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.
Saturday, May 25 2013 10:30 PM EDT2013-05-26 02:30:05 GMT
A burglary at the Dorset Union Store. Police say the Church Street business, in Dorset, was broken into sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning. At this time, we do not know what was stolen.More >>
Police search for a suspect that left his blood at the crime scene.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 8:13 PM EDT2013-05-26 00:13:06 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin is urging Vermonters to be vigilant as the rain continues to come down. Especially, he says, with the possibility of wet snow that could bring down trees and damage property. ShumlinMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin is urging Vermonters to stay safe as the rain continues to come down.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 8:09 PM EDT2013-05-26 00:09:12 GMT
First responders scrambled to drain a private dam Saturday afternoon to avert major damage. Officials say the dam on Poker Hill road in Underhill nearly burst Saturday afternoon. Members of the localMore >>
First responders scrambled to drain a private dam Saturday afternoon to avert major damage.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 7:58 PM EDT2013-05-25 23:58:16 GMT
Rain-battered state roads in the hardest hit areas of Underhill and Jericho are re-open to traffic, but that doesn't mean the work is done for crews. "It's been a very challenging two-day event here soMore >>
As the rain continues to pour down, response crews are not getting a break.More >>
Saturday, May 25 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-25 23:51:37 GMT
Driving along Route 15, you may notice some roads have reopened as crews guide drivers cautiously around the cracked gravel. But driving down roads like North Underhill Station, you won't get very far. ConnerMore >>
While needed repairs are being made, more work is ahead.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:30:10 GMT
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.State Police say Route 5 in Derby Line is closed near Caswell Avenue because of a hole in the pavement just a couple of feet over the lineMore >>
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>