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.

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When Thoreau Came to Wisconsin

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on Monday, May 09, 2011 in Events
stamp-us-thoreau-72.jpgThis week is the 150th anniversary of the start of a trip taken by Henry David Thoreau and Horace Mann, Jr. to Minnesota and back to Massachusetts. The trip started on May 11 and ended on July 11, 1861. On the return leg of the trip Thoreau and his companion traveled through Wisconsin.  Corinne H. Smith, a writer and librarian in Massachusetts, has written a book about the journey which will be published this summer. Smith also maintains a website with a great deal of information about the trip including the exact route taken on the trip. On June 26 to June 27, Thoreau and Mann came down the Mississippi River and arrived in Prairie du Chien, WI on the morning of June 27. They departed Prairie du Chien by train at 10:00 a.m. that morning traveling through more than 18 Wisconsin communities before arriving in Milwaukee at 6:00 p.m. that evening.  On Friday, June 28 they departed Milwaukee by steamship stopping at the port of Sheboygan before proceeding on to Mackinac Island, Michigan and the rest of their trip home.  This momentous journey by a famous author provides an opportunity for Wisconsin libraries to plan some special activities to commemorate the occasion.  The Stoughton Public Library will be hosting a program on the journey given by Corinne Smith on June 20.  Smith will also be making presentations at other libraries along the route. Like the theme for Wisconsin's summer library program, "One World, Many Stories", this is just one of many Wisconsin stories.
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