Davis Family Library: 7:30am - 1am
Armstrong Science Library: 7:45am - 12am
Library Response to COVID-19
Photograph of Evarts Kent and family members
1910 photograph of Evarts Kent, Class of 1865, his wife Helen “Nellie” Beckwith, their son, Willys, and a cat. 

Special Collections’ new exhibit, The Kent Family Archive: Five Generations of Religion, Politics and Life in America invites you to learn about the Kents, a Vermont family with a long history and a Middlebury connection. 

Spanning 150 years, the Kent Family archive contains letters, photographs and documents that provide firsthand accounts of national events and American life.

The Kent story begins in Vermont, where three generations pursued religious lives through the 1910s. Two of those storytellers are Middlebury alumni: Reverend Cephas H. Kent, Class of 1824, and his son Reverend Evarts B. Kent, Class of 1865. Both men contribute narratives on faith and politics while providing a geographic record of their ministries.

Portrait of Cephas Henry Kent, Class of 1824
Portrait of Cephas Henry Kent, Class of 1824

As significant are the letters of wives, siblings and multiple generations that reveal insights on family life, from raising children to caring for aging parents.

Donated to the College Archives in 2016 by Joan Kent Souder, the Kent Family archive places a vast number of personal experiences in the context of changing times and cultural shifts, and underscores how primary resources reveal history as a series of human events.

Joanna Kent Southmayd
Joanna Kent Southmayd, sister of Cephas Henry Kent.

The Kent Family Archive: Five Generations of Religion, Politics and Life in America was curated and designed by Danielle Rougeau.

The exhibit will be on display in Davis Family Library atrium (main level) and Harman Periodicals Reading Area and the Special Collections lobby (lower level) through May, 2021.

Note that Davis Family Library is currently open only to students, faculty, and staff who have been approved to be on campus.