Author Talk & Book Signing
Tuesday, October 23
Books & Company
The Making of Pioneer Wisconsin tells the story of pioneer Wisconsin in the words of those who were there. From the mid 1830s through the 1850s more than a half million people came to the territory and state. Through letters, diaries, newspapers, and other documents, this book lets the men, women, and even children tell their own stories. The writers did not know what their own futures would bring and approached life in this new place with both excitement and trepidation. Their stories let us know what it felt like to be an immigrant on a packed ship crossing the ocean; to be a 16-year-old girl riding in a wagon heading west; or to be a mother living the Lake Superior region who lost her child at birth. An unusual piece is a manual written by a Wisconsin pioneer published in Germany. Translated into English here, it offers "how-to" advice to European immigrants who plan to come to Wisconsin. The Making of Pioneer Wisconsin, drawn from the words of ordinary citizens, offers an account unmediated by the historian's narrative, and in doing so, provides the reader with the authentic voices of Wisconsin's pioneers.
Michael E. Stevens is the author or editor of nearly thirty articles and thirteen books, including The Family Letters of Victor and Meta Berger (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2016). Stevens earned his PhD in American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is Wisconsin State Historian Emeritus.
This event is in partnership with the Wisconsin Historical Society and it’s Society Press and nearby historic site, Old World Wisconsin.