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On This Day: May 29

1848 - Wisconsin Enters the Union

On this date Wisconsin became the 30th state to enter the Union with an area of 56,154 square miles, comprising 1/56 of the United States at the time. Its nickname, the "Badger State," was not in reference to the fierce animal but miners who spent their winters in the state, living in dugouts and burrowing much like a badger. [Source: "B" Book I, Beer Bottles, Brawls, Boards, Brothels, Bibles, Battles & Brownstone by Tony Woiak, pg. 37]

1857 - Charles Richard Van Hise Born

On this date Charles Van Hise was born on a farm in Fulton, Wisconsin. His family moved to the village of Milton. He attended high school and the seminary at Evansville and entered the UW in 1874, graduating in 1879. Van Hise graduated from the Metallurgical Engineering Course with a B.S. in 1880, M.S. in 1882, and finally Ph.D. in 1892. He joined the faculty of UW immediately and became president of the UW in 1903. During his tenure, he worked to expand the university's research and extension programs and increase enrollment. As a geologist, Van Hise conducted basic geological studies of the Precambrian (570,000,000 to 4,600,000,000 years ago) formations of the Lake Superior region, particularly the iron ores in these formations. Van Hise is credited with publishing the first textbook on conservation in the United States. Van Hise died on November 19, 1918 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. [Source: Wisconsin Electronic Reader]

1860 - Clarence Shaler Born

On this date inventor and artist Clarence Shaler was born in Green Lake County, Wisconsin. Shaler's more notable inventions include a reparable umbrella and vulcanized rubber. He is also known for his sculptures found all over Wisconsin, Florida, and California. [Source: Badger Saints & Sinners; Fred L. Holmes; E.M. Hale & Company; Milwaukee, 1939]

1864 - (Civil War) Second day of battle at Bethesda Church, Virginia

The Battle of Bethesda Church (also called Totopotomoy Creek), Virginia, was part of the Wilderness Campaign. On this day, the Wisconsin 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 36th Infantry regiments provided support to the front, however, they were not in the thick of the fighting.

1895 - First Library in Oshkosh

On this date a free public library for Oshkosh was approved by referendum. The library was opened in a room in City Hall on April 1, 1896. A permanent structure was to be built using a combination of private and public funds. The estate of Mr. Marshall Harris, a prominent Oshkosh lumberman, and his wife provided the major gift of $75,000. His widow, Abbie Danforth Harris, who died in 1895, used her will to create a trust fund for library construction and operation. [Source: Oshkosh Public Library]

1896 - Sister Augustine Scheele Born

On this date Sister Augustine Scheele, baptized Marie Ann Scheele, was born in Milwaukee. Scheele graduated from Holy Angels Academy, continued her education at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and received her doctorate from Marquette University. Scheele was influential in the 1936 accreditation of Alverno Teachers College. She served as the first nun on the board of the National Council on the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Under her guidance, Alverno College produced a number of teachers for Catholic and public schools alike. After World War II Sister Augustine led the merger of three separately incorporated institutions - Alverno Teachers College, Sacred Heart School of Nursing and Alverno College of Music - into the new Alverno College. Sister Augustine Scheele died on March 3, 1982.

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