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Highlights Archives

Wisconsin Magazine of History, Spring 2010


President Woodrow Wilson's sheep reduced the need for manpower to mow the lawn and also produced wool.

From keeping the home fires burning during the Civil War to food conservation during World War I and an excerpt from the Society's new book on the Vietnam War, the spring 2010 issue of the "Wisconsin Magazine of History" looks at the effects of war on Wisconsin citizens over the years from many angles. Other articles recount Wisconsin's three-day Sound Storm rock festival in April 1970 and a remarkable high school class yearbook from 1905 that prophesied the careers and various fates of the class members.

Food Will Win the War: Food Conservation in World War I Wisconsin

Author Erika Janik reminds us in "Food Will Win the War" of the importance home gardens were to the war effort during World War I. What for us is a pleasant hobby meant to supplement our larder was, during WWI, an important part of defeating the Central Powers that threatened to overrun Europe. In Wisconsin, the State Council of Defense, chaired by Madisonian, Magnus Swenson, encouraged food conservation, war gardens, efficient home storage to maximize yields and a host of other food-related measures. Woodrow Wilson's newly created Food Administration, led by Herbert Hoover, eventually adopted many of Swenson's ideas on a national scale. In the end, Americans contributed 10 billion pounds of food to the Allies, while in Wisconsin food production increased 25 percent and food consumption dropped 15 percent. Thanks to Wisconsin's own Magnus Swenson and the policies he cultivated, food helped win the war.

Lancaster's Catherine Eaton on the Civil War Home Front

When Wisconsin's men and boys marched away with the Union army during the Civil War, legions of women were left behind to take care of families, farms and businesses while the men were away. In "'When will this horrid war end!': Lancaster's Catharine Eaton on the Civil War Home Front," author James Hibbard tells us her story. Catharine's husband Samuel Eaton was a Congregational minister who had accepted the chaplaincy of the 7th Wisconsin Infantry on July 29, 1862. In her husband's absence, Catharine took on the herculean chores of farm and family while also leading the congregation in all ways aside from the pulpit. Much of the story is told in the letters exchanged between husband and wife during that time.

More Groovy Than Woodstock: The Sound Storm Festival of April 1970

In "More Groovy than Woodstock," author Michael Edmonds takes us back to late April 1970 and the first outdoor rock festival in the Midwest to rival the iconic Woodstock. Planning for the three-day festival in Poynette, Wisconsin, located in rural Columbia County, took five months, and organizers overcame intense local opposition. An appearance by the Grateful Dead was a highlight. Nearly 40 years later, festival participants still remember the experience as one of the best in their lives.

A Pictorial Class Prophecy: Revisiting the Menomonie High School Class of 1905

Ever wonder what happened to that person in your high school class voted most likely to succeed? Or most likely to become a doctor? In 1905 students at Menomonie High School in Dunn County created a facetious yearbook depicting the students in some predicted professions or as the recipients of prognosticated fates. In "A Pictorial Class Prophecy: Revisiting the Menomonie High School Class of 1905," Andrea Rottmann tells us what fates actually befell several members of this class, contrasting the 1905 predictions with the reality of their lives after graduation.

Book Excerpt: 'Vietnam War Stories'

The spring issue of the magazine also features an excerpt from "Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories: Our Veterans Remember," edited by Sarah A. Larsen and Jennifer M. Miller. Forthcoming from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press later in the spring, the book is a collection of reminiscences of Wisconsin veterans of the Vietnam War.

Magazine of History a Member Benefit

The "Wisconsin Magazine of History" is a benefit of Society membership. Individual issues are available through our online store and at bookstores around the state. Don't miss an issue. Sign up for membership today!

:: Posted March 18, 2010

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