Wisconsin Library Heritage Center

The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation promoting understanding and appreciation of the history of libraries and librarianship in Wisconsin.

Wausaukee's First Free Library

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 in Library buildings


Harlan P. Bird (1838-1912) made his fortune in the lumber business in Northeastern Wisconsin. In 1902 he established the Wausaukee Free Library from his own funds in the hope that it would prove "sufficiently popular to draw from places of evil resort." He was elected as a state senator in 1902 and served two terms in the legislature. He served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1904-1905.  The library was part of a "social hall" that also included a reading-room, lunch and dining room, and amusement room. Unfortunately the venture proved to be too costly and Senator Bird abandoned this experiment. The image above is WHi-65460 from the Wisconsin Historical Images collection and is part of a collection of public library photographs from the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. Wausaukee is now served by the Wausaukee Branch of the Marinette County Consolidated Public Library Service.


Larry Nix Friday, January 22, 2010

Brian, thanks for sharing this information with me. Feel free to link to my site. It's nice to see a history page on a community website. Best wishes, Larry

Brian Hartnell Friday, January 22, 2010

Just found your site and the historical info on the library from one of my sources. The web site www.wausaukee.com has this image and the stories supporting Harlan P Bird on our Village Website Historical section. I would like to link your site to assist others interested in library history. After Bird shut down the library, he donated all the volumes to the school which burned to the ground a few years later, all books and school property were a loss. The school did recover and to this day our library is located in the downtown Wausaukee Village, doing very well and serving the needs of readers, with computers, lectures,and video/audio tape materials.

Larry Nix Thursday, January 21, 2010

Caroline, thanks for commenting on the post and sharing your connection with Wausaukee and Marinette County. Larry

Caroline McMahon Unick Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dear Larry,
There is such a thing as serendipity!
I was just browsing the Chatham Libraries website and saw your page. I saw the link for the WI Library Heritage Center and clicked on
the Wausaukee link.
Wausaukee is my hometown and had no library all the while I lived near there on a farm. Sometime in the 40's we did become a stop for the Marinette County Bookmobile.
Currently, there is a library which has recently moved to a historic building on main street. The residents feel very lucky to have a library at all since the population is around 600 persons, as it was when I was growing up. (I was born in 1938)
Thank you for maintaining this website.
Caroline Unick

Leave your comment

Guest Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Popular Tags

Library Buidlings 11 Nolan I. Neds National Bookmobile Day Events & Meetings ca Amer Marketing-Publicity Wisconsin Free Library Commission hall of Hall of Fame 2018 UW-Milwaukee Libraries Library celebrations Marjorie Sornson Malmberg Frank Avery Hutchins Lucy E. Smith Morris 22 Hall of Fame 2011 cam Tower Hill Wisconsin Soughton Public Library Gertrude Thurow archives WLA 125 Hall of Fame 2015 Academic Librarians campa Cam Library Buildings Campaign library legislation Special libraries caly film Wilbur Lyle Eberhart Lowell W. Wilson Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library Bookmobiles Inform Wisconsin I Love Libraries State Law Library Pewaukee Public Library Historical Register Hall of Fame 2017 Meter mail slogans Events caly film T. B. Scott Free Public Library Richard E. Krug Wisconsin State Normal School-Milwaukee Uncategorized Hall of Fame 2018 Library people Public libraries Elroy Public Library Wisconsin Library Heritage Center S. Janice Kee National Library Week campaign Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Wisconsin Historical Society Milwaukee Public Library library education Increase A. Lapham Wisconsin Library Association American Library Association Library War Service Ripon Public Library Hall of Fame 2015 Eratus Swift Wilcox Library People Louise S. Robbins Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends Hall of Fame 2015 J. D. Witter Beloit Public Library Clarence Brown Lester Carl Spitzweg Wisconsin Free Library Commission Milwaukee Public Library Library Trustees 28 Hall of Fame 2016 Library Systems Carnegie libraries Hall of Fame 2010 Charles Bunge Jerome P. Daniels Larry T. Nix presentations Hall of Fame 2012 Wisconsin Federation of Women's Clubs Postcards Sandra Friedman Dolnick Events & Meetings WWI Library War Service 21 Wisconsin Rapids Buttons Cooperative Children's Book Center Sarah Janice Kee Delia Ovitz Helen Adams John J. Jax Public libraries Hall of Fame 2014 background Matthew S. Dudgeon Anniversaries White House Conference on Library and Information Services caly film Evansville Wisconsin School of Library and Information Studies Postcards library memorabilia James Huff Stout Middleton Public Library buil Brown Deer Public Library People Jane K. Billings Hall of Fame 2012 Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Library e 14 Exhibits Appleton Public Library traveling libraries School libraries Digital Collections COLAND Hall of Fame 2009 World War I Suring Area Public Library library exhibit Milwaukee Art Museum Robert Bocher Oshkosh Public Library Hall Bernard Schwab 10 UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies Dianne McAfee Hopkins Rusk County Community Library Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Beaver Dam Public Library Hall of Fame 2012 membership libraries Clinton Public Library Katharine MacDonald Jones WLA 125 trav campaign Ice Storm Hall fo Fame 2012 Lutie Stearns Superior Carnegie Libraries Eager Free Public Library Wisconsin Literary Travel Guide American Library Association Centennial books-by-mail Bob Bochfer 27 James Duane Doty Peter G. Hamon Campaign state historical society Cornelia Marving Pierce DeForest Area Public Library Gilbert H. Doane Parcel post Hartford Public Library Library Artifacts Black River Falls Public Library Wisconsin Library Bulletin Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Gerald A. Somers Campaign WHCLIS Library History Ruby Roeder Anniversaries 20 Brown County Library WLA 125 Capitol Fire 1904 bookworm Black River Falls WAAL 24 CCBC McMillan Memorial Library Brown Deer Public Library Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians Madison Public Library Woman's Congress Campaing for Wisconsin Libraries Pinback buttons Library people Postcards Hall of Fame 2015 Zona Gale Wisconsin State Law Library Portage Public Library John Miller Chancellor Dorothea M. Krause Manitowoc Public Library Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries 23 campaign Ruth Ann Montgomery Hall of Fame 2015 anniversaries Publications bed and breakfast Governor's Conference on Library and Information Services Hall of Fame 2013 UW-Madison school of library and information studies Lutie Eugenia Stearns Irene W. Newman WLA 125 Edward Asahel Birge Hall of Fame 2008 William J. Wilson Council on Library and Network Development Postcards Klaus Linderfelt Orrilla Blackshear Public library systems Academic Libraries Association of Library Trustees Advocates and Friends Wayne A. Wiegand

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo