Green Mountain Scholar: Samuel B. Hand, Dean of Vermont Historians


As a tribute to Dr. Samuel B. Hand, the Center for Research on Vermont has published 'Green Mountain Scholar: Samuel B. Hand, Dean of Vermont Historians' to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Dr. Hand’s first teaching course on Vermont history at the University of Vermont. The book includes thirty articles written by Sam and his colleagues on important Vermont topics. Table of Contents (PDF)

Join us for the book launch party February 8th at 7 p.m. in Memorial Lounge, Waterman. Colleagues and friends will highlight aspects of the book and talk about Sam's life and legacy. There will be light refreshments available. 

Donations are welcome

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About Sam Hand

Samuel B. Hand, born in New York City on August 20, 1931, earned his BA from New York University, and after serving in Korea, a Ph.D. from Syracuse University. After a short period of teaching in Pennsylvania at Slippery Rock State College, Sam and Harriet Hand navigated their way to the University of Vermont (UVM) in 1961. They settled into life in Burlington in the 1960s, raising three daughters and joining the local synagogue.

Hand started teaching European and American history courses but became increasingly interested in Vermont and eventually took the reins of a Vermont history class (from fellow historian H. Nicholas Muller III). As he turned to teaching about Vermont, his attention and scholarship shifted to learning more about his new home. For the next forty years, he produced many articles and research projects on Vermont topics. 

By the time of his passing in 2012, Dr. Hand enjoyed the reputation as the foremost scholar of Vermont’s past. Among his many achievements, he co-founded the Center for Research on Vermont (1974), and he also played a critical role in the growth of the Vermont Historical Society, where he served as president.

About the Editors

H. Nicholas Muller III

Nick Muller joined the UVM history faculty in 1966 to teach United States, Canadian and Vermont history. In his capacities as a professor, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Director of the Living-Learning Center, and co-founder of the Center for Research on Vermont, he worked with Sam Hand. They co-authored a short encyclopedia entry on Vermont, team-taught a survey course in United States history and co-edited In a State of Nature: Readings in Vermont History (1982).

Kristin Peterson-Ishaq

Born in Decorah, Iowa, Kristin Peterson-Ishaq came to Vermont in 1978 when IBM brought her husband to Essex Junction to join the engineering team. She has lived in the state ever since, a Vermonter by choice. Until her retirement from the University of Vermont in 2010, Peterson-Ishaq had worked for more than three decades as the Coordinator of the Center for Research on Vermont. As Coordinator, she supplied the administrative support that helped establish and manage the Vermont Studies minor, the Research-in-Progress Seminar series, conferences, and the Annual Meeting and awards program. She served as the Managing Editor of the Center’s publications, including several monographs and the Occasional Paper series. A graduate of Georgetown University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) with a B.S. in Arabic Language and the American University in Cairo with a master’s degree in Arabic Language and Literature, Peterson-Ishaq has published her English translation of Egyptian writer Yusuf Idris’s al-Haram (The Sinners). With Mousa Ishaq, she has translated into Arabic the poems of R. L. Green, When You Remember Deir Yassin, in a bilingual edition from Fomite Press. With colleagues J. Kevin Graffagnino, H. Nicholas Muller III, and David A. Donath, she co-edited The Vermont Difference: Perspectives from the Green Mountain State.

J. Kevin Graffagnino

J. Kevin Graffagnino is Director of the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan. As a University of Vermont graduate student in History, he served as Sam Hand's teaching assistant for the Vermont history survey course in the Fall 1977 semester. As curator of UVM's Wilbur Collection of Vermontiana from 1978 to 1995, he worked with Sam and his students to find source material for their research on Vermont topics. Graffagnino also served with Sam on the Vermont Historical Society board of trustees in the early 1980s, and together with Gene Sessions they co-edited the 1999 volume Vermont Voices, 1609 Through the 1990s: A Documentary History of the Green Mountain State.

Richard A. Watts

Richard Watts is Director of the Center for Research on Vermont. Richard Watts is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research and teaching examines public policy, media studies, and Vermont. Richard is also the Director of the Center for Research in Vermont with a mission to spotlight research from the Vermont "laboratory" - research that provides original knowledge and policy solutions for pressing social, economic and environmental challenges. Richard earned his PhD in natural resource planning from the Rubenstein School of Natural Resources and the Environment. Richard is the author of Public Meltdown, the Story of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant (2012).


French Connections: FrancoConnexions

Young wool workers

A conference highlighting the historical, cultural and economic contributions of French Canadians from Québec to Vermont and New England. This year's conference happened on March 20, 2017 at the University of Vermont. (En Francais)

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Between 1830 and 1930, close to one million immigrants from Québec poured into Vermont and New England, populating towns and villages, starting new businesses and farms. While many of these new immigrants settled closer to the border, others spread throughout Vermont and into New England. The influence of these new settlers on the state and region was vast, from politics to culture, to the economy. In many northern schools in Vermont, French was as frequently spoken as English. Today, while the phone book remains heavily dominated by French surnames, this huge influx of population is largely integrated. Yet nearly some 25% of Vermonters trace their ancestry to French Canada.

In this conference we look at the past, the present and the future of these cross-border migrations and relationships. In three panels we examine this story, asking these fundamental questions:

Past: How and why was Vermont and New England populated by so many French Canadians in the 19th-early twentieth centuries? When, how and why did this massive influx assimilate? How were they received?

Present: How do cross-border connections with Québec, in tourism and in trade, continue to shape the culture and economy of Northern New England?

Future: How does the French-Canadian wave of immigration relate to current immigration trends?  What can we learn from the past as we think about the future?

Conference Program (PDF)

Annotated Bibliography (PDF)


  • Mark P. Richard, Professor of History and Canadian Studies, SUNY Plattsburgh
  • Rita de Santis, Minister for Access to Information and the Reform of Democratic Institutions, Government of Québec
  • Leslie Choquette, Director of the French Institute at Assumption College
  • David Massell, Professor of History and Director, Center for Canadian Studies, University of Vermont
  • Susan Pinette, Director of the Franco-American Centre, University of Maine
  • Ernest Pomerleau, French Honorary Consul in Burlington, Pomerleau Real Estate
  • Carole Salmon, Chair of World Languages and Cultures, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  • Adeline Simenon, Director, Paul, Frank & Collins
  • Chris Louras, Former Mayor, City of Rutland, Vermont
  • Jack Jedwab, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration
  • Governor Phil Scott, 82nd Governor of the State of Vermont
  • Father Marcel Rainville, Campus Minister, St. Michael's College
  • Ted Brady, Deputy-Secretary, Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development
  • Pierre Chartrand, dance historian, choreographer, founder of Danse Cadence
  • Thomas J. Donovan, Attorney-General, State of Vermont
  • Mary Rice-DeFosse, Professor of French & Francophone Studies, Bates College


Richard Watts, (802-373-1131)
David Massell, (802-656-3180)

Organizing Committee

David Massell, Canadian Studies; Richard Watts, Center for Research on Vermont; Laurence Gagnon, Government of Québec, Boston Delegation; Victoria-Brassart Jones and Linda Pervier, Alliance Francaise of the Lake Champlain Region; Tom Torti, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce; Ernest A. Pomerleau, French Honorary Consul in Burlington; Laurence Clerfeuille, Professor of French, St. Micheal's College; Lise Veronneau, City of Burlington/Honfleur Sister City.


Government of Québec, the University of Vermont, State of Vermont, UVM Humanities Center; Center for Canadian Studies, Center for Research on Vermont, Pomerleau Real Estate, Vermont Academy of Arts & Sciences, RETN | Regional Educational Television Network, and the Vermont Green Line


Power from the North Conference

students - campus activities - rugby

Power from the North is a joint project of UVM's Canadian Studies, The Center for Research on Vermont and the Energy Transitions Research Group to explore the past, present, and future of Vermont & Quebec's electricity relationships.

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International conference

On March 23, 2015, the two programs convened an international conference to examine these issues. Transcripts of the Conference proceedings and video interviews with key stakeholders are below. Contact Richard Watts or Jennie Stephens or David Massell for more information.

Conference Agenda and Speakers (PDF)


The Past (PDF)
The Present (PDF)
The Future (PDF)


Vermont Roots

Vermont Roost Migration project researchers.

The Vermont Roots Migration research is an on-going project of the Center and our collaborators. Out-migration is an issue that has challenged Vermont at various times during the last 200 years. Why do people leave? Why do they return? Why do they stay? Here we explore the past, present and future of issues related to out-migration from Vermont, with a particular focus on the concerns about youth leaving the state.

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The Vermont Roots Phase 1 Technical Report (PDF) is based on a survey of 3,692 respondents – ages 15 to 91 – who attended high school while residents of Vermont. More than half the respondents have since left the state (51.5%), nearly one-third are people who have remained in the state (30.5%) and the remainder (18%) are people who lived outside of the state for at least one year and returned to Vermont to reside.