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Spring 2014 Issue

Volume 97, Number 3

Featured Story

The latest issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History.
Men with white hats and aprons conducting scientific experiments.

Babcock Lab, 1915

Students in the UW-Madison Dairy School lab.

The featured story in this issue is "Standing in Line, Standing in a Legacy: An Environmental History of the Babcock Hall Dairy Store" by Bethany K. Laursen. It chronicles the history behind the Babcock Dairy Store on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Stephen Moulton Babcock arrived on campus in 1887, and by the early 1920s, Wisconsin had become "America's Dairyland." Many years before the dairy store that bears Babcock's name was built, his Babcock Butterfat Test ensured the success of the industrial dairy science that would later justify the store's construction.

By using science to solve a well-known problem, Stephen Moulton Babcock revolutionized dairying and applied sciences worldwide, winning skeptical hearts and minds for the Progressive ideal of scientific expertise.

As Dean of the College of Agriculture, Harry L. Russell, described it later:

"The Babcock test has made dairymen honest, has placed dairying on a scientific basis, has promoted factory efficiency, and has stimulated the breeding up of productive herds. Proficiency in its use has become almost synonymous with better cows, better milk, and better farming."

University President E. A. Birge proclaimed:

"Few inventions of a single man have had so great an effect, economic, moral, and social."

Today, the dairy store itself has come to represent the entire University as one of its most visible symbols — standing for excellence in service. What started out as a clapboard house 120 years ago, has since been moved into Babcock Hall and transformed from a traditional dairy store to a modern attraction on campus that draws ice cream and dairy lovers from around the world.

Table of Contents

Bank tellers using adding machines.

M&I Bank, ca. 1950

Automation came to M&I Bank in the 1950s.

'Marshall and Ilsley Bank: A Wisconsin Icon'

by Anne Beiser Allen

The article chronicles the rise and fall of the Marshall & Ilsley Bank from its beginnings as a small two-man office in Milwaukee, to the largest bank in Wisconsin, to its purchase in 2012 by the Bank of Montreal, and its disappearance from the landscape. In 1847, Samuel Marshall began as an exchange agent in the city of Milwaukee at a time when banks were illegal. In 1852, the state legislature recognized the economic necessity for banks and passed a law authorizing their establishment. Over the next 150 years, the conservative banking principles Marshall and his future partner, Charles F. Ilsley, espoused led the Marshall & Ilsley Bank safely through the economic panics of the 19th century and the Great Depression of the 20th century.

Newspaper page one, headline reads that the bomber blows self to bits, child killed.

Bomber Blows Self to Bits, 1935

The sensational coverage of the accidental, final explosion included all the horrifying details.

'Seven Nights of Terror: Milwaukee's 'Mad Bomber' of 1935'

by Matthew Prigge

During the week preceding November 3, 1935, an unknown terrorist set off homemade dynamite bombs attacking civic buildings and banks in Milwaukee on five separate occasions. The bomber taunted police and the public with cash demands and threats of continued carnage, but the true motives behind the 1935 bombing spree were lost with the lives of its two young perpetrators. Both were killed when a bombing went wrong and the crimes were solved. Characterizations in newspapers portrayed the leader, Hugh "Idzy" Rutkowski, as a sullen sociopath, a product of the slums irreparably warped by his social and economic place, and a radical Communist.

Silhouette of a woman looking at a hill of blooming cherry trees.

Cherries in Bloom, 1919

Fish Creek, Wisconsin. Clothilde Schmidt Hotz, wife of photographer, jeweler, and land owner Ferdinand Hotz, admires the cherry trees in bloom at Gibraltar Orchards in Door County. View the original source document: WHI 94786


'Precious Assets: Door County Photography of Artisan Jeweler Ferdinand Hotz'

by Jim Slattery

Ferdinand Hotz (1868-1946) was born and educated in Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1884 at age 16. He worked for several jewelry companies in Chicago and San Francisco and demonstrated a remarkable talent for designing settings for fine gemstones.

Hotz made his first trip to Door County in 1905 and soon began acquiring properties, first in and around Fish Creek but eventually county wide. By the late 1920s he was the largest land owner in Door County.

Through his photographs, Hotz documented the Door County he knew and appreciated. The collection consists of 500 donated negatives as well as digital images from albums and other materials loaned to the Wisconsin Historical Society by Hotz's grandson, G. Leonard Apfelbach, M.D.


'The Bingo Queens of Oneida: How Two Moms Started Gaming in Wisconsin'

by Mike Hoeft

Before Indian casinos, a few enterprising tribes got their start in gambling by opening bingo parlors. A group of women on the Oneida Indian Reservation just outside Green Bay, Wisconsin, introduced bingo in 1976 simply to pay a few bills. Bingo not only paid the light bill at the struggling civic center but was soon financing vital health and housing services for tribal elderly and poor. The Bingo Queens of Oneida: How Two Moms Started Tribal Gaming tells the story through the eyes of Sandra Ninham and Alma Webster, the Oneida women who had the idea for a bingo operation run by the tribe to benefit the tribe.

Award of Merit Winner

American Association of State and Local History Award.

The "Wisconsin Magazine of History" is the proud recipient of a prestigious 2010 Award of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History's Leadership in History Awards. The awards are presented for excellence in history programs, projects and people when compared with similar activities nationwide.

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