top of page

Recent Events Highlights

Experts in Conversation:
The History of Eugenics in the Green Mountain State 
Mercedes de Guardiola, Historian & Author
Mariessa Dobrick, Reference Archivist
Rep. Tom Stevens, VT House of Representatives

March 7, 2024  | steele community room

Historian and author Mercedes de Guardiola spoke on March 7 in the Steele Community Room about her recent book unpacking the history of eugenics in Vermont. She was joined by Mariessa Dobrick, a reference archivist for the state, and Rep. Tom Stevens (D-Waterbury, Bolton, Huntington, Buells Gore), who played a key role in supporting a 2021 General Assembly resolution (J.R.H.2) apologizing for state-sanctioned eugenics policies and practices.

De Guardiola’s book, Vermont for the Vermonters: The History of Eugenics in the Green Mountain State (Vermont Historical Society, 2023), contextualizes the eugenics movement in the collapse of the state’s public welfare system and the increase in rural poverty throughout the 19th century. According to de Guardiola, eugenics, “a pseudoscience with a simplistic understanding of human heredity…was based on existing biases, especially classism and racism.”

Stevens noted, “By segregating people and by sterilizing people, we were committing genocide by the U.N. definition. We did that in Vermont, as a state-sanctioned policy,” adding, “That was what the [2021] apology addressed.”

Stevens concluded that "“I still believe in government. There are a lot of good things that can come out of government. Eugenics wasn’t one of them.”

The event was organized and co-sponsored by Bridgeside Books, Waterbury Public Library, and Waterbury Historical Society. 

De Guardiola-Dobrick-Stevens 3-7-24.jpeg
Representative Tom Stevens (left), reference archivist Mariessa Dobrick (middle) and historian and author Mercedes de Guardiola spoke about the history of eugenics and the impact of eugenical polices in Vermont. About 40 people attended the presentation in the Steele Community Room on March 7.

Photo by Cheryl Casey for WHS.

Exhibit Reception & Presentation
"The Roots of my Raising" - with George Woodard, Jr.
February 3, 2024  | steele community room

The Waterbury Historical Society hosted the inaugural exhibit in the Steele Community Room, “The Roots of My Raising,” with actor, filmmaker, and third-generation Waterbury farmer George Woodard, Jr. It was an opportunity to hear from George about his lifetime in Waterbury and beyond.

The Woodard Farm on Loomis Hill Road was established in 1912 when George’s grandfather, Walter, purchased the 200-some acre farm. In 2012, the farm was designated a Century Farm by the Vermont Farm Bureau and Vermont State Grange. Century Farms, which are increasingly rare, are those that have been owned and worked by the same family for 100 years.

George Jr. is also an award-winning filmmaker whose latest film, The Farm Boy, was screened at locations all over Vermont in 2023.

This exhibit is the first installation using the new picture hanging system in the Steele Community Room for rotating exhibits by the Historical Society and invited artists. 

bottom of page