Archives Month

Vermont Archives Month takes place annually in October within the context of American Archives Month—a collaborative effort by archival organizations and repositories around the nation to highlight the importance of archives. 

In collaboration with other institutions, VHRAB co-sponsors a number of Archives Month events each year. 

2016 Vermont Archives Month events include:

  • Researching in Vermont taught by Ed McGuire. Thursday, October 6, 2016 (Vermont History Center). Pre-registration requested.

Researching in any state can be challenging with records located in various places and, in some cases, even unavailable for 100 years or more.  Vermont's strong tradition of open records means that it is a great place to trace a family’s links back to early Massachusetts, New York, Quebec or even Europe.  In this talk we will discuss the records, repositories and unique collections that can help you identify your ancestors' paths from the Green Mountains to your ancestral homelands.

The 1838 Murder at Berlin Pond: New Evidence in an Old Case:Vermont Historical Society’s Assistant Librarian Marjorie Strong will examine an intriguing document found in the Vermont Historical Society vault, the deathbed confession of Charles Crane. In this document, Crane describes witnessing the murder of a peddler at Berlin Pond in 1838…or did he?  Using modern research tools such as digitized newspapers and genealogical databases, as well as a good dose of logic, Marjorie will shed light on this “murder” that has fascinated writers and historians since the 1840s. 

  • Expanding Horizons: Using Digital Resources to Enrich Local History, by Victoria Hughes and Rachel Muse.  Saturday, October 15, 2016 (Castleton University) Registration is required.

Online resources can expand and enhance local collections. Using examples from the Vermont Historical Society and the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration, Hughes and Muse will demonstrate how researchers can take advantage of digital records to dive into local history.

The 1950 death of Pauline Gill Molony in Waterbury is a cold case.  Molony and her husband owned the once grand Waterbury Inn when she died under deeply suspicious circumstances.  The Vermont State Police was only three years old but they used surprisingly sophisticated techniques in a scientific approach.  Vermont’s most experienced detective was stumped.  Of the five key suspects four were dead within two years.  Then in 1953 the Inn burned leaving many to believe it was a cover up.  Can the case still be solved? An open house and tours of the state archives will precede the program.

  • The Children’s Crusade: How Patrick Leahy’s 1974 Election Changed Modern Campaigns in Vermont, by Phil Baruth.  Thursday, October 20, 2016 (Waterman Building, University of Vermont).

Focusing on Patrick Leahy’s stunning underdog election to the United States Senate in 1974, it is a story that no one has told in any real detail, but it is in essence the story of Vermont's entry into the postmodern campaign era. Leahy prevails - in spite of the damning facts of being very young, very Catholic, and worst of all, a committed Democrat - because he and his team adopt a ground-breaking approach to media: Leahy's battered sedan becomes an ersatz production studio, capable of producing radio, print, and documentary film, whether stopped or in motion on Vermont's solitary country roads. The campaign illustrates the deft approach to a postmodern media that has defined Leahy's 40+ years in the U.S. Senate. 

Participate in an informal Vermont Archives Network (VAN) event hosted by the Vermont Historical Society and the Vermont Historical Records Advisory Board! Join us for a series of 7-minute lightning talks to learn and share exciting archival activities occurring throughout Vermont.  Lightning talks will range from how to make headway on processing record backlogs to a great new volunteer or digital initiative. Big or small, share your proudest accomplishments! Give your talk in the Pecha Kucha style if so inclined! After the lightning talks, VAN will walk over to Cornerstone Pub in downtown Barre for networking and refreshments. 

On May 15, 1935, the skeletons of a woman and her two children were discovered on the side of a rural logging road in Middlebury. The case was immediately classified a homicide, as each skull was clearly punctured with a bullet! The remains, at that point slightly exposed, were wrapped in a canvas awning and one skull may have rested on a pillow, as feathers were found there. The mother and her two children have never been identified and after haunting public officials and law enforcement for more than 80 years, archival records recently helped shed some light on the case’s many twists and turns. Can archival records help identify the three victims too? An open house and tours of the state archives will precede the program.

  • On the Road to Your Family History, by Mariessa Dobrick.  Saturday, October 29, 2016 (Franklin Conference Center at the Howe Center).  Registration is required.

Genealogists are familiar with using vital and probate records to trace ancestry, but did you know that the Vermont State Archives & Records Administration (VSARA) has a wide range of other records that can be useful for family history research? VSARA archivist Mariessa Dobrick will be providing not only an introduction to records beyond the usual resources for genealogical research, but will also highlight some of the stories gleaned from records. 

For specific event location, time and additional information, see the Online Public Calendar and look for the tag "Archives Month Event!" 

We encourage archives, historical societies, and other institutions throughout the state to hold their own events to celebrate the state’s documentary heritage and the work of those individuals who are entrusted with preserving it.

Is your organization interested in holding outreach events during Archives Month? The Society of American Archivists has assembled a useful guide containing ideas for events, tips for engaging your community, and advice for getting the word out.

This page was last updated: 2016-09-30