Current Issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History
Summer 2014 Issue, Volume 97, Number 4
The featured story in this issue is "'Bold (Not to Say Crazy)': Collecting Civil Rights Manuscripts During the 1960s" by Michael Edmonds.
Freedom Summer Volunteer Mimi Feingold, 1961
Jackson, Mississippi. Mimi Feingold's mug shot.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, a watershed period for the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Until the 1960s, laws in many states kept African Americans apart from whites in neighborhoods, schools and jobs. White community leaders made sure that black people had the lowest wages, worst schools, poorest housing and harshest lives. Black citizens who challenged the system were often fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, beaten, jailed, tortured and even killed. Mississippi was the worst example — three young volunteers were murdered there on the very first day of the voter registration effort by civil rights workers.
The Wisconsin Historical Society owns one of the finest collections in the nation documenting the events of Freedom Summer, ranging from 150 boxes of records from the Congress of Racial Equality to single folders donated by individuals. It may seem odd that this national treasure is in Wisconsin rather than Washington, DC. It's because a group of student workers, with the support of Wisconsin Historical Society director, Leslie H. Fishel, Jr., decided to put their lives on the line to save these irreplaceable records. Without their efforts, documentation of the events that took place might have been lost to us today.
Table of Contents
Aerial view of the Wisconsin pavilion.
"The Space Age Journey of Wisconsin's 1964 World’s Fair Pavilion"
By Jim Draeger and Daina Penkiunas
Architect John Steinman of Monticello, Wisconsin, created the original design for Wisconsin's iconic contribution to the 1964 New York World's Fair. The impressive pavilion building's rotunda featured displays that highlighted Wisconsin history, including universities; highways; conservation; natural resource development; recreation; the aeronautic industry; and the agricultural and dairy industries. Steinmann's innovative space-age design worked well within the forward-looking aesthetic of the fair, and Pruden Steel Buildings in Evansville provided the materials for construction that ensured Wisconsin would not miss the opportunity to participate. Thirteen million people visited the Wisconsin Pavilion during the two years of the Fair and at the end of 1965. Central Wisconsin Broadcasting Inc. purchased the building parts and had the structure reconstructed alongside U.S. Highway 10 in Neillsville, Wisconsin. Today the Wisconsin Pavilion is owned, operated and maintained by the same family that owns WCCN FM/AM.
Frank G. Lenz, 1894
Tabriz, Persia. The last known photo taken of Frank G. Lenz.
"A Wheelman's Passing: Frank Lenz's Memorable Ride Across Wisconsin in 1892"
By David V. Herlihy
Famed cyclist Frank Lenz's attempt to bicycle around the world brought him to the state of Wisconsin in 1892. That spring, Secretary of Agriculture Jeremiah McClain Rusk received a letter from an old friend and the publisher of Outing Magazine in New York. He had written to ask Rusk to receive Lenz in Wisconsin. Rusk could also help with a passport and official letters of introduction and, as a sports enthusiast, he was happy to do it. Lenz was already widely known for his mastery of the old "high-wheeler" and was attempting to ride around the world with his first bicycle. As he traveled across the US, entering Wisconsin marked something of a turning point in his young adventure. He knew that his ride to date had been over the well-trod roads of the populous East, never far from civilization. But soon Wisconsin would deliver his first real taste of wilderness and adventure.
"A Vision in Watercolor: Paul Seifert's Folk Art Farmscapes"
By Joseph Kapler
Residence of Mr. Martin Lutscher, ca.1885
Town Honey Creek, Wisconsin.
German immigrant Paul Seifert (1846-1921) arrived in Wisconsin in 1867 and fell in love with the landscape of his new home. Seifert is best known for his watercolor farm paintings, which are highly desirable among national art collectors. He lived in the Driftless area and painted scenes of natural beauty including the distinctive wooded and rocky bluffs along with scenes of ordered farms detailed with homes, barns, barnyards, orchards and fields. Siefert's paintings are on exhibit at the Wisconsin Historical Museum through August 30, 2014.
"Studying Wisconsin: The Life of Increase Lapham"
Curiosity and discipline marked the life of Increase Allan Lapham (1811 – 1875), Wisconsin’s pioneer citizen-scientist. His ability to observe, understand and meticulously catalog the natural world marked all of his work. He identified and preserved thousands of botanical specimens, was the first to map and survey Wisconsin's effigy mounds, and was a force behind the creation of the National Weather Service. With his indefatigable pursuit of knowledge, he brought the new state of Wisconsin to the attention of the national scientific community.
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