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Archive for March, 2012

US Presidents and Vice Presidents on the UVM Campus

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Prompted by President Obama’s March 30 visit to the UVM campus, Special Collections librarians searched the University Archives and discovered that President Gerald Ford visited the campus in 1974, and Vice Presidents Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson were here in 1960 and 1963.

President Gerald Ford came to Burlington on October 8, 1974 to speak at a dinner honoring Vermont Senator George Aiken. The front page of the Cynic, the UVM student newspaper,  for October 10, 1974 included articles about the dinner and the crowds of demonstrators.  On October 25, 1963, Vice President Lyndon Johnson came to Vermont for the first time.  At his request, the visit was organized to allow him to see and speak to as many Vermonters as possible, according to the Burlington Free Press (10/23/1963).  During the 1960 presidential campaign, Vice President Richard Nixon gave an impromptu speech to a crowd of UVM students on Sept. 29.


Two thousand people attended a dinner in Patrick Gymnasium to honor Senator Aiken. According to the Cynic, President Ford praised Aiken for his independence of mind and his contributions to education, electric power development, rural America, and foreign relations. President Ford was at the gym for just over two hours, arriving at 7:42 pm and leaving at 10:15.

The Cynic described the crowds of demonstrators as large, antagonistic and nonviolent. Among the groups of protestors were the Vietnam Veterans Against the War/Winter Soldiers, the Living Theater, and a group that served free vegetarian soup (in contrast to the $50 per plate roast beef dinners served in Patrick Gymnasium), and folksinger Bruce “Utah” Phillips.

Senator Aiken and President Ford.  Photo courtesy of the University Archives.

Vice President  Lyndon Johnson, Vermont Governor Phil Hoff, and UVM President John Fey, October 25, 1963. Johnson’s motorcade from the Burlington airport included brief stops and talks at a shopping center in Essex Junction, St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Winooski, and UVM. Photo courtesy of the University Archives.

Vice President Lyndon Johnson, UVM President Fey (left), Mrs. Johnson (right) and students on the steps of the Billings Student Center, October 1963. Photo courtesy of the University Archives.

Vice President Richard Nixon and wife in motorcade on Main Street, September 29, 1960. Photo courtesy of Special Collections.

According to the Burlington Free Press (9/30/1960), “More than 1,000 UVM students engulfed Nixon’s car near the Green and the Vice President halted the motorcade and gave a brief talk to the students on the value of education to win men’s minds.” The Nixons are visible above the cheering crowd because they are standing on the car. Photo courtesy of Special Collections.



2001: A Space Odyssey

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

DVD 1708

2001: A Space Odyssey is the quintessential science fiction film, spanning space and time, the fears of growing technology and the evolution of man. This film is a mind bending journey like no other movie that has ever been made. A vast commentary on society, its machines and the benevolent beings that exist in our galaxy. Possibly Stanley Kubrick’s greatest masterpiece and one of the most visually stunning films in cinema with one of the most rich and thoughtful narratives in science fiction. The film was cutting edge in special effects at the time, being released in 1968, that continue to boggle viewers of today –  the film even depicts very accurate images of the surface of the moon before we had even visited it. My favorite aspects of the film are the visually dazzling shot compositions and color that pops off the screen. These fantastic visuals are also complimented by one of the best film scores in history.

The film’s plot is complex and hard to summarize but to explain it basically, it revolves around the journey of man from the basic evolutionary beginnings into something much more. A journey that begins with our primate ancestors creating the first tool, then cuts to the greatest extent of our creation in space travel. During the journey man’s creations become too great, almost overshadowing humanity as an artificial intelligence becomes sentient and jeopardizes the entire journey. The film ends on the very boundaries of space and god-like presence.

Viewers beware though:  this is not a casual film to be watched lightly. This film requires deep conceptual thought and analyses of remarkable poetic images. So if you’re looking for a Michael Bay type film full of action and explosions this is not recommended. This is a film for lovers of cinema and thought provoking film about life, existence and the grand workings of the universe.

Persistent Link: http://voyager.uvm.edu/vwebv/holdingsInfo?bibId=1356961

New Books: Read ’em and Reap

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

These works can be found on our New Book shelf in Bailey/Howe, an ever-rotating sampling of things we’re adding to our collection. You can also review all our newest books online, and subscribe via RSS to receive alerts about acquisitions, by discipline.


Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: Why We Can’t Look Away by Eric G. Wilson

Scholar Eric G. Wilson sets out to discover the source of our attraction to the caustic, drawing on the findings of biologists, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, theologians, and artists. A professor of English literature and a lifelong student of the macabre, Wilson believes there’s something nourishing in darkness. “To repress death is to lose the feeling of life,” he writes. “A closeness to death discloses our most fertile energies.”


Freaking Out: A Decade of Living with Terrorism by Joshua Woods

Investigating the public’s response to terrorism, Woods examines the link between media coverage of terrorism and public perceptions of the threat, demonstrating how some news coverage elevates people’s worries more than others.


The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right by Arthur Goldwag

In this deeply researched, fascinating exploration of the ideas and rhetoric that have animated extreme, mostly right-wing movements throughout American history, Arthur Goldwag reveals the disturbing pattern of fear-mongering and demagoguery that runs through the American grain.
 The New Hate takes readers on a surprising, often shocking, sometimes bizarrely amusing tour through the swamps of nativism, racism, and paranoid speculations about money that have long thrived on the American fringe.


UVM Yearbooks Available Online

Thursday, March 8th, 2012


The University Libraries’ Center for Digital Initiatives has digitized all 112 volumes of the Ariel, the UVM yearbook that was published by students from 1886-1997. The yearbooks document college life and the evolution of the university.  They include photographs of students and faculty, buildings and facilities, and activities and events. (See a selection of photos from the 1952 yearbook below.)

The first volume of the Ariel was published by the sophomore class in 1886, but it soon became a junior class project. Beginning in 1956, the senior class assumed responsibility for the annual yearbook. The faculty and students of the Medical College were included until 1936. Ariel ceased publication in 1997. The yearbook was superseded by a senior memory book, Folklore, in 2001.


  Selections from the 1952 Ariel

Tiny Furniture

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Tiny Furniture

DVD 8676

A film review by Philip Cheney

Tiny Furniture is a comedy that realistically depicts the post-graduate slump and the yearning for growth and success most students feel in the transition from college life to the real world. There is a fear in graduation, an anxiety that is at this time magnified by recession and looms with dread in every college student’s heart; to be thrown into the mass ocean of the job market as guppies when even the big sharks themselves are fighting over tiny morsels of occupation. The film is the second full length picture written, directed and starring Lena Dunham who portrays the main character of a recently graduated film student who feels her life is in turmoil, but as she might not realize it, most of it is probably her own doing. The film was made on a modest budget of $50,000; Dunham makes good use of the resources, directs good performances from her actors and gets good shots from the camera that resulted in an amusing film that grossed almost $400,000 making it a moderate success for the young filmmaker.

As the title beckons one to believe, the character yearns for a world that is small, contained and easily controllable: to find the success her mother found in photographing tiny furniture that lead to her respected artistic talent, but in life one often finds that dreams hold no promises and the apple can fall far from the tree. Aura (played by Dunham) constantly presents a desire for financial independence, as most young people can understand after tasting 4 years of freedom and being one’s own boss then moving back in with their parents and worrying about bills. The anxiety resulting from the struggle to obtain this desire gives the film a feeling of melancholy beneath the humor. Aura seems to have no development as a character by the end of the film, no breakthrough moment and lesson learned from the events that unfold. This could be the result of amateur screenwriting, or the work of someone who wants to portray adolescence with its true sense of naivety and stupidity.

On a technical aspect the movie is composed of very simple but eloquent shots and a fairly compelling soundtrack with a cast of vibrant actors who deliver their lines with a strong realistic tone. At times the script is capable of a sharp sense of humor that rivals the film “Juno” in stature. The style is reminiscent of Wes Anderson films and approaches filmmaking with a very Woody Allen sensibility. Anyone who is a fan of the films of those two directors will probably find this movie enjoyable. As a film student who will graduate in two years I found the film hilarious at times and fear inducing at others; visions to a possible future that is very nearby. I guess all there is to do is keep the laughs rolling and not take oneself too seriously as I feel Dunham promotes in her film.