Top 10 Objects
Acquired for the State History Collection
From Paul Bourcier, Chief Curator of the Museum
Dining Chair, 2004.10.1a-c
Designed c. 1937 by Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) for the dining room of Taliesin West. The chair resided in Taliesin West until the furniture was replaced. It was then used in the Wisconsin cabin of James Lloyd Jones. Later, the cabin was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. John R. Howe and the chair was reupholstered by Mrs. Howe.
Donated with a matching ottoman by Lu Sparks Howe.
Given Wright's importance in the history of architecture
and design and the fact that Wisconsin was his home,
Wright furnishings have a special place in the museum's
collections. The chair and ottoman join several other
Museum pieces in documenting the products of Wright's
Fair Ribbon Quilt, 2004.12.1
Made by the donor's great aunt Elizabeth (Meibohn)
Milward, of Madison from about 250
ribbons won by Elizabeth's husband William Henry
Milward for his fruits, flowers, and
poultry between 1908 and 1934. Several ribbons
are from the Wisconsin State Fair, others are from
agricultural fairs around the state (including
Sheboygan, Madison, Milwaukee, and Fort Atkinson)
and from around the Midwest (including the Chicago
1933 World's Fair). The Milwards owned the Coney
Weston Farm on Odana Road. In January 1935 The
Capital Times featured an Angus McVicar photograph
of William Milward with the quilt. The quilt was
exhibited at the Adult Hobby show in the YMCA on
January 18, 1935.
Donated by Charlotte Larsen.
This artifact is extremely interesting, not only from the standpoint of quilt design, but also as documentation of regional agricultural fairs of the early 20th century.
Electric Drink Mixer, 2004.18.1a-b
Manufactured by Wisconsin Electric Co. of Racine
between 1921 and 1928. The word "Horlick's" on
its base refers to the Horlick's Malted Milk
Co. of Racine, though the nature of the business
relationship between the companies is unknown.
Wisconsin Electric was founded in 1913 by Chester
Beach and Louis Hamilton, who had previously
helped found the Hamilton Beach Manufacturing
Co. of Racine. According to legend, Hamilton
Beach developed the first
practical electric drink mixer in 1911 at the
urging of William Horlick. Hamilton and Beach
may have approached Horlick with a joint promotional
The object helps document one of Wisconsin's many
contributions to national culture — the related
inventions of the electric mixer and the malted,
as well as the relationship between noteworthy
Racine manufacturers Horlick, Hamilton and Beach.
This mixer is also an early product of Wisconsin's
significant small appliance industry.
Worn by noted suffragist and peace activist Jessie
Annette (Jack) Hooper (1865-1935) of Oshkosh,
who served as recording secretary of the National
Committee on the Cause and Cure of War. The Committee
held an annual conference most years from 1925
through 1940, and Hooper was the chair of the Committee
delegation that took petitions to the World Disarmament
Conference at Geneva in 1932. Hooper may have worn
this sash to one or more of these conferences between
1925 and 1935.
Donated by Lois Van Valkenburgh (transfer from Archives)
This artifact is associated not only with a significant Wisconsin suffragist, but also with the important efforts of Wisconsinites in peace activism in the early 20th century.
Top Hat, 2004.28.1.1
Worn by Francis Edward McGovern (1866-1946) at his
inauguration as Wisconsin governor in 1911.
Donated by James H. van Wagenen
The museum received not only the hat, but also
the frock coat and cane used by McGovern at his
inauguration. These items join a small collection
of clothing associated with the ceremonies and
balls held in honor of the installation of the
Seder Plate, 2004.35.1
Used in the 1960s by the Norton and Lois Stoler family of Madison to help celebrate Passover.
Donated by Lois Stoler.
The museum acquired this plate after
hosting the traveling exhibition, "Unpacking
on the Prairie: Jewish Women in the Upper Midwest." The
exhibition focused attention on documenting Wisconsin
Designed by renowned Ho-Chunk artist Truman Lowe
beginning in November 2002 to honor
the September 21, 2004, opening of the National
Museum of the American Indian. The blanket design
is based on the applique ribbonwork patterns
of Lowe's mother, Mabel Davis Lowe,
and is titled "Sauninga" ("The
Shining One" in Ho-Chunk), which was Mabel
Davis Lowe's given Indian name. The blanket was
manufactured in 2003 by Pendleton Woolen Mills
of Portland, Oregon, which called this a "Ribbon
Robe," product #ZR495-50579. It was one
of 1,000 produced in the "Special Charter
Member Edition." Pendleton was the first
U.S. manufacturer to specialize in American Indian
blankets, and the only one producing them after
World War II. Today, Native Americans account
for more than 50 percent of all trade blanket
purchases in the U.S.
Donated by Robert A. Birmingham.
The design of this blanket not only represents
the work of a well-known Ho-Chunk artist, but also
draws its inspiration from the designs of a ribbon
artist whose work is already in the Museum's collection.
Cheese Kettle, 2004.64.1
Made by D. Picking & Co. of Bucyrus, Ohio,
and used by donor's parents, Ernest Albert
and Hulda Hilfiker, to make Swiss cheese. Ernest
and Hulda owned and operated the Tuscobia cheese
factory north of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, from 1942
to 1984. Ernest was born in Boswil, Switzerland,
and emigrated to the United States in 1924. He
operated several cheese factories in Monroe,
Wisconsin, before buying the Tuscobia plant in
Donated by Mary Hilfiker.
This kettle documents the contributions of immigrants
to Wisconsin's culture and cuisine. It also embodies
a time when every village in Wisconsin had its
own cheese factory, producing small batches of
cheese from local milk. Given the importance of
the cheese industry in the state, this artifact
is an important addition to the collection.
Wedding Suit, 2004.97.1a-b
Worn by donor's maternal grandmother Emma (Ketel)
Gallagher at her wedding on September
4, 1901, in Neillsville, Wisconsin.
Emma was born August 1873, probably in Neillsville,
the daughter of William Ketel,
a stone mason, and Matilda Miller/Mueller. Emma
married David Gallagher, a lumberman.
The donor describes them as extremely poor. In
the 1900 census Emma and her mother were both listed
as seamstresses, so they would have made the dress.
Donated by Jean Ellarson.
Many of the wedding garments in the museum's collection
were worn by middle-class women, but this one was
worn by someone considered to be poor. The Museum
also has examples of the bride's embroidery (the
making of which supplemented her husband's income),
a price sample piece, and a photograph of her at
work on her embroidery.
Bronze Plaque, 2004.119.1
Designed by nationally known sculptor Rene Paul Chambellan (1893-1955) and made c. 1946-47 for the Ripon Knitting Works of Ripon, Wisconsin. The plaque was made to commemorate the plant's earning the Army-Navy "E" award for excellence in war production during World War II.
The plaque's low-relief Art Deco design shows
an array of ships, planes, armaments, factories,
and farms that epitomize the "arsenal of democracy" image
prevalent during World War II. More specifically,
the plaque demonstrates the important contributions
of small-town Wisconsin residents to the United
States' successful war effort.