The Historical Library, opened
in 1975, consists of a reading room, two vaults, a workroom, and
an exhibit room (about 1,900 sq. ft.). The Library holdings have
been divided into eight categories: Books, Manuscripts, Bound
Volumes, Genealogical Files, General Files, Maps,
The book collection contains about 4,000 volumes, centering on
various aspects of the history of Thetford and Vermont. Strong
areas of the book collection include:
- Schoolbooks, largely used in town during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
- History of Thetford, Vermont, and New England
- Town Histories
- Crafts and agriculture
- Thetford and Vermont authors
- Juvenile Books
- Hymnals collected by Charles Hughes, author of American Hymns and Hymn Writers
- Cookbooks, mainly the collection of local author Beatrice Vaughan
- Runs of Vermont History,Vermont Life, Vermont Register
- Etiquette and the place of women (19th century views)
- Early dictionaries, including a copy of Noah Webster's first (1806)
- Over 200 pamphlets
These books are fully catalogued by author, title, and subject.
The Library has a number of manuscript collections: 79
box-size collections, 177 small collections - a total of about
310 linear feet. Each collection has a collection guide showing
provenance, size, biographical sketch, and description of
contents, including box-and-folder listing, if necessary. Each is
also catalogued by name, place, and subject. Underlined items
link to associated THS collection guides for that subject. Among
the more important collections are:
- Dean C. Worcester, Thetford-born biologist who became and expert in the Philippines, serving on both Taft Commissions and as Minister of the Interior 1889-1913.
- Charles H. Farnsworth,born in Turkey, teacher of music at Columbia Teachers College, founder of local musical youth camp, Camp Hanoum.
- First Congregational Church in Thetford,(founded 1773)
- Thetford Academy (founded 1819)
- Several early broadsides
- Early records of the Town of Thetford, from Town archives and from Slade and Hughes private collection (42 boxes)
- Chubb Fish Rod Factory and Chubb Family Papers
- Multi-generation papers of Bond, Emerson, Latham, and Worcester families
- Thetford Pageant (1911) - one of several town-wide historical pageants organized by William Chauncey Langdon as spurs to civic pride and cooperation
- Research and writings by local historians Mary B. Slade and Charles W. Hughes
- Several local associations: civic, improvement, social, musical.
The Library has 208 bound volumes, each boxed and catalogued.
- District school records
- Ledgers of local stores and artisans
- Photo albums, including one of construction of the Union Village Dam.
In card files made from early church records (up to ca. 1840)
we have files of:
In a 4-drawer file cabinet, we have about 350 files of correspondence and records of local families. Click here for Thetford surnames in our files. In the book collection are about 20 histories of families with local connections.
There is a 4-drawer cabinet of files on general subjects, including a drawer of files on the villages of Thetford.
Our collection includes:
- Copy of a 1790 road map made by local surveyor Timothy Bartholomew
- H.F. Walling's 1858 map of Orange County
- Beers 1877 Atlas of Orange County
- 1858 - 1860 historical map of Thetford
- C.E. Davis' 1906 map of Lake Fairlee
- USGS maps of Thetford and surrounding area.
Two 13-inch globes made by James Wilson of Bradford, VT.
- Terrestrial globe, 1822
- Celestial globe, 1826, with a history of use at Thetford Academy.
Both globes have been restored at the Regional Art Conservation Center at Williamstown, MA.
A 4-drawer file cabinet is full
of letter-size photographs, each itemized and with a protective
jacket. In two drawers are photos of the six villages in the
town, including houses and other structures, and landscapes. In
the other two drawers are photos of individuals and groups,
identified and protected, sorted by surname. Oversize
photographs, some matted; kept in a separate collection, totaling
14 oversize boxes. A major collection, filling two oversize
boxes, is about 200 photographs by Clara Sipprell. We have 25
original glass slides taken by Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley, of
snowflakes, frost, and other items from nature.
A collection of several hundred glass plate negatives were made by C.H. Farnsworth, 1890-1910. These include scenes of Thetford, Camp Hanoum, and of Turkey. Some have been printed, and some enlarged. There are numerous photographs of the Philippines, ca. 1900 - 1920, in the Dean Worcester collection, and glass slides made in the Philippines by Dean Worcester's brother, George Worcester. We have several aerial photographs of the Thetford area, including a 1930s AAF photo of the Connecticut river valley, before the constuction of the present Wilder Dam. We have a number of stereoscopic views of nearby areas, including the White Mountains.