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Happy Birthday to the Wisconsin Band!

This past weekend the University of Wisconsin Varsity Band performed three concerts celebrating their 125th anniversary. The birthday celebration featured pyrotechnics, multimedia, special guests and surprises, all led by conductor Michael Leckrone.

To commemorate this 125th birthday, we wanted to highlight some images of the Varsity band through the ages. On the left is the first known photograph of a University of Wisconsin-Madison band. The photo dates back to 1896. This band looks pretty small compared to the 300 person band we see at football games today. I wonder if they even had enough people to make a stable pyramid?

Here is a photo of Mike Leckrone directing the band in 1982. Leckrone has been the band director since 1968. I wonder if he knew how to 'Bucky' back then?

Our History of UW-Madison collection is full of images of the band. There are images from football games, hockey games, images of the band in formation and standing on their heads. It is a great collection and anyone interested in the band should take a look.

For those that went to the concert this weekend, how was it? Do any of our images do justice to your experience? Let us know!

 

Union South Grand Opening

Today is finally the day the new Union South opens. At 11am, a large terrace chair will be moved from Memorial Union to the new Union South to symbolize the connecting of the two buildings and mark Union South as officially open to students, union members and their guests. There are events happening all day, and all weekend at the new union. For more information on events visit the Grand Opening website.

To help celebrate the opening of Union South, we thought we would take a trip down memory lane and look at the old Union South with the help of our Badger Yearbooks collection. The first Union South was opened in 1971 at the same spot the new union is now. Union South has always offered students a different atmosphere then Memorial Union, and this new one has many of the same features.

In the 1975 Badger Yearbook, they had this article on the two unions. The article says Union South is especially for students "on the other side of campus" or for those who had classes past the railroad tracks. At this union students could play video games, pool, table tennis, go bowling and hang out at the Snack Bar.

One tradition that always took place at Union South was Fasching. Fasching was the beer drinking festival that students looked forward to just before Ash Wednesday. Students could travel between both unions on buses to celebrate. There was polka music and lots of beer. Fasching brought lots of great entertainers to the union and the students were treated with free sauerkraut, brats and cheese.

This all sounds wonderfully Wisconsin to me. Maybe in the next few years we will see some of these traditions come back to the unions. For now, everyone should try and make it to some of the Union South Grand Opening celebrations.

Welcome, Union South, we cannot wait to make more memories with you.

 

Wisconsin Goes to War

Yesterday was the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War. We've been tweeting Civil War related images all day and though it would be nice to highlight one collection in particular, the Wisconsin Goes to War: Our Civil War Experience collection.

Wisconsin Goes to War is filled with first person stories and narratives from Wisconsin soldiers and citizens. The collection includes poems, letters, diaries and other written records that help us understand Wisconsin's part in the Civil War and how it effected us at home.

Many of these items are hand written and were chosen based on subject matter and legibility. Many of them also include a typed transcription to help with research.

In the collection is a poem written by Jules Francois in March 1862 while in Camp Utly at Racine, Wisconsin. Here is an excerpt from the poem:

We come from the valleys of the young Badger State, Where the prairies are so grand, so magnificent and great. We have rallied round the banner of the brave and the free, Around our own starry banner in Dillion's battery.

The rest of the poem can be read in the collections. When you have time, take a look at some of the letters, they can help you get a real sense of Wisconsin's part in the Civil War.

 

National Library Week

This week, the UWDC and libraries all over the country are celebrating National Library Week 2011. We are celebrating by highlighting some library gems in our collections.

This image on the left is from our History of UW-La Crosse collection. Students and faculty worked “all day and into the evening” Feb. 4, 1957 for operation book lift. They carried books from the library in Graff Main Hall to the university’s new library, the Florence Wing Library, named for the school’s first librarian.

This image on the right is from the Kenosha County History collection. The image takes place in Library Park and the large building in the back is Simmons Library. I remember visiting this library for the first time when I was little, it was beautiful. This image was taken on the day the monument was unveiled.

Do we have any images of libraries that you want to celebrate this week? Let us know and we will highlight them for you!

Also, we are tweeting libraries all day! If you aren't already, follow us @UwDigiCollec.

 

Wisconsin Supreme Court History

As everyone may know by now, tomorrow is the election in the state of Wisconsin for Supreme Court. We thought we would highlight this event with a little history information about the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Our Wisconsin Blue Books collection remains the primary one-volume reference source about the state, documenting the organization of the state’s three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial). Our collection dates back to 1853 and includes all sorts of information on Wisconsin government.

This image on the left is from the 1907 Blue Book. It has sketches of the Supreme Court Judges.

If you search "Supreme Court" in the collection you will find tons of sketches and interesting information. Take a look and see what you can find.

 

A Hidden Gem

This collection is little known but is a great for anyone who enjoys reading Vogue or any other women's magazine of today. The Peterson's Ladies National Magazine collection contains two magazine's from 1865 and 1867.

These magazines are extremely interesting and document stories and fashions of the time. This image on the left is from the 1865 magazine and talks about the latest fashion from Paris, the Patti jacket. The article talks about how this fashion came to be, how it is made and the different styles it comes in. There are reviews on books and other culture references.

This is a great collection for a day like today when the weather is terrible and you just want to lay around and look at something interesting. This is a bit of a hidden collection but take a look and you will be surprised at the material that people were talking about in the 1860s.

 

Congratulation LSTA Winners!

On Wednesday, LSTA, the WI Library Services and Technology Act, will grant 5 libraries funding for projects. These libraries include the Kenosha Public Library, Indianhead Federated Library System, Hedberg Pubic Library, Eastern Shores Library System and New Glarus Public Library. We want to say congratulations to these libraries!

In the past, we have worked with three of these libraries on digitizing their content. One collection that you may recognize is the Kenosha County History Collection. This collection contains texts that depict the early European-American settlement in Kenosha and a great image collection. The family albums in the collection are two of the most well-preserved documents created by L. M. Thiers. Handwritten photograph captions and detailed descriptions make them the most personal works featured in this collection.

We have also worked with Indianhead Federated Library System on the Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pepin, St. Croix, and Rusk Counties: Local History Collection. The Indianhead Federated Library System is comprised of 53 member public libraries in West-Central and Northwestern Wisconsin. The collection’s texts are comprised of community records, local history narratives, retrospectives, and high school yearbooks. The collection’s images include street scenes, historical buildings, notable people, and important events.

Lastly, we worked with Hedberg Public Library on our Janesville's Past Collection. This is an excellent image collection, which also includes city and County directories, providing researchers information for both the 19th and 20th centuries.

These are all great collections and are widely viewed and appreciated. We are excited to see what new projects all of the grant winners will be working on this year.

 


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