Another dairy stater who writes/illustrates children’s books

Milwaukean Ellen Raskin (1928-1984) got an art degree at the University of Wisconsin and then went off to New York to become a freelance commercial artist. And she did more. She wrote and illustrated children’s books. The New York Times named her 1966 book, “Nothing Ever Happens on My Block,” one of the 10 best [...]

She writes for kids

Children’s book writer/illustrator Lois Ehlert is 100-percent pure Wisconsinite. She was born in Beaver Dam in 1934 and grew up in Milwaukee where she lives and works today. Her art, with which she illustrates her books, is collage. She begins each new book with a dummy book of pencil drawings. Once her drawings suggest a [...]

Lincoln biographer, poet once a Milwaukean

Carl Sandburg and I were brothers of the ink fraternity. Here’s the story. You and I most frequently associate Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) with his biographies of Abraham Lincoln and his poem “Chicago.” If you’re like me, you can quote some of the lines . . . Hog Butcher for the World/Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat/Player [...]

Wisconsin film writer will scare you to death

Three sisters, all college students, inherit a motel in the north woods . . . well, you know nothing good is going to come of that, particularly when Dad tells them don’t go up there. And they do. It’s the premise for Wisconsin film writer Dan Coughlin’s first script, “Lake Dead.” A producer for Alliance [...]

Writer races to Prudhoe Bay

Tim Cahill (1944- ) . . . Travel writer Tim Cahill grew up in Waukesha, Wisconsin – not far from where I live – and, as a college student, he attended the University of Wisconsin. On a swimming scholarship. But it was his race on land, from Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego – way down [...]

John Muir, the reluctant writer

John Muir, for all his influence in the 19th century as a naturalist and conservation leader, was a reluctant writer. He didn’t like to do it. His friend, zoologist Henry Osborn, said Muir’s writing came only with intense effort. “Daily he rose at 4:30 o’clock, and after a simple cup of coffee labored incessantly,” Osborn [...]

John Muir creates a national park

Naturalist John Muir became the leading thinker in and advocate of the conservation movement in the last half of the 19th century, so when he said California’s Yosemite should be preserved for all people by creating a national park, the nation’s leaders listened. We had created the first national park, the Yellowstone, in 1872, to [...]

The books of John Muir – Part 3

John Muir walked to Florida in 1867, his first serious journey of exploration. He intended to go from there to South America, to do some serious exploring and study plants he had never before seen, but . . . A mosquito bit him. And he came down with malaria. That changed his life’s direction. He [...]

The books of John Muir – Part 2

A century before the Vietnam war, American men in their teens and twenties were running north to Canada to escape the draft . . . at that time the draft for the Civil War. John Muir was one of those who ran for the border. Muir’s older brother Dan ran north in 1863. The next [...]

The books of John Muir – Part 1

Naturalist John Muir, co-founder and long-time president of the powerful conservation group, the Sierra Club, was not an American by birth. He was born in Scotland in 1838. He got here, to Wisconsin, because his father, a devout Presbyterian, grew progressively more angry with his nation’s Presbyterian Church. To him, it wasn’t conservative enough. It [...]