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August 2020

*POSTPONED* Vermont, 1800 and Froze to Death: The Cold Year of 1816

August 16
3:00 pm
Image of Vermont field in winter

1816 has long been known as the year without summer. Vermonters still call it “1800 and Froze to Death,” a year of frosts every month, dark skies, and mysterious lights that caused a widespread belief that a higher power was displeased. In this talk, historian Howard Coffin includes scores of anecdotes on the dark year of failed crops, scarce food, and religious revival. Read More »

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*POSTPONED* Circle of Sawdust: The Mud, Myth, and Magic of the Circus

August 17
5:00 pm
Blake Memorial Library, East Corinth
Image of man with painting of a clown

Circus Smirkus founder Rob Mermin shows rare film clips and relates personal anecdotes of wacky characters, wild escapades, and poignant recollections of life in the world of the circus. Read More »

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**POSTPONED** Thunderbolt: A True History of a Scottish Highwayman in 19th-Century Vermont

August 18
6:00 pm

Award-winning novelist Tim Weed shares the story of a notorious Scottish outlaw who resurfaced in Brattleboro, VT in 1821. Read More »

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*POSTPONED* Finding Jesse: A Fugitive from Slavery in Vermont

August 18
6:00 pm
Image of Jesse

“Finding Jesse: A Fugitive from Slavery in Vermont” traces Jesse’s life from enslavement in North Carolina to freedom in Vermont. This illustrated talk by Jane Williamson brings the narrative of one slave out of anonymity and explores his life and pursuit of freedom. Read More »

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Vermont History through Song

August 30
3:00 pm
Rokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh
Image of Linda Radtke

Singer and researcher Linda Radtke, joined by pianist Cameron Steinmetz, brings Vermont history to life with engaging commentary about the songs found in the Vermont Historical Society's collection of sheet music. Dressed in period costume and using the music Vermonters published and sang in their communities, Ms. Radtke guides listeners through our state’s history. Read More »

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September 2020

*CANCELLED* From the Parlor to Polling Place: Stories and Songs from the Suffragists

September 2
7:00 pm
Suffragette standing before a banner

Singer and historian Linda Radtke, in period garb and “Votes for Women” sash, celebrates the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment, specifically highlighting the decades-long persistence of Vermonters, both women and men. Radtke also traces the movement’s alignment with other social justice initiatives such as temperance, labor conditions, wage equity, peace, and children’s welfare. Read More »

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Vermont and the Fenian Invasions

September 3
7:00 pm
Two soldiers standing by dead Fenian

In the five years following the Civil War, Irishmen twice invaded Canada from Vermont. They were members of a secret society known as the Fenians. The general history of the Fenians is well known, but Vermont historian Vince Feeney has researched the little-known part played by Green Mountain residents in the invasions. Read More »

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*POSTPONED* Murder in the Vermont Woods: A Story About Race, Class, and Gender in the 19th Century

September 5
6:00 pm
Image of Vermont forest in winter

Historian Jill Mudgett tells the story of an Indigenous man from southern New England who came to central Vermont during the late 19th century and was the victim of a murder. Recreating community connections in a rural Vermont hill town, this story is about poverty, racism, disability, and gendered violence against women, but is also an account of Indigenous movement and choice despite great obstacles. Read More »

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From Homebrew to the House of Fermentology

September 9
6:00 pm
Bill Mares and friend with beer

Bill Mares began making his own beer 45 years ago, when home brewing was illegal and there were no microbreweries in America. In this presentation, he offers a short history of beer itself and discusses Vermont’s small but significant contribution to the American beer revolution. Read More »

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*POSTPONED* People, Music, and 88 Keys, More or Less: Keyboard Instruments through the Ages

September 9
6:30 pm
Image of a piano keyboard

Lionel Hampton and other jazz greats used the marimba and xylophone, and Tchaikovsky used the celeste. With presentation and music, St. Michael’s College Professor Emeritus William Tortolano leads an exploration of the harpsichord, clavichord, the pianoforte, and more through the ages. Read More »

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