The weirdest, best photos I found in an old Bernie Sanders archive


The Bailey/Howe Library at the University of Vermont recently underwent the thankless task of organizing the records of Bernie Sanders’ four terms as mayor of Burlington, Vermont from 1981 to 1989.

Included in those records are thousands of photos of Sanders that, it’s safe to say, have not been seen by the masses in decades, if ever. So here are the weirdest and best undiscovered photos of Bernie Sanders, from the most complete archive of Sanders memorabilia on earth.

This picture is from 1986, during Sanders’ run for governor of Vermont. He came in third as an independent.

Doing paperwork in Burlington’s City Hall.

Sanders on the campaign trail.

Sanders making a stump speech.

And playing with babies.

This undated photo is likely from 1972 when Sanders, as the Liberty Union candidate, ran for governor of Vermont for the first time, as well as for U.S. Senator. He ran Senator again in 1974, and for governor again in 1976 for the Liberty Union party.

There are a surprising number of photos of Bernie Sanders with cows.

And lots of him speaking. This 1982 speech was part of an anti-Salvadoran Civil War rally.

These appear to be from Sanders’ first run for Mayor of Burlington in 1981, with fairly low-budget campaign props.

Sanders was one of the first Socialist mayors in the U.S. — here he is flanked by all of Burlington’s previous mayors.

But the best photo of Sanders — perhaps ever — is this one with McGruff, the crime-fighting dog who urged children to “take a bite out of crime.”

Here’s Sanders and Ralph Nader (on the right) in 1981. (They’re not as close now.)

This wild-eyed portrait, which was undated in the archive, is pretty much perfect.

And here he is, smiling again.

Being mayor is a dirty job. Here’s Sanders acting as trash collector.

And relaxing after a hard day.

As he proved during the New Hampshire primary, Sanders likes basketball.

 And also broccoli, apparently?

All photos courtesy of the University of Vermont.

David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: [email protected]

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin