What can historians learn from historic documents?

The Vermont Historical Society collects papers from Vermont's history. These documents include letters, diaries, brochures and posters. These primary sources help tell us what was happening in Vermont at the time the documents were written. If you have trouble reading the writing, look for the transcription, a typed version of the document.

The Vermont Constitution, 1777

This document belongs to the Vermont State Archives, another place that collects papers about Vermont history. Read the transcription, the typed text of the document.

Explore More: The Vermont Constitution

Vermont Statehood Document, 1791

Read this document to find out what happened on the fourth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one, or March 4th, 1791. The transcription might be easier to read.

Explore More: The 14th State

Erastus Williams Diary, 1834

On June 7, 1834, Erastus Williams wrote "Very warm and pleasant. The ground is getting rather dry. Corn and everything else grows fast."

Williams' diary describes his life as a farmer in Vermont from 1830-1843. Read a transcription of his diary.

Morgan Horse poster, 1853

This advertisement shows the pedigree(list showing an animal's parents and grandparents) of Coos Morgan. This Morgan horse was directly related to the first Morgan horse.

Explore More: Justin Morgan

Henry Smith Letter, 1863

Henry Smith was a soldier during the Civil War. In this letter, he writes to his mother back home in Royalton, Vermont. He had his picture taken and will send the photograph soon.

See this letter and other letters from Vermont Civil War soldiers.

Exhibition of the Monster Panther, 1881

This poster advertises a display of the very large panther that was shot in 1881. You can see the stuffed panther (or catamount) at the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier. Read a transcription of the poster.

Explore More: The Last Catamount

Barnum's Circus Poster, 1885

Barnum's Circus is coming to town! What can this poster tell us about entertainment in Vermont in 1885?

Explore More: The Circus and Fair: A Summertime Delight (PDF)

Diary of Laura Freeman, 1893

Laura Freeman was 10 years old when she started this diary on January 1, 1893. She writes about her family, school, and other activities in South Royalton. Diaries like this help tell the stories of ordinary Vermonters.

Explore More: Diary of a Vermont Schoolgirl (PDF)
Can you read some of the text that the printed version leaves out?

Essex County Herald Newspaper Article, 1918

Historians read newspapers to understand what people knew at a time in history. This article describes the 1918-1919 Influenza pandemic.

See the other articles on this page. Explore other Vermont newspapers at Chronicling America.

Greetings from Vermont Postcard, 1939

This is a postcard that a tourist might send while on vacation in Vermont. It was never mailed because there is no writing on the back. Sometimes historic postcards have interesting pictures on the front and interesting messages on the back.

Why do you think it has small holes at the top? Maybe someone hung this postcard on a bulletin board.

Copy and paste this citation to show where you did your research.

Vermont Historical Society. "Papers." Vermont History Explorer. Accessed June 15, 2024.

Did you know means ?