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While Bob La Follette's exploits as leader of progressive politics are legendary, his early morning exertions to save valuable government documents and executive department paintings during the disastrous 1904 capitol fire are largely unknown - until now. Odd Wisconsin captures the Wisconsin people, places, and events that didn't make it into conventional state histories, lowering a bucket into the depths of Wisconsin history and bringing to light curious fragments of forgotten lives. This unique book unearths the stories that got lost to history even though they may have made local headlines at the time. No mythical hodags or eight-legged horses here! Odd Wisconsin features strange but true stories from Wisconsin's past, every one of which was documented (albeit by the standards of the day). These brief glimpses into Wisconsin's past will surprise, perplex, astonish, and otherwise connect readers with the state's fascinating history. From "the voyageur with a hole in his side" to "pigs beneath the legislature," Odd Wisconsin gathers 300 years of curiosities, all under the radar of traditional stories.
A governor who saw ghosts, an incorrigible horse thief, a husband and wife who each stood over seven feet tall, an American Indian chief who defied forced removal, and the first woman to practice law before the Supreme Court: these are just some of the remarkable characters whose lives influenced and defined the state of Wisconsin. Authors Michael Edmonds and Samantha Snyder plumbed the depths of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s collections to research and compose lively portraits of eighty of these notable individuals: mayors, ministers, mystics, murderers, and everything in between. Each story is followed by recommended sources for readers’ continued exploration. Whether read on the fly or all in one sitting, these short, colorful narratives will intrigue and inform as you delve into Wisconsin’s diverse and diverting history.
The Wisconsin Historical Society published Harva Hachten's The Flavor of Wisconsin in 1981. It immediately became an invaluable resource on Wisconsin foods and foodways. This updated and expanded edition explores the multitude of changes in the food culture since the 1980s. It will find new audiences while continuing to delight the book’s many fans. And it will stand as a legacy to author Harva Hachten, who was at work on the revised edition at the time of her death in April 2006. While in many ways the first edition of The Flavor of Wisconsin has stood the test of time very well, food-related culture and business have changed immensely in the twenty-five years since its publication. Well-known regional food expert and author Terese Allen examines aspects of food, cooking, and eating that have changed or emerged since the first edition, including the explosion of farmers' markets; organic farming and sustainability; the "slow food" movement; artisanal breads, dairy, herb growers, and the like; and how relatively recent immigrants have contributed to Wisconsin's remarkably rich food scene.
Growing up with Swedish and Norwegian grandparents with a dash of Danish thrown in for balance, Eric Dregni thought Scandinavians were perfectly normal. Who doesn’t enjoy a good, healthy salad (Jell-O packed with canned fruit, colored marshmallows, and pretzels) or perhaps some cod soaked in drain cleaner as the highlights of Christmas? Only later did it dawn on him that perhaps this was just a little strange, but by then it was far too late: he was hooked and a dyed-in-the-wool Scandinavian himself. But what does it actually mean to grow up Scandinavian-American or to live with these Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, Danes, and Icelanders among us? In Vikings in the Attic, Dregni tracks down and explores the significant—and quite often bizarre—historic sites, tales, and traditions of Scandinavia’s peculiar colony in the Midwest. It’s a legacy of the unique—collecting silver spoons, a suspicion of flashy clothing, shots of turpentine for the common cold, and a deep love of rhubarb pie—but also one of poor immigrants living in sod houses while their children attend college, the birth of the co-op movement, the Farmer–Labor party, and government agents spying on Scandinavian meetings hoping to nab a socialist or antiwar activist. For all the tales his grandparents told him, Dregni quickly discovers there are quite a few they neglected to mention, such as Swedish egg coffee, which includes the eggshell, and Lutheran latte, which is Swedish coffee with ice cream. Vikings in the Attic goes beyond the lefse, lutefisk, and lusekofter (lice jacket) sweaters to reveal the little-known tales that lie beneath the surface of Nordic America. Ultimately, Dregni ends up proving by example why generations of Scandinavian-Americans have come to love and cherish these tales and traditions so dearly. Well, almost all of them.* * See lutefisk.
Rediscover Wisconsin history from the very beginning. A Short History of Wisconsin recounts the landscapes, people, and traditions that have made the state the multifaceted place it is today. With an approach both comprehensive and accessible, historian Erika Janik covers several centuries of Wisconsin's remarkable past, showing how the state was shaped by the same world wars, waves of new inhabitants, and upheavals in society and politics that shaped the nation. Swift, authoritative, and compulsively readable, A Short History of Wisconsin commences with the glaciers that hewed the region's breathtaking terrain, the Native American cultures who first called it home, and French explorers and traders who mapped what was once called "Mescousing." Janik moves through the Civil War and two world wars, covers advances in the rights of women, workers, African Americans, and Indians, and recent shifts involving the environmental movement and the conservative revolution of the late 20th century. Wisconsin has hosted industries from fur-trapping to mining to dairying, and its political landscape sprouted figures both renowned and reviled, from Fighting Bob La Follette to Joseph McCarthy. Janik finds the story of a state not only in the broad strokes of immigration and politics, but also in the daily lives shaped by work, leisure, sports, and culture. A Short History of Wisconsin offers a fresh understanding of how Wisconsin came into being and how Wisconsinites past and present share a deep connection to the land itself.

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