The book draws from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s WPA Collection and re-opens a treasure trove of folklore stories gathered by Federal Writers program (WPA) workers in the 1930s who recorded the fireside tales of Norwegian and Swiss immigrants, Midwestern pioneers and Native American medicine men and storytellers. In search of stories, legends, songs, and other scraps of traditional knowledge, researchers fanned out across Wisconsin and other states. The resulting handwritten notes, thousands of pages in length, capture history as people remembered it.
Editor John Zimm selected some of the most interesting and noteworthy WPA tales to share in “Blue Men and River Monsters.” From magical creatures of the old country to legends of the mysterious and macabre, this lore is a record of the stories people held on to and the customs, foods, and cures that filled their lives — stories often derived from European culture but adapted to the diverse climate and circumstances of the Upper Midwest.
“Blue Men and River Monsters” places these intriguing tales alongside stunning artwork collected by the Federal Art Project in Wisconsin, conducted during the same time period in Wisconsin.
The book’s foreword is written by Michael Edmonds, Deputy Director of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Library-Archives. Edmonds describes the circumstances that created a Public Works project in Wisconsin to create a state travel guide and collect these legends for it. An e-book edition of “Blue Men and River Monsters” is also available from your favorite e-book vendor .
Media: For a review copy of “Blue Men & River Monsters,” to interview the editor, or for more information, please contact Kristin Gilpatrick, Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 816 State St., Madison, WI 53706; 608-264-6465; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wisconsin Historical Society Press, publishing the best of
Wisconsin history and culture since 1855 as a division of the Wisconsin Historical Society
About the Editor:
John Zimm received a BA in history from the University of Wisconsin -Madison and has worked for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press since 2002. His articles have appeared in the Wisconsin Magazine of History, and he is the editor of “This Wicked Rebellion: Wisconsin Civil War Soldiers Write Home” and the author of “The Wisconsin Historical Society: Collecting, Preserving, and Sharing Stories since 1846.”
Foreword writer Michael Edmonds is Deputy Director of the Library-Archives at the Wisconsin Historical Society and curator of its online collection of more than 25,000 pages documenting Freedom Summer. A 1976 graduate of Harvard University, he earned an MS degree at Simmons College in 1979 and taught part-time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The author of several articles and editor of other Society Press books, including “Out of the Northwoods: The Many Lives of Paul Bunyan” and “Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer Reader,” Edmonds has won national awards from the American Folklore Society and the American Association for State and Local History.
Order by phone toll free at 888-999-1669, shop online athttp://www.wisconsinhistory.org/shop, or shop in person at the Wisconsin Historical Museum Shop, 30 N. Carroll St., Madison WI 53703