Speakers Bureau

Talks and Living History Presentations for Your Community

Vermont History

Talks with the Vermont History theme:

Image of Vermont field in winter 1800 and Froze to Death: The Cold Year of 1816 - 1816 has long been known as the year without summer. This talk includes scores of anecdotes about the dark year of failed crops, scarce food, and religious revival.
Image of poster for governor 1964: A Watershed Year in Vermont’s Political (and Cultural) History - Deborah Lee Luskin shows how Vermont's 1964 shift from conservative republicanism to progressive and even radical ideals was more complex and more nuanced than mere politics.
Image of old postcard of the Connecticut River 400 Miles Down the Connecticut River - Michael Tougias narrates the rich history of the Connecticut River, discussing the days of loggers, Indian Wars, steamships, and canals.
Painting of Lucy Terry Prince Bearing Witness and the Endurance of Voice - Lucy Terry Prince was born in Africa, where she was kidnapped by slave traders and transported to Rhode Island. While still enslaved in 1746, she wrote “Bars Fight,” the oldest known poem by an African American. Prince later regained her freedom and moved to Vermont with her husband. Shanta Lee Gander illustrates Prince's importance as a poet and orator, and as one unafraid to fight for her rights within the landscape of early Vermont, New England, and America.
Painted portrait of Matthew Lyon Breeding Radicals: The Importation, Refinement, and Exportation of Social Conflict in Early Vermont (1761 – 1861) - Present-day Vermont has a reputation for offering a peaceful break from the hectic stress of discord elsewhere. However, Vermont's history doesn't align with this perception.
Image of Daisy Turner Daisy Turner’s Kin - Jane Beck shares the story of the Turner family, a powerful and rare account of the African American experience in New England from the 1880s forward.
Image of Jesse Finding Jesse: “A Fugitive from Slavery in Vermont” - This illustrated talk brings the narrative of one slave out of anonymity and explores his life and pursuit of freedom. It traces Jesse’s life from enslavement in North Carolina to freedom in Vermont.
Bill Mares and friend with beer From Homebrew to the House of Fermentology - Bill Mares began making his own beer 45 years ago, when homebrewing was illegal and there were no microbreweries in America. Today there are over 7,000 such breweries nationwide, and Vermont has the highest percentage of breweries per capita in the country. In this presentation, Mares will discuss the American beer revolution, Vermont's small but significant contribution, and his co-ownership of a brewery.
Photo of historical boat scene From Skiffs to Sail Ferries: The Story of Vermont’s Small Boat Traditions - Douglas Brooks shares his research on Vermont's boatbuilding traditions and his work recreating some of these historic small vessels.
Suffragette standing before a banner From the Parlor to the Polling Place: Stories and Songs from the Suffragists - Singer and historian Linda Radtke, in period garb and "Votes for Women" sash, celebrates the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment through songs and stories.
Image of Green Mountain Parkway map Getting from Here to There: A History of Roads and Settlement in Vermont - Deborah Lee Luskin explores how the difficulties of traveling in Vermont have played a significant role in the state’s settlement, development, culture and politics.
Image of Morgan Horse Justin Morgan’s Horse: Making an American Myth - All Morgan horses today trace their lineage back to a single horse: a mystery stallion named Figure, owned by singing teacher Justin Morgan in the late 18th century.
Image of Vermont forest in winter Murder in the Vermont Woods: A Story About Race, Class, and Gender in the 19th Century - 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.
Image of 1893 bicycle club Of Wheelmen, The New Woman, and Good Roads: Bicycling in Vermont, 1880-1920 - Luis Vivanco explores the early history of the bicycle in Vermont, tied to important changes in industrial production, consumerism, and new cultural ideas about auto-mobility and effortless speed.
Image of a Vermont graveyard Reading Places: Art, Architecture, and Gravestones in Early Vermont - William Hosley demonstrates how art and artifacts can be used to understand historical experience while surveying the extraordinary visual allure of historic Vermont.
Red Scare in the Green Mountains: Vermont in the McCarthy Era - Rick Winston explores some forgotten history as we see how a small, rural “rock-ribbed Republican” state with a historically libertarian streak handled the hysteria of the time.
Image of painting of black soldier on horseback. The Black Presence at the Battle of Bennington - It may come as a surprise that one of the 30 men killed at the Battle of Bennington was black. This illustrated lecture tells the story of Sipp Ives and other black patriots who played a role in the fighting and its aftermath.
Image of woman with bunch of mint The Counterculture’s Impact on Vermont and Vermont’s Influence on the Counterculture Generation - In the late 1960s and '70s, thousands of young migrants moved to the back woods, small towns and cities of rural Vermont. Author Yvonne Daley discusses this time in Vermont’s history and its impact today.
Image of Civil War soldiers The First Arsenal of Democracy: “High-Tech” in the Connecticut Valley, 1795-1900 - Carrie Brown explores the role of the Connecticut River Valley, with an emphasis on Vermont, in developing the military technology that changed American life.
Image of a mountain scene The Hills of Home: Mountains and Identity in Vermont History - Jill Mudgett explores evolving human ideas about Vermont's mountain topography, explaining how environmental understandings changed throughout history.
Image of postcard of maple syrup gathering The Many Meanings of Maple - Michael Lange discusses maple sugaring, focusing on why maple has become so important to Vermont’s identity, and how it helps us shape who we are as Vermonters.
Image of Abenaki man in traditional dress The Western Abenaki Today - Jeanne Brink discusses the Abenaki of the twenty-first century and their efforts to maintain and preserve their culture, traditions, and language in today's fast changing world.
Image of Abenaki illustration The Western Abenaki: History and Culture - Jeanne Brink examines the importance of elders and children, the environment, and the continuance of lifeways and traditions in Abenaki society.
Image of house Thunderbolt: A True History of a Scottish Highwayman in 19th Century Vermont - Weeks before his execution for highway robbery in 1821, a young immigrant wrote a confession detailing a series of robberies he’d undertaken in the company of a notorious Scottish outlaw known as “Captain Thunderbolt.”
Image from Way Down East film Vermont vs. Hollywood: 100 Years of Vermont in Film - Amanda Gustin discusses Vermont's portrayal in Hollywood movies over the past century, reflecting both the state's and the country's history.
Image of woman Vermont Women and the Civil War - With nearly 35,000 of Vermont's able-bodied men at war, the monumental task of keeping more than 30,000 farms in operation became very much a female enterprise during the Civil War.
Image of theater curtain Vermont’s Historic Theater Curtains - Christine Hadsel provides a glimpse into the rich cultural history of pre-World War I Vermont through the painted theater curtains of its grange halls, opera houses, and community theaters.
Image of sharpshooters taking aim Vermont’s Remarkable Sharpshooters - Historian Howard Coffin will discuss his recent research into this little-recognized group and consider the reasons why Vermont may have been so well-represented in this elite group of marksmen.