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Sanborn Partridge Papers

Identifier: mss-550

Scope and Contents

The Sanborn Partridge Papers contain information on the reapportionment process in Vermont. As a Vermont representative and state senator, Sanborn Partridge was heavily involved in the reapportionment process. The materials are arranged according to "stage" in the reapportionment process, loosely chronologically. Reapportionment in Vermont was studied by a legislative commission 1962-1964. In 1965, following a court order, the Vermont General Assembly reapportioned itself. 1966-1977 saw amendments to the reapportionment of the General Assembly and to the process. 1981 saw yet another reapportionment. The series reflect this timeline.

Materials in the collection include research about apportionment in other states, census data for Vermont, maps of Vermont with various plans for reapportionment, newspaper clippings, reports, legislation, and court cases. "Assorted materials" consist of various types of materials kept together due to the original order in which they were found (i.e. drafts of maps and plans, data, etc together in binders, kept together rather than separated by material type).

There is also a small amount of non-reapportionment related materials. This includes information on other legislative actions and articles about a wide range of topics, including science and technology, health, business, and politics.


  • 1961-1981



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/Historical note

Sanborn Partridge was born on April 30, 1915 to parents Frank C. Partridge and Sarah Sanborn Partridge. He grew up in Proctor, Vermont. Partridge graduated from Amherst College in 1936 and in 1939 he earned a combined degree from Yale Law School and Harvard Business School. He practiced law in Rutland, VT, then did graduate work in geology at Yale, taught geology at the University of Kansas, and did field work in Utah. When he returned to Vermont, he served in the Vermont General Assembly 1961-1970 and in the Vermont Senate 1970-1981. He worked extensively on reapportionment in Vermont. Sanborn Partridge died on January 13, 2013.

Partridge was heavily involved in reapportionment in Vermont. From its establishment in 1777 to 1965, the Vermont legislature consisted of 1 representative from each municipality in the General Assembly and 1 senator from each county plus 16 senators allocated based on country population in the Senate. In 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Baker v. Carr that apportionment could be decided by court decisions. In 1962 the Vermont General Assembly created a commission to study apportionment in Vermont. In June 1964 the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Reynolds v. Sims that state legislatures had to be apportioned according to population. Then in August 1964 a Vermont district court decided in Buckley v. Hoff that Vermont apportionment was unconstitutional under the 14th amendment equal protection clause. In January 1965 the court ordered the Vermont General Assembly to reapportion itself by July of that year. In May 1965 the legislature passed Act 96 which reapportioned the Senate, Act 97 which established a process of reapportionment, and Act 98 which reapportioned the General Assembly. In 1971 the Senate was due to be reapportioned under the new rules established in 1965. The Legislative Apportionment Board submitted a plan to the General Assembly but the General Assembly instead enacted their own plan (Bill S.177/Act 248). This plan was challenged and the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that it did not meet constitutional standards. The Legislative Apportionment Board was ordered to draft a new plan to be presented to the General Assembly in 1973. The General Assembly enacted a different plan (Act 80) in 1973 which was also challenged but upheld by the Supreme Court. A House reapportionment plan was passed in 1974 (Act 210) and the Vermont Constitution was amended in 1974 to reflect the changes that had taken effect.

Information on Vermont reapportionment was obtained from the Vermont Secretary of State website:


7.67 Linear Feet (5 cartons, 3 boxes, 1 tube)

Language of Materials



The Sanborn Partridge Papers are records from Vermont state legislator Sanborn Partridge. The collection consists of VT legislative commission materials related to the reapportionment of the Vermont State Legislature 1962-1981, including correspondence, maps, data and analysis, plans, notes, and reports.


Library Research Annex; contact for access.

Guide to the Sanborn Partridge Papers
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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)