Deborah I. Rawson
Deborah Rawson possessed a thirst for knowledge that makes it appropriate that this beautiful library be dedicated to her memory. As an undergraduate at Cornell University (BA, 1969) she dedicated herself to an intense exploration of Japanese language and culture, leading her to live and work in Japan for several years following graduation. She returned to earn a Masters in Art History from Hunter College, and then embarked upon a career in journalism, publishing numerous articles in Harper’s Bazaar, New York Talk, On the Next Wave, the Japanese edition of Cosmopolitan, and Dance Magazine. At Life magazine, where Deborah worked from 1987-1991 as a reporter and researcher, she wrote on music, education, dance and the theater: subjects for which she felt a lifelong passionate enthusiasm. Her articles reflected her own interests and principles: her love for ballet, as well as her concern that impoverished children receive the education they need.
She spent much of her life at the family farm in Jericho where her father was raised and where relatives still live. Deborah grew to love the area and its people. Deborah Rawson’s book Without A Farmhouse Near, published in 1989, is about life in the communities of Jericho and Underhill and their transition from rural dairy farming communities to suburbs. The book illustrated Deborah’s concern for cultural and social issues. Those who read her book cannot help but hope that our corner of Vermont and its way of life will survive and flourish. The Rawsons believe that their generous gift to the library will help secure and expand library services in the two communities for generations to come, thereby perpetuating Deborah’s love of learning and securing the future of the people of rural Vermont she held dear.
At the dedication of the library on January 24, 1998, Dr. Rawson said, “And from now on, I want you all to enjoy it [the library]. I want you to use it. I want you to learn from it. I want you to unlearn from it, because there are a lot of problems out there. If my daughter were here she would be proud of all of you.”
Fortunately, the library is flourishing and we are learning and unlearning together. Each Fall there is an annual lecture dedicated to Deborah Rawson. The mission of the series is to help residents of Jericho and Underhill “Maintain and enhance a sense of place within their world community” focusing on conservation and preservation.
- 1998 – “A Community in Balance: How Local Agriculture Enterprise Fosters a Sense of Place”
- 1999 – “Mills Riverside Park” Speakers included Livy Strong, Jericho Land Trust
- 2000 – “The Jericho Corners Historic District: A Sense of Place” Presented by Louise Miglionico, President of the Jericho Corners Neighborhood Association.
- 2001 – Liz Thompson, co-author of Wetland, Woodland and Wildland: A Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont”.
- 2002 – “Is Our Place Just Anyplace? : Development in Vermont Since 1980” Jan Albers, author of Hands on the Land: A History of the Vermont Landscape.
- 2003 – “Simplify, Simplify”: A Community Lecture and Discussion on Voluntary Simplicity. Guest speakers: Richard Czaplinski from the Vermont Earth Institute, Anne Gnagey and Tom Baribault, local Jericho residents.
- 2004 – “The Future of Vermont’s Past”: Kevin Graffagnino of the Vermont Historical Society.
- 2005 – “A Sense of Place: Learning to read the landscape to develop a deeper sense of place”: Kerstin Lange, Landscape Analysis
- 2006 – “Forest Management”: Michael Snyder
- 2007 – Christa Alexander from Jericho Settlers Farm
- 2008 – Marjorie Gale – Geology of Jericho and Underhill
- 2009/10 – Steve Webster – Solar Array
- 2011 – Vermush – Vermont mushrooms
- 2012 – Adair Mulligan – Cellar Holes
- 2013 – Inventive Vermonters – Farm tools – Vermont Humanities Council
- 2014 – Marge Keogh – Chittenden Solid Waste District – Composting
- 2015 – Lake Champlain Basin – Health of the Lake
- 2016 – Jericho Underhill Land Trust – Livy Strong
- 2017 – The Barber Farm Project – Gretchen Siegchrist
The Trustees who accepted the Rawson’s donation voted unanimously to name the library to honor Deborah Rawson’s memory. They believed the Deborah Rawson Memorial Library would serve the communities with intelligence, creativity, and courage, anchored by commitment to family and place, the qualities that Deborah Rawson exemplified throughout her life.
- Rawson, Deborah. Without A Farmhouse Near. NY: Ballantine Books, 1989. VT 333.76 RAW
- Bayer, Ann, Deborah Rawson, Naomi Cutner. “The Untamed North: Animals Can Roam 54 Million Acres of Parkland in Alaska, America’s Last Frontier.” Life Summer 1991: 78-86.
- Rawson, Deborah and Michael Melford. “The Subject is Roses: The Bloom is on the Older Varieties of Our National Flower.” Life August 1990 : 86-91.
- Rawson, Deborah, Jennifer Ash, S. Chang. “Foreign Exchange: One Family’s Shopping in the International Mall.” Spec. issue: The 80s Life Fall 1989 : 176-179.
- Rawson, Deborah. “A Lot to Learn: With Seven skills as Building Blocks, An Innovative School Encourages Creativity Along With the Three R’s.” (Key School Indianapolis). Spec. issue: The World of Children Life Spring 1990 : 56-61.
- “Prodigies,” Spec. issue: The World of Children Life Spring 1990 : 96-99.
- “Telescopes,” Life May 1989 : 126-131.