University of Vermont

Digital Library Gives Long Trail Slides New Life

Hiking along Vermont's trails in the Green Mountains has a timeless feel. Sure, the GPS devices and Patagonia gear dotting the paths are steady reminders of 21st century life, but the dense forests and rocky peaks of the Long Trail, the protected spine running north-south down the center of the state, feels largely untouched by time.

But how much has time altered the nation's oldest long-distance hiking trail? A new collection available on the UVM Libraries' Center for Digital Initiatives (CDI) website helps answer that question. The site offers a glimpse into the early days of the trail created by the Green Mountain Club, an organization that celebrates its centennial this year.

Nine hundred images, dating from 1912-1937 have been scanned and uploaded, pulling them out of the depths of the library's Special Collections and making them available to anyone with internet access.

Most of the images, photographed by Green Mountain Club members Theron S. Dean and Herbert Wheaton Congdon, came to the library in the form of glass slides -- some black and white, some hand painted -- which were used as promotional materials in "magic lantern" slideshows around the state and the region in the early- to mid-1900s.

"These images are now available to everyone," says library staff member Dan DeSanto, who spent months describing the photos, preparing them for easy browsing on the site. "If you go to cdi.uvm.edu, the Center for Digital Initiatives website, you can click on Long Trail Collection, as well as any of the CDI collections, and browse or search."

Hear DeSanto and UVM librarian Chris Burns talk about the collection, and see examples of the slides in the video above.