About The University of Brattleboro

Our Founder: Thomas Power Jamestpjames webpage size

“Pugnans desperatio cum humor”

Our Founder: Thomas Power James, Literary Con man, Newspaper Editor, Self Proclaimed “Spirit Pen of Dickens”

Founded by T. P. James, Brattleboro’s very own literary con man, and  self declared psychic, “Spirit Pen of Dickens”, The University of Brattleboro is the only non-accredited, non-existent institution of higher learning in New England.

In 1871 T. P. James came to Brattleboro and claimed that Dicken’s ghost was dictating the end of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. He sold thousands of copies of this book to a gullible public. Taking its inspiration from T. P. James, the University has a century-old tradition of educating and entertaining itself, the local population of the Greater Brattleboro Metropolitan Region,

and the Whole Wide World.


The University of Brattleboro organizes fun events usually related to local history . Examples of past events we have created can be seen here.  

In general, we celebrate the colorful con-men and tricksters who have operated in southern Vermont, especially Brattleboro. These are historical figures, such as T. P. James and Red Austin.

We think the best way to bring to light this important aspect of Vermont’s past, (and to increase the awareness of the dangers that con-men continue to pose), is to create fun events that celebrate their very real additions to local history.

Our other goal is to have as much fun as possible, and to create fun events for the public.


With two campuses in Brattleboro, we are easy to get to but hard to pin down.

Visit our East Brattleboro Campus located at 1 Island Park, or write Rolf Parker-Houghton at rolf.parkerhoughton@gmail.com for directions to our South Main Street Campus, or to schedule an appointment.

We offer degrees in Fun, Hijinks, Brattleboro Cultural Studies, Brattleboro History, Seasonal Affective Disorder Therapy, and Beauty.

To help support our goal of making Southern Vermont a little bit more fun, we also sell stuff like diplomastee shirts, and coffee mugs, just like a real University. The difference is that we will put almost anything you want on your tee shirt, cup or diploma.

Past Projects

Current Projects