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Highlights Archives

The Thrill of the Hill: Madison's Soap Box Derby

Soap box derby racer Richard Lerwick, Madison, Wisconsin, 1948 (WHI 53496)
WHI 53496

In its golden age the soap box derby symbolized the best of America, while the boys who raced in it represented a hopeful and productive American future. From 1935 through 1957 boys from the Madison, Wisconsin, area participated in this uniquely American pastime. The Wisconsin State Journal sponsored the local race during this era, and each year the newspaper's photographer, Arthur Vinje, photographed the racers as they prepared and participated in it. This collection of more than 100 images captures the excitement of the derby as he recorded the event year after year and is the subject of the latest Wisconsin Historical Images gallery. Besides the Vinje images, this gallery also includes small collections of photographs and ephemera collected by some of the participants.

Zoom! Whiz! Wow!

Many of these images appear in a temporary exhibit, Zoom! Whiz! Wow! A High-Speed History of Madison's Soap Box Derby at the Wisconsin Historical Museum from July 26 through September 11, 2010, along with cars, trophies and other memorabilia. Visit the museum's visitor information section for complete details on hours, admission, location and parking.

:: Posted July 27, 2010

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