First Wednesdays introduces a wide range of topics and interests presented by top experts and speakers by Vermont Humanities Council. Unless otherwise noted, they are held on the first Wednesday of each month from October to May at 7 PM in the Fox Room of Rutland Free Library, 10 Court St., Rutland.

All First Wednesdays events are free and open to the public!

November 7, 7 PM, Fox Room

Bread and Roses, Too

Image of children walking in parade
This is part of the Vermont Reads program for 2018. Preview copies of the novel are available at the circulation desk of RFL.
Acclaimed children’s book author Katherine Paterson discusses her novel of historical fiction that tells the story of the 1912 “Bread and Roses” strike in the Lawrence, Massachusetts textile mills through the eyes of an Italian-American girl and a runaway boy. Read More »
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December 5, 7 PM, Fox Room

Objectivity in the Fake News Era

Image of protester with fake news banner
VPR host Jane Lindholm offers ways for listeners to ensure that the news they are getting is accurate, and for news organizations to safeguard their reporting as fair and correct. Read More »
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January 2, 2019, 7 PM, Fox Room

Hamilton: The Man and the Musical

Image of Alexander Hamilton
From his birth in the Caribbean to death in a duel, Alexander Hamilton’s life was part romance, part tragedy—and the inspiration for the blockbuster Broadway musical. Hamilton biographer Willard Sterne Randall discusses the man and the musical, with excerpts from its score.Read More »
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February 6, 2019, 7 PM

The Invention of History

Image of the Parthenon
There was a time when the idea of writing history didn’t exist. Middlebury professor Jane Chaplin describes the inception of history, which we owe to two extraordinary Greeks, Herodotus and Thucydides, a fascinating story whether one is interested in history or not. Read More »
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March 6, 2019, 7 PM

Outlaw Women

Image of woman's eyes with veil
Feminist writers around the world have constructed characters that resist dominant power structures. Middlebury assistant professor Catharine Wright discusses several such figures in fiction and memoir and considers the politics of our own reading practices. Read More »
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April 3, 2019, 7 PM

Einstein in a Nutshell

Image of Albert Einstein
Einstein’s most famous contribution to science—his theory of relativity—is based on an idea so simple it can be stated in one sentence. Yet from that simple idea, explains Middlebury professor Richard Wolfson, follow conclusions that have revolutionized our notions of space, time, and causality. Read More »
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May 1, 2019, 7 PM

Civility and Its Discontents

Image of President Obama and John Boehner
While many pundits lament the death of civility in American politics, others argue that a commitment to civility minimizes our differences in the name of public nicety. Middlebury religion professor James Davis explains why civility is essential for a well-ordered democracy. Read More »