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Odd Wisconsin Archives: Children

Thanksgiving Thoughts of a Railroad Worker

In the mid-1850s, railroads spread rapidly across the Wisconsin. A line built from Milwaukee to Waukesha in 1851 was extended to Madison in 1854 and reached the Mississippi three years later. But then disaster struck -- a banking crisis called the Panic of 1857, killed investment, and the brakes were slammed on railroad construction. Poverty beside the Tracks The workers... :: Posted on November 17, 2011

Toddler Survived Scalping in 1827

By the summer of 1827, Ho-Chunk leaders had become alarmed at the number of white squatters on their lands. An 1825 treaty had drawn boundaries to keep settlers and native peoples apart, but for two years lead miners had ignored it and streamed into territory reserved for the tribe. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs estimated that by 1827 2,000 whites... :: Posted on December 14, 2009

Civil War Youngsters

William DeSteese of Fond du Lac County enlisted in the Union Army in the spring of 1864, one month shy of his 14th birthday. In this short memoir (from Turning Points in Wisconsin History), he recalls sneaking out of camp in Virginia with other young soldiers to call on President Lincoln. The youngest woman from Wisconsin in the war was... :: Posted on October 16, 2008

John Muir, Out-of-Touch Father

John Muir (1838-1914) was a rebellious child. When he grew up and had kids himself, they gave him a taste of his own medicine. His father was obsessively severe, and the young Muir was unusually creative. A clash between the generations in the Muir home was probably inevitable. But when at the end of his life Muir pilloried the old... :: Posted on October 22, 2007

Add One Baby and Stir

Almost every day we add a dozen or two new photographs to our online collection, Wisconsin Historical Images. This means that peculiar pictures are published online fairly frequently. One can only wonder, for instance, what made this toddler's parents pose it in a mixing bowl. Or why Gov. Emanuel Philipp would have thought it politically wise to have his picture... :: Posted on February 28, 2007

Where Are They Today?

It's October, the month when pumpkins are harvested, sold for jack o'lanterns, paddled in Lake Mendota (really), and made into pies. These Madison kindergarteners making their first pumpkin pie at Dudgeon School in 1954 are identifed in the caption, but where are they today? They would be in their mid-fifties, presumably, and probably have better taste in hats. Keep up... :: Posted on October 7, 2005

Little House on the TV

This weekend Disney subsidiary ABC is airing the latest in a long series of films and television shows based on the famous Laura Ingalls Wilder novels. Most of these have simultaneously sentimentalized frontier life and childhood, so itís always a good tonic to return to original sources for a clearer view. Just the subtitle of this article about pioneer mothers... :: Posted on March 25, 2005

Reading, Writing, and Failing

This past weekend governors from 45 of the 50 U.S. states met to discuss the nationís ineffective high schools. Only 18% of ninth graders have actually finished college after six more years, and while American fourth graders score among the top ranks of industrialized nations on standard tests, our high school students finish at the bottom. Maybe our schools need... :: Posted on February 27, 2005

Famous Footwear

Dateline: Wilmington, Del., Oct. 27, 1938. On this date, the Du Pont corporation announced the invention of nylon, a textile fabric that so widely used for women's stockings that it became synonymous with them. What did people wear on their feet and legs before synthetics? These images from our Museum's online Children's Clothing Collection show some of the choices. Browse... :: Posted on October 26, 2004

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