University of Vermont

Center for Research on Vermont

Samuel B. Hand

Co-founder of the Center for Research on Vermont


As a tribute to Dr. Samuel B. Hand, the Center for Research on Vermont will publish Green Mountain Scholar: Samuel B. Hand, Dean of Vermont Historians to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Dr. Hand’s first teaching a course on Vermont history at the University of Vermont. The book will includes thirty articles written by Sam and his colleagues on important Vermont topics. The book has a publication date of late fall 2017 or early spring 2018. 

Table of Contents here
Donations are welcome here.


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 PhD 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.


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 Papersseries.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).

Last modified October 18 2017 08:30 AM