This is the weirdest stuff I found in an old archive of Bernie Sanders documents


There is a lot of material in the Bernie Sanders archives in the Special Collections room at the Bailey/Howe Library at the University of Vermont. A lot. All told, the documents in the room add up to 47.2 linear feet of paper in 49 boxes, which is close to 85,000 pages.

There’s a four-page outline for what would become Sanders’ book, Outsider In The House. There are a lot of letters written by Sanders, mostly thank you notes to supportive citizens of Burlington, Vermont, where he was mayor from 1981 to 1989. A lot of these letters have joke about how Sanders’ dresses, or how he’s a terrible bureaucrat because he only takes a month to respond to letters or responding to autograph requests with “I wish that most of the requests I get were so easily satisfied!” (He uses that line a few times.)

But there is also some stuff that is just plain weird.

Like this letter from a relative who is planning to visit from England. The relative addresses Sanders as “The Right Worshipped, The Mayor of Burlington, Your Lordship.”

There’s a document from his second term as mayor of Burlington, when Sanders got a pay raise.

There’s the alumni newsletter from his high school, James Madison High, which misspelled “Burlington” in an announcement about his election as mayor.

There’s a receipt for flowers Sanders sent his future wife, Jane Driscoll, when she worked in Burlington City Hall’s Youth Office.

Sanders kept some cards he received. Like this one where he is addressed as “Landslide.”

He also received some cat-themed birthday cards.

He once loaned a man named James Cameron $100. (Probably not that James Cameron.)

Sanders also had an unused postcard featuring Eugene Debs, the famous socialist.

Sanders also kept some editorial cartoons that referred to him, like this one.

There’s a receipt for the 1982 Honda Civic station wagon Sanders bought after becoming mayor.

In 1984, that car was impounded because of unpaid fines.

(Sanders apparently paid those fines, totaling $56, on the day his car was towed.)

And lastly, there’s this poem, a parody of “Casey at the Bat” written about Sanders after the plans for the Pittsburgh Pirates to bring a minor league team to Burlington fell through, but before the Cincinnati Reds’ affiliate came to town.

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

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