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Theron S. Dean Papers

Identifier: mss-429

Scope and Content Note

The Theron Dean Papers contains correspondence, pictures, negatives, and papers regarding the Long Trail, railroads, and material on historical and Vermont topics, short wave radios, technology of the time, and railroads.

The first series is photogaphs, which includes is a large number of glass lantern slides. These images document the Long Trail and railroads in the Northeast. Many of the pictures can be located online at the UVM Center for Digital Initiatives under the Long Trail collection. Boxes 8 and 9 contain pictures of varying railroads and a few other small topics.

The series also contains framed photographs and prints and negatives of different subjects, including pictures of cars, Burlington, businesses in Vermont, Dean himself, Vermont houses, the Long Trail, railroads and more. The vast majority of these items are negatives but there are some prints as well. These are broken up into series and then broken up into the original groupings found in the collection that were stored in envelopes. They are chronological by photo size.

The Green Mountain Club series contains many trail guides, notes, newspapers, articles and correspondence from the club. Finally the rest of the carton and the next box are varying subject files that Dean collected during his life.There are small series of clippings, his general correspondence, letters on historical topics, and varying subject files.

Dean also collected papers and a text on different health topics. Within this collection there is a text named “Vita Therapy – Simplified System of Healing.” There are also papers about Phrenology and the Weltmar Institute.

One of Dean’s hobbies included Short Wave and HAM radios. He collected journals, manuals, and articles. He was a part of the Burlington Amateur Radio Club and received their newsletters. He also collected information about varying technology of his time including cameras, engineering, electro-technical subjects and other various Vermont media sources.

The Literature series includes small amounts of various poetry and other literature items. The Railroads and Railroads Correspondence series include papers about different clubs, ads, newspaper clippings, and schedules.

The collection also contains a Long Trail sign.


  • circa 1880-1940



Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Theron Skidmore Dean was born in the state of New York in 1877. He resided in Burington, Vermont with his wife Henrietta. Dean was an insurance salesman for United Benefit Life Insurance Company. His hobbies included hiking, camping, amateur radios, photography, and history. He collecte papers from both the American Revolution and the Civil War. He was also a train enthusiast and collected various items from railroads in the Northeast. Dean was a member of the Burlington Amateur Radio Club, which deal with HAM and short wave radio machines. He was also an amateur photographer, focusing his photography on trains and the Long Trail.

Theron Dean is most known for being a founding member and early proponent of the Green Mountain Club and the Long Trail. The Green Mountain Club was created in 1910 by his friend James Taylor. Dean became Treasurer and eventually the head of the Trail and Shelters Committee in 1917. He helped create signs, clear trails, and create and maintain many shelters along the Long Trail. Multiple trails and shelters have been named after him. While working on the Long Trail, Dean took many pictures of the trail and people on the trail. Dean and his friend, Professor William Monroe, created hundreds of glass lantern slides, prints, and tintypes and used them in presentations to audiences around the Northeast.

After the 1910's, Dean stepped down as Treasurer and from the Trail and Shelter committee of the Green Mountain Club, although he remained an active member in the Club. Dean passed away in 1946 at the age of 79.


7 Linear Feet (1 carton, 5 boxes, 9 lantern slide "shoeboxes", 1 card catalogue box.)

Language of Materials



The collection contains nine "shoeboxes" of lantern slides, mostly related to hiking in the Green Mountains, as well as research and writings on topics such as Vita Therapy, Railroads, Chester Arthur, and the Green Mountain Club. There are family photographs and group photographs of outdoor activities, Green Mountain Club correspondence, a scrapbook of clippings, and other materials that document Dean's activities with the Green Mountain Club and others.


Silver Special Collections, Howe Library; contact for access.


Guide to the Theron S. Dean Papers
Fred Torde
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)