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Book Profiles State's First Public School Teacher


School and church, from a drawing by Johann B. Wengler, an Austrian traveler in Nashotah, Wisconsin, circa 1851.
WHI 41576

In 1828 Wisconsin's first public school teacher went to work in a log building near present-day Kaukauna. She was a Stockbridge Indian and taught the children of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians as well as the sons and daughters of nearby white settlers and missionaries. This March the Wisconsin Historical Society Press tells her interesting and inspiring story in a biography for young readers, 'Electa Quinney: Stockbridge Teacher' by Karyn Saemann, a new addition to the Society Press' Badger Biographies Series.

Coming to Wisconsin

The cover of "Electa Quinney: Stockbridge Teacher"
Electa Quinney grew up in New York, where she attended boarding schools and began teaching. In 1828, when the government and white settlers forced her tribe to resettle to Wisconsin, Quinney moved to the Fox River area on the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago. Almost as soon as Quinney arrived in Wisconsin, she began teaching and became the state's first public school teacher. The story of her life and lifelong love of learning — from Wisconsin to Missouri, Oklahoma and back again — provides a detailed window into pioneer Wisconsin and documents the challenges and issues faced by American Indians, and women, in the 19th century.

Electa Quinney's Legacy

Quinney was a well-known and respected teacher in her lifetime, and her legacy remains strong in Wisconsin education today. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Electa Quinney Institute for American Indian Education is named in her honor, as is a grade school in Kaukauna.

"Electa Quinney: Stockbridge Teacher" is also available in e-book formats from a variety of e-book vendors.

About the Author

Karyn Saemann is a former newspaper reporter and editor who works as a freelance writer, editor and reviewer. She and her husband, whose family are enrolled members of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, live in Deerfield, Wisconsin, with their two children.

:: Posted February 20, 2014

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