1998 Notable Authors

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Lois Ehlert
Stuart Palmer
William Appleman Williams

Lois Ehlert, 1934-

Author and illustrator Lois Ehlert has written and illustrated, or illustrated for other authors, over 30 books.

Her books are bright - it almost seems as though the colors on her pages absorb the sunlight which streams through the windows of her workroom, transforming mere books into beautiful creations that are not only exciting to read, but also to see and experience.

They are exuberant - words and pictures almost jump off the pages into the eager eyes and minds of young readers/listeners.

They are fun - Snowballs, Hands, Nuts to You, Growing Vegetable Soup are just a few examples of Ehlert's invitations to interact with her stories. She is a notable author, indeed.

A native of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Lois Ehlert now resides in Milwaukee. She was a four-year scholarship student at the Layton School of Art, returning to that school later as a teacher. She has also done graduate study at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The many areas of her design work, which include books, toys, clothes, games for children, posters, brochures, banners and wall hangings, show her versatility and seemingly infinite resources for ideas. She has maintained close ties to her home community and designed and made three large banners which hang in the Beaver Dam Community Library building. The banners, using the theme of Beaver Dam Lake and the fish found in the Lake, have recognizable Ehlert trademarks: bold designs, bright colors, joyous responses to the world of nature.

Libraries across the state have been the beneficiaries of Ehlert's artistic talent in summer reading program materials, the Year of the Young Reader poster, presentations for children and adults, in addition to having her award winning books in the library collection.

Numerous other honors for Ehlert's work include titles on the Parent's Choice Awards, 1990 New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Books, Parenting Magazine Best Books, Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book, 1989 ALA Children's Notable Books, National Science Teachers Association Outstanding Science Trade Book in 1990 and 1991. She was also the first Elizabeth Burr Award winner in 1992 for Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf.

Selected Writings:

Circus, 1992
Color Zoo, 1989
Cuckoo: A Mexican Folktale, 1997
Feathers for Lunch, 1990
Hands, 1997
Nuts to You, 1993
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, 1991
Snowballs, 1995

Stuart Palmer, 1905-1968

Stuart Palmer is best known as the creator of spinster sleuth Hildegarde Withers, one of the few female American amateur detectives of the 1930s. Twentieth Century Crime and Mystery Writers describes her as "a schoolteacher of the sharp-tongued, knuckle-rapping variety, with a take-charge attitude and a tendency to treat suspects and police alike as if they were little boys caught cheating in class." Withers made her debut in The Penguin Pool Murder and continued her humorous adventures in thirteen more novels and three short story collections. All of Palmer's lively mysteries are distinguished by wit, fair-play, puzzle plots, well-drawn settings and strong lead characters like Withers and her friend, rough-spoken Inspector Oscar Piper of the NYC Police.

One of his most enjoyable and unusual works in People vs. Withers and Malone, a collaboration with Craig Rice, a 1996 Notable Wisconsin Author. When the prim, abstemious Hildegarde Withers joins forces with Rice's seldom sober lawyer, John J. Malone, the resulting novelettes are great fun for fans of both authors.

Stuart Palmer was born in Baraboo, Wisconsin, on June 21, 1905. He attended the Chicago Art Institute and UW-Madison. Besides being a mystery writer, Palmer was also a screenwriter and from 1932 on worked in Hollywood. During World War II, he served as the liaison between the Army and the motion picture production companies. He served as president of the Mystery Writers of America from 1954-1955. Palmer died in California in 1968, survived by his fifth wife.

Selected Writings:

The Penguin Pool Murder, 1931
Murder on the Blackboard, 1932
Puzzle of the Happy Hooligan, 1941
Cold Poison, 1954
People vs. Withers and Malone (with Craig Rice), 1963

William Appleman Williams, 1921-1990

William Appleman Williams was one of the foremost diplomatic historians of the Twentieth Century, and his major body of writings, including his landmark The Tragedy of American Diplomacy were published while he was on the faculty of the History Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Williams was born and raised in the small town of Atlantic, Iowa. He earned a degree in engineering at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. After serving in World War II, he moved to Madison to begin graduate studies. He earned a Masters and a PhD there and came under the influence of the great historians Fred Harvey Harrington, Merle Curti, and Howard K. Beale. After teaching at various other colleges, he returned to Madison in 1957 to teach in the History Department. After witnessing the turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s in Madison and tiring of the grind of teaching graduate students, he moved to the University of Oregon in 1968 to spend the rest of his career teaching undergraduates. He served as President of the Organization of American Historians in 1980. He retired in 1968 and died in Oregon in 1990.

William Appleman Williams led what was to become known as the revisionist school of American diplomatic history. His writing centered on challenging the prevailing views of American history by describing American foreign policy as being driven by economic and ideological forces. The Tragedy of American Diplomacy was described as perhaps one of the most influential books written on American foreign policy. His writings forever influenced a generation, leading many to question the role of the United States in Vietnam and to challenge the basic assumptions of the Cold War.

American-Russian Relations, 1781-1947, 1952
The Tragedy of American Diplomacy, 1958
Contours of American History, 1961
Roots of the Modern American Empire: A Study of the Growth and Shaping of a Social Consciousness in a Marketplace Society, 1969