The Farm Photographs of Andrew J. Mueller

Wisconsin Historical Images from the Wisconsin Historical Society
May 2014

| Highlights from over three million photographs in our holdings

Closeup of three cows standing side by side. WHI 83458

The Farm Photographs of Andrew J. Mueller

The photographs of Andrew John Mueller (1900-1984) combine a professional’s eye for careful composition with an amateur’s passion for rural life. The dozens of images that he preserved from the 1950s and ’60s are among the most compelling photographs of 20th-century Wisconsin farm life in the Society’s collections.

From Farm Boy to Photographer

Mueller was born February 2, 1900, in Germantown, Wisconsin, the youngest of five children of Barbara (Schoen) and John Mueller. He enjoyed farm work but also had conspicuous creative and artistic talent. He bought his first small box camera at 18 and by age 21 had saved $1,000 to attend the Layton School of Art. While attending Layton, he worked as an artist in Milwaukee, hand painting glass lampshades and working in the cabinet shop of Fred Garvens.

Always a Photographer

In 1938 Mueller took a job with Badger Printing in Appleton, Wisconsin. After a short time there, a commercial art position opened up with the Appleton Post Crescent, and he joined the newspaper’s staff. Within a few years the newspaper’s two photographers left for service in World War II, and Andrew became the paper’s photographer as well as being in charge of its art and photography department. He remained with the Appleton Post Crescent until his retirement in 1966.

Each day after his newspaper job ended, Mueller took photographs or made drawings on a freelance basis. He did this not only to augment his modest salary at the newspaper but also because of his love and passion for documenting rural life. His freelance work often carried him long hours into the evening. The stamina he developed from strenuous farm work in his youth revealed itself in his extraordinary productivity as a photographer and artist.

View the Gallery >>

BROWSE THE COLLECTIONS | View nearly 60,000 digitized visual materials in our online database
ihc-s.jpg International Harvester

Images from 1840s to the 1980s

The largest and most influential farm equipment manufacturer of the twentieth century, we feature 3,000 images from 1840s to the 1980s, organized by subject.

View the Gallery >>

northernwisconsin-s.jpg Settling Northern WI In 1895

Photographs Luring Farmers To WI

In the late 19th century, farming was replacing logging in the cut-over regions of northern Wisconsin. View a gallery of photographs intended to lure farmers to the region with images of bountiful harvests and prosperous farm families.

View the Gallery >>

This monthly email newsletter from Wisconsin Historical Images features gallery exhibits from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s visual materials collections.
Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State Street
Madison, WI 53706

Link to Society's website at

Collecting, Preserving and Sharing Stories Since 1846

Did you know? Nearly 60,000 historical photographs are available for purchase online as high-quality archival pigment prints or digital files.

Browse dozens of topical galleries or search for specific people, places, topics or events. Proceeds benefit the Society’s image collections.

View more information about buying images online or email Lisa Marine.

Connect with us

Follow us on Twitter Find us on Facebook Find us on Flickr.


Forward email

askphotos |
Update Profile/Email Address | Instant removal with SafeUnsubscribe | Privacy Policy.

Wisconsin Historical Society | 816 State Street | Madison | WI | 53706-1482