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Wisconsin's Literary Travel Guide

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Experience the diversity of Wisconsin authors and their works at the same time that you experience the diversity of Wisconsin places. The Literary Travel Guide is arranged alphabetically by place, coded to match the grid of the official Wisconsin state map. Authors are listed under the places where they lived. 

The original print publication was dedicated to the late Orrilla Blackshear of Madison, librarian and lover of books, a reader generous in her sharing of knowledge about Wisconsin literature.

Foreward and Acknowledgements

a - b - c - d - e - f - g - h- i - j- k - l - m - n - o - p - q - r - s - t - u - v - w - x - y - z


ANTIGO (5-G) Town in northern Wisconsin on Hwy. 45. Marie Hall Ets (1895-1984), author and illustrator of children's books (see Milwaukee entry), spent part of her childhood in Antigo. The area provided inspiration for her animal stories:

The happiest memories of my childhood are of summers in the North Woods of Wisconsin. I loved to run off by myself into the woods and watch for the deer with their fawns and for porcupines, badgers, turtles, frogs ...and sometimes a bear or a copperhead or a skunk.


APPLETON (7-H) City in the Fox River Valley 100 miles north of Milwaukee on Hwy. 41. Novelist Edna Ferber (1887-1968) lived here during her girlhood in an apartment on College Ave. above a bakeshop (now gone). Ferber describes her early impressions of Appleton in her autobiography Peculiar Treasure (1939):


Perhaps pioneer families of many years before, coming upon a cool green oasis after heart-breaking days through parched desert and wind-swept plains, must have felt much as the Ferber family did as it arrived in Appleton, Wisconsin and looked about at the smiling valley in whose arms the town so contentedly nestled. A lovely little town of sixteen thousand people; tree-shaded, prosperous, civilized.


Ferber was a reporter for the Appleton Post-Crescent early in her career and later wrote for The Milwaukee Journal before moving to New York City to become a Broadway playwright and a novelist. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1925 for her novel So Big (1924).

Gladys Taber (1899-1980), prolific author of novels, magazine articles, and stacks of Stillmeadow books, lived here in her youth at 16 Brokaw Place on the Fox River (now a private residence). The home was designed by her father and is described in Taber's autobiographical work Especially Father (1949).

Mark Dintenfass (b.1941), a member of the Lawrence University faculty, writes primarily of his native Brooklyn in such novels as Old World, New World (1982) and Loving Place (1986).

Warren Beck (1896-1986), long-time Lawrence University literature professor, gained national recognition as a novelist and Faulkner critic.


ARCADIA (7-C) Town north of La Crosse approximately 20 miles east of the Mississippi River. Peter Straub (b.1943) used Arcadia and the coulee country to the south as the setting for his occult novel If You Could See Me Now (1977). The story's macabre events take place in the fictional community of Arden when the protagonist returns to his rural boyhood haunts. As a youth Straub spent summers nearby at the Pine Creek farm of his maternal grandparents in the rolling Mississippi River country. (See Milwaukee entry.)

A series of stories about farm life by Anne Pellowski covers several generations of Polish-Americans in Trempealeau County Pellowski also has written about the art of storytelling.


ASHLAND (2-D) Lake Superior port 65 miles east of the city of Superior. Sigurd F. Olson (1899-1982) was born in Chicago and moved to northern Wisconsin in 1905. At the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, part of Northland College in Ashland, artifacts connected with Olson's life are on exhibit. He served as president of the National Parks Association (1954-1960) and wrote nine books, including Singing Wilderness (1956) and Reflections From the North Country (1976). He was dedicated to preserving the Minnesota-Canada boundary waterway in its wilderness state, devoting more than 50 years of his life to this cause. He died while snowshoeing near his home in Ely, Minn.


BARABOO (9-F) Town 40 miles northwest of Madison. The Leopold Memorial Reserve lies north of Baraboo near the Wisconsin River. The reserve consists of approximately 1,300 acres and includes the Leopold family "Shack," now on the National Register of Historic Places. In the late 1930s and the 1940s Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) experimented with land rehabilitation and developed the concept of a land ethic which he wrote about in A Sand County Almanac (1949). The Almanac, now a classic, is a collection of essays based on Leopold's careful observations and keen perceptions. He wrote:

There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.


When it was published in 1949 after Leopold's death, the Almanac was an eloquent testimonial to the need for an environmental code of behavior. It continues to influence and inspire. Visitors to the general area can explore the sand country along the river and experience the elements and landscape which stimulated Leopold's thinking. The reserve is privately owned, used mainly for preservation and research purposes, and is not available to the public without prior arrangement. Phone (608) 244-3511 for information.

Curt Meine, Madison, has written a biography titled Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work (1988). Robert A. McCabe, Madison, has written an account of Leopold from a student's perspective titled Aldo Leopold, The Professor (1987). Companion to A Sand County Almanac (1987) is a collection of interpretive and critical essays edited by J. Baird Callicott of Stevens Point.

The Circus World Museum Library and Resource Center at 415 Lynn St. is the world's largest repository of circus archives. It contains original posters, handbills, photos, music, and other memorabilia.


BELOIT (11-G) City on the Wisconsin-Illinois border. Explorer and adventure writer Roy Chapman Andrews (1884-1960) was born at 419 St. Lawrence St. and lived there during his boyhood and while he attended Beloit College. The home was built by his grandfather, James H. Chapman, in 1859 and remained in the family until it was sold by Andrews's parents in 1930. As a child Andrews collected specimens of birds and animals and developed an interest in taxidermy. His exploratory trips which began along the nearby Rock River extended to the Gobi Desert where he was the first scientist to discover dinosaur eggs. He was director of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City 1935-1942. Andrews wrote many books about his world travels, including Ends of the Earth (1929) and Quest of the Snow Leopard (1932). He is buried in the family lot at Oakwood Cemetery, located at 1221 Clary St., four blocks east of Beloit College.

Chad Walsh (b. 1914) poet, literary critic, and theologian, lived in Beloit from 1945 to 1977 while he was on the faculty of Beloit College. Co-founder of the Beloit Poetry Journal, he also is noted for his religious writings and for his critiques of the work of C. S. Lewis. He has lived in Vermont since 1982. Among Walsh's published works are a collection of poems titled Hang Me Up My Begging Bowl (1981, Banta Award 1982) and C. S. Lewis: Apostle to the Skeptics (1949).

The Morse Library at Beloit College contains a collection of approximately 4,500 publications by Wisconsin authors known as "Wisconsin's Own Library." Located on the second floor of the building, the collection is accessible to visitors to the library, but the books are not available for loan.


BIG BEND (10-H) Village southwest of Milwaukee. Melvin Richard Ellis (1912-1984) studied nature and wrote at his home, On-Little-Lakes, located on Milwaukee Ave. (Hwy. 24), also called Janesville Rd. Ellis wrote more than 20 books and contributed articles to 34 magazines. He was a syndicated columnist for the Associated Press and wrote a regular feature for The Milwaukee Journal. His column, "Notes from Little Lakes," appeared for approximately 20 years. Recurrent themes in his writing are nature and conservation, revealing a particular reverence for wildlife. Though he traveled extensively throughout North, South, and Central America, much of his writing reflects his observations of life on Little Lakes:

When you live on a piece of land you leave an imprint; but probably equally important, the land leaves an imprint on you.

Two books, Wild Goose, Brother Goose (1969) and Flight of the White Wolf (1970), were made into films. The Ellis home is not open to the public.


BLACK RIVER FALLS (7-0) Town approximately 45 miles southeast of Eau Claire on Interstate 94. Mountain Wolf Woman (1884-1960), a Winnebago Indian, was born near here in eastern Jackson County. Though her family went on seasonal tribal migrations, she lived in the Black River Falls area for most of her life and attended school at Tomah. Her biography, Mountain Wolf Woman , reveals the customs and daily life of the Winnebagos. The book was produced with the help of Milwaukee Public Museum anthropologist Nancy Oestreich Lurie and was published in 1961.



DODGEVILLE (1O-E) Town on Hwy.18 approximately 45 miles west of Madison. Poet Edna Meudt (1906-1989) lived on the family farm in the hills two miles south of here, one-fifth mile east of Hwy. 23-151. Meudt, a teacher, lecturer, editor, and writer, published six books of poetry and two plays. She won the National League of American Pen Women prize in 1976 for her collection of poems The Ineluctable Sea (1975). A framed copy of her poem "Oldest Courthouse in Wisconsin" (1961) hangs in the Iowa County courthouse in Dodgeville. The poem was written to commemorate its centennial.


DOOR COUNTY (5-J)Peninsula jutting into Lake Michigan and Green Bay on the eastern boundary of the state.

Baileys Harbor is located on the eastern shore of the peninsula. The Ridges Sanctuary, an ancient botanical area, is located just north of Baileys Harbor off Hwy.Q. Here hiking trails follow the crests of Lake Michigan shorelines of past centuries. In her poem "Wintergreen Ridge" (1968) Lorine Niedecker (see Fort Atkinson and Milwaukee entries) wrote her impressions of history and landscape following a visit to the Ridges. The trails are open to the public year round at no charge. A printed guide is available at the entrance.

Ellison Bay is located on the western shore of the peninsula. Norbert Blei (b.1940) wrote his three "door" books - Door Way (1981), Door Steps (1983), and Door to Door (1985) - at his home three miles outside of Ellison Bay. Blei writes in his book-cozy Chicken Coop, transformed from its previous function. In this study he also produces watercolors, many of which have appeared in his books. Blei 's journals carefully record his observations of nature as experienced throughout each season on the peninsula. He also writes fiction and poetry. Jens Jensen (1860-1951), landscape architect, naturalist, and teacher, founded The Clearing near here, a gathering place for artists and writers which is still in operation. He wrote Siftings (1939) and The Clearing (1949).

Ephraim is located on the western shore of the peninsula. Hjlmar R. Holand (1872-1963) bought land here in 1898 after an inspiring bicycle trip through the peninsula. The property is now part of Peninsula State Park. On a trip to Minnesota in 1907 he encountered a farmer with an ancient chiseled stone which Holand believed could be traced to the year 1362 and credited to Viking inscriptions. He crusaded the rest of his life and wrote six books attempting to prove the rune-stone's authenticity. He also wrote several histories of Door County.


EDGERTON (1O-G) Town approximately 25 miles southeast of Madison on Hwy. 73. Sterling North (1906-1974), author, editor, and literary critic, was born on a farm at N1572 Bingham Road approximately three miles northeast of Edgerton. The farm was the setting for his book The Wolfling (1969). The farm also was the setting for the novel Morning in the Land (1941) by North's sister, Jessica Nelson North (b. 1894) (see Hazel Green entry). Sterling North grew up in Edgerton in the family home at 409 W. Rollin St., now designated by a marker. The house and the belfry of the nearby Methodist church appear in fictional Brailsford Junction in his book Rascal: A Memoir of a Better Era (1963), which was set in 1918. There are also references to other locations and communities close to Edgerton in the book. Although North wrote numerous biographies of famous Americans, his best known book is Rascal, which sold over two million copies, was translated into 21 languages, and was adapted for a Disney film. North wrote So Dear to My Heart (1974), also adapted for a Disney film. Some of his books for adults barely hide his use of local material and were not always favorably received by Edgerton readers. North was a reporter for the Chicago Daily News, literary editor for the New York Post, and publisher of North Star Books at Houghton Mifflin. The Albion Academy Museum in the nearby town of Albion has some North letters and other items in the Sterling North Room. The museum is open May-September on Sundays, 1:30-5:00 p.m. The main collection of his papers is at Boston University.


FOND DU LAC (8-H) City on the southern tip of Lake Winnebago. Maureen Daly (b. 1921) used her hometown as the setting of Seventeenth Summer (1942). Trepanier's Sunset Supper Club on Lake Winnebago is now operating at the site of "the beer shack at the lake" where the novel's young protagonists met. It is located on Hwy. 151. Daly and her family emigrated from Northern Ireland to settle in Fond du Lac at 257 E. Bank St. where she and her three sisters grew up.

Beverly Butler (b. 1932), author of historical novels for young adult readers, was born here. (See Janesville, Milwaukee, Peshtigo, and Rhinelander entries.)

Jane Werner Watson (b. 1915) was born in Fond du Lac. She is best known as the author of approximately 150 Little Golden Books. She used various pseudonyms, among them Monica Hill and Annie North Bedford. Her books include Frosty the Snow Man (1951), Rin Tin Tin and Rusty (1955), Smokey the Bear (1955) and numerous titles drawn from Disney films. Watson was named Woman of the Year in Literature by The Los Angeles Times in 1958.


FORT ATKINSON (1O-G) Town 35 miles southeast of Madison. Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970), internationally published poet, was born and lived for most of her life four miles west of here on Blackhawk Island, a peninsula along the Rock River which juts into Lake Koshkonong. She grew up on the river as the only child of a carp fisherman. Years later she wrote, "I spent my childhood outdoors-red-winged blackbirds, willows, maples, boats, fishing (the smell of tarred nets), twittering and squawking noises from the marsh." Much of Niedecker's writing is about life on her beloved Blackhawk Island with its ordinary folks, the birds of its marshes and its muskrats at flood time. Water is a recurring theme in her poetry:

My mother and I born in swale and swamp and sworn to water

The British were especially appreciative of her work and produced three of the five volumes of her poetry published during her lifetime. British poet Basil Bunting called her "the best living poetess ... no one is so subtle with so few words." Four Niedecker books have been published since her death, including From This Condensery: The Complete Writing of Lorine Niedecker (1985, Banta Award 1986). The title alludes to her writing style: "I learned/to sit at desk/and condense." A play titled Niedecker by Kristine Thatcher, based on the last few years of her life, was performed off-Broadway in the spring of 1989 and is available in printed form.

To reach Blackhawk Island, take Hwy. 106 west of town for approximately two miles, turn left onto Blackhawk Island Rd. and drive for two more miles to the two-room brown cabin in a woodsy area on the left at W7309. Niedecker lived here alone for several years without plumbing or automobile, across the road from her girlhood home. Her hand pump still stands in the yard close to the road. Down the lane toward the river is her final home, the retirement house which she and her husband built following their marriage in 1963. Niedecker is buried at nearby Union Cemetery. To reach the cemetery, take Hwy. 106 west from Blackhawk Island Rd. a mile and one-half to Hwy. J, turn right and go north for approximately one mile. Toward the back of the cemetery on the left is the tombstone labeled "Neidecker," the spelling preferred by her father's family. (See Door County/Baileys Harbor and Milwaukee entries.)

Craig Rice (1908-1957), writer of best-selling mysteries, lived here in the rambling Queen Anne house at 607 S. Main St. with an aunt and uncle who raised her. In the late 1930s, with her three children, she returned to this house to write some of the mysteries that brought her success in the 1940s, such as Having a Wonderful Crime (1943) and Home, Sweet Homicide (1944). She was the only Wisconsin author ever to be featured on the cover of Time magazine (1/28/46). Some of her books were made into films.


GAYS MILLS (9-0) Village on Hwy. 171 in southwestern Wisconsin, approximately 13 miles east of the Mississippi River. Ben Logan (b. 1920) wrote about his boyhood home, Seldom Seen Farm, in his novel The Land Remembers(1975, Banta Award 1976):

I cannot leave the land. How can I when a thousand sounds, sights, and smells tell me I am part of it? Let me hear the murmur of talk in the dusk of a summer night and I am sitting again under the big maple tree in the front yard, hearing the voices of people I have loved.

To reach the farm, go south on Hwy. 131 to Hwy. S, proceed west to Zintz Rd., turn left, proceed for two miles. Look for a plum-colored barn. The large white house on the right is where Logan has lived since 1986 when he returned to Wisconsin from New York. The old maple tree where the family gathered still stands in the front yard. The area also provides the setting for Logan's novel The Empty Meadow (1983). Logan won an Emmy Award in 1987 for writing the television documentary "Taking Children Seriously."

GENESEE DEPOT (1O-H) Small town 20 miles southwest of Milwaukee. Ten Chimneys, home of actors Alfred Lunt (1892-1977) and Lynn Fontanne (1887-1983), is built on land which they purchased in 1913. They lived there whenever travel and theater schedules permitted, and both died there. They are buried in Forest Home Cemetery, Milwaukee. (See Milwaukee entry.) A biography, The Fabulous Lunts, was written by Jared Brown in 1986. Ten Chimneys, privately owned, is not open to the public.

GREEN BAY (6-1) The state's oldest city, located 114 miles north of Milwaukee. Here in 1834 Father Samuel Mazzuchelli (1806-1864), a Dominican missionary, scientist, and architect, published a Chippewa almanac. It was the first book to be printed in Wisconsin. The cost was $18 for 150 copies One copy remains in the rare book collection at the Library of Congress. Mazzuchelli, who spent his later years in southwestern Wisconsin, published Memoirs, Historical and Edifying, of a Missionary Apostolic in 1844 during his only return visit to his native Italy. An English translation was published in 1915. It contains detailed descriptions of life in the Territory of Wisconsin between 1820 and 1844. Oshkosh authors Jo and Jim Alderson have written a biography titled The Man Mazzuchelli (1974).

Walter "Red" Smith (1905-1982) was born in Green Bay and grew up here. His family lived at 1521 Main St. (now the location of the Stone Lion shops) and later (until 1927) at 1535 Morrow St. He worked at the Milwaukee Sentinel as general news reporter before leaving Wisconsin for his first sportswriting job at the St. Louis Star. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his newspaper writing.


HAZEL GREEN (11-E) Village in southwestern Wisconsin 17 miles south of Platteville on Hwy. 11. James Gates Percival (1795-1856) , physician, poet, scholar, linguist, geographer, and geologist, was named Wisconsin's first state geologist in 1854 and lived in Hazel Green during the mining boom for the two years prior to his death. He was considered by some to be America's foremost poet until William Cullen Bryant's work was published in 1832; others found him to have little talent! Percival's literary works are housed in the Yale Collection of American Literature. He died in Hazel Green "lonely, shy, unmarried, disappointed, poor and dirty," according to William Ellery Leonard (see Madison entry). Percival is buried in the northwest side of the Hazel Green cemetery, located two blocks east of Percival St. on Hwys. 11 and The epitaph on his tall monument reads:

Eminent as a poet Rarely accomplished as a linguist Learned and acute in science A man without guile

Percival appears as a character in the novel Morning in the Land (1941) by Jessica Nelson North (see Edgerton entry).

T. Harry Williams (1909-1979), Lincoln scholar and author of such major Civil War books as Lincoln and His Generals (1952), was raised in the pastoral southeastern corner of the village. He won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his biography Huey Long (1969).



JANESVILLE (11-G) City 40 miles southeast of Madison. Carrie Jacobs Bond (1862-1946), composer of such favorite old songs as "I Love You Truly" and "When You Come to the End of a Perfect Day, " was born and lived here until 1887. A marker on the southeast corner of S. Oakhill and W. Corner Sts. indicates her birthplace. Another marker on the southeast corner of S. Wisconsin and W. Milwaukee Sts. indicates the house where she wrote "I Love You Truly."

Beverly Butler (b. 1932), author of stories for young readers, attended Wisconsin School for the Visually Handicapped here on the south side of the city at 1700 State St. as a teenager. The school is the setting for her novel Light a Single Candle (1962). (See Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Peshtigo and Rhinelander entries.)

Frances Wiggins Ford (1854-1956) was finally recognized in 1953 by Grosset & Dunlap publishers as the creator of the children's classic The Little Engine That Could. Though she had written the original story for a children's magazine in 1912, recognition had been elusive. Wiggins came as an infant to a farm west of here, one mile northeast of Footville near the Grove Cemetery.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919), poet and naturalist, was born five miles east of Janesville on Hwy. A at Johnstown Center, where she lived for one year before the family moved to a farm near Waunakee. (A marker at the site of the old Wheeler house in Johnstown Center incorrectly lists Ella's birth year as 1855.) Her Poems of Passion (1883), her articles and prosy poems for Hearst publications, and her romantic novels were popular in her time. (See Waunakee entry.)

Frances Willard (1839-1898), educator and reformer, lived here from 1846 to 1857 on a Rock River farm. As president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, she was recognized internationally as a gifted speaker and effective leader on behalf of 19th century women. Her autobiography is titled Glimpses of Fifty Years 1839-1889. The Willard family home, known as Forest Home, now stands at 1816 S. River Rd. It was remodeled and moved from its 1850s location at 1720 S. River Rd.


KENOSHA (11-1) City 37 miles south of Milwaukee on Lake Michigan. Orson Welles (1915-1985) was born at 6116 Seventh Ave. and lived here until he left Kenosha in 1921. Citizen Kane (1940), often cited by critics as the most outstanding film ever made, is representative of Welles's innovative skill. His radio adaptation of War of the Worlds in 1938 startled the nation with its realistic rendition of an invasion from space. Although best known for his acting and directing , Welles's writing credits include screenplays for Lady From Shanghai (1946) and Citizen Kane. The house on Seventh Ave. is not open to the public.

Novelist Irving Wallace (b.1916) lived here from 1917 to 1935. As a school newspaper writer/editor at Washington Junior High School and Kenosha Central High School, he won two national journalism prizes. In addition to his popular novel The Chapman Report (1960), Wallace has collaborated with his children on best selling reference books. The Wallace (Wallechinski) family lived on the north side of the city at 911 45th St., 4915 17th Ave., and 4042 Sheridan Rd. The homes are not open to the public.

Florence Parry Heide (b.1919), children's author and songwriter, has published more than 100 books for young readers in the last 20 years, including two award-winning series, the Treehorn and Banana books. She has lived in her home overlooking the lake at 6910 Third Ave. since 1954.

KEWASKUM (9-H) Village 24 miles southeast of Fond du Lac. "One would think of Wisconsin as the ideal state to live in, a paragon of civic success, but for the fact that the young people dream only of getting away," complained Glenway Wescott (1901-1987) in the title essay from Goodbye, Wisconsin (1928). The novelist, poet, and essayist was born near Kewaskum and spent the first 16 years of his life in the state, but rarely returned after he left. He was one of the "lost generation" of writers who lived in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. His autobiographical first novel The Apple of the Eye (1924) and his Harper's Prize novel The Grandmothers (1927) both detail what Wescott believed to be the harsh realities of surviving in the Midwest. A bust of him, sculpted by his sister, is in the collection of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in Madison. (See Ripon and Waukesha entries.)

KINGSTON (8-G) Village located on Hwys. 44 and B approximately 25 miles northeast of Portage. In the spring of 1849 naturalist John Muir, then 11 years old , his brother David, and his sister Sarah stayed in the Kingston House on Main St. after arriving from Scotland. In later years, Muir recalled feeling "carefree and happy" in Kingston as he wrestled and raced with the boys of the village while his father was searching for a homesite. (See Madison, Montello, Portage, and Prairie du Chien entries.)


LA CROSSE (8-0) City located on the Mississippi River. John Toland (b.1912), historian and novelist, spent the first seven years of his life in La Crosse at the Toland family home on West Ave. near the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus (not open to the public). He is best known for his books on World Wars I and II and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for The Rising Sun (1979). Toland presently lives in Danbury, Conn.

George Peck, author of the Peck's Bad Boy stories, worked here for a time. He was editor and part owner of the La Crosse Evening Democrat in 1871-72. Later he founded his own newspaper, the Sun, which was first housed in a building at Second and Main Sts. and then at Fourth and Main Sts. The Peck's Bad Boy stories were first published in the Sun. (See Whitewater and Milwaukee entries.)

Helen Ferris (1890-1969). editor-in-chief of the Junior Literary Guild from 1929 to 1959, lived in La Crosse from 1901 to 1904.

LAKE MILLS (1O-G) City on Hwy. 89 between Madison and Milwaukee. This is the current home of biographer and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater professor Margot Peters (b.1933). A native of Wausau, Peters is the award-winning author of two theatrical biographies, Bernard Shaw and the Actresses (1980, Banta Award 1981) and Mrs. Pat: The Life of Mrs. Patrick Campbell (1984, Banta Award 1985). Peters's feminist perspective on Charlotte Bronte, Unquiet Soul: A Biography of Charlotte Bronte (1975), is an example of her scholarship in the field of women's studies. In the opening chapter of Unquiet Soul she writes:

Charlotte Bronte's life and art were both an eloquent protest against the cruel and frustrating limitations imposed upon women and a triumph over them. Seen from this angle, the facts of her life fall into a new pattern. ...


MADISON (1O-F) Capital of the state, located in south-central Wisconsin. Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), playwright and novelist, was born in Madison and grew up in the family home at 211 W. Gilman St. According to his older brother, Wilder spent his first nine years investigating the city's library, lakes, and the newspaper office. Their father was the editor of the Wisconsin State Journal, and both parents were well known in the city. The family attended the First Congregational Church, 1609 University Ave., where Wilder returned in 1940 to deliver an anniversary lecture at the church's centennial celebration . In 1906 Wilder's father was appointed American consul general in Hong Kong and the family moved to China. In 1928 Wilder won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his second novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927). In 1938 he won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for his first major play, Our Town(1938). In 1943 Wilder won his third Pulitzer Prize for his play The Skin of Our Teeth (1942). Another of his popular plays, The Matchmaker (1955), was made into the musical Hello Dolly!. In 1965 he was awarded the first National Medal for Literature, presented by the National Book Committee at a White House ceremony. In 1974 he received the first Banta Award, presented for his novel Theophilus North (1973). In 1987 the University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Library acquired a large collection of Wilder's previously unpublished papers.

Frederick Jackson Turner (1861-1932), Pulitzer-prize winning essayist, historian, teacher, and scholar, was assistant professor of American history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison . He lived at 21 W. Gilman St. and at 629 Frances St. in a lakefront home, and he was fond of fishing and canoeing on Lake Mendota. During this time he pioneered the study of the American West, developing and refining his theory of the role of the frontier in American history. His paper "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," first delivered in 1893, made him a leading figure in the field. Turner used the collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin extensively in his research and received help from Reuben Gold Thwaites. The two men became close friends.

In 1910 Turner left Wisconsin to teach at Harvard University where he retired in 1924. During this period he published The Frontier in American History (1920), a landmark book on the shaping of the American mind. He was known as a magnetic teacher, influencing more than a generation of later historians. He eventually moved to California and became a research associate at the Huntington Library. He won the Pulitzer Prize for history for The Significance of Sections in American History, published the year he died. He is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, located at 1 Speedway Rd. on Madison's West Side. His grave is marked with white marble doric columns. (See Portage entry)

Paul Lachlan MacKendrick (b.1914), a classics educator and author, was born in Massachusetts. He taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for more than 30 years. Among his books is Classics in Translation (1952). He is best known for the series of books which reconstructs the histories of civilizations based upon archeology, including The Mute Stones Speak (1960) and The Greek Stones Speak (1962).

Reuben Gold Thwaites (1853-1913) was a writer, editor, newspaperman, historian, and librarian. Born in Massachusetts, he moved to Wisconsin in 1866. In 1887 he was named secretary of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, a position he held until his death 25 years later. He vastly enriched the Society's collections and was a prolific writer and editor. Most of his books are concerned with the history of the Northwest Territory and Wisconsin. He edited the Original Journals of Lewis and Clark (1904-1905). Scholars perhaps know him best for his monumental 73-volume translation of Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents (1896-1901). This remarkable publication, journals of French Jesuit priests in America in the period 1612-1790, is a primary source document for historical study of early America. Thwaites and his wife Jessie lived in a home located at Truvill Point in Madison. The point is now in Olin Park located off John Nolen Drive. (See Oshkosh entry.)

The Cooperative Children's Book Center, located on the fourth floor of the Helen C. White Building, 600 N. Park St., is a non-circulating research library for teachers, librarians, scholars, and students. The collection contains approximately 25,000 titles representing children 's and young adult literature as well as reviews, manuscripts, book lists, and other literary materials. The Center is open 12 months a year for public service to adults interested in children's literature. For information phone (608) 263-3721 .

Helen C. White (1896-1967) was a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a scholar who studied and wrote about 16th and 17th century English literature, and a novelist. She came to Madison in 1919 and collected a number of firsts in her long career, including first woman to receive a doctorate in letters and science at the university. Her published works include The Mysticism of William Blake (1927) and The Metaphysical Poets: A Study in Religious Experience (1936). A leading Catholic layperson, most of her novels, such as A Watch in the Night (1933) , dealt with various aspects of Catholic history. Noted for always wearing purple, she lived at various locations near the campus, including 433 N. Murray St., which is now a university office building. The building named for her is located on the corner of Park St. and Observatory Dr.

William Ellery Leonard (1876-1944) was a poet, scholar, translator and professor of English. Born in New Jersey, he came to Madison in 1906 as an instructor at the university. He remained there for the rest of his life. Rumors that he was responsible for his wife's suicide and trauma from his childhood combined to bring on severe attacks of agoraphobia (a fear of leaving home) . Leonard translated Lucretius and in 1913 began what is regarded as his best work, Two Lives (1923), the story of his tragic marriage. He wrote about his phobia and its sources in The Locomotive God (1927), a detailed self-analysis which has been used as a psychology textbook. Though confined to his home much of the time, Leonard received visits from such authors as Hamlin Garland (see West Salem entry.) , Sinclair Lewis, and Carl Sandburg (see Milwaukee area and Two Rivers entries). Leonard lived in a cottage on Lake Wingra and later in an apartment near the university campus.

Naturalist John Muir as a student lived on the second floor in the northeast corner of old North Hall in a room overlooking Lake Mendota to the north and the city to the east. Nearby is Muir Knoll, which was dedicated in 1918. Some of Muir's correspondence and one of his inventions, the unique mechanical student desk which he built in 1891 and used while attending the university, are in the permanent collection at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin . While living in Madison Muir often visited the home of Ezra and Jean Carr at 114 W. Gilman St. Scholars believe he first may have become acquainted with the works of Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman in the Carr library. The Carrs, especially Jean, were a strong influence in Muir's life. The house is not open to the public. (See Kingston, Montello, Portage, and Prairie du Chien entries.)

Felix Pollak (1909-1987) was the curator of rare books for the University of Wisconsin Memorial Library, 728 State St., from 1959 to 1974. The little magazine and small press materials he collected are internationally known; scholars may view the collection by special arrangement. Pollak published many books of poetry, and his poems, essays, and translations were printed in over 100 small press publications. A collection of his poems, Benefits of Doubt, was published posthumously in 1988.

Robert Gard (b. 1910) was born in Kansas, but he admits in Coming Home to Wisconsin (1982) that "I. ..adopted Wisconsin as my spiritual and physical home .... " Gard came to Madison in 1945 to become a professor at the university and has been dedicated to the promotion of regional folklore, theater, and literature. Among his many published works is his autobiography, Prairie Visions (1988). Gard lives on the west side of Madison. (See Rhinelander entry.)

Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1958) , world renowned architect, had close ties to Madison and the university. In 1879 he lived at the corner of Gorham and Livingston Sts. (See Milwaukee/Sandburg, Richland Center and Spring Green entries.)

University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Other authors to whom campus sights were familiar include Robert Bloch, Kelly Cherry, August Derleth, Zona Gale, Horace Gregory, Lorrie Moore, Joyce Carol Oates, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Janet Shaw, Wallace Stegner, Peter Straub, George Vukelich, and Eudora Welty. Stegner's novel Crossing to Safety (1987) is set, in part, on the Madison campus.

MAZOMANIE (9-F) Village near the Wisconsin River approximately 20 miles west of Madison. Frank Utpatel (1908-1980) , wood engraver and illustrator of books, lived at 17 Marion St. , where for almost 50 years he worked in his studio overlooking Black Earth Creek. Utpatel's engravings, which number more than 300, illustrated 18 of August Derleth's books (see Sauk City entry), among others. His work is part of collections at the Library of Congress and art museums in the United States and England. The Utpatel home is not open to the public.

MENOMONIE (6-C) Town 25 miles west of Eau Claire on Interstate 94. California author Carol Ryrie Brink (1895-1981) made famous the Wisconsin pioneer adventures of her grandmother, Caroline Augusta Woodhouse (1854-1940),in her classic novel Caddie Woodlawn (1935) and its sequel Magical Melons (1944). The former won the 1936 Newbery Medal as the most distinguished children's book of the year and has been translated into more than 10 languages. The Caddie Woodlawn Home and Park is located 14 miles south of Menomonie on Hwy. 25 in Downsville. A self-guided tour brochure covers sites described in the novels.

MILWAUKEE AREA (10-1) Largest city in Wisconsin, located in the southeast portion of the state on the shores of Lake Michigan. Carl Sandburg, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, historian, novelist and biographer, spent five significant years in Wisconsin (1907-1912). He lived at 2469 N. 18th St. in 1911, the year his first child, Margaret, was born. In a 1953 interview for the Historical Messenger (Vol. 9, No.2), he said:

Ah, Milwaukee ... I got my bearings there. The rest of my life has been the unrolling of a scene that started in Wisconsin.

Sandburg regularly spent time at the Steichen family farm in Menomonee Falls, located a short distance northwest of Milwaukee, at W156 N6767 Pilgrim Rd., just south of Good Hope Rd. In 1908 Sandburg married Lilian Steichen (sister of photographer Edward Steichen , see later Milwaukee area entry). It was in the "dear little white house" in Menomonee Falls (not open to the public) that Carl, Lilian, and Edward - all three children of immigrant parents - came together to share their dreams for the future. Sandburg traveled the Lake Shore and Fox Valley districts of the state writing and lecturing between 1907 and 1911. Sandburg also wrote for The Milwaukee Journal and the Milwaukee Sentinel before moving to Illinois in 1912. Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright once wrote a letter to Sandburg in which he revealed how much he enjoyed the Rootabaga stories : "Dear Carl, I read your fairy-tales nearly every night-before I go to bed-they fill a long felt want-Poetry."

Sandburg received the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1940 for Abraham Lincoln: The War Years and the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1951 for Collected Poems (1950). Sandburg's Wisconsin years are recorded in A Great and Glorious Romance: The Story of Carl Sandburg and Lilian Steichen (1978) by his youngest daughter, Helga Sandburg, and also in The Poet and the Dream Girl: The Love Letters of Lilian Steichen and Carl Sandburg (1987) edited by Margaret Sandburg. (See Two Rivers entry for Sandburg; Madison, Richland Center and Spring Green entries for Wright.)

Edward J. Steichen (1879-1972), pioneer world-famous photographer and author of A Life in Photography (1963), his autobiography, spent his formative years in Milwaukee. He purchased his first camera at 16 and roamed the fields and woods at the edge of the city creating images of ponds and trees. As a young man he was active in the local art movement and studied painting while continuing to experiment with the camera. In 1900 he left for Paris where he rocked the international art world with his departure from conventional photographic style and his perfectionist attention to composition and lighting. Steichen as a young man lived above his mother's millinery shop at N. Third and W. Walnut Sts. and at other addresses on the near North Side. For a time he had a studio on Water St. After moving to Paris he often returned to visit his family in Milwaukee and later at the Steichen farm in Menomonee Falls. (See earlier Milwaukee entry for Sandburg.)

Milwaukee Public Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., was established in 1878 and in 1898 moved into this building which was designed by the Milwaukee architectural firm of Ferry & Clas. (A design submitted by a very young Frank Lloyd Wright was rejected!) The entrance rotunda retains its original marble staircases, coffered dome, and the intricate mosaic floor which was laid by local Italian craftsmen. In 1878 approximately one-third of the books were in the German language. The collection suffered a setback in 1895 when books were destroyed by the health department during a severe smallpox epidemic. This is the largest public library in Wisconsin; the building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Increase A. Lapham (1811-1875) moved to Milwaukee in 1836 when the struggling community consisted of 50 houses. In 1844 he published A Geographical and Topographical Description of Wisconsin, the first book published in Wisconsin written by a local resident. It helped stimulate emigration from eastern states to this part of the country. In 1855 the Smithsonian Institution published his most important work, The Antiquities of Wisconsin. As early as 1842 Lapham was collecting data concerning storms on Lake Michigan, and in 1869 he founded the U.S . Weather Service. (See Forest Home Cemetery and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee entries.)

Robert Bloch (b. 1917), writer of suspense stories, was born in Chicago and spent 32 years in Milwaukee before moving to California to pursue a writing career. While in Milwaukee he lived at 1018 E. Brady St., Apt. 4, and worked in the Fine Arts Building at 123 E. Wells St. Alfred Hitchcock turned Bloch's fictionalized account of Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein's heinous crimes into the movie Psycho (1960) . Bloch has received numerous awards for his novels, short stories, and screen plays.

George Frost Kennan (b.1904), U.S. diplomat and political writer, spent his childhood in Milwaukee. His 27-year diplomatic career earned him a reputation as one of the most brilliant, albeit controversial, figures in government. The apex of the controversy was caused by the articles he wrote under the pseudonym of "X" on U.S. policy and Soviet conduct. He retired from the foreign service in 1953 and began the second phase of his professional life as an author. He received Pulitzer Prize and National Book awards for his books on U.S. political history. Among his works are Memoirs (1967-1972) and Cloud of Danger (1977). In 1974 he founded the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies as part of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. His diaries have been published under the title Sketches From a Life (1989). In George Kennan and the Art of Foreign Policy (1989) , Anders Stephanson describes him as "perhaps the greatest analyst and maker of foreign policy since John Quincy Adams."

Horace Gregory (1898-1982), poet, essayist, translator, and, distinguished editor, wrote The House on Jefferson Street, his memoirs, in 1971. The title refers to his grandfather's home, no longer standing. In the opening paragraphs he describes that part of Milwaukee as it was near the turn of the century:

My grandfather's house, at 717 Jefferson Street, stood sideways on the tip of a sharply rising hill. On its left, the land sloped into a tilted street that ran downward into a red and smoky sunset view of a factory-littered valley.

Among awards Gregory received in later years was the prestigious Bollingen Prize (1965). (See Madison entry.)

Ellen Raskin (1928-1984) was born in Milwaukee and as a child lived near 51st and Center Sts. She received an art degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and established a New York career in freelance commercial art, including work on book jackets, advertising, and magazine illustrations. In 1956 Raskin wrote her first of many children's books, Nothing Ever Happens on My Block. It was named one of the 10 best illustrated children's books of the year by The New York Times. Raskin eventually concentrated soley on writing and illustrating books, mostly for children. One of her most individualistic works is the woodcut illustrated version of William Blake's Songs of Innocence (1966) for which she also wrote music. The often reprinted A Child's Christmas in Wales (1959) by Dylan Thomas also includes her intricate woodcuts. She once said:

I try to say one thing with my work: A book is a wonderful place to be. A book is a package, a gift, a surprise package and within the wrappings is a whole new world and beyond.

Raskin received the Newbery Medal for The Westing Game (1978, Banta Award, 1979), which is set in Sheboygan (see Sheboygan entry).

Marguerite Henry (b. 1902) was born in Milwaukee and began writing at an early age. Her first published work appeared in the Delineator magazine when she was 11. She attended Riverside High School and Milwaukee State Teachers College (now the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee). After graduation she moved to Chicago where she became a technical writer and journalist. Henry is known for her well researched books about horses which combine local color and vivid characters, both human and animal. Three of her most popular works, Justin Morgan Had a Horse (1945), Misty of Chincoteaque (1947), and Brighty of the Grand Canyon (1953), were made into films. In 1949 she won the Newbery Medal for King of the Wind (1948).

Marie Hall Ets (1895-1984), children's author and illustrator, was born in the Greenfield area of Milwaukee and spent part of her childhood in Antigo. (See Antigo entry.) In her early adult years she was a social worker and lived in New Mexico. Experiences there as well as in northern Wisconsin contributed to the themes of her writing. In 1960 she received the Caldecott Medal for Nine Days to Christmas (1959). In addition, five of her other works were named Caldecott honor books. Among her most popular books is Play With Me (1955), a story of a little girl who learns to appreciate and accept the ways of nature by a quiet experience in the woods.

Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970), poet, moved to 2042 S Sixth St. in March, 1964, after her marriage to Albert Millen. In the spring of 1968 she moved to 539 W. Maple St. She wrote to her publisher, Cid Corman, "We moved three blocks up and around the corner in a row of old houses under the bells of St. Stanislaus .... " (See Between Your House and Mine: The Letters of Larine Niedecker to Cid Corman, 1960-1970) Niedecker found Milwaukee to be in sharp contrast to her home on Blackhawk Island. In her letters she referred to "spires, turrets, pointtop towers that form on the way up the rounded corners of ornate houses .... " (See Door County/ Baileys Harbor and Fort Atkinson entries).

Peter Straub (b. 1943), novelist and poet, was born and raised in Milwaukee and at one time lived at 2545 N. Frederick St. He taught English during the 1960s at University School of Milwaukee, now located at 2100 W. Fairy Chasm Rd. in the far northeast part of the area. Straub's most popular work to date, the mystery novel Ghost Story (1979), has sold over two million copies. A large portion of his recent best seller, Koko (1988), is set in Milwaukee. (See Arcadia entry.)

Larry Shue (1946-1985), born in New Orleans, began in 1977 as an actor with the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, then located at 929 N. Water St. but now at 108 E. Wells St. He became playwright-inresidence in 1979. Four of his plays were premiered by the company, including two that were successful on Broadway, The Nerd (1981) and The Foreigner (1983). At the time of his death in an airplane accident he was appearing on the New York stage in the musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 E. Locust St., in the city's West of the River area, is a not-for-profit center established in 1979 and dedicated to literary, visual, and performing arts. The center offers international, feminist, and regional titles as well as over 10,000 small press and fine print publications. Materials are for sale, but visitors are also invited to stop in to read and consult with the staff.

Beverly Butler (b. 1932), author of stories for young readers, lived on Milwaukee's Northwest Side in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. While she was a student at nearby Mount Mary College an interested teacher encouraged her to write. Her first book, Song of the Voyageur, was published in 1955. She later taught writing at Mount Mary. (See Fond du Lac, Janesville, Peshtigo, and Rhinelander entries.)

Jeremiah Curtin house (1840), 8685 W. Grange Ave., Greendale, on the far South Side, was the boyhood home of Curtin (1835-1906), a linguist who understood approximately 70 languages and is perhaps best known for his translation of Quo Vadis (1896) from Polish to English. In 1864 Abraham Lincoln appointed him as a U.S. diplomat to Russia. The house on Grange Ave., built by Curtin's Irish-immigrant parents, replicates the kind of cottage found in their native country and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is open only for special events, but the surrounding park is available for public use.

George Peck (see La Crosse and Whitewater entries) lived in Milwaukee after moving his newspaper, the Sun, to this city in 1878. He continued to write but also began a political career. He was elected mayor of Milwaukee in 1890, and later that year governor of Wisconsin.

Forest Home Cemetery, 2405 W. Forest Home Ave., on the city's South Side, is the burial site for Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. Their graves are located at Lot 42, Section 33. (See Genesee Depot entry). Increase Lapham (see other Milwaukee entry) is buried at Lot 6, Block 8, Section 24.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus, located on the city's East Side. There are buildings on campus named in honor of Carl Sandburg, Increase Lapham, and Jeremiah Curtin . At the northeast corner of Lapham Hall a large granite boulder bears a bronze plaque commemorating Lapham's "services to the cause of human knowledge." A courtyard on the campus has been named for photographer Edward J. Steichen. The Golda Meir Library houses the American Geographical Society collection of maps, among other major collections.

Robert Burns monument (1909), located at N. Prospect Ave. and E. Knapp St. on the city's East Side, is a replica of the statue by William Grant Stevenson of Edinburgh which stands in Kilmarnock, Scotland, honoring the poet. In The House on Jefferson Street Horace Gregory describes the unveiling ceremonies of the statue, witnessed as a young boy on a hot summer day. (See previous Milwaukee entry.) The Goethe and Schiller monument (1908), located in Washington Park on the city's North Side, is a replica of the statue by Ernest Reitschel which stands in Weimar, Germany. This is the only monument in the United States honoring Johann von Goethe and Johann von Schiller, 18th century poets, philosophers, and dramatists considered to be among the greatest writers Germany has produced. The monument is on the National Register of Historic Places. These statues offer an indication of what Milwaukee citizens were reading during the early part of the 20th century and which authors they particularly admired at the time.

MINERAL POINT (1O-E) Historic town approximately 50 miles southwest of Madison. This is the setting for August Derleth's novel The Hills Stand Watch (1960), and many sites, such as High and Shake Rag Sts., are woven into the novel and can be seen today. While the main characters are fictitious, the book accurately describes 19th century lead mining activities, the life style of the Cornish miners who left their architectural mark on the area, and political Wisconsin as it emerged from a territory to a state. A number of sites are open to tourists during the summer months, one of which, Pendarvis, is operated by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Tour information is available locally.

MONTELLO (8-G) Town in central Wisconsin located approximately 20 miles north of Portage. John Muir (1838-1914), naturalist, inventor, writer, conservationist, father of our national park system, and founder of the Sierra Club, was born in Scotland and came to Wisconsin in 1849. In The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (1913) Muir describes the family's first homesite in this country, which they named Fountain Lake Farm , as being "in the sunny woods, overlooking a flowery glacier meadow and a lake rimmed with white water lilies." It was here that Muir's observations of nature intensified and the seed was planted for preserving wilderness regions; and it was here that the early development of the conservationist he was to become took place. Muir explored the region surrounding the farm whenever he had an opportunity, and later wrote about the exhilaration of experiencing a violent storm from the top of a cedar tree on nearby Observatory Hill.

When Muir was 17 the family bought additional land approximately six miles southeast of Fountain Lake and built a new home they called Hickory Hill Farm. Muir, obeying the demands of his harsh father, almost lost his life digging a well, which is still in operation at the farm. Muir left Wisconsin in 1863 and dedicated his life to the preservation of the country's natural resources. His explorations took him around the world. Throughout his life, however, he recalled the beauty of his boyhood home in Wisconsin, and for years he tried unsuccessfully to preserve in its natural state the land around Fountain Lake (now called Ennis Lake). In Proceedings of the Sierra Club dated January, 1896, Muir referred to the lake and the meadow:

... even if I should never see it again, the beauty of its lilies and orchids is so pressed into my mind I shall always enjoy looking back at them in imagination, even across seas and continents ....

In 1957 a portion of the area was designated as John Muir Memorial Park, and here visitors can experience the landscape which inspired Muir. The park is located on County Hwy. F approximately eight miles south of Montello. The original Muir home was located near the northern shore of the lake. Though this house burned down early in this century, maple trees and lilacs planted by the Muirs are still growing. The property is privately owned and not available to the public. Hickory Hill Farm remains, though the house has been altered over the years. Located between Pardeeville and Montello, it can be seen from Grouse Ave. off Hwy. 22, but it is not open to the public.

Muir's father, Daniel, often preached at the little white church which still stands at the corner of Hwy. 0 and 13th St. Historical markers located one mile south of Poynette (9-F) on Hwy. 51 and 12 miles south of Montello (8-G) on Hwy. 22 indicate places where Muir enjoyed the view as he traveled between his home in Marquette County and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (See Kingston, Madison, Portage, and Prairie du Chien entries.)


NEW GLARUS (10-F) Village approximately 25 miles southwest of Madison. Novelist, playwright, short-story writer, and essayist Herbert Kubly (b. 1915) was born in New Glarus. He worked as a journalist for various newspapers and for Time magazine, where he was a music critic and editor. Kubly's 1950 trip to Italy resulted in three books on European travel, including American in Italy (1955) , which won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1956. Kubly taught English at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (Kenosha) and was writer-in-residence there. Now retired, he lives on the Wilhelm Tell Farm, W4970 Kubly Road, just east of New Glarus. The farm belonged to his great-grandfather and is the outdoor setting for the annual production of Schiller's Wilhelm Tell.


OSHKOSH (8-H) City on Lake Winnebago 82 miles north of Milwaukee. Historian Reuben Gold Thwaites came to the Oshkosh area in 1866 and spent part of his boyhood on a nearby farm. In 1872 he worked as a reporter for the Oshkosh Times. (See Madison entry.)

Lewis W. Hine (1874-1940), photographer and author of numerous articles on such topics as immigrant life in America and the industrial environment for juvenile workers, grew up here. A pioneer in social photography, his documentation and photographs appear in many books, and he is credited with influencing Congress to pass child labor legislation. Hine's family lived above the restaurant which they operated at several locations on Main St. No original sites remain. Later, the family lived at 80 Division St., but the house was razed in the 1920s. America & Lewis Hine: Photographs 1904-1940 (1977) , produced by Walter and Naomi Rosenblum in cooperation with The Brooklyn Museum , contains selected photographs, biographical notes, and a critical essay on Hine.


PEPIN (7-B) Village on the Mississippi River northwest of La Crosse. Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867 -1957), author of the Little House books, was born in a cabin near Pepin and spent her early childhood here. Her father, Charles Ingalls, and her mother, Caroline Quiner, met and married in this area where their families were homesteading. Little House in the Big Woods (1935), Wilder's first book, describes her Wisconsin years in a log cabin with her parents and her two sisters, Mary and Carrie. Donald Zochert in his biography Laura: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder (1976) wrote:

For Laura, this is where it all began-in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. In winter, snow flew through the long night. By morning's light it gleamed and crackled in giant drifts against the walls of Pa's house. In spring the flowers came bright and bountiful. Then the little clearing in the Big Woods rang with the sound of Pa's axe and the barking of a brindle bulldog named Jack ...

In 1873 Mr. Ingalls decided too many people were settling near them, and the family left Wisconsin. Wilder continued to write about her early life after the Wisconsin years, producing books that are warm family stories describing both the joys and hardships of life on the frontier. The popular television series "Little House on the Prairie" was based on her books. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society maintains a park and museum across the road from the original Ingalls homesite. The park is located on Hwy. 185 seven miles northwest of Pepin. Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during the summer. For information, call (715) 442-3874.

PESHTIGO (5-1) Town approximately seven miles southwest of Marinette near the Wisconsin-Michigan border. On the night of Oct. 8, 1871, Peshtigo was destroyed in the worst fire disaster in American history. It claimed all the town buildings and more than 800 lives. The great Chicago fire occurred the same night and is better known, but the loss of life and property was not as high. Many of the Peshtigo fire victims are buried in the Peshtigo Riverside Cemetery on Right-of-Way Road. Fire at Peshtigo (1968) by Robert Wells of Milwaukee is a factual account of the fire, and My Sister's Keeper (1980) by Beverly Butler is a novel based on the tragedy. (See Fond du Lac, Janesville, Milwaukee, Rhinelander entries.)

PLAINFIELD (7-F) Village 25 miles southeast of Wisconsin Rapids. Frances Hamerstrom (b. 1907) lives here on a farm where she and her husband, Frederick, work as wildlife biologists. Among her books of nature adventures are Walk When the Moon Is Full (1975), a nature observation guide for children, and Wild Food Cookbook (1988). The Hamerstroms, originally from Boston, are former students of Aldo Leopold.

PORTAGE (9-F) Town located 35 miles north of Madison on Hwy. 51 . Zona Gale (1874-1983), author of novels, plays, and short stories, was born in Portage and lived there most of her life. She began her writing career as a newspaper reporter, first for The Milwaukee Journal and later in New York. She returned to Portage in 1911. She wrote 13 novels and nine collections of short stories and based much of her work on life in Portage. She is best known for her play Miss Lulu Bett (1920), for which she received a Pulitzer Prize in 1921. Politics, pacifism, education, social reform and feminism were among her many interests. Today, a community cultural center at 301 E. Cook St. in Portage bears her name, and her former home at 804 MacFarlane St. is now the Portage Public Library. Her study, which has been preserved, can be visited when the library is open, and the library's collection contains extensive material about her. Before her marriage she lived at 506 W. Edgewater St. (Tour information is available locally.) Gale drew heavily from her small town surroundings for her fiction. In Portage, Wisconsin and Other Essays (1928) she wrote:

May it not be that one born and bred in a town, and rooted there by ties, by houses in which one has lived, by childhood, by first school, and by a grave-may it not be that such a one does actually see that town heightened, drawn through into deeper perception, adjusted to contacts not only of the eye and the memory, but ofother and far more sensitive cells and powers?

Gale is buried in the southwest corner of Silver Lake Cemetery which is located north of Portage on Cemetery Rd. off Business Hwy. 51.

Juliette Magill Kinzie (1806-1870) came to Wisconsin in 1830 as the bride of the U.S. Indian agent at Portage. Their wedding trip and life at Fort Winnebago in Portage from 1830 to 1833 provided the material for her book Wau-bun: The Early Day in the Northwest (1856). It describes frontier life in Wisconsin, including an account of the Black Hawk War, and was the first book of its kind published by a Wisconsin author. Kinzie provides these impressions of her new home upon her arrival at Portage:

The woods were now brilliant with the many tints of autumn, and the scene around was further enlivened by groups of Indians, in all directions, and their lodges, which were scattered here and there, in the vicinity of the Agency buildings. On the low grounds ... the white tents of the traders, already prepared to furnish winter supplies to the indians ....

The Kinzie home, the Old Indian Agency House, has been restored and is open to the public from Memorial Day to mid-October. To reach the Agency House, turn left off Hwy. 33 at the sign and follow the canal. The only remaining portion of the fort is the restored surgeon's quarters, located on Hwy. 33 approximately one-half mile east of Portage. The fort maintains the same visiting hours as the Agency House.

Margery Latimer (1899-1932), a protege of Zona Gale's, was born in Portage and raised in a house at 274 Marion S1. (not open to the public). She published two novels and two collections of short stories. In 1928 a reviewer for The New York Times wrote that her short story "The Family" was "one of the most important stories published in America in the last 25 years." Latimer became interested in the teachings of the Gurdjieff movement, led by poet and novelist Jean Toomer, whose best known work is Cane (1923). Latimer and Toomer participated in a communal living experiment in 1931 near Briggsville just north of Portage. In late 1931 they were married, and in 1932 she died in childbirth . She is buried at Silver Lake Cemetery near Zona Gale's grave site.

Frederick Jackson Turner (1861-1932), historian and teacher, was born in Portage. His father, Andrew Jackson Turner, was the editor of the local newspaper. The Turner family lived at 315 W. Franklin S1. (not open to the public). Members of Turner's family are buried in Silver Lake Cemetery. (See Madison entry.)

John Muir's mother, Anne Gilrye Muir, lived with two of his sisters at 229 W. Howard St. in Portage during her later years. Anne Gilrye Muir and other members of the family are buried in Silver Lake Cemetery. (See Kingston, Madison, Montello and Prairie du Chien entries.)

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN (10-0) The state's second oldest city located near the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers 60 miles south of La Crosse. August Derleth's novel Bright Journey (1940) and its sequel The House on the Mound (1958) are based on events surrounding the life of Hercules Dousman who lived here during the early and mid-19th century. Dousman, an agent for the John Jacob Astor fur company, became the state's first millionaire and in 1843 built a home, now called Villa Louis, on an ancient Indian mound near the river. When he brought his bride, Jane Rolette, there in 1844, 500 candles burned on the glassed-in porch to welcome her. The Dousman mansion was the scene of important events, and Derleth uses characters from history throughout both novels. Now maintained by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, it is located on Villa Louis Rd. just north of Blackhawk Ave. (Hwy. 18). Tour information is available locally. Other sites referred to in Derleth's books are the Brisbois House (the oldest stone house in Wisconsin), the Astor fur warehouse, and the Joseph "King " Rolette home. All three buildings are located just across Washington St. between Villa Louis Rd. and the river. Old Fort Crawford military hospital is on S. Beaumont Rd. east of Blackhawk Ave . Tour information for all of these sites is available locally.

To find the Dousman family graves, take Main St. (the old Indian trail) north to Calvary Cemetery. Members of the Rolette family are buried across the road in the Old French Cemetery.

John Muir (1838-1914) came to Prairie du Chien late in September of 1860 to work on an ice boat, a new invention which was purported to "solve winter traffic problems along all rivers." It was a failure. To support himself Muir tended some livestock for a farmer and lived and worked at Mondell House, a popular hotel located at Bluff and Minnesota Sts. operated by the Pelton family. There was much social activity at Mondell House, including dancing and "kissing games," and Muir, with his strict Scottish religious background, was at first shocked. Many years later, he wrote to Emily Pelton from Yosemite National Park:

Something or other jostled a bunch of the old Mondell memories. I thought of the days when I came in fresh verdure from the Wisconsin woods, and when I used to hurl very orthodox denunciations at all things morally or religiously amiss in old or young. It appears strange to me that you should all have been so patient with me.

Muir's correspondence with Mrs. Pelton and her niece Emily is at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in Madison. Muir left Prairie du Chien at the end of January 1861 . (See Kingston, Madison, Montello and Portage entries.)



RACINE (10-1) City on Lake Michigan, approximately 25 miles south of Milwaukee. Ben Hecht (1893-1964), playwright, newspaperman, novelist and screenwriter, moved to Racine from New York City when he was a young child. During his summer vacations he toured Wisconsin as an acrobat with a small circus. When he was 16 he left Racine for Chicago. Hecht's first novels were published in the 1920s, and he also began to write plays. The Front Page (1928), written with Charles MacArthur, is his best known play. Hecht's screenwriting credits include Wuthering Heights (1939) and Hitchcock's films, Spellbound (1945) and Notorious (1946). He won the first Oscar given for original screenwriting for the film Underworld (1928) . Hecht lived at 838 Lake Ave. in Racine (not open to the public) . In Child of the Century (1954) he said his house was "alive" with "useless turrets" and "capricious contours."

David Kherdian (b. 1931) was born in Racine, attended Horlick High School, and ran a used book store, The Sign of the Tiger. He has published numerous books of poetry for both children and adults. The Road From Home: The Story of an Armenian Girl (1979, Banta Award 1980), his best known prose work, won the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for nonfiction It is the story of his mother, tracing her childhood years in Armenia in the early 20th century and her emigration to America as a mail order bride after surviving the Turkish massacres. As a child Kherdian lived at 1010 Superior St. (not open to the public).

Nancy Ekholm Burkert (b. 1932), artist and book illustrator, moved to Wisconsin when she was 11 and grew up at 2222 Kinzie Ave. Among books which she illustrated are Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach (1961), Hans Christian Andersen's The Nightingale (1965), Randall Jarrell's translation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1972), and Acts of Light (1980), a collection of poems by Emily Dickinson. The Art of Nancy Ekholm Burkert (1977) is a retrospective of her work. She currently lives and works in Milwaukee.

RHINELANDER (4-F) Town in northern Wisconsin located 58 miles north of Wausau near the Chequamegan and Nicolet national forests. This is the home of T. V. (Theodore Victor) Olson (b. 1932), writer of westerns, and his wife, Beverly Butler, author of historical novels for young adults (see Fond du Lac, Janesville, Milwaukee, and Peshtigo entries for Butler). Olson's first published story, "Backtrail," was adapted for television, and his book Arrow in the Sun (1969) was adapted for film and produced as Soldier Blue (1970).

The School of the Arts, founded by Robert E. Gard (see Madison entry), held its first annual writing workshop in Rhinelander in 1964. Classes are held at the end of July at the James Williams Junior High School on Acacia Lane. The workshops are dedicated to encouraging creative expression in writers and artists at all levels of experience and achievement. The program is now part of the Department of Continuing Education in the Arts , the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

RICHLAND CENTER (9-E) Town in southwestern Wisconsin on Hwy. 14. Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1958), architect, author, and teacher, was born here. (See Madison, Milwaukee, and Spring Green entries.)

RIPON (8-G) Town approximately 25 miles west of Fond du Lacon Hwy. 23. Glenway Wescott (1901-1987) , novelist, lived here during his teenage years before moving to Waukesha to attend high school. His novel The Grandmothers (1927) is set here. (See Kewaskum and Waukesha entries.)


SAUK CITY (9-F) Village 20 miles northwest of Madison on the Wisconsin River. It was the life-long home of August Derleth (1909-1971), the state's most prolific writer. Derleth published more than 150 books in genres ranging from historical novels and poetry to themes of the macabre. His articles and stories appeared in newspapers and such periodicals as Atlantic Monthly and the Yale Review. He corresponded regularly with other established writers and counseled aspiring young writers. At times he wrote as many as 10,000 words a day. He was born at 406 Jackson St. and grew up nearby at 428 Madison St. Margery, his high school sweetheart, lived at 710 Madison St. Derleth gives a poignant account of their relationship in his novel about first love, Evening in Spring (1945) . (Sauk City and neighboring Prairie du Sac are given the fictitious name Sac Prairie in Derleth's works.) Two favorite Derleth haunts were the Schwenker harness shop at 631 Water St. and the Frei Gemeinde Hall at 307 Polk St. Derleth drew heavily from his observations of nature, and his work reflects his love for his native land. In Collected Poems 1937-1967 he wrote:

Here on this hill, under eye the lush prairie, windless, still peace walks like a brother as if no other place were one of war, or death

Perhaps the best way to experience the sense of place which inspired this regional writer is to walk the paths along the Wisconsin River near the railroad trestle. Take Water St. and proceed just south of town. Here, in the spirit of Thoreau, Derleth spent years studying the natural life along the river. He is buried in St. Aloysius Cemetery on Lueders Road southwest of Sauk City. A white marble monument with a sundial and a bench, located slightly east of the brick chapel, marks his grave. His final home, Place of Hawks, is across the road but is not open to the public. The August Derleth Room at the Sauk City Library contains papers and other materials relating to Derleth's life and work.

Mark Shorer (1908-1977), writer and boyhood friend of Derleth, was born in Sauk City. Shorer wrote novels, short stories, essays, biography, and literary criticism. Two of his best known works are William Blake: The Politics of Vision (1946) and Sinclair Lewis: An American Life (1961), considered by some scholars to be the definitive biography of Lewis. A House Too Old (1935), a work of fiction, is based on life in Sauk City. As a boy he lived at 917 Madison St. (not open to the public).

SHEBOYGAN (8-I) The Westing Game (1978, Banta Award 1979) by Ellen Raskin (see Milwaukee entry) is set in a city modeled after Sheboygan, the birthplace of her father. The book was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1979.

SPRING GREEN (9-E) Village 30 miles west of Madison on Hwy. 14. Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1958), who is best known as one of America's most innovative architects but also is remembered as a teacher and a writer, lived and worked in the Spring Green area. He was born in Richland Center, moved to Massachusetts at age 3, and returned to Wisconsin when he was 11. In 1911 he built the first Taliesin home and studio for himself near Spring Green. It was mostly destroyed by fire in 1914, rebuilt, then destroyed by fire again in 1925 and rebuilt again. During the 1930s Wright devoted himself to teaching and writing but continued to accept some design commissions. Perhaps the best known building from this period is the Johnson Wax Co. administration building in Racine. In 1932 Wright and his wife, Olgivanna, founded the Taliesin Fellowship, a pioneering venture in architectural education. His books include Modern Architecture (1930) and An Autobiography (1932). He was originally buried near Unity Chapel in the cemetery which is located on the south side of County T approximately two blocks east of Hwy. 23, but the remains were later exhumed and moved to Arizona. Taliesin is located on Hwy. 23, three miles south of Hwy. 14. The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Hillside Home School also is located on Hwy. 23 near Taliesin. Tour information is available locally. The Spring Green Restaurant, designed by Wright, is located on Hwy. 23 overlooking the Wisconsin River. (See Madison, Milwaukee, and Richland Center entries.)

Elizabeth Enright (1909-1968), niece of Frank Lloyd Wright, wrote a dozen children's books, of which Thimble Summer (1938) is the best known. This book was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1939. It is the story of a 9-year-old girl on a farm in the Midwest and is generally acknowledged to have been inspired by the summers young Elizabeth spent in the Wyoming Valley/Spring Green region where her mother's family has such a substantial history. Only one of Enright's published children's books has a city setting; her literary "place" is the country and her full appreciation of the natural world and her interest in rural living are integral to all her other books.

Enright's mother, Maginel Wright Barney (1881-1966), sister of Frank Lloyd Wright, was a noted artist. Among her illustrated books for children are classic editions of Hans Brinker and Heidi. Her autobiography, The Valley of the God-Almighty Jones (1965), focuses on her early years in Wisconsin and her relationship with her famous brother. Both Enright and her mother are buried in the cemetery near Unity Chapel.

The American Players Theatre is a resident performing company dedicated to presenting the classical drama in live performance. There is an emphasis on t.he works of Shakespeare but other plays are performed, ranging from works by Chekhov to Sheridan. The open air theater is located just off County C between Hwy. 23 and Hwy. 43 near Tower Hill State Park. Performances are seasonal, and information is available locally.

ST. CROIX FALLS (4-A) Town in northwestern Wisconsin on the Mississippi River. Ray Stannard Baker (1870-1946), journalist, essayist, philosopher, and biographer, grew up here. The flavor of western Wisconsin can be found in such books as Native American: The Book of My Youth (1941) and Under My Elm: Country Discoveries and Reflections (1942) . Baker received the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 for his monumental eight-volume work Woodrow Wilson: Life in Letters (1927-1939).

SUN PRAIRIE (9-G) Town approximately 20 miles northeast of Madison. Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986), artist, was born on a farm near Sun Prairie and attended the Town Hall School. As a child she was self-reliant, athletic, and somewhat of a loner. She began taking art lessons at age 12 with the encouragement of her mother. When her family moved to Virginia in 1902, O'Keeffe went to Madison to live with her aunt on Spaight St. while attending high school. After leaving Wisconsin in 1903 she rarely returned. It was the landscape of the Southwest to which she responded and which is reflected in much of her work. Biographer Laurie Lisle, however, discusses the role of O'Keefe's early years in Sun Prairie in Portrait of an Artist (1980):

Yet the images, ambience, and ethics of Sun Prairie had fully formed her. From time to time she spoke of herself as emerging from the soil of the American heartland like a growing plant, and she would always be uneasy in cities .... Most important, she drew heavily on her observations in the natural paradise of her early farm life for much of her iconography as an artist.

O'Keeffe's autobiography, Georgia O'Keeffe (1977), gives her own version of her life and work. A brochure complete with map of local sites relating to O'Keeffe's years here is available at the Sun Prairie Public Library, 802 Windsor St.


TWO RIVERS (7-1) City on Lake Michigan approximately 10 miles north of Manitowoc. Carl Sandburg (see Milwaukee entry) came to Wisconsin in 1907 to work as organizer for the Social-Democratic Party. His territory included the Fox River Valley and Eastern Shore areas of the state , and Lake Michigan and its shoreline-sometimes peaceful, sometimes tumultuous-were an inspiration to him. On April 21 ,1908, he began a letter to Lilian Steichen, his future wife: "Back from a long hike again-sand and shore, night and stars, and this restless inland sea .... " The Poet and the Dream Girl: The Love Letters of Lilian Steichen & Carl Sandburg (1987), edited by Margaret Sandburg, contains letters written by Sandburg in 1908 while he was working in Two Rivers and nearby towns in the Fox River Valley.



VALDERS (7-1) Village eight miles west of Manitowoc on Hwy. 151. Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929), philosopher, teacher, and writer, was born nearby to a Norwegian immigrant farm family. Three intellectual strands run through all of his work: Darwinian evolutionism , utopian anarchism, and Marxism, each of which Veblen developed in an original way. In 1899 he published his most famous book, The Theory of the Leisure Class.


WAUKESHA (10-H) City located just west of Milwaukee. Novelist Glenway Wescott (1901-1987) lived here with his uncle while he attended Waukesha High School. (See Kewaskum and Ripon entries.)

WAUNAKEE (9-F) Village approximately five miles north of Madison on Hwy. 113. Poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) grew up on a nearby farm . Her most famous book, Poems of Passion (1883), was considered risque in its time and brought her international fame. (See Janesville entry.)

WAUSAU (5-F) City in north central Wisconsin on Hwy. 51 . Prize winning biographer Margot Peters (b. 1933) was born and grew up here. (See Lake Mills entry.)

WEST SALEM (8-D) Village approximately 10 miles east of La Crosse on Interstate Hwy. 90. Hamlin Garland (1860-1940), novelist and essayist, was born nearby in a log cabin in this coulee region of the state. He grew up in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Dakota Territory, all places he would later use in his writing. In 1884 he moved to Boston and began his literary career. His best known works are A Son of the Middle Border (1917) and A Daughter of the Middle Border (1921), for which he received a Pulitzer Prize in 1922. Both books portray the harsh life on the prairies. In 1893 he bought a house in West Salem, providing a home for his elderly parents and a summer home for himself and his family. The Hamlin Garland Homestead at 357 Garland St. is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Memorial Day to Labor Day. Garland was born approximately 10 miles west of here near Onalaska at Green's Coulee, which is located off Hwy. 157 near the Coulee Golf Bowl. Only the spring house remains from the time the Garland family lived there. Garland's ashes are buried in the family plot in Neshonoc Cemetery located one mile northeast of West Salem on Hwy 108.

WHITEWATER (1O-H) Town located approximately 50 miles southeast of Madison. Stephen E. Ambrose (b.1936), historian and biographer, moved from Illinois to Whitewater as a child and grew up in the family home at 724 W. Center St. In 1964 Dwight D. Eisenhower asked Ambrose to edit the Eisenhower papers, and a number of books on Eisenhower came out of this research . In 1987 Ambrose completed Nixon: The Education of a Politician, the first volume of a biography of Richard M. Nixon. Ambrose is on the faculty of the University of New Orleans and spends his summers in northern Wisconsin.

George Wilbur Peck (1840-1916), newspaperman and humorist, moved to the Whitewater area from New York when he was 3. When he was 15 he worked in the newspaper printing office. He is best known as the creator of Peck's Bad Boy, protagonist of a series of humorous stories which were later collected in a number of volumes. Peck's boyhood home was nearby in the small community of Cold Spring (1-G) north of Whitewater on Hwy. N. (See La Crosse and Milwaukee entries.)





the WLA Literary Award is presented annually to a Wisconsin author for a book published during the previous calendar year which contributes to the world of literature and ideas. The award is made possible through generous contributions to the WLA Foundation. The selection of the award winner is made by the literary awards committee of the Wisconsin Library Association.


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