Letters from Milwaukee in its infancy, 1836-1846
Letters written by Increase A. Lapham, 1836-1846
Lapham (1811-1875) first came to Milwaukee in 1836. A self-educated engineer and scientist, he wrote the first book published in Wisconsin, made the first accurate maps of the state, investigated Wisconsin's effigy mounds, native trees and grasses, climatic patterns and geology, and helped found many of the schools, colleges and other cultural institutions that still enrich the state today. Two decades after his death, his family edited these 28 letters for publication in the Milwaukee Sentinel. Written to his brother in Cincinnati, they reveal many fascinating details about the growth of Wisconsin's largest city, from a village of 50 houses in 1836 to a bustling metropolis of thousands a decade later. Most of Lapham's other letters are among his papers at the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives.