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Joseph Battell: A Centennial Appreciation, 2015-02-23

Identifier: A11.IV.1

Scope and Contents

On February 23, 2015, the centennial of Joseph Battell’s death, David Bain gave an illustrated talk on Joseph Battell’s life and works. According to Bain, Battell was not only a Bread Loaf land baron (in his day the largest private landowner in Vermont), but an environmentalist, crusading newspaperman, Middlebury College alum (Class of 1860), trustee, philanthropist, and novelist.

David Haward Bain has taught creative writing and literature at Middlebury College for 28 years, and has been affiliated with the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference for 35 years since his first-book fellowship in 1980. His books include Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad, Bitter Waters: America’s Forgotten Naval Mission to the Dead Sea, The Old Iron Road: An Epic of Rails, Roads, and the Urge to Go West, and Sitting in Darkness: Americans in the Philippines, as well as The College on the Hill: A Browser’s History for the Bicentennial of Middlebury College and Whose Woods These Are: A History of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, 1926-1992.

The talk was held in the Abernethy Reading Room, The Axinn Center at Starr Library, Middlebury College. It was sponsored by Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives, the Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest, the Environmental Studies Program, Middlebury History Department, and the Stewart-Swift Research Center, Henry Sheldon Museum.


  • 2015-02-23


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research without restriction.


1 Digital file

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

David Bain's talk was recorded by Katie Michels, '14.5

Existence and Location of Copies

Born-digital archives exist for this resource. Contact for more information.

Repository Details

Part of the Middlebury College Special Collections & Archives Repository

Middlebury College
Davis Family Library
110 Storrs Avenue
Middlebury Vermont 05753 United States