This digital collection of thirteen published books provides accessibility to early information about Fond du Lac County. Eight city and county directories were chosen because of their historical value. Our earliest city directory is the Brigham & Co.’s Fond du Lac City Directory and Business Advertiser of 1857-58. The other city directories include Fond du Lac City Directory and Business Advertiser for 1865-66, Holland’s Quadrennial City Directory of Fond du Lac, Wis. for the Years 1887-91 published in 1887, and Wright’s Fond du Lac Directory: including North Fond du Lac 1915-1916. Our earliest county directory is the Fond du Lac County Gazetteer: Containing Directories of Fond du Lac, Ripon and Waupun, and Historical and Descriptive Sketches of the Several Townships of the County, published in 1868. The other county directories include Centennial (1876) Directory of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, Wright’s Directory of Fond du Lac County for 1897-98, and Wright’s Directory of Fond du Lac County for 1905, which is the first directory published after the buildings were renumbered in 1904. The directories list residents with their addresses and occupations and include advertising for local businesses. They present glimpses of Fond du Lac at specific points in its history in each of seven decades.
Fond du Lac Illustrated (1898), A Souvenir of Fond du Lac County, Wis (circa 1904), Souvenir of Fond du Lac, Fully Illustrated: Showing the Progress of the Best City in Wisconsin (circa 1912), and Souvenir Album: Old Settlers and Home-comers of Fond du Lac County (1912) present photographic views of the city and county as well as portraits and biographical information of some early residents. Photos and information about many public buildings, parks, streets, residences, schools and factories show the city and county at an early time.
Ruth Shaw Worthing’s book, The History of Fond du Lac County, as Told by its Place Names is an encyclopedic dictionary of Fond du Lac County. It brings together information about places, streets, churches, schools, etc., including those no longer existing. Historical facts that would otherwise be scattered among many sources are gathered into one location. In a 1988 newspaper interview, Worthing stated, “So much history is embodied in names and there are people behind those names. They should be more than a wisp of memory.” Mrs. Worthing researched Fond du Lac history for over 30 years and died in 1990
Early Fond du Lac County People and Places is collaborative project completed by the UWDCC and the Fond du Lac Public Library.
Early Fond du Lac County People and Places was funded, in part, through a 2005 and 2007 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant. This grant provided financial support for public libraries to digitize and make available online, their local library resources. For more information about LSTA grants in Wisconsin, contact the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Division for Libraries and Technology or visit the LSTA grant Web site at https://dpi.wi.gov/pld/lsta.
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