Before Your Time

A joint podcast series from Vermont Humanities and the Vermont Historical Society.

Before Your Time Podcast Series

Before Your Time is produced by Vermont Humanities and the Vermont Historical Society. Every episode, we go inside the stacks at the Vermont Historical Society to look at an object from their permanent collection that tells us something unique about our state. Then, we take a closer look at the people, the events, or the ideas that surround each artifact.

Episodes

Before Your Time: After the Crossing

Before Your Time: After the Crossing

Many different groups of people, from many different continents, have helped build our state. But from the 19th century through 2019, the stories of immigrants have largely been excluded from the popular image of Vermont.
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Before Your Time: Green Mountain Grab Bag

Before Your Time: Green Mountain Grab Bag

It’s a shame that some of the things we record get edited out of our stories. So here’s an episode of lost clips: bike whistles, pewter purists, halfway houses on the border, needlework, and the grave of “Vermont’s Donald Trump.”
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Before Your Time: A Place for Us

Before Your Time: A Place for Us

Queer lives and queer histories in Vermont were often kept private for good reason: the fear of losing one’s job, home, or family. The fear of violence. But it’s important to know that LGBTQ people are here, have always been here, and are part of the state’s history.
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Before Your Time: Herbs and Remedies

Before Your Time: Herbs and Remedies

It can seem like every town in Vermont once had a pharmacist brewing their own special blend of medicine. Some of these cures were derived from herbal folk remedies. Others were created from a lot of alcohol, some food coloring, and a pinch of carefully honed hokum.
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Before Your Time: The Power of the Press

Before Your Time: The Power of the Press

A massive wooden printing press made in the mid-17th century has a place of pride in the Vermont History Museum, and not just because it’s old. It represents both the history of written law in the state, and the crucial role that journalism—the press—plays in a democracy.
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Before Your Time: Built To Last

Before Your Time: Built To Last

Plenty of Vermont’s historic buildings are traditional homes, churches, and meeting houses. But as the state changed in the 20th century, its architecture did too. Now experts are looking more closely at buildings that look nothing like what came before.
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Before Your Time: Anything for Speed

Before Your Time: Anything for Speed

People have raced cars in the Green Mountains since 1903. There were racetracks in every corner of the state: at fairgrounds, in farmers’ back fields, and finally at dozens of dedicated racetracks. Thousands of Vermonters have been drivers, mechanics, track officials, and spectators at those tracks over the past 115 years.
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Before Your Time: Tales Behind the Tombstones

Before Your Time: Tales Behind the Tombstones

Many of Vermont’s cemeteries date back multiple centuries. They’re filled with worn-down stones that may only offer glimpses of the personal histories of the dead. But these cemeteries still hold lessons for the people who visit them today.
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Before Your Time: Mobility for the Masses

Before Your Time: Mobility for the Masses

Many Vermonters felt a sense of liberation during the nation’s first “bike boom” in the 1890s, when bikes became cheaper and easier to ride. Although the state’s early bike clubs were the province of elites, underrepresented groups soon took up the new technology.
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Before Your Time: More than Books

Before Your Time: More than Books

We still need libraries. But what is their role in the age of the internet? And why, in a state with so many beautiful libraries, is it such a challenge to keep them going?
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Before Your Time: From Communes to Commerce

Before Your Time: From Communes to Commerce

While the country grappled with scandals like Vietnam and Watergate, back-to-the-land communes offered settlers an alternative path in Vermont. But the 1970s were also good for business in the state.
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Before Your Time: Selling Vermont

Before Your Time: Selling Vermont

In the years after World War II, Vermont transformed the way it sold itself to outsiders. That shift in identity made Vermont a four-season state for travelers. It also changed the state’s landscape.
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Before Your Time: Vermont’s Great Flood

Before Your Time: Vermont’s Great Flood

It is considered the biggest natural disaster in Vermont’s history. But the 1927 flood was an even bigger turning point. The rebuilding process set in place some of the infrastructure that we still use today. And right before the Great Depression and the New Deal years of the 1930s, it focused the federal government’s attention – and some of its money – on a state that had never really asked for it.
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