Joseph Battell

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Joseph Battell
Joseph Battell Middlebury College Trustee-e1422891865104.jpg
Battell as Middlebury College trustee, circa 1900
Born (1839-07-15)July 15, 1839
Middlebury, Vermont
Died February 23, 1915(1915-02-23) (aged 75)
Washington, DC
Resting place Middlebury Cemetery, Middlebury, VT
Occupation Publisher
Language English
Nationality American
Citizenship USA

Joseph Battell (July 15, 1839 – February 23, 1915) was a publisher and philanthropist from Middlebury, Vermont.[1] Battell is credited with preserving Vermont forest land including the land for Camel's Hump State Park. Battell edited a newspaper and authored several books, including the "American Morgan Horse Registry". He donated his horse farm to the federal Morgan horse breeding program, and is credited by some as saving the breed.[2][3] In addition, he served at the Vermont Legislature, and as a trustee for Middlebury College.[1]

He was also the author of the book, Ellen--or the Whisperings of an Old Pine, a dialogue between a sixteen-year-old girl, Ellen, and a wise old white pine tree. Among the matters they discuss is a refutation of the wave theory of sound propagation. It is illustrated with many photographs of Vermont scenery, including several of Ellen. (Gardner, 1957) .[4] Her mountain, Mt. Ellen, a 4000-footer near Sugarbush ski area, can be found here.[5]


Three dormitories at Middlebury College are also named for Battell as recognition for the land he bequeathed to the college.[6]

Battell purchased many thousands of acres in the vicinity of Middlebury, adjacent to Bread Loaf Mountain, and had an existing building added to and cottages built for guests of his. On his death the property was bequeathed to Middlebury College, which, since 1926, has held the Bread Loaf School of English and Bread Loaf Writers' Conferences at this location.[7]


  1. ^ a b Joseph Battell: Once and Future Wildlands Philanthropist
  2. ^ Classic Bloodlines Accessed online: July 1, 2007
  3. ^ Williams, John O. "Morgan Horse Record". Yearbook of Agriculture, 1926, p. 526-529. Retrieved November 12, 2008.
  4. ^ Gardner, Martin, 1957. Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science pp. 82-83, Dover; ISBN 0-486-20394-8
  5. ^ Google Maps at
  6. ^ Diversions: Middlebury Vermont Archived 2007-09-28 on Wayback Machine. Accessed online: July 1, 2007
  7. ^ Bread Loaf Writers' Conference Archived 2008-05-03 on Wayback Machine.