In the mid-nineteenth century the Wisconsin Historical Society's first director, Lyman C. Draper, gathered outstanding materials such as the Daniel Boone papers, which include Draper's interviews with Boone's son, and the papers of Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark. These two collections alone are of vast significance to frontier history before 1830, but the full collection comprises nearly five hundred volumes of records, including military and government records, interviews, Draper's own research notes, and rare personal letters. For scholars, genealogists, and local historians, the Draper papers offer a wealth of information on the social, economic, and cultural conditions experienced by our frontier forebears. The 180-page index lists thousands of names and is an indispensable guide for all who wish to use the collection, which is available in libraries across the country on microfilm.
Josephine L. Harper earned master's and doctorate degrees in American history at the University of Illinois-Urbana, where she studied under the noted Lincoln scholar James G. Randall. From January 1948 until her retirement in June 1983, she was a reference archivist and departmental editor at the Wisconsin Historical Society, where she compiled several published guides to the Society's manuscript collections. She died in July 2003.