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Wisconsin Magazine of HistoryWisconsin Magazine of History

Wisconsin Magazine of History

Fall 2019

A subscription to the magazine is a benefit of membership with the Wisconsin Historical Society. Subscribe today to receive this award-winning magazine throughout the year and take advantage of additional membership benefits, including free admission to 12 historic sites and museums, discounts on books and other store items, and more. Learn more at wihist.org/wimag-subscribe.

United States
Wisconsin Historical Society Press
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letter from the editor

At the Wisconsin Magazine of History, we strive to be open to seeing the past in new ways. This is why, when Doug Welch approached me about new evidence for the Underground Railroad in Wisconsin, I was intrigued. Although abolitionist activity is well-documented throughout the state, UR activity is not. One obvious reason was safety: little if anything was written down about the activity of providing passage and refuge to freedom seekers. Much of the information we do have is based on oral histories gleaned many years later, published in seminal works such as William Still’s 1872 The Underground Railroad and Wilbur H. Siebert’s 1898 The Underground Railroad: From Slavery to Freedom. Still was an African American conductor from Philadelphia who documented hundreds of stories from the people who traveled through…

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Wisconsin Magazine of History Director, Wisconsin Historical Society Press Kate ThompsonEditor Sara E. PhillipsImage Researcher John H. NondorfResearch and Editorial Assistants Rachel Cordasco, Gary Smith, Elizabeth Wyckoff, and John ZimmDesign Jinger Schroeder The Wisconsin Magazine of History has been published quarterly since 1917 by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Copyright © 2019 by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin ISSN 0043-6534 (print) / ISSN 1943-7366 (online) For permission to reuse text from the Wisconsin Magazine of History, (ISSN 0043-6534), please access www.copyright.com or contact the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA, 01923, 978-750-8400. CCC is a notforprofit organization that provides licenses and registration for a variety of users. For permission to reuse photographs from the Wisconsin Magazine of History identified with WHi or WHS contact: Visual Materials Archivist, 816 State Street, Madison, WI,…

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when east met west and a high school rivalry ruled green bay

In Late November 1925, football fever swept Green Bay. Red banners, representing Green Bay East High School, and purple-and-white banners, hung in honor of Green Bay West High School, festooned the city’s store windows. Spirit calls echoed on either side of the Fox River, which cut through the downtown district, and according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the city took on the “aspects of a great carnival.”1 On the eve of the annual rivalry game between Green Bay East and Green Bay West high schools, the city simply went “football crazy.”2 On Thanksgiving Day, the undefeated East High Red Devils (commonly called the “Hilltoppers”) would meet the rival—and also undefeated—West High Wildcats (also nicknamed the “Purple and White”) at the newly opened City Stadium. The winner would claim not only…

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the milton house and the underground railroad

In the wake of the Black Hawk War of 1832, many eastern white settlers traversed the fertile land of southern Wisconsin that French fur traders referred to as “Prairie du Lac” or “Prairie of the Lake.” Soldiers from that war spread word back east about a land replete with lakes, thick prairie grasses, and abundant oak groves in what was then part of the sprawling Michigan Territory.1 Hearing the siren call of that land was Joseph Goodrich, a thirty-eight-year-old Seventh Day Baptist innkeeper and social reformer from western New York. In 1838, Goodrich and two companions boarded a steamship on Lake Erie that carried them to the western shores of Lake Michigan and the port city of Milwaukee. The men walked sixty miles west to where the militia trail of…

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homegrown diva

From Madison, Wisconsin, to the Metropolitan Opera, Olivia (Goldenberger) Monona’s life was marked by serendipity and unexpected fame. Her career, first as a chorister and later a comprimaria (second lead singer) with the newly formed Chicago Grand Opera Company (CGOC), and then as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York, developed in tandem with the rising tide of operatic enthusiasm in the United States at the start of the twentieth century. Her name, however, doesn’t appear in any articles or books about the opera of that time period, despite the unusual nature and duration of her career. Olivia Monona’s papers are held by the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives and Chicago’s Newberry Library, but these collections of scrapbooks, diaries, letters, memoir fragments, newspaper clippings, postcards, and photographs are…

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the bay view tragedy

Historical Paper, Junior Division, National History Day Each year, more than 16,000 students across Wisconsin present National History Day (NHD) projects to their classmates, teachers, and judges. NHD is a terrific combination of scholarship, hard work, imaginative problem solving, and fun. Anna Pearce, a eighth grader from Richfield Middle School, entered her paper in the Milwaukee North regional contest and advanced to the Wisconsin state contest, where she competed among 615 Wisconsin students to win the Junior Division historical paper category. In June, she represented Wisconsin at the national NHD contest at the University of Maryland–College Park where she won the American Labor History Award. This is her winning entry. On May 5, 1886, Wisconsin state militia fired on protesters marching in support of the eight-hour workday in Bay View, Wisconsin, ultimately…