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Highlights Archives

Fox Cities Book Festival, April 17, 2010


The Grand Opera House in Oshkosh

Wisconsin Historical Society Press authors and Society staff will play a prominent role in the Fox Cities Book Festival in Appleton on Saturday, April 17. They will give presentations on three Society books, "Out of the Northwoods: The Many Lives of Paul Bunyan," "People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin's Love Affair with an Ancient Fish," and "Encore! The Renaissance of Wisconsin Opera Houses." All three presentations will take place at The History Museum at the Castle, 330 East College Avenue.

Tracing Paul Bunyan's Wisconsin Roots

At 11 am, Michael Edmonds, author of "Out of the Northwoods," will share authentic Paul Bunyan stories, reveal new evidence placing the legend's origins in Wisconsin, and explain how mass media moved Paul Bunyan out of the forest and into print. By sifting through the unpublished manuscripts of early editors of the tales, Edmonds unearths dozens of Bunyan stories told aloud by lumberjacks between 1885 and 1915. Edmonds recounts a saga of lies, hoaxes, thefts and greed that transformed the private jokes of working-class loggers into mass-market picture books for toddlers.

Documenting the History and Culture of Sturgeon Spearing

Kathleen Schmitt Kline, co-author of "People of the Sturgeon," will follow Edmonds at noon. Kline will discuss the history and culture surrounding sturgeon spearing on Lake Winnebago. "People of the Sturgeon" tells the story of a century's worth of dedicated work and careful management that has made Lake Winnebago's lake sturgeon population, which once teetered on the edge of extinction, the world's largest and healthiest. Weaving together many local stories and examining the sturgeon's profound cultural impact, the book reveals how a diverse group of people are now joined together as "people of the sturgeon."

Chronicling the History of 10 Wisconsin Opera Houses

At 1 pm, Society architectural historian Jim Draeger will explore the history of opera houses in Wisconsin, including the 10 featured in "Encore! The Renaissance of Wisconsin Opera Houses." "Encore!" chronicles the histories of 10 Wisconsin opera houses and theaters, including the Grand Opera House in Oshkosh, pictured above, from their heydays as live performance spaces, through the periods when many of these stages went dark, to the restoration of these architectural gems prompted by concerned community members.

Held in a variety of venues throughout the Fox Cities communities, and coinciding with National Library Week and National Poetry Month, the Fox Cities Book Festival brings noted national, state and local authors to share their works through readings, panels, workshops, school programs and conversations, raising their appreciation for one another and the pure joy of reading.

:: Posted April 14, 2010

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