Jerry Apps

A Celebrated Rural Storyteller

Award-winning Wisconsin author Jerry Apps has authored more than 40 non-fiction and fiction books, including 12—and counting—with the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

Born and raised on a central Wisconsin farm before electricity, indoor plumbing, and central heating, Apps grew up to become a county extension agent and professor at the University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Madison, Wisconsin.

Since his retirement, he has been writing full-time and has become the subject of several Wisconsin Public Television documentaries, including the Emmy-Award-winning "A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps", based on his Wisconsin Historical Society Press book, "The Quiet Season: Remembering Country Winters".

He is a Wisconsin Academy fellow. He and his wife Ruth split their time between their home in Madison and their farm in Roshara, Wisconsin.

Nonfiction by Jerry Apps

Barns of Wisconsin

by Jerry Apps, with photos by Steve Apps and foreword by Richard (Dick) Cates Jr.

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Award-winning author Jerry Apps shares a unique perspective on the great barns of rural Wisconsin. Digging deep as both an enthusiast and a farmer, Apps reaps a story of change: from the earliest pioneer structures to the low steel buildings of modern dairy farms, barns have adapted to meet the needs of each generation.

Garden Wisdom: Lessons Learned from 60 Years of Gardening

by Jerry Apps, with photos by Steve Apps and recipes by Ruth Apps

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Step into the garden with writer and rural historian Jerry Apps in this treasure trove of tips, recollections, and recipes.

Horse-Drawn Days

by Jerry Apps

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Before tractors or steam engines arrived on the farm, horses did all the heavy work. In this book, author Jerry Apps captures stories of rural life at a time when a team of horses was a vital part of the farm family.

Limping Through Life

by Jerry Apps

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"Families throughout the United States lived in fear of polio throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s, and now the disease had come to our farm. I can still remember that short winter day and the chilly night when I first showed symptoms. My life would never be the same." – from the Introduction

Never Curse the Rain: A Farm Boy's Reflections on Water

by Jerry Apps

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Jerry Apps shares his memories of water, from its importance to crops and cattle to its many recreational uses -- fishing trips, canoe journeys, and the simple pleasures of an afternoon spent dreaming in the haymow as the rain patters on a barn roof.

Old Farm: A History

by Jerry Apps, with photos by Steve Apps

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One of the Midwest's best-loved authors tells the story of his land, from the last great glacier that dug out its valleys and formed its hills, to his own family's 40 year relationship with the beloved farm they call Roshara.

One-Room Country Schools: History and Recollections

by Jerry Apps

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Jerry Apps relays one-room school history through his own vivid recollections, along with the stories told to him by some of the countless students and teachers who populated small country schoolhouses across Wisconsin.

The Quiet Season: Remembering Country Winters

By Jerry Apps

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"The frost-covered windows in my bedroom, the frigid walks to the country school, the excitement of a blizzard..." – from the Introduction

Ringlingville USA: The Stupendous Story of Seven Siblings and Their Stunning Circus Success

By Jerry Apps

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In this biography of one of the state's most famous enterprises, Jerry Apps chronicles the brothers' journey from immigrant poverty to enduring glory as the kings of the circus world.

Roshara Journal: Chronicling Four Seasons, Fifty Years, and 120 Acres

By Jerry Apps

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Celebrated rural storyteller Jerry Apps chronicles the story of his own family's love affair with their small Midwestern farm in this photographic diary of "Roshara" and the Apps family that has made it a home. Beautiful photos by award-winning photo journalist Steven Apps paint Apps's prose in breathtaking color from season to season.

Whispers & Shadows: A Naturalist's Memoir

By Jerry Apps

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Jerry Apps explores such topics as the human need for wilderness, rediscovering a sense of wonder, and how his father's advice to "listen for the whispers" and "look in the shadows" helped him learn and practice nature's deepest lessons.

Wisconsin Agriculture: A History

By Jerry Apps

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Former agriculture professor and UW extension agent Jerry Apps recounts the history of Wisconsin's agriculture from pre-settlement days to modern times.

Nonfiction Biographies for Young Readers by Jerry Apps

Casper Jaggi: Master Swiss Cheese Maker

By Jerry Apps

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Have you ever wondered why Swiss cheese has holes? Find out in this story about a Wisconsin Swiss cheese maker.

Tents, Tigers and the Ringling Brothers

By Jerry Apps

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This addition to the Badger Biographies series for young readers features the story of the seven Ringling brothers of circus fame.

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One Room Schools: Stories from the Days of 1 Room, 1 Teacher, 8 Grades

By Susan Apps-Bodily

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What was it like to attend a one-room school, to be in the same classroom as your older brother or younger sister, or to have your teacher live with your family for part of the school year? In "One Room Schools," Susan Apps-Bodilly chronicles life in Wisconsin's early country schools, detailing the experiences of the students, the role of the teacher, and examples of the curriculum, including the importance of Wisconsin School of the Air radio programs.