PRINT TOWN: BRATTLEBORO’S LEGACY OF WORDS

For well over 100 years, Brattleboro was nationally recognized as a “print town.”  Print Town: Brattleboro’s Legacy of Words features over 30 authors with connections to Brattleboro, all lending a unique perspective and style to telling the story of Brattleboro’s long history, and ongoing legacy, of printing, publishing, and “words”.

Grab Your Copy Today!

Print Town was published December 2020.

450 copies were printed in the first run, each numbered and signed by the designer. 

- Where to get a copy-

Thanks to the overwhelming response and interest in Print Town: Brattleboro’s Legacy of Words, we are SOLD OUT of all 350 of our copies.

However, the Vermont Historical Society has books available for purchase online (and the ability to issue a future printings, if there is sufficient interest).

There are a limited number of books available for purchase at Everyone’s Books and at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center (where  the beautiful murals and “Our Storied Landscape” exhibit for the Brattleboro Words Trail, which features many of the people and places Print Town explores was on display through 2/14/21).

The book retails for $40.

Copies are also available at some libraries, including Brooks Memorial Library. (Call your local library to see if they have a copy).

Thank you!

Print Town book cover

Cover of Print Town: Brattleboro’s Legacy of Words, designed by James Brisson

The cover photo is the pressroom of the Vermont Printing Company, 1920. Seventeen-year-old Francis Harwood (foreground) operates a sheet-fed platen press. His co-worker, Clarence E. Shaw (rear), went on to establish Shaw Press in 1931.

This richly illustrated book features rare archival images and original illustrations.

Publisher: Vermont Historical Society.

Printed locally at Howard Printing.

The first printing was 450 copies, each numbered and signed by the designer.

Library of Congress details

Print Town Team

Book Designer

Book Art Editor

Tom Bodett

“Brattleboro is a book town… I wonder how many other readers, writers, and those who serve them settled in Brattleboro over these many years for this reason?

Words are, as Kipling put it, a powerful drug.”

— from the Foreword

Our Authors & Artists

Robert R. Anderson

Judy Ashkenaz

Jen Austin

Benson Bobrick

Tom Bodett

James F. Brisson

Marshall Brooks

Andy Burrows

Stuart Copans

Dede Cummings

John S. Dimick

Arlene Distler

Ezra Distler

Julia Ferrari

Charles Fish

Michael Fleming

Castle Freeman

Shanta Lee Gander

Christina Gibbons

Stephanie Greene

Christopher Grotke

Rich Holschuh

John Rice Hooper

Jackie Patterson Hooper

Cynthia Parker Houghton

Mary Ide

Lise LePage

Joyce Marcel

Don McLean

Steve Minkin

Nancy A. Olson

Rolf Parker

Joe Rivers

Bill Soucy

Lissa Weinmann

Richard M. Wizansky

What People Are Saying…

Brattleboro grew up and prospered, thanks to the waters of the Connecticut River and Whetstone Brook. But what this highly readable, wonderfully accessible and beautifully illustrated book shows is that, almost from the town’s beginnings, ink was also part of its bloodstream––a vital economic force and an essential element of its heart and soul. Words––both as a business and an art––helped make Brattleboro unique.

— Dayton Duncan, Author & Filmmaker


I saw the article about it and quickly ordered a copy, which I now have and am blown away by it! This book is a true treasure for everyone in this whole area who reads at all. I started reading it and then began jumping around in it, and last night began around 10 and suddenly it was midnight. Compelling information and writing and photography, all of it. Plus great fun!

— Barbara Evans


The writing is consistently good throughout, and the book is beautiful.

Alan Berolzheimer, VHS lead book editor


WELL, the book arrived!! This is the most gorgeous, fascinating, comprehensive , sophisticated tome I have ever seen! What a terrific job you all have done. So impressed…we will take our time reading and absorbing it as there is so much there. — Stephen & Katherine Krane


Arrived by mail this morning and I have just now come up for air… It is so beyond my hopes and expectations, it is absolutely dazzling by any and every metric imaginable. What a terrific piece of work! — John Hooper, Author & Printer


Print Town: Brattleboro’s Legacy of Words arrived today: it is just gorgeous! Thank you so much! — Brent Kendrick, PhD, Professor of English, Author


I’ve just finished reading Print Town; it is an amazing body of work, and I learned a lot from it.  And it is beautifully designed… Thanks for a fantastic book!

— Kenneth Peterson, Worcester, MA

Book Committee

Jen Austin

Andy Burrows

Arlene Distler

Stephanie Greene

Mary Ide

Rolf Parker

Pictured above: Some members of the Book Committee and others from the Words Project meet with Mike Fleming, editor, at Brooks Memorial Library. Pictured (L to R): Mary Ide, Rolf Parker-Houghton, Arlene Distler, Desmond Peeples, Mike Fleming, Andy Burrow, and Lissa Weinmann

Author Acknowledgements

Our authors are full of gratitude for all the people who have helped in their individual writing and with the publication of Print Town.  Authors have asked to include additional thanks to the following people. 

Judy Ashkenaz

I would like to thank the Museum of Printing in Haverhill, Massachusetts, for giving permission to photograph some of the vintage typesetting machines in their collection. And I also want to thank my husband, David, for sharing this long and interesting adventure in publishing with me.

Jen Austin

Special thanks to Brent L. Kendrick for his unwavering commitment to helping others discover the wonders of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. 

Benson Bobrick

I would like to thank the ever-helpful Jeanne Walsh, the Reference Librarian at the Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro, for directing him to relevant sources in the library’s collection. As all who have ever worked with her know, she is a local treasure.

Arlene Distler

Lorin Enos Young

Judy Wingerter

Jackie Hooper

John Carnahan and Lee Ha at the Brattleboro Historical Society for help on research and photographs and giving permission to use such images.

Michael Fleming

Many thanks to all Print Town collaborators, especially Jen Austin, Stephanie Greene, Andy Burrows, Arlene Distler, Mary Ide, Rolf Parker-Houghton, John Hooper, Bill Soucy, Jim Brisson, Eliani Torres, and Lissa Weinmann, who got me into this mess in the first place. And a world of thanks to my long-suffering partner, Marti Straus, as well as Fannie Safier, my editorial mentor and the best boss there ever was.

Charles Fish

Marlboro College Library

Brooks Memorial Library

Vermont State Archives

Michael Sherman, editor of Vermont History.

There were also many articles and books. And of course the project wouldn’t have existed if I had not been recommended by John Carnahan to the Kipling Society of London as a speaker for the Society’s 2011 annual meeting at Marlboro College and the Scott Farm/Naulakha.

Shanta Lee Gander

Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina for her work in Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth-Century Family Moved Out of Slavery and into Legend. Lissa Weinmann, Mount Island, Desmond Saunders Peeples, and MacLearn Charles Gander. Major Jackson for his time and support of Mount Island’s work around Lucy Terry Prince. The Vermont Humanities Council for allowing me a platform making this more accessible to the whole state. Ms. Magazine for publishing my Lucy Terry Prince piece, The Black Scholar Journal of Black Students and Research for bringing Lucy Terry Prince to their wide audience.

Stephanie Greene

Christopher Aguirre, Nick Parkes, Harry Saxman

Dodie Bevis

McDurfee (check spelling)

Terri Slate

John Mabie, esq

Amelia Darrow esq

Marshall Brooks

John Hooper

Bill Soucy, who walked the talk.  A printer by trade, a collector of vintage printing machinery, and archivist of all things printing and publishing in Brattleboro.  His contributions were invaluable to the authors doing research.

Stephanie Green, our Image Editor (and fellow author and Brattleboro publishing family member) for being the go-to person to keep this project moving forward, and getting it done!!!

Mike Fleming, our Editor, for creating order out of chaos, and Jim Brisson, our Designer, who put the frosting on the cake.

Jen Austin, Executive and Creative Director for the Brattleboro Words Project.  It was she who rescued the Print Town initiative from certain failure, providing leadership and decisive action at critical points, to get the book back on track.

Judi and Roger Miller, publishers of the Town Crier, and contemporaries and friends of mine, for providing the material that made the Town Crier chapter possible. 

Heidi Hammarlund Williams, great granddaughter of E. L. Hildreth, and Will Haskell, grandnephew of Mary R. Cabot, for sharing family history and providing images that have been woven into the tapestry of this book.

Members of my family, for their financial support of this project, without which this book would still be “a work in progress”:  Mary Ann Hooper, Steve and Jackie Hooper, Jennifer (Hooper) Daigle, Jay and LeeAnn Hooper, Timothy and Liz Hooper, Amy (Hooper) Hanna, and Mandi (Hooper) Halligan.

And, my parents, John S. and Marion Rice Hooper, who were major factors during Brattleboro’s “heyday” of writing, printing and publishing.  Thanks to them, I, too, have printer’s ink coursing through my veins.

Rich Holschuh

I would like to acknowledge my co-author Joe Rivers and the inspiration of the Bruchac family: Joseph, Margaret, and Jesse; elder Joseph Elie Joubert; Lisa Brooks; David Tall Pine White; Chief Roger Longtoe Sheehan; this nourishing place itself—Wantastegok; and “All My Relations.”

Rolf Parker-Houghton

I would like to thank Morgen and Cynthia Parker-Houghton for their patience and support, and Ann Braude, whose book, Radical Spirits provided valuable background information on spiritualism in Vermont. 

Nancy Olson

I am deeply indebted to Diane Eickhoff, author of “Revolutionary Heart: The Life of Clarina Howard Nichols and the Pioneering Crusade for Women’s Rights,” (2006); and Marilyn S. Blackwell and Kristen T. Oertel for their book, “Frontier Feminist: Clarina Howard Nichols and the Politics of Motherhood,” (2010). Thanks also to the Grace Hudson Museum (Ukiah, California), the Kansas Historical Society, and the Townshend (Vermont) Historical Society. Many thanks to Karen Holmes, Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, California, for help with the photographs of Clarina Irene Howard Nichols and her husband George Washington Nichols.