Lilian Baker Carlisle with Electra Webb at the Shelburne Museum in 1957.

Chittenden County Historical Society Publishes New Book

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Thursday June 22, 2017

The Chittenden County Historical Society (CCHS) announced the next in their series of publications on local history, a book about one of the community’s most beloved and admired members, Lilian Baker Carlisle. It is titled, Lilian Baker Carlisle: Vermont Historian, Burlington Treasure: A Scrapbook Memoir. The Shelburne Museum, where Carlisle worked as Electra Webb’s assistant during its founding days, will host the CCHS book launch Sunday, June 25, at 3 p.m.

According to CCHS, Carlisle was one of the historical society’s most enthusiastic and knowledgeable founders. An historian, collector, writer, legislator, and silver expert, she was active in many local organizations. Carlisle’s life is a reflection of Burlington and wider Vermont history since the 1940s when she and her family moved here. Now ten years since her passing, CCHS members say Carlisle is remembered as a fount of information about the area, noting the phrase, “I wish we could ask Lilian,” is still regularly heard.

Fortunately, Carlisle was a cataloguer of her own life, filling the scrapbooks she kept from an early age. 50 scrapbooks covering the years 1925-2006 contain photos, ephemera, news clippings, and souvenirs from her renaissance life. Still owned by the family, CCHS was granted access to the books, which supplied information for their own “scrapbook memoir” of Carlisle’s life. The book has been researched, written, and designed by Joanna Tebbs Young, with photography by Timothy Clemens, under the direction of the CCHS Publications Committee. It features captivating images interspersed with quotes, text, and tributes revealing the work and activism of a full 94-year-long life.