Roundtable Discussions

Join us at free, open to the public, second  Thursday Roundtable Discussions on a
different research site each month, held on site or at 118 Elliot, across from the Fire
Department downtown (site of the Wesselhoeft water cure, where writers flourished).

our next roundtable discussion

Take Joy! The Magical World of Tasha Tudor

Sunday, March 22, 3pm at 118 Elliot
118 Elliot Street, Brattleboro, VT

The mother of Mother Goose herself lived in the hills of Southern Vermont. Tasha Tudor, the prolific children’s book illustrator best known for her Caldecott-winning 1944 picture-book, Mother Goose, is the subject of of the Brattleboro Words Project’s next Roundtable Discussion series on Sunday March 22, 3:00 PM at 118 Elliot Street in Brattleboro. Take Joy! The Magical World of Tasha Tudor (1996, Sarah Kerruish, USA, 47 mins) will be presented by the Tasha Tudor Society’s Executive Director, Amy Tudor and Director of Programs, Sarah RobbGrieco.

Past Roundtable Discussions

Students as Storytellers: Local Histories with Student Producers

In January 2020 Brattleboro Area Middle School and Brattleboro Union High School students shared their experiences in learning local history through community-based research and audio storytelling with the Brattleboro Historical Society. Presenting students were led by Joe Rivers and Bill Holiday, longtime BAMS & BUHS teachers and Historical Society members.

Meddling Mrs. Nichols: Early Brattleboro Editor, Abolitionist, and Feminist Clarina Howard Nichols

No stranger to controversy, Nichols was one of the first female newspaper editors in the nation. A courageous lobbyist and powerful orator, she helped lead all three major reform movements of her time: temperance, abolition, and women’s rights. Join Community Researchers Nancy Olson, Rolf Parker and Dan DeWalt to discuss the life and times of a little-known character whose legacy lives on the Brattleboro Words Trail. Free and open to the public.

Mary E. Wilkins Freeman & "The Revolt of Mother"

The Words Project’s September 2019 Roundtable Discussion featured acclaimed 19th century local author Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, and a short film based on one of her stories. Freeman was a prolific writer, admired by Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain, known nationwide for her depictions of New England village life.

Words on the Water: Stories of Wantastegok, the West River and Abenaki Presence

Since construction of the Vernon Dam flooded the Retreat Meadows 110 years ago, Abenaki petroglyphs—ancient images carved in stone—have rested submerged, unseen evidence of the significant Native presence all around us.  A special installment of the monthly Brattleboro Words Project’s free Roundtable Discussion was held in August 2019 on the confluence waters of the West River and Connecticut River to explore this presence and celebrate ongoing Vermont Land Trust conservation efforts adjacent to the site.

70+ Years of Poetry with Nye Ffarrabas

For our June Roundtable Discussion, poet and artist Nye Ffarrabas presented selections from her 70+ years of poetry and 60+ years of visual, conceptual and word art at CX Silver Gallery and Press, with its current exhibitions of Ffarrabas’ work and the work of Nina Isabelle inspired by Ffarrabas’ words, hosted by Cai Xi and Adam Silver.

Daisy Turner & Community Storytelling

Our May Roundtable Discussion presents Vermont Folklife Center Associate Director and Archivist, Andy Kolovos. Kolovos will discuss place-based audio storytelling and VFC founder Jane Beck’s work with Vermont storyteller, Daisy Turner—the daughter of the formerly enslaved Alec and Sally Turner who settled in Grafton, Vermont in the years following the Civil War.

A Meeting of Minds: Robert Frost & Marlboro College

In a nod to National Poetry Month, our April Roundtable Discussion was a talk led by Robert Frost scholar Daniel Toomey on Frost, his poetry, and his mentorship of Marlboro College founder Walter Hendricks and early Marlboro students.

An American Nurse at War

Local photographer Stephen Hooper screened his award-winning PBS film, “An American Nurse at War,” the story of his relative Marion McCune Rice’s time as a WWI nurse in France, well-recorded in her letters and photos. Rice lived on Chestnut Hill across from her brother, the publicher of the Brattleboro Reformer from 1918 until 1950.

Learning Through Place: A Teacher's Take on H.P. Lovecraft, Akley Farm, and Guilford

Master teacher Jennifer Kramer will share her place-based research work with students around renowned science fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft’s stories linked to sites such as Round Mountain in West Brattleboro for the January Brattleboro Words Project’s monthly Roundtable Discussion on Thursday, January 10, 2018 at 118 Elliot at 6:00 to 7:00 pm.  The event is free and refreshments will be served.

Vermont's Own Highwayman: History, Legend, and Early Brattleboro Publishing

Celebrated local author Tim Weed discussed the legend of Dr. John Wilson and the unique Round Schoolhouse in Brookline, and the publishing boom surrounding his purported secret identity: “Captain Thunderbolt,” notorious Scottish highwayman and fugitive.

Creating the Brattleboro Words Trail: Goals and Methodology

The Brattleboro Words Project invites you to learn how you can be part of the broad community effort to unlock the secrets of our storied past. The November Roundtable Discussion is led by Project Director Lissa Weinmann at the Brooks Memorial Library.

Historical & Archival Treasures

Unique, rare, important and humorous historical treasures and archival collections reside within Windham County’s numerous historical societies, public libraries and museums. The Brattleboro Words Project’s October Roundtable Discussion gathered representatives who work with these treasures in recognition of National Archives Month.

Royall Tyler: Author, Wit and Judge, of Early Brattleboro

The Brattleboro Words Project invites you to join us for a discussion on Royall Tyler, the most important area author of the Federalist era. Marius B. Peladeau, the leading Tyler schololar, and moderator Tom Ragle of Guilford, will join Don McLean, of Guilford, and Christina Gibbons, of Brattleboro, authors of “True as Steele.”

Heaven & Hell: Kipling in Vermont

Kipling is one of the world’s most famous authors, whose time in America, and living in Dummerston, were the happiest, most inspired and productive time of his life.

In this period he composed the two Jungle Books (1894, 1895), the first three Just So Stories (1897), and began thinking about his masterpiece Kim (1901).  

Visit our Roundtable archive to watch a video of the full discussion and video and multi-media archive. 

Estey Organ Company

Dennis Waring leads a discussion at  Brattleboro Words Project’s monthly Roundtable, examining the history of the famous Estey Organ Company and how it helped shape American consumer culture and put Brattleboro on the global map through its innovative advertising and marketing style.

Linotype: The Film

Join the Brattleboro Words Project for a screening of Linotype: The Film followed by a discussion with Bill Soucy, print veteran and co-creator of Brooks Memorial Library’s exhibition Brattleboro’s Printing and Publishing Heyday, 1900-1970.

Printing & Publishing

Did you know that the first US edition of Harry Potter was published in Brattleboro in 1997? Or that the Brattleboro area is recognized worldwide as a fine printing and publishing hub? The public is invited to learn more by joining Peoples, Places, and the History of Words in Brattleboro, Vermont (the Brattleboro Words Project) for its third Roundtable Discussion on “Printing & Publishing” on Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 118 Elliot from 6–7 pm. Join book editor Jeff Potter, and writers Arlene Distler, Rolf Parker, Mary Ide, Stephanie Greene, Steve Minkin, Nancy Olson, and others for a discussion on the forthcoming book, Brattleboro, A Print Town, and the history the writers will cooperatively tell. Refreshments will be served. This discussion is free and open to the public.

Words & Abenaki History

This month, Leadership Team members ​Rich Holschuh​ (​Vermont Commission for Native American Affairs​) and ​Joe Rivers (Brattleboro Historical Society) will give a ​presentation and lead a discussion​ ​exploring indigenous Abenaki​ sites, experience, and use of their 12,000 year-old ​Algonquian dialect ​in the context of first contact with Europeans in the Brattleboro area, which they call ​Wantastegok. Roundtable participants are invited to share their knowledge of ​Wantastegok​, Abenaki history, and Algonquian language and enjoy native-inspired refreshments​ during this​ f​ree program​.

Wesselhoeft Water Cure

Opened in 1852 under the direction of C.W. Grau. The Water cure in downtown Brattleboro was visited by many notable people of the time, who came to escape the rapidly industrializing world.