Haven in the Mountains: The Lake Mansfield Trout Club

This post was contributed by Erin Clauss, who has been working as a processing archivist in Special Collections since August 2016. Erin graduated from UVM in 2016 with a degree in history and classical civilization.  In September, she will start a graduate program in library science and history at Simmons College.

As my time working in Special Collections is coming to a close, I’ve been thinking about which projects have been the most rewarding to me, both professionally and personally. One that most certainly falls into the latter category is our collection of records from the Lake Mansfield Trout Club, a private fishing club in Stowe, Vermont. I am very familiar with Lake Mansfield as several generations of my family have frequented this spot. When I learned that Special Collections housed a collection of records and photographs from the Lake Mansfield Trout Club I excitedly requested to work with them and in the process I learned more about the history of the club.

The Lake Mansfield Trout Club sits nestled in the shadow of Mount Mansfield. The man-made lake provides a spot for trout fishing, while the surrounding mountains supply a beautiful backdrop. The idea for a dam and subsequent lake and fishing club originated with Orlo Luce. According to the legend, Orlo Luce and Mark Lovejoy went fishing one day at Miller Brook, later known as Nebraska Brook. Seeing a young bull grazing, Lovejoy questioned if it was wise to approach, but Luce paid him no mind. Shortly after, the bull charged Luce and drove him up a tree. Laughing, Lovejoy left Luce to his own devices and fell asleep under a tree. As Orlo sat in the tree waiting for the bull to give up, he apparently got to thinking how nice it would be to build a dam and lake in that spot for trout fishing.

This idea percolated for a decade or so, until in July, 1899 Luce and Lovejoy hosted a promotional party on the spot they wanted to build a dam. They invited local men who agreed to form a corporation and fishing club. It was official by September of that year. They leased land from brothers Charles and Frank Burt and bought additional land from Plummer Pratt and the “Culver farm.” Stocks were purchased at $50 each to finance the dam, which ended up costing $6752 and was completed in October, 1901. The dam was accompanied first by a horse barn which was then converted into the clubhouse. The new lake was stocked with trout and was ready for fishing five years later.

The Club has undergone transformations in the years since, including draining the lake in 1924 and again in 1946 in order to improve the dam as well as several renovations of the clubhouse. For members, it remains today a haven for “trout fishing, swimming, boating, walking, hiking, and serenity” as well as simply soaking in the beauty of Vermont in the summer. The first verse of “The Trout Club Song,” sung by the Lake Mansfield Trout Club Choral Society, sums it up best:

There’s a haven in the Mountains
Nestled ‘mongst the trees,
Where we are always happy
With hearts as light as breeze;
Where friendship is the password
And fish bite when they choose.
Our old Lake Mansfield Trout Club
Will chase away the blues.

 
The Lake Mansfield Trout Club Records contain financial, business, and membership records, historical accounts, descriptions of the buildings and grounds, photographs, and various other records documenting the club, its members, and their guests.

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All Will Sing: Burlington’s 1918 Bastille Day Tribute

“All will sing; all will pass in solemn procession up the street where Lafayette once passed himself when he was the guest of the city of Burlington; all will lay flowers before the statue which is the symbol of freedom-loving, freedom-giving France; all will join in adopting a message of gratitude to France.”              —Burlington Free Press, July 8, 1918

In early July 1918, Burlington Mayor J. Holmes Jackson assembled a committee to plan a Bastille Day celebration. The Burlington Free Press reported the committee’s plans in detail and encouraged everyone to participate. Photographer L.L. McAllister was on hand to document the crowd with his panoramic camera.

According to the Free Press, the committee believed Burlington should recognize Bastille Day for a number of reasons, including the region’s association with French history, the many Burlington citizens with French heritage, and the memories of French General Lafayette’s  visit to the city in June 1825. Most importantly, the committee wanted to pay tribute to France for its “defense of freedom and civilization” during the long years of World War 1.

The celebration started with musical exercises in City Hall Park. Following a short concert by Sherman’s band, community members sang French and American patriotic songs.  It has been estimated that McAllister’s photograph of the crowd gathered in City Hall Park shows 1400-1500 people. Only the central portion of the 40.5 inch-long panorama is shown above. Sherman’s band is visible in the bandstand behind the crowd.

Then a procession marched up College Street to UVM’s College Green to lay flowers–from field and garden–at the base of the Lafayette memorial in front of the University of Vermont’s Old Mill building. Women holding flowers for the tribute can be seen at either side of the McAllister photo. A chorus sang French and American songs as the procession passed the monument.

 

To learn more about the L. L. McAllister Collection, view the finding aid or browse the digital collection.

Contributed by Prudence Doherty,
Public Services Librarian

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Literary Archives at UVM: Kinsey, Mosher, and Budbill

Vermont lost three literary giants in the last year: Leland Kinsey, Howard Frank Mosher, and David Budbill. Special Collections is fortunate to house the papers of all three of these authors, and their collections serve as a rich source for understanding the connections between these writers.

Mosher reviews Kinsey’s Not One Man’s Work. (Click image to enlarge.)

A particularly deep connection existed between Mosher and Kinsey. Their friendship spanned nearly 50 years, dating back to a time when Mosher taught Kinsey at the University of Vermont. Mosher became a great champion of Kinsey’s work and his papers are full of correspondence advocating on Leland’s behalf.

One example of Mosher’s advocacy is from 1995, when a series of letters show Mosher attempting to assist in getting a collection of Kinsey’s poems, Not One Man’s Work, published. As part of this effort, Mosher reached out to a number of writers asking them for letters of support for Leland, including David Budbill.

Budbill’s letter of support for Kinsey’s poems shows the respect he held for the work of his fellow Northeast Kingdom poet. In an excerpt from the letter, Budbill notes:

But perhaps the most touching and powerful of these poems are the ones about family. Whether Lee is writing about pushing his son on a swing—“Swinging into the Night”—or his son’s nightmares—“Night Terrors”—or the light sensitivity he’s given to his daughter—“Sneezes”—or about the farming life his parents led—numerous poems throughout—he writes with a passion and compassion and an accuracy that is both tender and powerful.
The sound, the tone, in these poems stands outside the current anguished shrillness of much contemporary poetry; here instead I hear a kind of formal calm, a gracious and distanced respect toward idea, situation and character that is shocking, practically revolutionary, in its contrariness to what is au courant.

Budbill responds to Carruth’s suggestions. (Click image to enlarge.)

In the papers of David Budbill and those of his fellow poet and great friend, the late Hayden Carruth, one sees a similarly generous relationship. Budbill often asked Carruth for advice on his poetry, and the following letter shows Budbill’s mixed reaction to some of Carruth’s advice on the manuscript for Judevine.

Judevine is both a collection of poems and a play that Budbill created from those poems. Lost Nation Theater, in Montpelier, opened their new season with a production of Judevine, “in honor & in memory of David,” and an opening night gala hosted by Rusty DeWees and Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, with David’s widow, Lois Eby, and daughter, Nadine Budbill, in attendance. Performances of the play continue at Lost Nation through May 7.

An example of Budbill’s revisions to Judevine. (Click image to enlarge.)

The passing of these three writers is a great loss, for their families and friends, and for the many fans of their work. All three leave behind their literary works, and all three had the foresight to leave us with their archives, revealing the stories behind the stories and poems, as well as the deep relationships that informed these works.

Here at Special Collections, we will miss periodically touching base with all three, as well as reading their latest works, but we are honored and deeply appreciative that they selected us as the home for their archives. Our hope is that their papers will be a great source for many years to come for those wishing to gain a deeper insight into these writers and their works.

For more information about these collections, see the following guides or contact us.

David Budbill Papers

Hayden Carruth Papers

Leland Kinsey Papers

Howard Frank Mosher Papers

Submitted by Chris Burns,
Manuscripts Curator

 

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UVM Experiments with Rubber Plant

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I’ve been on the lookout for photos of local World War II victory gardens, so this image caught my eye as I was searching through a carton of publicity photographs that Special Collections received from UVM’s Extension Service.  It is one of three photos taken by Burlington photographer L. L. McAllister that show a group of women in a field. The photos immediately led to questions. Where were the photos taken? Who were the women in uniform? Why were they working in what looked like a field of planted dandelions? Many photos later, in another carton, I found a fourth photo in the series that provided the clue I needed to answer my questions.

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In the fourth photo, a UVM agronomist displays a full-grown dandelion plant–including roots–with a label that reads, “Taraxacum-kok-saghyz/Russian Rubber-Bearing Plants/65 Days From Planting.” At that time, UVM’s Agricultural Experiment Station generally undertook projects designed to solve problems related to Vermont conditions, but during World War II , the Experiment Station worked on projects to help the war effort. One of those projects was a study of the potential yield of seed and rubber from a Russian dandelion, Taraxacum-kok-saghyz.

When the Japanese cut off most of the world’s supply of natural rubber, the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Plant Industry initiated an emergency rubber project to explore the potential of growing rubber within the continental United States. From 1942-1944, the Department of Agriculture conducted a program of field-scale production and research at various locations with conditions suitable for growing Russian dandelions. Vermont was one of the 23 test sites.

Under the direction of agronomists Paul Miller and H. L. Smith, one acre of the Russian dandelion seed was planted at the UVM Farm, then located off East Avenue in Burlington. A major challenge to growing the dandelion was the need to keep the plants free from weeds. With farm labor at a shortage, the Experiment Station turned to volunteers. On July 27, 1942, the Burlington Free Press included an article headlined “Women’s Volunteer Drivers Corps Gives Up Sun. Comforts To Weed Taraxacum-kok-saghyz.” Thirty-five members of the Drivers Corps gathered on a Sunday to weed, thin and transplant the dandelions. The article is illustrated with the L.L. McAllister photographs.

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Mrs. Gerald E. Prescott, the leader of the Burlington unit of the Volunteer Drivers Corp, and platoon leaders Mrs. Esther I. Adler, Miss Barbara Mitchell, and Mrs. Thomas Loudon directed the weeding.

The Extension Service continued the trial the following summer. In August 1943, the Burlington Free Press reported that almost a ton of roots were harvested and sent to a research laboratory in Philadelphia for analysis. Unfortunately, the analysis revealed that the Burlington harvest contained mostly rogue dandelions that yielded little or no rubber.

For more information about the emergency rubber project:
Whaley, W. Gordon and John A.  Bowen. Russian Dandelion (Kok-Soghyz): An Emergency Source of Natural Rubber. USDA Miscellaneous Publication No. 618. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1947.

Learn about current research on rubber-bearing dandelions:
Bomgardner, Melody. Dandelions, the Scourge of Lawns, May Be a Fount of Rubber. Chemical and Engineering News 94 (2016): 28-29.

Contributed by Prudence Doherty
Public Services Librarian

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Spring Semester Events and Exhibits

The Spring 2017 semester is off to a busy start. In addition to teaching classes, building collections and supporting researchers, we have been planning some exciting outreach events and installing exhibits. We hope to see you this spring at one or more of these events.

The World’s Most Mysterious Manuscript
Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 6:00 pm
Ray Clemens, the Curator of Early Books & Manuscripts at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, will talk about the Voynich manuscript, an early 15th-century codex that has been called the world’s most mysterious book. The book was written by hand in an unknown language that no one has yet been able to decipher. Colorful illustrations of unidentifiable plants, zodiac signs, astronomical and cosmological diagrams, and naked women in bathing pools add to the mystery.

Dear Diary
Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 6:00 pm
For Women’s History Month, we are joining Preservation Burlington to showcase the words of Vermont women. We will read selections from the diaries, letters and writings of women who attended, worked, or taught at colleges and universities, including Ellen Hamilton, one of UVM’s first female students. Audience participation is strongly encouraged. Bring your own journal to read.

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare
Friday, April 21, 2017, 12:00-1:30 pm
Join us to celebrate the birthday of William Shakespeare with festivities and cake.

Exhibits: “Illustrated Herbals” and “Cures What Ails You
We are displaying a selection from our collection of illustrated herbals in the Bailey/Howe Library lobby, including our Italian manuscript (circa 1500), outstanding 16th-century examples, and work by contemporary book artists. Downstairs in Special Collections, “Cures What Ails You” features bold advertisements promoting patent medicines made in Vermont from about 1860-1915.

All events are free and open to the public. For information, call 802-656-2138 or email uvmsc@uvm.edu.

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A Desirable Gift Book

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In 1857 UVM graduate (1839, 1845) Rev. John Henry Hopkins, Jr. wrote a hymn that became a beloved Christmas carol. Some accounts say he wrote “The Three Kings of Orient” (now known as “We Three Kings of Orient Are”) for a Christmas pageant at the General Theological Seminary, while others say he wrote it for his nieces and nephews in Burlington, Vermont, where his father was the Episcopalian bishop. He included it in his 1863 collection, Carols, Hymns, and Songs, and in 1865 it was issued as an illustrated seasonal gift book.

An advertisement for the gift book that ran in the December 12, 1865 issue of the Baltimore Daily Commercial noted that “each page was printed in oil colors from exquisite designs” and was available in “extra cloth gilt” for $5.00 or “morocco, gilt or antique,” for $8.00. The ad included a description from the Christian Intelligencer, “This famous carol is richly embellished by colored lithographs, six in number, representing the adoration of the Babe of Bethlehem …. The designs are good and the execution admirable,” making it “a desirable book for Christmas.”

kings-0001A search of the Burlington Weekly Free Press, Hopkins’ hometown paper, found that a local bookseller offered Three Kings of Orient for Christmas giving in 1866. Our copy was given to a Kitty Thompson by her Uncle Frank for Christmas in 1870.

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First Fall Presentation: Breaking the Deckle*

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Please join us on October 11 at 5:30 pm for “Breaking the Deckle: Using the Paper Arts for Social Justice,” a presentation by Peace Paper Project’s Drew Matott.

Matott is a master papermaker with an expertise using traditional papermaking as a form of trauma therapy, social engagement, and community activism. In this presentation, he will discuss how he became involved with the paper arts and describe the genesis of the community papermaking programs he has co-founded, including Green Door Studio, Combat Paper Project, Peace Paper Project, Papermaking as Art Therapy, and Panty Pulping.

Matott directs the vision and strategy of Peace Paper Project, which utilizes traditional hand papermaking as a means of engaging communities in art practices which bring people together, broadcast their stories, and transform their fibers into meaningful art pieces. The project operates everywhere from private workshops to public demonstrations in order to perpetuate the art of hand papermaking while adapting to the needs of each specific community. Peace Paper merges its skill set of papermaking, bookbinding, printmaking, and creative writing with the unique practices and concepts of host communities as a way of empowering  collaboration.

Peace Paper Project uses papermaking and the book arts as a form of social engagement, advocacy, therapy, and community building across the globe. Since 2011, Matott has helped launch papermaking studios in Australia, India, Turkey, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Workshop participants pulling sheets at Kaghitane Hand Papermaking Center in Istanbul, Turkey in 2012.

Other local colleges will also be hosting Peace Paper Project activities. In Panty Pulping workshops at St. Michael’s College on October 10 and at Champlain College on October 13, participants will confront sexual and domestic violence by transforming underwear into handmade paper. Champlain will also host an exhibit from October 9-29.

Malala, made at a Panty Pulping workshop held in Eagle River, Wisconsin in 2013.

The presentation will be held in Special Collections at Bailey/Howe Library. It is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, email uvmsc@uvm.edu or call 656-2138.

* Deckle: a frame on the mold used to shape the pulp when making paper by hand.
-Oxford American Dictionary.

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Arbor Day Proclamations

Arbor Day Proclamation!

It’s the first Friday in May, so that means it’s Arbor Day in Vermont. For 130 years, Vermonters have joined the nation-wide effort to plant trees. Special Collections intern Perri Moreno looks at the history of Arbor Day in Vermont using gubernatorial proclamations, photographs, and newspaper articles in a short online exhibit, Arbor Day Proclamations.  View the exhibit here.

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Vermont Statehood: A Dissenting Opinion from the Allen Family

Vermont celebrates 225 years of statehood in 2016, having formally entered the Union as the fourteenth state on March 4, 1791. There was a great deal of popular support for joining the United States at the time, but it was far from the only option being considered. Some Vermont citizens favored remaining an independent state, while others advocated for joining Great Britain.

The faction headed by the Allen brothers and Governor Thomas Chittenden had held numerous diplomatic discussions over the years with representatives from Great Britain, most notably the Haldimand negotiations during the Revolutionary War. Negotiations with Britain continued long after the war, right up until Vermont’s admittance into the Union. Levi Allen, brother of Ethan and Ira, played a large role in these discussion, in no small part to protect his growing land holdings and trade activity in Quebec.

Levi was sent to England in 1789 by his brothers and Governor Chittenden with instructions “to Assure the British Court that Vermont was truly from local situation as well as inclination firmly attached to them.” In addition, Levi pursued a number of commercial opportunities including an effort to provide the Royal Navy with ship timber. Levi attempted to return via the St. Lawrence, but the captain diverted the ship to Georgia due to weather conditions. Returning to London to protect his return cargo in early 1791, Levi belatedly learned of Vermont’s entrance into the Union.

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When Levi finally discovered the news, he was incredulous. In a letter written from London to his wife Nancy and his brother Ira dated August 20, 1791, Levi complains, “I am in a very disagreeable Situation here, having no Advices for more than twelve months from either, or any Other from Vermont. Reports are that Vermont have Joined federal Congress, which neither myself nor any the Friends of Vermont here Credit, as we cannot think You have So much alter’d from Your former fixed Opinions, and so contrary to Your real Interest.”

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Later in the letter, after discussing various business and political questions, Levi reiterates his opposition in even stronger terms, “hope in the name of Common Sense, you have not, and in the name of almighty God, you will not join Congress. Gov C—-n, my deceased Brother, Yourself, Col. Lyon, Clark, Enos, Hitchcock, Spafford’s, Coit, Eben! &c &c &c all being fully determined to the Contrary when I left you.”

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Levi, and others who preferred becoming a part of Great Britain, were attracted to the idea for economic reasons. Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River were major trade routes for northwestern Vermont, and whether Vermont became a part of the United States or Great Britain had great implications for commercial relations with partners along this route to the north. Levi returned to Vermont in the 1790’s and continued to pursue land and trade opportunities in Quebec, but like his brother Ira fell into a great deal of debt, ultimately dying in prison in Burlington in 1801. This letter from Levi and many more can be found in the Allen Family Papers in Special Collections.

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Contributed by Chris Burns,
Curator of Manuscripts and University Archivist 

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Spring 2016 Programs–March 1 and 17

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MARCH 1, 5:30
In and Out of Print

On March 1 at 5:30, Special Collections will host UVM art professor Steven Kostell for a discussion of his work investigating forms of mediation, production and collaboration through explorations in art, design and the artist book.

Steven Kostell is an intermedia artist and designer whose work explores the convergence of traditional and experimental techniques in print and digital media, resulting in hybrid forms. His work is grounded in material-based production and image processing, involving papermaking, printmaking, artist books, and multi-channel audio/video installations.

Kostell’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at such venues as the Center for Book and Paper at Columbia College, Chicago; the Qijiang International Printmaking Festival, Chongqing, China; Ozu Washi Gallery and the Oji Paper Museum, Tokyo, Japan; New Forms Festival, Vancouver, BC and the Laura Haber Gallery, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He received his BFA from Indiana State and his MFA from Arizona State University. Before coming to Vermont, Kostell taught at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

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MARCH 17, 5:30
Public Monuments: The Politics and Processes of Commemoration

Bill Lipke and Bill Mares will present an illustrated lecture summarizing the research which they undertook for their recently published book on commemorative monuments from the American Revolutionary War to the present, Grafting Memory. In their essays, Lipke and Mares explore the evolving practices that allow memories to pass through generations. From monuments to cemeteries, paintings and living memorials, they present diverse examples, including many close to home, like Burlington’s Battery Park, to those farther away, like national cemeteries in France.

Bill Lipke is UVM professor emeritus in Art History and a former director of the Fleming Museum. He has written about landscape painting and modern architecture. Bill Mares has been a journalist and high school teacher, and has fifteen books to his credit on subjects ranging from beer and coffee to Vermont politics.

Both presentations will be held in Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library. They are free and open to the public. For more information, email uvmsc@uvm.edu or call 656-2138.

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