First Wednesdays

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STOLERSAINT JOHNSBURY - UVM History Professor Emeritus Mark A. Stoler wrapped up the last First Wednesday at the Saint Johnsbury Athenaeum. “This is one of the biggest crowds, if not the biggest crowd we’ve had all season,” said Athenaeum Director Bob Joly. 

First Wednesdays is a lecture series put on by The Vermont Humanities Council. The series offers nine talks in nine towns on the first Wednesday of the month from October to May. 


Stoler's presentation was about the myths and perceptions surrounding the history and events of World War II.

He mentions we werent far from an event commemorating World War II. “Two years ago we celebrated the anniversary of the end of what was clearly the largest, most devastating conflict in all of human history.”“What was clearly the largest, most devastating conflict in all of human history.” 


Stoler discussed the strong beliefs Americans have held regarding World War II, its causes, and how people who have lived during the time knew what was going on, and how that plays into what actually happened in history. 

When World War II ended, Stoler says the war had “an awesome effect, that transformed the world and peoples perspectives on that world as well as perspectives on themselves and human condition.”

“Now these altered perspectives were not the result simply of what people experienced during the war but more importantly their perceptions and their memories of what they had lived through and learned. And such perceptions and memories usually do not match what actually happened in history. Rather, they reflect what people thought had happened, and the two are not the same."

Stoler says the difference between historical perceptions and memories on one hand, and historical realities on the other, constitutes a central theme in historical study. One that he always emphasizes in his classes. 

Although the First Wednesday lecture series has concluded for the 2016-2017 season, according to the Vermont Humanities Council Website ( they will resume October of 2017.

Northeast Kingdom residents can attend one of the Wednesday lectures either in Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport at the or Saint Johnsbury Athenaeum