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

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Current Issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History

Summer 2021, Volume 104, Number 4

Current Issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History | Wisconsin Historical Society
EnlargeCover art from a racing weekend program at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, September 1962

Featured Story

Mr. Road America: How Clif Tufte Changed the Course of Road Racing History

By Bill Povletich

When road racing was banned from Wisconsin’s streets in 1953, it looked like the emerging sport might disappear in the rear-view mirror. Clif Tufte, president of Elkhart Sand and Gravel Company, had a much grander vision. He set out to build what would become one of the most unique and popular racing destinations in the world: Road America, whose serpentine turns and elevation shifts were shaped by the natural kettles and moraines of the region. The first road racing track in the Midwest has since become a national phenomenon, hosting every major North American race series and transforming Elkhart Lake into a tourist destination.


EnlargeViolet Dousman demonstrates the proper way to step up on the scale during a weighing on the East Veranda of Villa Louis, 1898.

Weighing on the Veranda

Violet Dousman demonstrates the proper way to step up on the scale during a weighing on the East Veranda of Villa Louis, 1898. According to family tradition, guests at the family’s estate were weighed at the time of their arrival and at the end of their stay, with the expectation that all would have gained a few pounds from the ample table laid by matriarch Nina Dousman. View the original source document: WHI 3295

The Sumer of '98: Country Visits at Villa Louis

By Mary Elise Antoine

In 1898, the matriarch of the Dousman family issued invitations for the long-awaited events of the summer: extended country visits at the family’s estate at Prairie du Chien, Villa Louis. Since the death of her husband Louis in 1886, Nina Dousman had endeavored to ensure their five children—heirs to the estate of her father-in-law, Hercules Dousman—would retain their place in society. The guest lists for the summer parties, made up of young women from the upper echelons of St. Paul society and young men from the rising professional class, were specifically chosen to complement her two eldest daughters, Violet and Virginia, who were of marriageable age. During two parties in July and August of that year, the young people convened for a week of parlor games, lavish dinners, co-ed fishing expeditions and golf on the lawn—all in hopes that an extended meet-and-mingle might lead to a long-term love match for one of the young Dousmans.


EnlargeCarolyn Dallmann operates the UV/VIS spectrophotometer in the powder lab at the Badger Army Ammunition Plant in the early 1970s

Dallman at Work

Carolyn Dallmann operates the UV/VIS spectrophotometer in the powder lab at the Badger Army Ammunition Plant in the early 1970s. She began working as a technician at the plant in 1966 after it was reactivated for the Vietnam War. BADGER HISTORY GROUP, INC.

A Farm Girl's Summer Job Working with Gunpowder

By Carolyn Schroeder Dallman

Dallman recounts her first three months at Badger Army Ammunition Plant, where she worked at a lab tech testing powder samples during the Vietnam War. When she entered the doors at Badger in the May 1966, little did this farm girl realize she was walking into a career that would span more than three decades.


EnlargeGovernor Julius Heil poses with his Wisconsin-made Nash Ambassador in front of the Wisconsin State Capitol, 1939.

Heil at the Capitol

Governor Julius Heil poses with his Wisconsin-made Nash Ambassador in front of the Wisconsin State Capitol, 1939. View the original source document: WHI 14441

Julius the Just: A Governor Like No Other

By Rachel Cordasco

Julius Heil didn’t just beat Progressive governor Philip La Follette in the 1938 Wisconsin race for governor—he trounced him. When he took office, the industrialist-turned-gladhander promised voters that he would reorganize the government along business lines, not political maneuvering. Indeed, what made Heil attractive to Wisconsin voters was the fact that he didn’t act like a career politician. Called “jolly” and “genial” in the newspapers, Heil embodied the promise of prosperity and rejuvenation. His Horatio Alger–like story, unwavering optimism, and frequent off-color outbursts attracted voters from every party. The pressures of political office, however, along with the increasingly sour coverage of his job by the press and the realignment of political parties in the state, led to Heil’s defeat in 1942.


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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