Speakers BureauTalks and Living History Presentations for Your Community
Talks with the Vermont History theme:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Levi Allen: Ethan’s Black Sheep Brother - Vincent Feeney discusses the life of Levi Allen, an outsider within a prominent family during Vermont's formative years.
Mad Matt the Democrat - Vincent Feeney discusses Matthew Lyon—Green Mountain Boy, entrepreneur, and one of the most colorful characters in Vermont's early years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Vermont and the Fenian Invasions - In the five years following the Civil War, Irishmen twice invaded Canada from Vermont. Historian Vince Feeney describes the little-known part played by Green Mountain residents in the invasions and discusses the attitude of Vermonters and of the Catholic church towards the rebels.
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.
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.
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.
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.