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Sadie L. White Papers

Identifier: mss-071

Scope and Content Note

The Sadie L. White Papers contain materials related to her political career as a State Representative for Burlington Ward 4 and as City Councilor/Alderman for Ward 4. These materials include correspondence, voter lists, campaign materials, photographs, and materials that mark the state’s and community’s appreciation for her lifetime of work. About half of the materials in the collection deal specifically with the Burlington Beltline highway project. The original proposal for the route of this highway cut through part of White’s district in the Old North End of Burlington. Through her efforts, this route was changed. The Beltline materials include a scrapbook, photographs, clippings, plans, financial plans, reports, position papers, and legislation that document this project and Sadie White’s efforts related to its planning. This collection will be especially interesting to those researching women in Vermont politics, Burlington politics of the 1960s-1980s, and the history of the Burlington Beltline highway project. The collection is arranged alphabetically by topic or type of record.


  • 1959-1996



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

Sadie L. White was born in Bolton, Vermont in 1901, and grew up in Stevensville. When she was 16 years old, she started working in the Winooski Woolen Mill, where she met William White, who was a union organizer. They were married in 1923. She continued to work at the mill until it closed in 1954, by which time she had become well known in the local Democratic Party through her activities as a labor organizer and election inspector.

Sadie White lived in Burlington’s Old North End from her early days at the mill until she died, and her political career was focused primarily on the needs of this neighborhood. She was elected State Representative for Burlington Ward 4 in 1966 and served until 1984, with the exception of 1981-1982, when she served as City Councilor (Alderman) after losing her General Assembly seat for a term. She fought the initial proposal for the placement of the Burlington Beltline highway in 1967-1968, and successfully changed the route to preserve more of the homes in the Old North End. White also advocated for policies and legislation that brought relief and assistance to the elderly and the poor in her community and Vermont.

Known to speak her mind bluntly and work tirelessly towards her goals, White was well respected by a wide-range of political figures around the state. She worked closely with Bernie Sanders during her term as City Councilor, and their friendship lasted throughout her life. Patrick Leahy also corresponded with her throughout the last several decades of her life. Peter Clavelle, as mayor of Burlington declared August 29, 1992 Sadie White Appreciation Day. Both Leahy and Sanders honored Sadie White with Congressional Record statements in the U.S. Congress during 1992. Sadie White died January 2, 1999.


4.17 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Sadie L. White (1901-1999), a long-time resident of Burlington’s Old North End, worked in the Winooski Woolen Mill from her late teens until it closed in 1954. She then increased her political activities and served as State Representative for Burlington District 4, 1966-1980 and 1983-1984, and served as City Councilor (Alderman) for District 4, 1981-1982. Her papers document her efforts to change the route of the Burlington Beltline highway and to advocate for the needs of the elderly and poor in her neighborhood and in Vermont.


Library Research Annex

Separated Materials Note

Four of Sadie White's State Representative campaign posters have be moved from her Papers to the Political Poster Collection.

Guide to the Sadie L. White Papers
Travis Puller
2008 October 22
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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)