If these boxes could talk, oh, the stories they'd tell. And for archivists like Scott Reilly, they do.
"It gives us a good window into essentially the 90s in Vermont," Reilly said. "Certainly there are notes in there-- you can tell, he's peeved."
For the better part of the past six months, Reilly has gone through these boxes at the state archives in Middlesex; the last of Howard Dean's records from his time in office now open to the public a decade after his final days as governor.
"Since being unsealed, only about a dozen people have actually come to see the records," Reilly said. "Almost all of them media. But back when Howard Dean was running for president, the fight over these boxes went all the way to the state Supreme Court."
A conservative watchdog group sued back in 2003 to get access to the records; the court said no. Now that they're open, Justice Watch hasn't been to the archives. The group's president said in a statement, "It will be interesting to see what he was so desperate to protect."
Janet Ancel, Dean's former lawyer, says there's nothing of the sort.
"I don't think there's going to be anything to make people see this particular governor in a different way," Ancel said.
Ancel thinks most of the things now unsealed are letters between Vermonters and the governor.
"I did read every letter the governor got on civil unions," she said.
Deeply personal letters on arguably the biggest issue of his time in office. From a Jericho resident who said civil unions would disgrace the state, to an Essex Junction mom who said her daughter deserved the same rights.
"You'd read something like that and you'd realize people were really struggling with this," Ancel said. "And I am also struck by how far we've come."
These boxes don't offer just a glimpse of the man who was governor-- more, a picture of the people in the state he served and oh, the stories they tell.
Each governor makes an agreement with the secretary of state to seal certain documents under what's known as executive privilege. Governor Dean's deal was for a decade. That's longer than other recent governors. The records of Governors Kunin, Snelling and Douglas were sealed for six years.
Wednesday, December 4 2013 8:05 PM EST2013-12-05 01:05:10 GMT
Burlington's deputy police chief is off the hook on drunk driving charges after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors Wednesday.More >>
Burlington's deputy police chief took a plea deal Wednesday, and then announced his retirement. The plea gets Andi Higbee off the hook for drunk driving, but the resolution of the case also ends his 24-year career with the BPD.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 9:45 AM EST2013-12-04 14:45:58 GMT
Police are looking for two Massachusetts men in connection with an assault and robbery in Burlington's South End. It happened Tuesday afternoon on Marble Ave. Investigators say Bryan Frazier, 30, and Rashad Sabree,More >>
Police are looking for two Massachusetts men in connection with an assault and robbery in Burlington's South End.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 9:31 AM EST2013-12-04 14:31:50 GMT
An accused murderer has fired his investigator. Dennis Tribble was convicted of murder twice. The 63-year-old Vermont man was convicted of shooting and killing Michael Borello in 2000. But the VermontMore >>
An accused murderer has fired his investigator.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 6:24 PM EST2013-12-04 23:24:21 GMT
He's already in jail accused of burglaries, now a Lamoille County man is facing more charges. Police say Joshua Loura is now linked to three break-ins in Wolcott and Johnson. He was already accused ofMore >>
He's already in jail accused of burglaries, now a Lamoille County man is facing more charges.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 8:18 PM EST2013-12-05 01:18:10 GMT
Some of Vermont's craft beers are so popular they are being re-sold illegally on the internet, and now the state is cracking down. Brewers like Heady Topper, Hill Farmstead and Lawson's Finest have notedMore >>
Has the Heady Topper craze gotten out of control? Now, a lawyer is in trouble with the law for allegedly trying to capitalize on the Vermont craft brew craze.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 6:03 PM EST2013-12-04 23:03:30 GMT
Still no word from investigators on what caused a fatal fire in Northern New York. Police say Sierra Daha, 22, died in the fire at her home on Dugway Road in Moriah Tuesday morning. An autopsy was completedMore >>
Still no word from investigators on what caused a fatal fire in Northern New York.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 8:09 PM EST2013-12-05 01:09:38 GMT
Betsy Bishop and staff at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce spent much of the year on the phone, convincing business operators to bring their insurance business to the state's online marketplace. But now,More >>
Individual and family enrollments are picking up speed on Vermont Health Connect, but a new extension for businesses is forcing some to re-think health coverage strategies... again.More >>