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Vermont Historical Society
January 2003

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The Vermont Historical Society has moved to a new location in Barre, Vermont.
The society is also moving to a new web site.

It is housed in the old Spaulding High School Building near the Adrich Library in downtown Barre, Vermont. The building received a major face lift and reopened on Tuesday, July 16, 2002, under the name of the Vermont History Center. The Museum will be closed until March 2003 while the VHS remodels and expands the museum space in the Pavilion in Montpelier, Vermont.

(The Museum is taking over the space formerly occupied by the Library.)

Vermont Historical Society Library

Vermont History Center
60 Washington Street
Barre, Vermont 05641-4209

Telephone: 802-479-8500
Fax: 802-479-8510
Web Site:

Vermont Historical Society Museum

Vermont Historical Society Museum
Pavilion Building
109 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05609-0901

Telephone: 802-479-8500

The Vermont Historical Society (VHS) houses many genealogy records: vitals, court, tax, cemetery, probate, military and federal census (from 1790-1910). In addition, VHS also has maps, manuscripts, periodicals, colonial petitions, correspondences, newspapers, and local and family history books. The VHS operates a library and museum, has active publishing and educational programs, and sponsors special events. The VHS offices, museum, and library are located on the first floor of the Pavilion Building at 109 State Street next door to the Vermont State House and the Department of Libaries in Montpelier.

Hours: Call to confirm hours! 
The Museum is closed until March 2003!
The library reopened for research on Tuesday, July 16, 2002.
Tuesday - Friday, 9 am - 4:30 pm
Library orientation: Tues. & Thurs. 9:30 am
Second Saturday of each month, 9 am - 4 pm
Office: (Now located in Barre at the Vermont history Center)
Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Admission to the museum:


Library use: (subject to change with new Library location)

$5.00/day (free for members and students) to support the operation of the facility. The library charges a nominal fee for responding to written genealogical inquiries: $12.00 for up to 20 minutes of work and up to 10 photocopied pages.
General Description of Vermont Collections 
The Vermont Historical Society (VHS) maintains one of the major Vermontiana collections in the state. It collects printed, manuscript, audio, and photographic materials that document the history and people of Vermont, and to a lesser degree, New England, New York, and eastern Canada.

Books and pamphlets:

The largest collections in the library are books and pamphlets (ca. 40,000 Vermont titles) dating from the 1770s to the present, covering all aspects of Vermont history. The books are cataloged in a card catalog; a computer database for staff use contains the most recently cataloged books. Special catalogs, such as "Vermont Biography" and "Vermont Imprints," are available. The Vermont Society of Colonial Dames genealogy collection is shelved separately but is included in the main catalog. Some books are in restricted access areas but may be paged for use. The library also has limited holdings in the history of other New England states, northeastern New York State, and neighboring Canada. Books are cataloged in the main card catalog; there are special catalogs for Vermont biographies and imprints. An annotated copy of Marcus McCorrison's Vermont Imprints, 1778-1820 can help researchers locate early printed materials. A computer terminal provides access to the catalogs of Vermont's academic and public libraries through the Vermont Automated Library System (VALS). The VHS library collections complement holdings at other institutions.


Ca. 8,700 Vermont broadsides, posters, and flat paper ephemera, late 18th century ­ present. All broadsides prior to 1820 and "significant" broadsides are in card catalog; others are arranged by size and subject. A separate subject heading list is available.


The VHS collects state and local documents very selectively. Those that we have are included in the card catalog. We depend on the collections of the Department of Libraries for state documents and town reports.


Approximately 130 videotapes and about 120 films from the 1920s to the present. There is minimal cataloging of these collections. We have separate computer databases for each collection for staff use. We do not presently have proper facilities for viewing these collections.


The VHS library is the largest genealogical library in the state. The library collects family histories, published vital records, cemetery inscriptions, town histories, indices to censuses, published military records, and biographical compendia for Vermont, New England, and the neighboring regions of New York and Canada. The library also has research method books, books on heraldry and family names, and journals of several genealogical societies. The Vermont Society of Colonial Dames genealogy collection is housed at the VHS, shelved separately but included in the main card catalog. Among the library's special aids for genealogy researchers are FamilySearch CD-ROM databases; the American Genealogical-Biographical Index; a bibliography of genealogies in the Library of Congress and a card file that updates the published volumes; a graves register of soldiers buried in Vermont created by the Works Progress Administration; the Boston Evening Transcript, genealogy section, 1927-1939; published Massachusetts vital records; the Barbour Collection of Connecticut Vital Records prior to 1850 (on microfilm); Bible, cemetery, and miscellaneous records compiled by the Vermont Daughters of the American Revolution; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution lineage books and patriot's index; and the Allen Stratton Collection of Champlain Island history and genealogy. The library has compiled additional information on genealogical research in Vermont.


The manuscript collection contains unique hand- and typewritten letters, diaries, account books, records of governments and organizations, and research notes. The collection is particularly strong in family history, agriculture, railroads, personal accounts of military conflicts, religion, emigration, government and politics, and early crafts and trades. Ca. 1,200 linear feet of personal, organizational, institutional, and business records from the European settlement of Vermont through the present. Among the larger, more important collections are the papers of Royall Tyler, William Jarvis, Ebenezer J. Ormsbee, Achsa Sprague, Coolidge family, Canfield family, and Fairbanks family, and the Allen Stratton Champlain Islands collection. Most of the collection is indexed in the "Brigham Index" (a card file system) and "Brigham Calendars" (descriptions of calendars in loose-leaf binders). Some collections are cataloged in the main card catalog. A project to update and automate the cataloging of the VHS manuscript collection is under way.


Ca. 1,000 maps of Vermont including Walling's county maps (1850s), Beers atlases (1870s), railroad maps, United States Geologic Survey topographic maps, highway department county maps, and copies of early town maps (Dewart Collection). Most maps are included in the card catalog. An annotated copy of David A. Cobb's  Vermont Maps Prior to 1900 is available.


The VHS collects newspapers very selectively: early, Montpelier area, landmark events (floods, ends of wars, deaths of governors, etc.), and issues not held by Department of Libraries. Some are included in the card catalog; others are listed in inventories by size. The VHS should be considered a source of last resort for newspapers.

Oral Histories:

Approximately 200 audio tapes of oral histories, programs and conferences, and Vermont-related music. Most of the oral histories were conducted in the 1970s. Collection includes some historic speeches. Collection also includes about 80 records. Cataloging is minimal for these materials although card files exist which can aid staff in locating items.


The photograph collection may be the library's most popular holding. Among the most important images in the collection are the earliest known photographic views of Vermont, taken by Thomas Easterly about 1845. The library also has the glass plate negatives of Will D. Chandler and R. C. Bristol, the Civil War scenes of George H. Houghton, the covered bridge photographs of Edmund H. Royce, and the Vermont Album collection assembled by Ralph Nading Hill. The majority of the photographs are arranged in the picture file by size and subject; stereoviews and postcards are filed separately. Finding aids include a subject heading list and an index to portraits. Patrons are not permitted to take photographs in the library; a photographic duplication service is available for a fee


Historical society newsletters from around the state and a variety of other general-interest Vermont periodicals. We catalog Vermont subjects from non-Vermont periodicals in our card catalog. We publish indexes to our own publications, Vermont History and Vermont History News, and have an annually up-dated card file index to Vermont History in the library.

Sheet music:

See Oral Histories for information on recorded music.  The library houses about 300 pieces of Vermont-related sheet music cataloged in the main card catalog by title, composer, lyricist, subject, and date. It is all cataloged in the main card catalog; a separate user's guide is also available. Cataloging includes a chronological index.

Vertical files:

22 drawers of vertical files on Vermont and non-Vermont, library, conservation, museum, and other issues. The files are available for use by the public, but assistance from the staff is advisable.

Other collections:

The library has films, videotapes, records, and audiotapes about Vermont subjects; oral history tapes created primarily in the 1970s; vertical files of newspaper clippings and uncataloged materials on Vermont and selected non-Vermont topics; and approximately 300 reels of microfilm, many of these items are not in the collection. A microfilm reader is available, although it does not have a printer. Most microfilms are cataloged. The VHS also has a collection of about 225 bumper stickers built around a collection started by Robert Hagerman. Message/sponsor indexes are available. The VHS has a small collection of architectural drawings and plans. The collection includes drawings of the second and third Vermont Statehouses and Lawrence T. Hess's designs for Vermont ski chalets in the 1950s and 1960s. The VHS museum maintains a collection of Vermont-related artifacts which are available for research use by appointment with the curator or registrar.

Director: e-mail:
Gainor B. Davis, Ph.D.
Lars Nielsen, Capital Campaign Assistant,  e-mail:
Museum:  e-mail:
Jacqueline Calder, Curator
Mary Labate Rogstad, Registrar
Marielle Fortier, Move Technician
Jesse Wing, Move Technician
Library: e-mail:
Paul Carnahan, Librarian
Marjorie Strong, Assistant Librarian
Claire Gilbertson, Library Assistant
Kay Schlueter, Special Projects Cataloger
Amy Cunningham, Director of Education,  e-mail:
Patricia Wiley, Museum Teacher,  e-mail:
Eric Peterson, Museum Teacher,  e-mail:


Martha Nye, Director of Development
Diane Campbell, Development Assistant

Public Relations

Sandra Levesque, Public Relations Director, e-mail:


Virginia Baker, Assistant Treasurer
Phyllis Humez, Bookkeeper/Store Manager
Rose Marie Crossley, Office Manager


Alan Berolzheimer, Book Editor
Michael Sherman, Editor of Vermont History

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