News Blog

March 17 Talk: The Theatrical, Eccentric, Flamboyant Madame Sherri

In celebration of Women’s History Month
The Theatrical, Eccentric, Flamboyant Madame Sherri
A talk by Eric Stanway
Tues., March 17   7 p.m.
Brattleboro Historical Society History Center at the Masonic Temple
196 Main St., Brattleboro

Stanway is author of “Madame Sherri: The Special Edition,” an expanded
biography of the diva of the 20’s who scandalized the locals for years
before succumbing to poverty and dying in a Brattleboro boarding house,
leaving her castle in the woods of West Chesterfield, N.H., to crumble to

Stanway is a writer, artist and musician who has authored more than 15
books of New England history, including Mysteries of Monadnock, The Old
Rindge House, Haunted Hillsborough County, The Victorian, and Mad Ghosts
and Englishmen.

Free Winter Lecture Series: Textiles and Fashion in Early America

Beginning Sunday, January 25, 2 p.m.

Historic Deerfield will present a free winter lecture series,”Textiles and Fashion in Early America” this winter, with lectures on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. in January, February, and March at the Deerfield Community Center, 16 Memorial Street, in Old Deerfield. The lecture series is part of the celebration, “Fashioning a Legacy: The 50th Anniversary of the Helen Geier Flynt Textile Gallery.”


The first lecture, entitled “Exquisite Selections: Masterpieces from the Historic Deerfield Collection” will be presented on Sunday, January 25. David E. Lazaro, Associate Curator of Textiles for Historic Deerfield, will give an in-depth look at the Helen Geier Flynt Textile Collection, which today numbers some 8,000 objects including clothing, accessories, and domestic textiles, assembled by Historic Deerfield founders Helen Geier Flynt and Henry N. Flynt.

The lecture series continues with “Boarding in Boston: Education, Embroidery and Refinement in the Late Colonial Period,” on Sunday, February 22, presented by Pamela Parmal of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass., and “Patterns of Their Time: Design in Printed Textiles” on Sunday, March 22, presented by Linda Eaton of Winterthur Museum, Wilmington, Del.


The Brattleboro Historical Society has agreed to partner with Vermont Public Television and the Community Council of VPT to bring film premiers and events to Brattleboro.

West River Winter

A two man disaster squad, with ax and rope, has cut through cakes of ice backed up by the West River. Note the off-center hitch enabling horses to follow track rather than navigate heavier snow in center ridge of road.West River Ice

An American Nurse at War

Brattleboro Historical Society presented ‘An American Nurse at War’ – The Story of WWI Red Cross Nurse Marion McCune Rice – on Sunday 9 November 2014. Presented by Steve Hooper with help from Tom Durnford.


A WTSA Radio Tribute to Andy Natowich

Denny Robinson and Bill Holiday pay tribute to Coach Andy Natowich, who died October 30 at the age of 95.

Andy Natowich was a long-time football and baseball coach at Brattleboro Union High School.  He went on to win four state championships in football, including a 1965 championship team that is still widely regarded as the best single football team in state history. He continued as baseball coach until 1974 and remained a stalwart presence in the community throughout his life.

Bill Holiday and Denny Robinson, both members of that famed 1965 state champion football team, recalled their experiences with Coach Natowich in this rare, commercial-free, radio tribute, broadcast on WTSA, Saturday, November 8, 2014.

September Gallery Walk

Come join us on Friday, September 5 from 2-8PM at the History Center on Main Street. Volunteers will be ready to answer your questions and talk Brattleboro history with you. Some of our exhibits include 2 Doug Cox Train Station dioramas, a visual history of Island Park, Brattleboro baseball team memorabilia and an elaborate dollhouse made by Estey Organ Factory workers. We have books, cards, postcards and much more for sale as well, so come on down! Gallery Walk Sept. 6, 2014

February 7 Gallery Walk

Free admission: Open 4-8 for Gallery Walk.  Our toy display continues with a truck and a train specially crafted from wood and  handmade dolls as well as an amazing Estey employee-built furnished dollhouse. Glimpse at Rudyard Kipling through Mary Cabot’s personal journal entries (“Annals of Brattleboro, 1681-1895” author); peruse her amazing photo albums. Play a locally made Estey Field Organ. Read VT Phoenix weeklies from 1895.  Learn about Crosbys, Esteys, and Moodys. Inspect the Ft. Dummer replica;  Old signs, maps, prescriptions, gowns bottles and more.

December Gallery Walk – Toys

Free admission: Open 4-8 for Gallery Walk.  Our new display for the holidays is TOYS. See a truck and a train specially crafted from wood, and enjoy handmade dolls and much more. Glimpse Rudyard Kipling through Mary Cabot’s journal entries (“Annals of Brattleboro, 1681-1895” author); peruse her photo albums. Play a locally made Estey Field Organ. Read VT Phoenix weeklies from 1895.  Learn about Crosbys, Esteys, and Moodys. Inspect the Ft. Dummer replica;  Old signs, maps, prescriptions, gowns.

Voices From the Grave

We have added our Voices From the Grave recordings to our SoundCloud. These are voice actors speaking as several well known personalities from Brattleboro’s past. Josie Mansfield, Madame Sherri, and Jacob Estey come alive through sound. Listen here.

Richard Michelman to speak at Brattleboro History Center

Our Annual Meeting and Presentation will be held November 17, 2013 at 2pm, at the Brattleboro History Center, 196 Main Street, Brattleboro. It is open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

“Growing Up in Brattleboro” Richard Michelman is a Brattleboro native and the last surviving co-author of Before Our Time. Michelman, raised in Brattleboro, taught social studies in the Brattleboro school system. His interest in history and antiques started as a teenager and became a life-long avocation, attending and working at auctions, performing appraisals and sharing his knowledge. Michelman’s father was a downtown merchant for many years, owning Michelman’s (a mens clothing store) on Main Street. He will be sharing his collection of rare stereopticon views of Brattleboro.

before our time cover

Michelman is remembered by BHS board member Karen Davis:
I remember Richard Michelman as one of the sons of the kindly gentleman who owned and operated Michelman’s Men’s Clothing Store on Main Street, Ralph Michelman, during the 1950’s and ’60’s. Richard was active at an early age as a “runner” at different auction houses, showing the item up for auction to members of the audience so they would bid against each other more actively.  Then he would deliver the item to the highest bidder.
Eventually Richard offered his expertise with antiques to clients wanting advice or appraisals.  You know about the wonderful book on Brattleboro he co-authored, an excellent compilation of articles and photographs.

BHS Board Member Chip Cummings remembers:
Richard was my 8th social studies teacher and I am also a social studies teacher, mainly U.S. History.
It was for his class that I wrote a history of the Creamery bridge that ended up in the Reformer. A couple years later I wrote the Events of the Past column for the Reformer. Richard Richard Michelman certainly played a role in inspiring me.

Join us for a fascinating afternoon learning or reminiscing of times gone by in our Brattleboro.

October Gallery Walk

Visit the Brattleboro Historical Society in two locations for Gallery Walk  (we are #35) on Friday, October 4, 2014.

We are staffing our Research Room located on the third floor (enter back door, handicapped accessible) of the Municipal Center at 230 Main Street. Here we store our 10,000+ photographs, 100s of files relating Brattleboro’s rich history, newspapers from the 19th and 20th century, paper collections, maps and so much more.

Our History Center located in the Masonic Center at 196 Main Street will also be open where you can see ever changing artifact displays and purchase merchandise relating to the history of Brattleboro, including books, photos and more. Conveniently located just adjacent to the Baptist Church on Main Street.

We hope to see you there!

New England’s Colonial Meetinghouses Talk

Photographer Paul Wainwright will present at talk on New England’s colonial meetinghouses on Wednesday, September 25, at 7 PM at Brooks Memorial Library.

Using photographs of the few surviving “mint condition” meetinghouses as illustrations Wainwright will tell  the story of the society that built and used them, and the lasting impact they have had on American culture.
New England’s colonial meetinghouses embody an important yet little-known chapter in American history. Built mostly with tax money, they served as both places of worship and places for town meetings, and were the centers of life in colonial New England communities.

Wainwright has always loved photography and history, but he was captured by physics in high school, eventually getting a PhD in it from Yale. He worked for many years at Bell Labs, with photography being a continuing avocation. Since 2001 he has been pursuing his love of photography and history full-time, and is especially drawn to photograph historic structures in personal and introspective ways. Wainwright’s book, A Space for Faith: The Colonial Meetinghouses of New England,was published in 2010.

The talk is sponsored by the  by the Vermont Humanities Council