1992 Notable Authors

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Frances Hamerstrom
Anne Pellowski
Clifford Simak

Frances Hamerstrom, 1907-1998

From Boston debutante and fashion model to wildlife biologist in central Wisconsin, Fran Hamerstrom's life has been a study in contrasts. Reared to take her place in Boston society, Hamerstrom's love of animals and the outdoors led her to leap beyond the narrow confines of society's expectations of "proper young ladies" in the 1920s and to define her own goals.

As a young woman she dreamed of attending game-breeding school, but her hopes were shattered when she was refused admittance because she was single and female. She married Frederick Hamerstrom a few months later and in 1931 they attended school together. They were among the first husband-and-wife wildlife research teams to practice in the U.S.

After moving to Wisconsin, Mrs. Hamerstrom studied under Aldo Leopold. She has been a wildlife biologist for the Department of Natural Resources since 1949 and a research associate at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She is an expert falconer and past president of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.

The Hamerstrom's home in Plainfield, Wisconsin has been open to hundreds of volunteers over the years who have assisted with annual prairie chicken counts. Data gathered by these teams of helpers has enabled the Hamerstroms to add significantly to information on prairie chicken breeding habits and habitat.

Fran Hamerstrom says her goal in writing is "to present animals -- and I include birds -- as they really are. I have studied and lived with wild animals all my life. I know what it is to hear a fox scratch on a screen door to get into the house; to see a golden eagle, hardly more than a speck in the sky, circle down to play with my shoelace; to have a flying squirrel scurry inside my shirt for safety."

Author of ten books, Hamerstrom's versatility extends from children's books to over one hundred scientific papers, reviews, and articles.

Selected Writings:

An Eagle to the Sky (1970)
Birds of Prey in Wisconsin (1972)
Is She Coming Too?: Memoirs of a Lady Hunter (1989)
Strictly for the Chickens (1980)
Walk When the Moon is Full (1975)

Anne Pellowski, 1933-

Anne Pellowski, born in Pine Creek, Wisconsin, is now recognized as a citizen of the world. She received her B.Aa from the College of St. Theresa, Winona, Minnesota and the MSLS from Columbia University. In her work as children's librarian at the New York Public Library, Pellowski developed her expertise in storytelling and her research interests in storytelling and folklore. In 1966, she founded the Information Center on Children's Cultures supported by the U.S. Committee for UNICEF and served as the director of the agency until 1982. She has written books on the whole spectrum of storytelling -- from techniques and presentation ideas to history and research -- and is a frequent contributor to professional journals. She shares her excitement and enriches our world with collections of stories from other cultures. Her teaching experiences at major universities and other educational settings draw students to the classes not only for the information and mentoring, but also to experience Anne's gift of storytelling. Pellowski's books for children include the "Four Farms" series, based on her own family's history, which traces five generations of Polish-American children on a Wisconsin farm.

Awards and honors presented to Anne Pellowski include the book awards: Grolier Foundation Award, American Library Association; Constance Lindsay Skinner Award, Women's National Book Association; and the Wisconsin State Historical Society book Award; and the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Colorado in 1985 (nominated by someone who had never met her but who was so appreciative of her research and writing).

Pellowski now divides her time between New York and Milwaukee. Along with her writing and storytelling pursuits, she is a consultant in library services for children in developing countries and continues to feel at home in varied cultures of the world and with people of all ages and interests.

Selected Writings:

The Family Storytelling Handbook (1987)
First Farm in the Valley: Anna's Story (1982)
Stairstep Farm: Anna Rosa's Story (1981)
Willow Wind Farm: Betsy's Story (1981)
The Story Vine: A Source Book of Unusual and Easy-to-Tell Stories From Around the World (1984)
Winding Valley Farm: Annie's Story (1982)
The World of Storytelling (1990)

Clifford Simak, 1904-1988

Clifford D. Simak was born in Millville, Wisconsin and educated at the University of Wisconsin. When he died, he was considered to be one of the classic writers of science fiction. He had won three Hugos (the science fiction readers' award for outstanding writing) and two Nebulas (the writing award given by other science fiction writers). In 1977 the Science Fiction Writers of America named him a Grand master of Science Fiction.

Simak was unique even among Grand Masters for his distinctive style. He was a pastoral science fiction writer and set many of his stories in a rural, idyllic southwestern Wisconsin though they ostensibly take place on other planets. His intelligent, independent, individualistic characters, often searching for answers to moral dilemmas, are clearly based on people he knew growing up and working as a reporter in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Simak wrote more than thirty novels, several nonfiction science books, and over a hundred short stories, all with a consistent vision and message. He deplored the violence and loss of humanity that seemed to come with man's preoccupation with technological advancement. He also emphasized that, although mankind sees itself as the only intelligent or, at least, most important life form in the universe, often the most tolerant, the most intelligent, the most ethical beings in his stories are nonhuman.

Simak's impact on readers goes beyond mere quantity of output. He has become a notable author because his stories are filled with compassion, tolerance, and curiosity about life. His humor and gentleness touch our hearts; his morality and integrity awaken our consciences. In one of his most famous books, Way Station, a doorway to the universe is established on a small farm in Wisconsin. Clifford Simak has opened that door, and the door to our internal universe, for all of us.

Selected Writings:

All Flesh is Grass (1965)
A Heritage of Stars (1977)
Project Pope (1981)
Time and Again (1951)
Visitors (1980)
Way Station (1963)