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The Center for Research on Vermont published Green Mountain Scholar: Samuel B. Hand, Dean of Vermont Historians (2018) —a collection of important scholarly writing on Vermont political and legal history and historiography.

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The book includes 30 separate articles on subjects ranging from the Mountain Rule, U.S. Sen. George D. Aiken’s position on ending the Vietnam War, Vermont state politics, the civil rights movement and more. Essays are penned by Sam Hand and Marilyn Blackwell, Deborah Clifford, David Donath, Paul Gillies, Arthur Kunin, Jeffrey Marshall, H. Nicholas Muller III, Jeffrey Potash, Gregory Sanford, Paul Searls, Michael Sherman, Mark Stoler and Stephen Terry. The Editors of Green Mountain Scholar are H. Nicholas Muller III, Kristin Peterson-Ishaq, J. Kevin Graffagnino, and Richard Watts.

Book Launch Event

On February 8, 2018, about 50 friends and colleagues of Sam Hand gathered at the University in Vermont in February to reflect on Sam’s influence, writings and unusual personality and release the book. Watch a live video from the event on our Facebook page.

“Sam always wanted more from you,” Former Governor Jim Douglas said, “but he was never supercilious…He judged everyone equally.”

“He was no lonely scholar, scratching out text in a dark garret” said Paul Gillies. “More likely you’d find him in the stacks of the Wilbur Collection, or the rooms of the VHS, or the State Archives, talking over ideas with colleagues (and sometimes strangers), making and taking commitments on how to share the work, living a very social, scholarly life.”

These memories and many more were shared by Sam’s former colleagues and students, including stories about Sam lighting the wastebasket on fire with his pipe or his habit of starting a conversation half-way through.

See also: Letters from Paul Gillies, Elizabeth Dow, Gregory Sanford, Garrison Nelson and Kristin Peterson-Ishaq.

About Samuel Hand

Samuel B. Hand (1931-2012) was an important and influential Vermont historian.  In a career that spanned nearly half a century, Sam wrote eloquently about a wide range of Vermont subjects and served as mentor to many young colleagues and scholars.  As a history professor at the University of Vermont from 1961 to 1994, he taught hundreds of UVM undergraduate and graduate students about the state’s heritage.  His leadership in state, regional, and national historical organizations included terms as president of the Vermont Historical Society and president of the National Oral History Association.  He was a founding member of and twice directed UVM’s Center for Research on Vermont.  In the community of Vermont scholars and the long history of UVM, no individual has earned or received more respect and affection from his peers than Sam Hand.

For more on Sam, read the introduction to the book or the stories peppered through the book’s contributors’ biographies – many of whom worked closely with Sam as colleagues or former students.

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).