Give the Gift of Wisconsin this year.
Membership is a great gift option too.
The store is open, full of great things from the annual ornament, a badger, to t-shirts, toys, mugs, and of course books!
A couple of the new books from Wisconsin Historical Press that I've reviewed this year include
And a new one from Michael Stevens, The Making of Pioneer Wisconsin, is also just out. The book features a dreamy image from the original mural of the centennial celebration of Wisconsin's statehood for a cover. Pioneer Wisconsin is the story of Wisconsin settlers in three sections told through letters, biographical material and a few photographs and other art. Stevens includes a prologue analyzing cultures in conflict as the European settlers encroached upon traditionally native tribal people's lands in the territory.
The main text is divided into three sections, Journeying West, Being in Wisconsin, and the aftereffects of immigration, or "I prefer America." Stevens chose letters from settlers representing the four main quadrants of Wisconsin; people who came by all means possible in the first half of the nineteenth century. Photographs, woodcuts and other artwork from the society's collection help to illustrate the text and letters which are retyped, not reproduced.
One early informative missive is from the first attorney to practice in Waukesha who removed his family from Vermont in 1838. His letters are almost as a diary of the journey to their new home, partly by steamship along the Great Lakes.
Many of the letters are lengthy, full of angst, triumph, despair and instructions. Descriptions often compare the climate in Wisconsin to the home country, whether it's the eastern US or overseas.
Brief biographies of the letter writers are included. For example, the Reverend Jeremiah Porter was a missionary evangelist, eventually landing in Green Bay in the mid-nineteenth century with a goal of promoting the temperance movement. His letter to a colleague which includes some of his reasons for his passionate attempt to ban alcohol sales is poignant.
The Making of Pioneer Wisconsin: Voices of Early Settlers is a nice addition to other pioneer collections in local histories. Reading about life from the people in their own words is a moving experience. Recommended for those who like immigration and settlement stories. It is not a long book at 162 pages and nicely laid out. End notes which contains references and an index included.
Other books I've viewed and reviewed this year include:
Somos Latinos: Voices of Wisconsin Latina Activists
Wisconsin State Parks Natural Geology