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Current Issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History | Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

Current Issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History

Fall 2020, Volume 104, Number 1

Current Issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History | Wisconsin Historical Society
EnlargeFall 2020, Wisconsin History Magazine, All Roads Lead to Pendarvis House, The Truth behind "Tail Gunner" Joe McCarthy, Book Excerpt, Make Way for Liberty

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Wisconsin Magazine of History Cover Image

Edgar Hellum (left) and Bob Neal in front of Polperro, one of the three main buildings that today make up Pendarvis Historic Site, ca. 1940. 

Table of Contents

EnlargeThe 1951 Pendarvis House menu highlighted the restaurant’s specialties: plum preserves, saffron cake, and Cornish pasty. WHI IMAGE ID 99817

Pendarvis House

The 1951 Pendarvis House menu highlighted the restaurant’s specialties: plum preserves, saffron cake, and Cornish pasty. WHI IMAGE ID 99817

All Roads Lead to Pendarvis: Celebrating a Preservation and Culinary Legacy

By Bethany Brander

Fifty years ago this fall, in a little stone cottage built by Cornish immigrants in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, the final meal was served at the famous Pendarvis House restaurant. Business and life partners Bob Neal and Edgar Hellum, who for thirty-five years operated the restaurant on Shake Rag Road, served up their signature pasty meal for the last time. Following the closure of the restaurant, the State of Wisconsin would take over ownership of the property, and in 1971, Pendarvis, would become the sixth Wisconsin Historical Society historic site. The work of Hellum and Neal to preserve the property and provide a unique culinary experience to visitors would be celebrated for decades to come, spotlighting a corner of Wisconsin history not just for this small city fifty miles southwest of Madison but also throughout the region.


EnlargePhotograph of Joseph McCarthy with an aircraft behind him.

Joseph McCarthy

In 1942, Grand Chute, Wisconsin, native Joseph McCarthy secured a commission as a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps. The future senator and infamous author of the anticommunist Red Scare served in the Solomon Islands as an intelligence officer and, as history now proves, an occasional tail gunner. WHI IMAGE ID 23582

The Truth behind "Tailgunner" Joe McCarthy

By Larry Tye

“Tail-Gunner Joe” was the perfect nom de guerre for Outagamie County native Joseph Raymond McCarthy as he launched his first run for statewide office in 1944—casting himself as a World War II warrior fending off Japanese Zeroes as his crew navigated the perilous skies near the Pacific Islands. The battle-tested veteran knew not just how to command attention with his very name, but how to offer up the kind of unflinching, stabilizing leadership that postwar Wisconsin craved. Over time, however, the accolades turned to acid as news venues, including Madison’s Capital Times, indicted McCarthy for “phony war heroism.” Seventy-five years later, it turns out that McCarthy was telling the truth about this formative chapter of his biography. His letters and personal diaries, compiled while he was in the service and under lock and key for sixty years at his alma mater, Marquette University, were made available for the first time to author Larry Tye, who shares the truth behind “Tailgunner Joe” with our readers. The story is adapted from Tye’s book, Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy (Harcourt McMillan, 2020). 


EnlargeA quilt embroidery by Christina Nelson Hanson showcasing patterned cherry trees, birds, and leaves.

Wisconsin-made Quilt

Christina Nelson Hanson made this appliquéd quilt with cherry tree design, based on a quilt design from the 1820s, in Florence County, Wisconsin, ca. 1922. WISCONSIN HISTORICAL MUSEUM 1988.188; PHOTO BY DAVE ERICKSON

Broken Stars & Silk Dreams: Treasured Quilts of Wisconsin

By Leslie Bellais

In this lively and colorful image essay, former WHS textiles and social life curator Leslie Bellais explores the Wisconsin-made quilts in the Society’s collection. Not every quilt collected by the Society came with a history, but for the past thirty-five years, curators have made it a goal to acquire quilts with a clear provenance and a known maker. In Bellais’s words, these quilts “represent Wisconsin women who may not have left the kind of record that could be housed in an archive.” The quilts they left behind show that women desired more than the hard work of housekeeping and child rearing: they wanted to preserve their stories and pass them down. Quilts also reflect their historical moment, and the eight quilts featured here show that Wisconsin women knew what was in style, sometimes by sharing patterns and other times by combing newspapers and magazines for ideas. The collection illustrates that quilting has been a part of the Wisconsin experience since it became a state and continues to be today.


EnlargeJerry Apps and his younger brothers in front of their farmhouse

Jerry Apps and Brothers

Jerry Apps and his younger brothers in front of their farmhouse. JERRY APPS

Pandemic Hope

By Jerry Apps

A beloved Wisconsin author revisits his experience surviving childhood polio in this timely short memoir: “I never knew where I had been exposed to the polio virus, but we knew the disease was in our community. Along with the young neighbor who had died, we knew several other children near Wild Rose had contracted it. Polio brought fear to people of my parents’ generation because it reminded them of the flu pandemic of 1918 that had caused so many deaths around the world.”


A subscription to the Wisconsin Magazine of History is a benefit of membership to the Wisconsin Historical Society. The current issue, described above, will become available in the online archives as soon the next issue is published.

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