CONTACT: Sylvia Plumb, Director of Communications, 802.262.2626 x302



Vermont Humanities Council Presents First Wednesdays Lecture


UVM Historian Considers Worst US Presidents at Middlebury’s Ilsley Public Library




Middlebury ~ UVM professor emeritus Mark A. Stoler will look at history’s worst US presidents in a talk at Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury on February 6. The talk, “Who Were Our Worst Presidents?” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and takes place at 7:00 p.m.


For more than six decades pollsters have asked scholars and the general public to “rate” past presidents. Dr. Stoler will reverse the standard approach by focusing not on those rated as the best, but on those rated as the worst. He will discuss how presidential ratings have changed over time, how scholars and the general public often disagree in their ratings, and the grounds we use to evaluate presidential performance. 

Mark A. Stoler, PhD, is professor emeritus at the University of Vermont and a distinguished military and diplomatic historian.

The Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays series is held on the first Wednesday of every month from October through May, featuring speakers of national and regional renown. Talks in Middlebury are held at Ilsley Public Library unless otherwise noted. All First Wednesdays talks are free and open to the public.


Upcoming talks in Middlebury include “Painting Ordinary People” with James Maroney, former head of American Paintings at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, on March 6; “Knight to Queen: Chess, Courtly Life, and the Game of Love in the Middle Ages” with Dartmouth professor Jane Carroll on April 3; and “How Does Bach Say It?” with UVM Professor Emeritus Philip Ambrose on May 1.


The Vermont Department of Libraries is the statewide underwriter of First Wednesdays. The First Wednesdays 2012-2013 series in Middlebury is sponsored by The Lodge at Otter Creek and The Lodge at Shelburne Bay.


Ilsley Public Library is sponsored by Friends of Ilsley Public Library.


For more information, contact the Ilsley Public Library at 802.388.4095 or contact the Vermont Humanities Council at 802.262.2626 or [log in to unmask], or visit


First Wednesdays is also presented in eight other communities statewide: Brattleboro (at Brooks Memorial Library); Essex Junction (at Brownell Library); Manchester (at First Congregational Church, hosted by Mark Skinner Library); Montpelier (at Kellogg-Hubbard Library); Newport (at Goodrich Memorial Library); Norwich (at Norwich Congregational Church, hosted by Norwich Public Library and Norwich Historical Society); Rutland (at Rutland Free Library); and at St. Johnsbury Athenaeum. The program is free, accessible to people with disabilities and open to the public. 


Middlebury First Wednesdays listing


First Wednesdays Brochure


The Vermont Humanities Council is a private nonprofit working to bring the power and the pleasure of the humanities to all Vermonters—of every background and in every community. The Council strives to make Vermont a state in which every individual reads, participates in public affairs, and continues to learn throughout life.


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