Wisconsin Historical Society

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Current Issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History

Summer 2018, Volume 101, Number 4

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

Table of Contents

EnlargeWMH, Wisconsin Magazine of History, Summer 2018

Max Fernekes, detail of Shake Rag Street Looking Southwest, ca. 1950, watercolor with crayon, 9 by 13½ inches. COLLECTION OF CLIFF AND MICHELE KRAINIK

Max and Ava Fernekes: A Duet in Paint and Clay

By Cliff Krainik

Married Wisconsin artists with vastly different approaches, Max and Ava Fernekes created important visual legacies of their Mineral Point community. The story of Max and Ava's diverse artistic careers and their struggle for economic survival begins in Milwaukee and unfolds in rural southwest Wisconsin. At its heart is their determination to pursue an independent lifestyle financed solely through the sale of their art. The couple restored an old stone home in historic Mineral Point and became much admired members of their community. Max painted a beautifully crafted record of the old lead region, while Ava's expressions in pottery and print have given many generations a whimsical view of decorative art. Together, they founded the thriving Mineral Point arts colony, and by example inspired other artists to follow their dreams.


EnlargeWebb Booster Poster

Score book from the 1951 Superior Blues. COURTESY OF GARY ANDROSKY

The Baseball Blues: Minor League Baseball's Struggle for Survival in Superior

By Daryl Webb

Over the course of the Great Depression, the minor league Superior Blues of Superior, Wisconsin, faced constant financial struggles and changed ownership three times. Despite the team’s lack of stability, the team’s officials found ways to keep the team operating. By following national sports management trends, creative business practices, and generating community support, Bill Berg and other Superior businessmen created a sustainable model for maintaining minor league baseball in Superior. The story of this little known team in Wisconsin provides a new look into sports and entertainment history in Wisconsin from the 1930s to the 1950s.


EnlargeRufus King Jr. seated in Uniform

Rufus King Jr., seated in uniform, ca. early 1860s. View the original source document: WHI 137897

A Yankee Whig in Milwaukee: Rufus King, Jr. and the City's First Public Schools

By Kyle P. Steele

All told, Rufus King Jr.’s time in Milwaukee was relatively short, lasting from only 1845 to 1861. Yet his efforts in shaping the foundations of the city, which was granted its municipal charter in 1846, were significant. This is particularly true of his work developing Milwaukee’s first public, or “common,” school system, where his mark is still visible in the schools and streets that bear his name. King’s efforts were informed by a strong Whig ideology that he hoped would knit the expanding nation together—economically and culturally—through railroads, canals, newspapers, and, at last, government-sponsored, tax-supported schools.


EnlargeHide Cellar in Kenosha

A hide cellar at the N. R. Allen Sons Tannery in Kenosha, ca. 1910. The tannery received 1,500 hides per day and stored 150,000 to 180,000 to be sorted and delivered to the beam houses, where they would be cleaned before tanning. KENOSHA HISTORICAL SOCIETY

"The World Walked on Milwaukee Leather": Hemlock and Wisconsin's Tanning Industry

By John Bates

The importance of leather tanneries in Wisconsin’s history of settlement, and their impact on vast acreages of hemlock forests, is an untold story, one that arguably rivals that of the logging industry and white pine. Tanneries spawned whole towns around them, because tanneries required blacksmiths, carpenters, bark cutters, sawyers, lumberjacks, farriers, and a wealth of other professionals. By the turn of the twentieth century, Milwaukee led the world in plain leather manufacture, employing many thousands of people. But the tanneries were ephemeral, reaching their heyday in the 1890s and failing by the early 1920s. Their impact on eastern hemlock trees, once the second most abundant tree in Wisconsin’s North Woods, was vast, one from which hemlock never recovered.


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