the historical importance of food.


Swann Auction Galleries

A sizeable collection of original Revolutionary War era documents will be up for auction on Thursday at Swann Auction Galleries in New York. Several autographed items in the group have historical importance to Vermont, including an original copy of the document announcing statehood in 1791, signed by Thomas Jefferson.


Taylor Dobbs / VPR

You know him now as a U.S. Senator with his eye on the White House. But in 1987, he was the socialist-leaning mayor of Burlington who wanted to put out a five-song cassette.

A very special thanks to our friends at Seven Days for unearthing this album and sharing it with the world.

Oxford University Press

Long before legislators in the Vermont Statehouse grappled with civil unions or same-sex marriage, two women in Weybridge lived together as a married couple for 44 years.

Charity Bryant and Sylvia Drake were together from 1807 through 1851. Charity & Sylvia: A Same Sex Marriage In Early America, by Rachel Hope Cleves, reveals the extraordinary marriage of these two women, and the ways in which their relationship impacted their community.

“St. Albans Invaded! Several Citizens Shot! Great Excitement Prevails!” Those were the headlines 150 years on Oct. 19, 1864.

What came to be known as the St. Albans Raid brought the Civil War, the great majority of which was fought in the south, to the northern hills of Vermont as confederate soldiers attacked and held St. Albans hostage. The details of the siege are told in a new book by author Michelle Arnoksy Sherburne, The St. Albans Raid: Confederate Attack on Vermont.

Vermont Historical Society

He was the first Chief Justice of Vermont, a Governor of the early republic (before Vermont became a state), and one of the first Senators elected to represent Vermont in nation's the capitol. Yet many people don't know his name.

We talk to Judge Robert Mello, author of a new book about Moses Robinson, who he calls a founding father of Vermont.

Broadcast live on Thursday, October 16 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Two hundred years ago this autumn, as chilly winds announced winter’s advance down the Green Mountain's spine, farmers at many Vermont hearth sides were surely telling stories of soldiering along the Saranac River where they defeated the redcoats in what has become known as the Battle of Plattsburgh. To steal a phrase from Winston Churchill, it was one of Vermont’s finest hours.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

An abandoned cemetery is turning into a classroom for middle-schoolers at the Sharon Academy in the Upper Valley. They’re mapping the grave sites, researching the people buried there, and creating a website for genealogists who might not be able to visit the plots in person.

The project is spurring the students’ interest in local history.

Courtesy Brooks House Development

Brattleboro celebrated the reopening of an important downtown building Friday. The historic Brooks House was heavily damaged by fire in 2011. But now it’s back in business. 

The 140-year-old landmark, with its store fronts and ornate towers, stood vacant for three years after the fire. It left a big hole in Brattleboro’s downtown. The building cost $24 million to restore, significantly more than its listed value. The project was spearheaded by local investors, and financed through tax credits, grants, loans and government programs.

Chittenden Historical Society

Kayakers love the quiet beauty of the Chittenden reservoir, a 750-acre waterway surrounded almost entirely by national forest.

On Saturday, Green Mountain Power, which operates the dam there, will host its annual clean-up day and local historians will be on hand to talk about how the hydroelectric facility came to be. 

Wilson Ring / AP Photo

Vermont may not have been the site of the major battles of the War of 1812, but the state was still impacted by the war. Vermont Edition spoke with the new state archaeologist Jess Robinson about Vermont’s involvement in the War of 1812.

Broadcast live on Wednesday, September 24 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Chris Line / AP

Some people like to read about history, other people like to live it. We'll talk with historical reenactors about what motivates them to put on the shoes of another era's soldiers.

We'll hear from Steve Smith, a member of the Champlain Valley Historical Reenactors. Smith runs a troop of Confederate reenactors here in Vermont. We'll also hear from Admiral Warren Hamm, co-chair of the 150th Anniversary of the St. Alban's Raid Committee.

This year, spring has taken me back one hundred and fifty years to a time when the Army of the Potomac stirred from its winter camps when the summer campaigns - and the killing season - began.

I was dining with my parents last fall when my dad said - as casually as he might speak of the weather - that he was wondering what to do with my Great Great Grandfather’s Civil War letters. At the age of fifty, this was the first I’d ever heard of them. So all winter, I had one foot in the present and one in the past, transcribing dozens of letters from the Civil War.

Forty years ago this month, Jimmy Carter, then governor of Georgia, delivered an extemporary address that established his credentials as a liberal and fearless politician who was willing to tell the truth, even to powerful interests.

In what one journalist in attendance described as “a bastard of a speech,” Carter expressed his solidarity with those on the margins and upstaged the keynote speaker, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, then considered the frontrunner for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination.

Mudgett: Dickering

May 14, 2014
New York Historical Society

I don’t usually like reality TV, but I’m intrigued by the way a new reality show on the History Channel portrays regional culture. It follows a group of northern New England men who live to buy, sell, swap or trade - and the name of the show is Down East Dickering.

I know it’s been said by many that printed books are heading for extinction, that digital-editions fulfill all the function that their printed cousins do, but a recent experience leads me to conclude otherwise.

My wife and I were visiting my brother and his family at their B&B in Canada, when I found myself wide awake one morning at an unusually early hour and decided to make myself a cup of tea and find something to read.

I recently read Book of Ages, Jill Lepore’s new book on Jane Franklin and her relationship with her famous brother Benjamin Franklin. The book is about a lot of things, but mostly is about a strong brother-sister sibling bond. Jane Franklin struggled in ways her brother did not, but their surviving letters document an attachment that was mutual.
 

jimmywayne / Flickr

In 1777, Vermont’s constitution outlawed slavery. But it turns out people continued to be enslaved for a number of years after that.

We’ll talk to UVM History professor Harvey Amani Whitfield about his new book, The Problem of Slavery in Early Vermont, 1777-1810.

Also on the show, we'll hear from a Vermont mother who is testifying in Washington DC this week about her son's experience with a food borne illness.

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