2007 Notable Authors

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Jerold W. Apps
Russel B. Nye
George Vukelich

Jerold W. Apps (1934-)

Born in Wild Rose, Wisconsin, in 1934, Jerold W. Apps describes himself as “born and raised on a Wisconsin farm.” Publishing mostly as Jerry Apps, he has written over twenty books on Wisconsin rural history and life, chronicling the now-fading material culture that defines the Wisconsin landscape: barns, breweries and one-room schools. In Barns of Wisconsin (1977), Apps and co-author Allen Strang show how barns reveal information about ethnicity, environmental issues and changing agricultural practices. Apps tells true stories of farm life and people in mid-20th century Wisconsin in several books, including The Land Still Lives (1970) and Every Farm Tells a Story (2005).

Apps has also written children’s picture books, including Eat Rutabagas (2002) and Stormy (2002). He turned his attention to the circus in Ringlingville USA (2004) and Tents, Tigers and the Ringling Brothers (2006). His first work of historical fiction, The Travels of Increase Joseph, was published in 2003.

Attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he earned his B.S., M.S., and then a Ph.D. in 1967. Apps became a professor at UW, authoring works on continuing education and adult learning. A professor emeritus in the Department of Continuing & Vocation

Selected Bibliography:

The Land Still Lives, Wisconsin House, 1970
Barns of Wisconsin, Tamarack Press, 1977
Mills of Wisconsin and the Midwest, Tamarack Press, 1980
Breweries of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin Press, 1992, 2005 (2nd ed.)
Ringlingville USA, Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2004
Every Farm Tells a Story, Voyageur Press, 2005
Living a Country Year, Voyageur Press, 2007
In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story, University of Wisconsin Press, 2007

Russel B. Nye (1913-1993)

Pulitzer Prize winner Russel B. Nye, was born in Viola , Wisconsin, in 1913. After graduating from Oberlin College, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a Master’s Degree (1935) and Doctorate degree in English Literature (1940). He taught at Michigan State University for 39 years, 13 years of which were spent as Chairman of the English Department.

Nye’s first book was his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of American historian George Bancroft. Later interests focused on studies of cultural trends and popular culture. Inspired by Nye’s interests, Michigan State University began to collect resources to begin a Popular Culture Collection, eventually renamed the “Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection,” to honor him as chief advisor, donor and one of the founders of the study of popular culture. He was also a founder and leader of the Popular Culture Association.

As a spin-off of the American Studies Movement, its first meeting was held at Michigan State in 1971. From that point on, Nye pursued cultural trends as well as popular culture, ranging from “cheap literature” to jazz, to comic strips, to TV, to automobile racing and other pursuits of his day.

Selected Bibliography:

Midwestern Progressive Politics: A Historical Study of Its Origins and Development, 1870-1950, Michigan State College
Press, 1951, revised edition, Michigan State University Press, 1963

The Cultural Life of the New Nation, 1776-1830, Harper, 1960 This Almost Chosen People: Essays in the History of American
Ideas, Michigan State University, 1966

The Unembarrassed Muse: The Popular Arts in America, Dial,1970

Society and Culture in America: 1830-1860, Harper, 1974

George Vukelich (1927-1995)

Little is known about the private life of George Vukelich, yet, his writings present him as a man in sync with the people and issues of his day. One thing was certain, he had a passion for the outdoors where he focused on writing engaging accounts about hunting and fishing in the often remote reaches of Wisconsin.

In his teens, he served in the Merchant Marines and, following World War II, Vukelich went to college where he studied undernoted authors Mari Sandoz and August Derleth.In 1962, he published his first and only novel–Fisherman’s Beach.

In the late 60s and early 70s, Vukelich was a passionate anti-Vietnam war protestor and he became a local radio celebrity for a show called “Pages from a North Country Notebook,”which called attention to environmental issues.

Vukelich wrote predominantly for newspapers such as the Wisconsin State Journal and Capital Times, as well as Wisconsin Trails magazine and Isthmus. His two other published works are compilations of these essays.

Selected Bibliography:

Fisherman’s Beach, St. Martin’s Press. (1962)– fiction

North Country Notebook, North Country Press. (1987) –collection of essays

North Country Notebook, Volume II, North Country Press.(1992) – collection of essays