Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Brown County, Wisconsin, and its neighbors

As far as I can tell, the Wisconsin Digital Collections are just too big to understand in one gulp. Today I'm intrigued by the "subcollection" called "Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Oconto, and Shawano Counties: Historical Atlases, Directories, Plat Maps, and High School Yearbooks." The coverage area is basically the great cheesehead town of Green Bay and the counties north and east of it.

At first I was disappointed, as the yearbooks didn't seem to be browseable. But if you do a full-text search of the entire 86-volume subcollection, you can then browse throughout whichever yearbooks where you happen to have a hit. (The Okato for 20 December 1922 includes a receipts-and-expenditures statement for the preceding football season, itemized game by game, naming referees, umpires, and suppliers. Can you imagine?)

Naturally my fave is the 1874 Green Bay and Fort Howard Directory, compiled and arranged by (I swear it's true) J. Alfred Dull. The school yearbooks and newspapers are from the 1909-1929 time period. Brown County has four years' atlases, the earliest being an 1889 plat book. Door County has four atlases 1899-1923, the earliest including a directory of landowners by township. Kewaunee and Shawano each have two atlases. Don't you wish every state was like Wisconsin?

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