1982 Notable Authors

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Maureen Daly
Margery Latimer
James Gates Percival
T. Harry Williams

Maureen Daly, 1921-

Maureen Daly says, "In almost everything I write I seem to travel far for the subject - or else write microscopically about things that happen right at home." From her own home town, Fond du Lac, came Daly's first and most lasting writing. Seventeenth Summer, her most famous book, has made contemporary literary history; Seventeenth Summer was published in 1942, winning the Dodd, Mead Intercollegiate Award in that year and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1969. In 1982, Seventeenth Summer was in its forty-fifth hardcover printing at Dodd, Mead and its seventeenth paperback printing as an Archway Pocket Book.

Seventeenth Summer is a popular work of substantial fiction in its genre, residing in the reading experience of many generations since its first appearance in print. In the view of young people as well as of critics, this novel, along with Maureen Daly's award-winning short stories, captured the spirit of adolescence.

In addition to being a newspaper and magazine columnist, Maureen Daly has written travel books and edited story collections for young people and adults.

Additional Honors:

  • 0. Henry Award, 1938
  • Freedoms Foundation Award, 1952

Selected Books:

  • Seventeenth Summer, 1942
  • Mention My Name in Mombassa, 1958
  • Spanish Roundabout, 1960
  • Sixteen and Other Stories, 1961
  • The Ginger Horse, 1964
  • What's Your P.Q. (Personality Quotient)? 1966


Margery Latimer, 1899-1932

Born in Portage, descendant of Anne Bradstreet, educated at Wooster College and the University of Wisconsin, Margery Latimer was the closest and most important protégée of Zona Gale. Latimer's search for a literary career in New York as editor, reviewer and writer produced two novels and two collections of short stories which appeared between 1928 and 1932. Though her fiction shares with Gale's the Portage setting, Latimer's work probes the inner lives of her small town characters who typically face great psychic stress.

Of the short story "The Family," the New York Times said, "It is one of the most important stories published in America in the last twenty-five years."

Shortly after her participation in a Gurdjieff-inspired experiment in close living near Briggsville and her scandalizing marriage to its guru and part-Negro Jean Toomer, Latimer died in childbirth. A brilliant and somewhat neurotic woman, she was described by Zona Gale as "preoccupied with the simple primitive things of life," as one who tended "to see the objective in subjective terms."

Selected Works:

  • We Are Incredible, 1928


  • Nellie Bloom and Other Stories,1929


  • This Is My Body, 1930
  • Guardian Angel and Other Stories, 1932


James Gates Percival, 1795-1856

James Gates Percival was considered America's ranking poet until the appearance of William Cullen Bryant in 1832. John Greenleaf Whittier wrote, "We pity the man who does not love the poetry of Percival." Bryant observed, "...he had a marvelous power of assembling splendid continuations of imagery, his diction was copious and flowing, and his versification musical." His poem "Prometheus" was acclaimed the equal of Byron's Childe Harold.

Also known as a linguist, Percival wrote in many languages. He assisted Noah Webster with the revision of his dictionary, contributing a wealth of etymological and scientific knowledge.

After presenting an amazingly accurate report on the geology of Connecticut, Percival was hired to examine the possibility of lead mining in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. In 1854 he was appointed state geologist of Wisconsin. He traveled in good and bad weather through 38 of Wisconsin's 50 counties. These were said to be the happiest years of his life. Buried in Hazel Green, Wisconsin, Percival is regarded as one of the most learned men of his time.


  • Phi Beta Kappa poet, Harvard, 1824
  • Phi Beta Kappa orator, Harvard, 1825

Selected Books:

  • Poems, 1821
  • Clio I and II, 1822
  • Prometheus II, with Other Poems, 1822
  • Clio III, 1827
  • Dream of a Day and Other Poems, 1843
  • Report on the Iron of Dodge and Washington Counties, State of
  • Wisconsin, 1855
  • Annual Report on the Geological Survey of the State of Wisconsin, 1857
  • Poetical Works of James Gates Percival, 1859


T. Harry Williams, 1909-1979

T. Harry Williams, one of the nation's foremost scholars on Civil War political and military history, grew up in Hazel Green, Wisconsin, and received his education in the state, including a bachelor's degree from Platteville State Teachers College and a master's degree and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the time of his death, Williams was Boyd Professor of History at Louisiana State University, where he had taught since 1941.

While the Civil War period was his special area of expertise, Williams was also interested in people as individuals and how people used power. In 1969 Huey Long, one of Williams' most celebrated books, was published and won both the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. One of his Civil War books, Lincoln and His Generals (1952), was a Book-of-the-Month selection.

Williams maintained a vacation home in Lake Delton and spent many summers in Wisconsin.

Selected Books:

  • Lincoln and His Generals, 1952
  • P.G.T. Beauregard: Napoleon in Gray, 1954
  • Hayes of the Twenty-Third, 1965
  • Huey Long, 1969
  • The History of American Wars: From Colonial Times to World War I, 1981