Before Your Time
A Town Solves a Problem

A Town Solves a Problem

March 1, 2021

Town meeting is central to our identity as a little state on a human scale that does things differently. But what happens to town meeting when it needs to change during a pandemic? Or when it changes because Vermont itself has changed?

In this episode, we discuss a film made in Pittsford, Vermont in 1950 to promote democracy in postwar Japan. We review the changes that needed to be made to town meeting during this pandemic year. And we talk with political theory professor Meg Mott about ongoing threats to town meeting and self-governance.

This episode is part of the “Why it Matters: Civics and Electoral Participation” initiative sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Federation for State Humanities Councils.

Send Me a Box

Send Me a Box

February 19, 2021

We examine some of the products that people have mailed from and to Vermont, from maple syrup to complete houses and almost everything in between. Includes segments about a sugarmaker in East Barnard, Civil War letters, kit houses, and the Vermont Country Store.

Vermont on the Silver Screen

Vermont on the Silver Screen

July 23, 2020

From A Vermont Romance to Funny Farm, our state has been featured in films for over a century. What are the myths that Hollywood creates about our lives in Vermont? And what are the myths that we create ourselves?

In this episode, we take a look at how Vermont has been depicted in movies, from A Vermont Romance in 1916 through 2005’s Thank You for Smoking. We explore a documentary shot in Chelsea in the early 1970s, and consider the stories that we tell about ourselves, both onscreen and off.

 

Image of Kenneth O'Donnell by Suzanne Opton.

Green Up Day

Green Up Day

May 29, 2020

Vermont’s Green Up Day celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. In 1970, the day featured closed interstate highways, coerced schoolchildren, and shouted encouragement from a buzzing Cessna. 

The Long Enough Trail

The Long Enough Trail

February 20, 2020

Stories from those who founded, hiked, and loved Vermont’s Long Trail, including the first women to through-hike the “footpath in the wilderness” in 1927.

We talk with Ben Rose, former Executive Director of the Green Mountain Club, about James P. Taylor, an early visionary and promoter for the Long Trail. We listen to a 1987 interview with Catherine Robbins, one of the "Three Musketeers," the first women to hike the trail in 1927. And we speak with Wendy Turner, one of the first women to serve as a caretaker at a Long Trail lodge.

Princes and Free Men

Princes and Free Men

December 19, 2019

It’s well-known that Vermont is one of the whitest states in the Union. And so the stories of African American Vermonters can sometimes get forgotten, no matter how important they have been to our state’s and our nation’s history.

In this episode we examine the lives of several influential African American Vermonters who lived in our state before the Civil War. In two cases, before Vermont was even a state.

We learn about Lucy Terry Prince, who created the oldest known work of literature written by an African American; Alexander Twilight, the first person of African descent to receive a college degree in the United States, who educated almost 2500 students during his tenure at the Orleans County Grammar School; and Martin Freeman, an educator from Rutland who moved to Liberia because he couldn't achieve the same rights and privileges as his white peers.

After the Crossing

After the Crossing

September 6, 2019

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. In this episode, we learn about Burlington's immigrant groups through their food, explore a comic book series made about the experiences of undocumented farm laborers in Vermont, review how Swedes were recruited to come to our state in the 1880s, and hear about Burlington's "Little Jerusalem" neighborhood.

Green Mountain Grab Bag

Green Mountain Grab Bag

August 1, 2019

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.”

A Place for Us

A Place for Us

June 26, 2019

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.

Herbs and Remedies

Herbs and Remedies

May 30, 2019

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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