From the History Files

Ah, the quintessential scene of a Bread Loaf summer: the meadow, the mountains, the inn, the Adirondack chairs. The chairs—whether occupied or empty, clustered or solitary, cultivating quiet contemplation or spirited conversation—are a hallmark of the Vermont mountain campus and have left their imprint on generations of Bread Loaf scholars. Although you might have left your own impression on one of these spare wooden seats, you might not know that they are more rightfully known as ‘Westport Plank Chairs,’ thought perhaps to have given birth to the more familiar outdoor chair named for the mountains to our west. Constructed with a back of solid wood rather than a multitude of slats, the Westport chair was originally designed by Thomas Lee in 1903 for use by his family as they vacationed in the eponymous New York town located northwest of Middlebury on the shores of Lake Champlain.  
 A ca. 1966 photo from our archives represents a timeless Bread Loaf scene: students, books, the Green Mountains, and a Westport Plank Chair.
 A Westport Plank Chair provides not a seat, but perhaps companionable silence to a student in the 1980s.  
 One of the earliest images from our archives of a laptop used in a Westport Plank Chair, from the late '80s or early '90s.