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Current Issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History

Summer 2020, Volume 103, Number 4

Current Issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History | Wisconsin Historical Society
EnlargeSummer 2020, Wisconsin History Magazine, Zona Gale and the So-called School of Wisconsin Authors, Outside Artist Sid Boyum, Book Excerpt, Hmong in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Magazine of History Cover Image

Celebrated writer and playwright Zona Gale, ca. 1930. Gale set her work in a fictionalized version of her hometown of Portage, Wisconsin, including the 1920 Pulitzer-prize–winning play, adapted from a novella of the same name, Miss Lulu Bett. WHI IMAGE ID 148264

Table of Contents

EnlargeThe books, Romance Island, published in 1906; and, Miss Lulu Bett, written by Zona Gale

Romance Island and Miss Lulu Bett

Zona Gale’s literary debut, Romance Island, was published in 1906; Miss Lulu Bett, published as a novel and then as a play, won the 1920 Pulitizer Prize for drama, the first for a woman playwright. WISCONSIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

“Angels in the Commonplace”: Zona Gale and the So-called School of Wisconsin Authors

By Matthew Noojin

Zona Gale of Portage, Wisconsin, was a celebrity novelist, one of the bestselling American authors of the 1920s, and the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama, but today she has all but faded into obscurity. A newly discovered archive of correspondence and ephemera helps shed light on her unique literary achievements and her influence both in Wisconsin politics and in American literature. While her social commentary became sharper and more cynical over the course of her career, her approach to civic engagement gestured towards utopic socialism—she was a tireless suffragette, anti-fascist, and egalitarian who helped forge the popular consciousness of the Wisconsin Idea.


EnlargePortrait of Daniel Webster Hoan. A historic Wisconsin political figure.

Daniel Webster Hoan

Daniel Webster Hoan was one of Wisconsin’s most enduring political figures in the twentieth century. A Socialist who served for twenty-four years as mayor of the state’s largest city, he made a surprise shift to the Democratic Party late in his career, standing as its gubernatorial candidate in 1944 and 1946. View the original source document: WHI 97271

Daniel Webster Hoan: The Socialist Mayor Who Jump-started Wisconsin’s Modern Democratic Party

By John Nichols

When Socialist mayor of Milwaukee Daniel Hoan chose not to run again in the 1940 election, no one expected that he would attempt to rise again politically—least of all as a Democratic candidate for the governorship. Today, Hoan’s failed gubernatorial bids in 1944 and 1946 are little more than footnotes in recollections of a turbulent era in Wisconsin politics that saw the state’s independent Progressive Party fold its tent, the La Follette dynasty collapse, and Joe McCarthy begin his career in the United States Senate. Yet, Hoan played a critical role in reframing the Democratic constituency, helping to renew the fortunes of a politically-battered and electorally-dysfunctional party and transforming the politics of the state.


EnlargeA bass arces into the open as a fisherman in waders reels in his catch in this pen-and-ink drawing by Madison artist Sid Boyum

Sid Boyum

A bass arces into the open as a fisherman in waders reels in his catch in this pen-and-ink drawing by Madison artist Sid Boyum. One of Boyum’s trademark “Opening Day” images, it appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal on May 7, 1964, to mark the start of fishing season. View the original source document: WHI 123040

Sid Boyum: Outside Artist with a Piscatorial Passion for Opening Day

By Heather S. Sonntag

Visual materials archivist Heather S. Sonntag explores the life and work of graphic artist and Madison native Sid Boyum, with a particular focus on his Opening Day series of illustrations celebrating the start of fishing season. The series ran from 1963 through 1989 in the Capital Times and Wisconsin State Journal. Though his work is often considered whimsical and highly imaginative, many of these prints contain elements sketched from life. As the image gallery illustrates, several were created through setting up and photographing real-life montages constructed, photographed, and then drawn by Boyum.


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