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Speakers Bureau

The Wisconsin Historical Society Press authors are a unique and diverse group of people from all walks of life, from an arborist, to a women's studies director to a folk storyteller.

The Wisconsin Historical Society Press Speakers Bureau represents an exciting opportunity for one or more of our authors to speak in your community. Invite a historian to your organization's next event and you'll hear from some of the state's foremost authorities on Wisconsin history, including:

  • Sports
  • Native American history
  • Early immigration history
  • Military history
  • Women's history
  • Environmental issues
  • Topics of interest to kids

Our authors travel statewide to speak at local historical societies, public libraries and other community venues. Many of our speakers require a fee, so please keep this in mind as you are planning your event.

For more information on the Wisconsin Historical Society Press Speakers Bureau, contact the Press by email or 608-264-6465. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to host a member of the Speakers Bureau in your community!

Speakers Bureau Members

Terese Allen, a Wisconsin native and former chef, has written several books on Wisconsin's food traditions, including The Flavor of Wisconsin: An Informal History of Food and Eating in the Badger State (co-author), "Wisconsin's Hometown Flavors" and "Cafe Wisconsin Cookbook." A food columnist for Madison's "Isthmus" newspaper and a former contributing editor of "Wisconsin Trails" magazine, Terese is also food editor for Organic Valley, the country's largest organic farmers' cooperative.

Topic: Cooking and food history


R. Bruce Allison is an arborist in Madison, WI. He holds a masters of science in forestry and a Ph.D. in land resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has served as the president of the Wisconsin Arborist Association and as chairman of the Dane County Tree Board and Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council. He is the author of several books and articles about trees, including a revision of "Wisconsin's Champion Trees: A Tree Hunter's Guide," Every Root an Anchor: Wisconsin's Famous and Historic Trees and If Trees Could Talk: Stories About Wisconsin Trees.

Topic: Trees and environmental history


Candice Andrews is a former screenwriter for Paramount Pictures and now specializes in nature and travel writing. Her most recent book, Beyond the Trees: Stories of Wisconsin Forests, explores the diversity of Wisconsin's state and national forests. She lives in Sun Prairie.

Topic: Environment and nature


Jerry Apps is the author of Old Farm: A History and Ringlingville USA: The Stupendous Story of Seven Siblings and Their Stunning Circus Success, as well as more than 35 books on Wisconsin and U.S. history. He has won numerous awards for his writing. Jerry splits his time between his home in Madison and his farm, Roshara, in Wild Rose, WI.

Topic: Agriculture and farming life


Brett Barker is assistant professor of history at University of Wisconsin-Marathon County and is the author of Exploring Civil War Wisconsin: A Survival Guide for Researchers, published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. His research interests include the northern home front during the Civil War and Wisconsin history.

Topic: Civil War history


Robert Birmingham is the former Wisconsin State Archaeologist (1989-2004) at the Wisconsin Historical Society and the author and editor of many publications on Wisconsin archaeology, including Aztalan: Mysteries of an Ancient Indian Town. He is the senior editor of the Wisconsin Archeological Society special volumes "Wisconsin Rock Art" and "Wisconsin Archaeology." He is also the recipient of the Wisconsin Archeological Society's Increase Lapham research medal for outstanding contributions to the field of archaeology. He now teaches anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha and writes from his home in Madison, WI.

Topic: Archaeology


Shelia Cohen is author of Gaylord Nelson: Champion for our Earth and Mai Ya's Long Journey. Sheila became an ESL teacher in the late 1970s, just as a group of Hmong families began to arrive in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. She is presently on the Board of Directors of the United Refugee Services of Wisconsin and works as a freelance writer. She lives in Madison, WI.

Topic: Environment and immigration


Keith Crowley, author of Gordon MacQuarrie: The Story of an Old Duck Hunter, has written for "Sporting Classics," "Wisconsin Outdoor Journal," "Wisconsin Sportsman," "Minnesota Sportsman," "Rocky Mountain Game & Fish," and "Florida Game & Fish." He lives in Hudson, WI.

Topic: Outdoor sports


Jim Draeger is the co-author of Fill 'er Up: The Glory Days of Wisconsin Gas Stations and has worked in the field of historic preservation and architecture at the Wisconsin Historical Society for more than 20 years. From roadside architecture to Northwoods resorts, Jim celebrates the importance of ordinary buildings to our daily lives through his research, writing, and lectures.

Topic: Historic preservation and architecture


Terry Frei is the author of Third Down and a War to Go and son of 1942 Badgers guard Jerry Frei, a decorated WWII P-38 fighter pilot. After his father's death, Terry set out to learn about the men in the team picture that hung in a place of honor in his father's den. Terry is a reporter and columnist for ESPN.com and "The Denver Post." He lives in Denver.

Topic: Sports and World War II


John Gurda is a Milwaukee-born writer and historian who has been studying his hometown since 1972. He is the author of Cream City Chronicles: Stories of Milwaukee's Past, which is among 19 books he's authored on the history of Milwaukee-area neighborhoods, industries, and places of worship. "The Making of Milwaukee," John's most ambitious effort, documents the first full-length history of Milwaukee published since 1948 in 450 pages and over 500 illustrations. Milwaukee Public Television created an Emmy Award-winning documentary series based on the book in 2006. In addition to his work as an author, John is a lecturer, tour guide, and local history columnist for the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel." He holds a B.A. in English from Boston College and an M.A. in Cultural Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Topic: Milwaukee history and culture


Richard Carlton Haney, author of 'When is Daddy Coming Home?' An American Family During World War II, earned his Ph.D. in history from UW-Madison and later graduated from West Point's post-doctoral military history program and the Army's National Security Seminar at Carlisle Barracks. He is a professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he has received teaching excellence awards by Students for an Accessible Society.

Topic: World War II


Erika Janik is author of A Short History of Wisconsin and Odd Wisconsin: Amusing,Perplexing, and Unlikely Stories of Wisconsin's Past. Her work has appeared in "Midwest Living," "MyMidwest," "Wisconsin Trails," the "Wisconsin State Journal," "Wisconsin Magazine of History," and "The Onion." Originally from Redmond, WA, she now lives in Madison, WI.

Topic: Wisconsin history and people


Ed Janus spent two years as a dairy farmer in Crawford County, Wisconsin, where he fell in love with cows, fields, barns, and farmers. In 2007, Ed created a series of audio profiles of today's dairy farmers and cheesemakers for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, and he recently founded the Wisconsin Dairy History Project. His recent book, Creating Dairyland explores the history of dairying in Wisconsin and introduces us to dairy farmers and cheesemakers of today. Ed lives in Madison.

Topic: Agriculture


Bob Kann is a well-known storyteller, juggler and magician in addition to an author and professor of education. He performs throughout the United States in schools, libraries, performing arts centers and at festivals. He also teaches classes and holds workshops for educators, social service agencies, and businesses on humor, motivation, creativity, and storytelling. He is the author of A Recipe for Success: Lizzy Kander and her Cookbook, Belle and Bob La Follette: Partners in Politics, and Frank Lloyd Wright and His American Architecture.

Topic: Wisconsin people


Jonathan Kasparek is author of Fighting Son: A Biography of Philip F. La Follette, co-author of Voices and Votes: How Democracy Works in Wisconsin, and co-author of Wisconsin History Highlights: Delving into the Past. He has served as a researcher and editor for the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Max Kade Institute and the Wisconsin State Capitol historic structure report project. A native of Madison, WI, Jonathan received his master's degree and Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Wisconsin. He currently teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha.

Topic: Progressive politics


Patty Loew, Ph.D., is the author of Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal and Native People of Wisconsin. She is assistant professor in the Department of Life Science Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also a producer for WHA-TV (PBS), a co-host of "In Wisconsin" on Wisconsin Public Television, and an award-winning documentary producer. Loew is an enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.

Topic: Native American history


Bobbie Malone is former director of the Office of School Services at the Wisconsin Historical Society (1995-2011). She has authored and edited many student books and teacher's guides on Wisconsin history for the state's classrooms. Titles include Wisconsin History Highlights: Devling into the Past, Voices and Votes: How Democracy Works in Wisconsin, Working with Water: Wisconsin Waterways Digging and Discovery: Wisconsin Archaeology, Second Edition and Learning from the Land: Wisconsin Land Use She is also the co-author of our 4th grade Wisconsin history textbook, Wisconsin: Our State, Our Story.

Topic: Education


Bill Matthias author of Monster Fire at Minong, began his studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a forestry major. He rekindled his interest in the pine, oak, and lake regions of northwest Wisconsin when he became the superintendent of Northwood School District in Minong in 1975. He spends the winters in Florida and each spring returns to the Wisconsin Northwoods, where Bill is a charter member of the Wascott Volunteer Fire Department.

Topic: Forest management


Dr. Genevieve G. McBride, author of Women's Wisconsin: From Native Matriarchies to the New Millenium, is Director of Women's Studies and an Associate Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has served on the Society's Board of Curators and on the Advisory Board of the proposed National Women's History Museum.

Topic: Women's studies


Dennis McCann is a Wisconsin native and University of Wisconsin-Madison journalism graduate. He joined the Milwaukee Journal (later the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) in 1983 as farm writer and state rover. He is now a freelance writer and his recent book, Badger Boneyards: The Eternal Rest of the Story, unearths the stories buried in Wisconsin's cemeteries. Dennis spends most of his time with his wife, Barb, a retired teacher, at their home on Lake Superior in Bayfield.

Topic: Wisconsin history and people


Julia Pferdehirt is an educator, writer, and professional storyteller, sharing true stories from Wisconsin history with children and adults. She is the author of They Came to Wisconsin, a collection of first-person stories of Wisconsin immigrants from past and present, "Freedom Trail North: Stories of the Underground Railroad in Wisconsin" and Caroline Quarlls and the Underground Railroad. Julia works with school and library groups to create hands-on history programs.

Topic: Wisconsin immigrants


William Povletich is a native of Mequon, WI, and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Povletich is the author of Milwaukee Braves: Heroes and Heartbreak and producer of Milwaukee Public Television's documentary A Braves New World. He has written about the Milwaukee Braves and Liberace for the "Wisconsin Magazine of History" and is the 2009 recipient of the William Best Hesseltine Award. He lives in Los Angeles.

Topic: Sports and Wisconsin people


Doug Schmidt author of They Came to Bowl: How Milwaukee Became America's Tenpin Capital, serves as editor and publisher of the state's "Ten Pin Journal" since 1992. Doug has been a contributor to "United Press International", the "Associated Press," "Bowlers Journal International Magazine," "Bowling Magazine," "Bowling Digest" and "American Bowler." A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he was inducted into the Greater Milwaukee Bowling Hall of Fame in 2004.

Topic: Bowling history


Stuart Stotts is a songwriter, storyteller, and author. He performs throughout the Midwest, and sometimes farther. He is a frequent presenter at conferences and workshops for teachers, parents, and librarians. Stuart is the author Curly Lambeau: Building the Green Bay Packers, "The Bookcase Ghost: A Collection of Wisconsin Ghost Stories" and "Books in a Box: Lutie Stearns and the Traveling Libraries of Wisconsin." He lives in DeForest, WI.

Topic: Wisconsin people


Larry Widen author of Silver Screens: A Pictorial History of Milwaukee's Movie Theaters, is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer with more than 25 years experience in advertising, marketing, and communications. He writes about travel, local history, and popular culture and is the author of "Tombstone Blues," "Lar and Len: A Long Strange Trip" and "Vintage Milwaukee Postcards."

Topic: Historic preservation and architecture


Robert Willging is a freelance outdoors writer whose work has appeared in such publications as "Boundary Waters Journal," "Deer and Deer Hunting," "High Country News," "Wisconsin Natural Resources" and "Wisconsin Outdoor News." A wildlife biologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and an ardent sportsman, he is the author of On the Hunt: The History of Deer Hunting in Wisconsin and lives in Rhinelander, WI.

Topic: Outdoor sports


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