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Leon W. Dean Papers

Identifier: RG-074-012

Scope and Contents

The Leon Dean collection contains documents spanning multiple decades, from Dean’s personal documents to his articles and stories, as well as research by Tom Bassett, a UVM archivist. The Personal series refers to any of Dean’s documents not immediately related to his writing, including his correspondence, notebooks with financial records and other miscellany, and memorabilia, including business cards and materials related to his hobbies. Dean’s schoolwork as a student at Mount Hermon and the University of Vermont are present in this series, as are assignments, student papers, notes, cards, and event listings from his time as a professor at the university. Dean’s involvement in various local and national historical groups is documented in the Organizations and Patriotic Societies series, the latter of which contains documents pertaining to national societies, such as the Sons of the American Revolution. Dean’s research into his family’s background, as well as his CV, and articles written about him, are included in the Biographical Articles subseries. Dean’s notes on Vermont’s folklore and culture, some of which pertained to his involvement in Vermont folklore societies along with his articles about Vermont, are contained in the Folklore and Vermont Interest subseries.

Leon Dean’s writings have been sorted by format: Handwritten, typed, and published. Documents unrelated to his articles, such as speeches, publisher’s catalogues, and book reviews, are located in the Writings: Miscellaneous subseries. The Dean collection was processed by multiple people, and the writings were first organized in an index format and then later foldered individually, and have been named according to the title written on the article. In instances when a piece was untitled, the first line has been written in quotes. Some pieces in the collection had multiple titles as they were revised, and these revisions were foldered together when identified. The Published sub-series contains magazines and newspapers that printed Dean’s stories, and are organized by the name of the publication. The Manuscript Records subseries contains notebooks and index cards that Dean used to log each piece he wrote, noting where he sent it to, if it was accepted, and when it was published.

The Tom Bassett series, created in 1984 as research for an article Bassett intended to write about Leon Dean, contains interviews with figures close to Leon Dean, including his wife, along with biographical sketches and notes on the publication of many of Dean’s books.


  • 1883-1984



Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests to publish or quote from archives must be submitted in writing to the University Archivist.

Biographical / Historical

Leon W. Dean was born in Bristol, Vermont on December 8, 1889 to Dr. Ashbel Arza Dean and Lillian Willis Dean. In 1915, he married Hazel Alexandria Warden (1895-1996), and they had three daughters, Arloa (1929-2007), Malia (1932-2014), and Lorna (b. 1935). Dean attended the Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts and graduated 1911. He next attended the University of Vermont and graduated in 1915. He was editor of the Cynic and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. From 1916-1917, he was the co-owner and editor of Lake Placid News in Lake Placid, New York, and began a lifelong career writing articles and stories. Dean was an author of several adventure books for young people, which often incorporated major people and events in Vermont history such as Ethan Allen, Israel Putnam, Lake Champlain, and the Royalton Raid.

Leon Dean moved back to Burlington, Vermont to teach English at UVM in 1923. He rose through the ranks from instructor, retiring as an emeritus professor in 1956. He also worked on UVM’s alumni magazine and served as the university’s director of publicity. He was Vermont’s first regular radio broadcasting announcer on WCAX from the first broadcast in 1924 to about 1932 while the station was located at the University of Vermont.

Dean had a keen interest in Vermont’s history and culture. He founded the Vermont Old Cemetery Association in 1958 and the Genealogical Society of Vermont in 1971. He helped found the Green Mountain Folklore Society in 1948, of which he served as the society’s first president, and the Chittenden County Historical Society in 1965. He was an active member of other similar organizations.

On May 22, 1982 Leon Dean was awarded an honorary doctoral degree of Humane Letters from UVM. Dean died on July 13, 1982 and was buried in Bristol, Vermont.


30 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection documents UVM English Professor Leon W. Dean, mostly in the form of his correspondence and writings in many forms from draft to publication. A small amount of personal and teaching material is also present.

Physical Location

Library Research Annex; contact for access.

Guide to the Leon W. Dean Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Archives Repository

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