This essay is an outgrowth of the Bennington Communications Study, for which I was asked to develop an historical interpretation of the Bennington area. What has resulted is intended as just that: a tentative exploration of the primary characteristics of the area's economy, both past and present.
I have tried to verify my larger generalizations, as well as the minuter points of my analysis of the last fifty years, by drawing on the recollections of a number of local persons who have supplied me with all kinds of information and judgments about the community they know so well. I am most grateful for their many courtesies to me, and hope they will feel that I have made good use of their information. But I most absolve them of all responsibility for my essay as it now stands. In it I have deliberately attempted to conceive of Bennington in the context of the country as a whole, and I may thereby have missed something important about Bennington itself. Whether or not this is the case, however, I could hardly have accomplished what I have without their invaluable aid, and it is only the reticence several of them have expressed about being identified that leads me to name none of them here.
I shall not intrude on privacy, I trust, if I go on to say how valuable the resources and the assistance of the Bennington Historical Museum (Mr. Richard C. Barret, Curator), the Bennington Free Library (Mrs. Florence H. Moses, Librarian), and the Bennington College Library (Mrs. Gladys Y. Leslie, Librarian) have been to me. Nor may I neglect to acknowledge the essential contribution to local historical study made by the town's first systematic collector of the records of the past. We are all indebted more than we can say to Henry Clay Day.
12 February 1958