Literary Cocktail series continues with Vermont author David R. Holmes

BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Literary Festival invites everyone to join them on Friday, March 11, at 5 p.m., for a very different monthly Literary Cocktail Hour with Vermont author David R. Holmes.

The online event is free and open to the public; register at

On Being a Vermonter and the Rise and Fall of the Holmes Farm 18221923 is a case study of a Vermont farm that existed from the early 1800s to the early 1900s. As the Holmes Farm pioneered advanced orchard methods and made a distinctive contribution to the apple industry in Vermont, the book makes an important contribution to the literature and history of Vermont apple orchards.

In addition, the farm was a leading breeder of trotters, horses with a Morgan horse heritage. The book examines the end of the farm due to foreclosure in 1923 and the resulting diaspora of the family and its transformation in a single generation.

The author is a direct descendant of the Holmes family, who came to Vermont in the 1780s. In addition to reconstructing the history of the farm, he examines what it means to be a Vermonter by building on the legacy of the farm's 101-year history.

Holmes has authored another book of Vermont history, Stalking the Academic Communist: The Firing of Alex Novikoff. He earned a bachelor's degree from Middlebury College, a master's from Columbia University, and a doctorate from the University of Denver. He has served in numerous university and school leadership roles and writes and speaks widely on education issues.

He is also executive director of the Character Collaborative, a consortium of school officials, academics and others interested in giving attributes of character a greater role in metrics used by school admissions offices around the country. He resides in Panton.

The author will be in conversation with longtime Vermonter Roger Allbee about his book and the future of family farms.

Allbee is a former secretary of Vermont's Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. He also worked as the executive director of the USDA Farm Services Agency for the state of Vermont, where he was responsible for the execution of federal farm loans (guaranteed and direct) and farm program delivery to farmers in the State. He lives in Townshend.

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