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Edward Coles and the Rise of the Nineteenth-Century America
Edward Coles, who lived from 1786-1868, is most often remembered for his antislavery correspondence with Thomas Jefferson in 1814, freeing his slaves in 1819, and leading the campaign against the legalization of slavery in Illinois during the 1823-24 convention contest.
Challenging Liberalism in 1950s Milwaukee
In the 1950s, Milwaukee's strong union movement and socialist mayor seemed to embody a dominant liberal consensus that sought to continue and expand the New Deal. Tula Connell explores how business interests and political conservatives arose to undo that consensus, and how the resulting clash both shaped a city and helped redefine postwar American politics. Connell focuses on Frank Zeidler, the city's socialist mayor. Zeidler's broad concept of the public interest at times defied even liberal expectations. At the same time, a resurgence of conservatism with roots presaging twentieth-century politics challenged his initiatives in public housing, integration, and other areas. As Connell shows, conservatives created an anti-progressive game plan that included a well-funded media and PR push; an anti-union assault essential to the larger project of delegitimizing any government action; opposition to civil rights; and support from a suburban silent majority. In the end, the campaign undermined notions of the common good essential to the New Deal order. It also sowed the seeds for grassroots conservatism's more extreme and far-reaching future success.
Native Americans and Non - Natives in the Lower Great Lakes, 1700-1850
A remarkable multifaceted history, Contested Territories examines a region that played an essential role in America's post-revolutionary expansion—the Lower Great Lakes region, once known as the Northwest Territory. As French, English, and finally American settlers moved westward and intersected with Native American communities, the ethnogeography of the region changed drastically, necessitating interactions that were not always peaceful. Using ethnohistorical methodologies, the seven essays presented here explore rapidly changing cultural dynamics in the region and reconstruct in engaging detail the political organization, economy, diplomacy, subsistence methods, religion, and kinship practices in play. With a focus on resistance, changing worldviews, and early forms of self-determination among Native Americans, Contested Territories demonstrates the continuous interplay between actor and agency during an important era in American history.
The Copts, or Egyptian Christians, are a relatively small and tight-knit ethno-religious group, numbering perhaps three thousand people and living mostly in the Detroit metropolitan area. Since they began immigrating to Michigan in the mid-1960s, their community has grown exponentially.
Granted exceptional access to the Coptic community, Eliot Dickinson provides the first in- depth profile of this unique and remarkably successful immigrant group. Drawing on personal interviews to infuse the book with warmth and depth. Copts in Michigan offers readers a compelling view into this vibrant community.
A History of Crop Art and Dairy Sculpture
Teddy Roosevelt’s head sculpted from butter. The Liberty Bell replicated in oranges. The Sioux City Corn Palace of 1891 encased with corn, grains, and grasses and stretching for two city blocks—with a trolley line running down its center. Between 1870 and 1930, from county and state fairs to the world’s fairs, large exhibition buildings were covered with grains, fruits, and vegetables to declare in no uncertain terms the rich agricultural abundance of the United States. At the same fairs—but on a more intimate level—ice-cooled cases enticed fairgoers to marvel at an array of butter sculpture models including cows, buildings, flowers, and politicians, all proclaiming the rich bounty and unending promise held by the region.
Often viewed as mere humorous novelties—fun and folksy, but not worthy of serious consideration—these lively forms of American art are described by Pamela H. Simpson in a fascinating and comprehensive history. From the pioneering cereal architecture of Henry Worrall at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition to the vast corn palaces displayed in Sioux City, Iowa, and elsewhere between 1877 and 1891, Simpson brings to life these dazzling large-scale displays in turn-of-the-century American fairs and festivals. She guides readers through the fascinating forms of crop art and butter sculpture, as they grew from state and regional fairs to a significant place at the major international exhibitions. The Minnesota State Fair’s Princess Kay of the Milky Way contest, Lillian Colton’s famed pictorial seed art, and the work of Iowa’s “butter cow lady,” Norma “Duffy” Lyon, are modern versions of this tradition.
Beautifully illustrated with a bounty of never-before-seen archival images, Corn Palaces and Butter Queens is an accessible history of one of America’s most unique and beguiling Midwestern art forms—an amusing and peculiar phenomenon that profoundly affected the way Americans saw themselves and their country’s potential during times of drought and great depression.
The Federal Writers' Project in Indiana, 1935-1942
From 1935 to 1942, the Indiana office of the Federal Writers’ Program hired unemployed writers as "field workers" to create a portrait in words of the land, the people, and the culture of the Hoosier state. This book tells the story of the project and its valuable legacy. Beginning work under the guidance of Ross Lockridge, whose son would later burst onto the American literary scene with his novel Raintree County, the group would eventually produce Indiana: A Guide to the Hoosier State, Hoosier Tall Stories, and other publications. Though many projects were never brought to completion, the Program’s work remains a useful and rarely tapped storehouse of information on the history and culture of the state.
The Struggle to Build an Outdoor History Museum of Ethnic Architecture
With its charming heirloom gardens, historic livestock breeds, and faithfully recreated farmsteads and villages that span nearly 600 acres, Old World Wisconsin is the largest outdoor museum of rural life in the United States. But this seemingly time-frozen landscape of rustic outbuildings and rolling wooded hills did not effortlessly spring into existence, as John D. Krugler maintains in Creating Old World Wisconsin. As dozens of historic buildings were transported in the 1970s from various locations throughout the state to the Kettle Moraine State Forest, researchers, curators, and volunteers launched a massive preservation initiative to salvage fast-disappearing immigrant and migrant architecture. Researchers, curators, and volunteers created a backdrop against which twenty-first century interpreters demonstrate nineteenth- and early twentieth-century agricultural techniques and artisanal craftsmanship. The site, created and maintained by the Wisconsin Historical Society, offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about the state's rich and ethnically diverse past through depictions of the everyday lives of its Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Polish, African American, and Yankee inhabitants. Creating Old World Wisconsin chronicles the fascinating and complex origins of this outdoor museum, highlighting the struggles that faced its creators as they worked to achieve their vision. Even as Milwaukee architect and preservationist Richard W. E. Perrin, the Society's staff, and enthusiastic volunteers opened the museum in time for the national bicentennial in 1976, the site was plagued by limited funds, bureaucratic tangles, and problems associated with gaining public support. By documenting the engaging story of the challenges, roadblocks, false starts, and achievements of the site's founders, Krugler brings to life the history of the dedicated corps who collected and preserved Wisconsin's diverse social history and heritage.
News from a Midwestern Family Farm
When Margaret Williamson left her family’s rural Wisconsin farm to work in Minneapolis in 1923, her mother, Olava, wrote regularly with updates about daily activities: laundry, bread baking, plowing, planting, and harvesting the crops. Sometimes she enclosed a note from seven- year- old Helen, who reported on school and shenanigans and how she longed to see Margaret again. So begins decades of stories about a family at once singular— with personal joys and challenges— and broadly representative of the countless small farms that dotted the midwestern landscape in the early twentieth century. As Margaret’s niece Sara DeLuca weaves together family tales gleaned from letters and conversations, we learn of births and deaths, of innovations like the automobile, radio, and telephone that drew rural communities together, and of national and international events that brought home stone- hard truths. Depression- era farmers struggled to keep their land and feed their livestock; many failed. During wartime, this family made do just like everyone else. The tale that emerges is one of fierce devotion to family and work, of a changing landscape as smaller farms became part of conglomerates, and of the comforting daily rhythms of life shared with those who know us best.