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Who Was the Real Thomas Chittenden?

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First, some critics have questioned Governor Chittenden's literacy and argued that he was simply a pawn for other more astute early Vermont leaders. Second, there is ample evidence that Chittenden's spelling and writing skills were woefully weak, and as a result, he left virtually nothing in the way of personal papers and correspondence which could be used to help prepare a detailed biography of his life and work. Third, Chittenden lacked the drama and the color of his contemporaries, particularly Ethan and Ira Allen who have dominated Vermont's early history. In this talk Frank Smallwood will discuss the research techniques he employed in writing the first full-length biography of Vermont's first governor.

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