Jim Widmer’s ‘Spirit of Rural Wisconsin,’ Part III [wisconsinhistory.org]
This is the third in a three-part series featuring the images of Jim Widmer. Widmer grew up in the Dodge County town of Theresa, population 611 in 1978. His photographs capture everyday life in a small town and embody the spirit of rural Wisconsin. Part Three of Widmer’s “Spirit of Rural Wisconsin” focuses on barns in Theresa Township. More about Widmer’s career and image collection is available in the first part of the series.
Barns and Their Owners in Theresa, Dodge County
This gallery consists of more than 300 black-and-white images of barns and their owners selected from 1,191 photographs in Widmer’s “Barns in Theresa Township” collection. Widmer photographed owners with their barns, taking two photographs of each structure, and often including entire farm families. Shirley Widmer took notes on addresses and history given to her by the owners. At the end of the project, Jim commented that the owners had become more interesting subjects than the barns because the stories they told or their peronsalities illustrated the self-sufficiency, creative invention and thrift that characterize Wisconsin rural residents.
Theresa Township is home to several notable barn types, including the Wisconsin porch barn and the Wisconsin dairy barn. The first consists of an overhanging upper floor supported by wooden posts and is related to the German bank barn. The second type is certainly a familiar sight around the state, with its gambrel or round roofs. Some barns consist of both types, having added sections and silos over the years. There are also several examples of rare Pomeranian-style barns in the township of Theresa.
Jim and Shirley Widmer photographed the barns during a deliberate documentation project between April and September 2004. They maintained a single photographic method throughout the project. In the first image, the owners stood five to 10 feet away; the second image consisted of the exterior taken from a different angle or of the interior.
Images of barn interiors have a magical quality to Widmer, who said stepping into the barns is like “stepping into another era.” In the notes associated with the photo albums, he nostalgically recalled the smell of hay and the shafts of light coming through the wooden slats of the walls.
good stuff – terrifically friendly to plunder <g> !!!!
October 2013 FEATURED GALLERY | Highlights from over three million photographs in our holdings A man standing on a rolling log in the water near Washburn, Wisconsin WHI 986797
Northwoods Photographer Allan Born
Allan Born (1892-1959) took photographs around northern Wisconsin for nearly half a century. He specialized in small-town life and the tourist economy but also captured much of the scenic beauty of northwoods lakes, streams, forests and wildlife. During the 1930s he also photographed local Ojibwe residents and tried his hand at aerial photography. The photographs were taken mostly with 3.5 x 5.5 and 5 x 7 inch black-and-white negative film. In 2001 his collection of more than 1,700 negatives and prints was given to the Wisconsin Historical Society. About a third of these are available in this gallery.
The Born Collection
The 1712 prints and negatives in the collection represent the lifetime achievement of a serious amateur. About a third of them (627) are available online.
As a native of northern Wisconsin, Born was eager to document local life as it was actually lived and not only as a magnet for the burgeoning tourist trade. He photographed the main streets, businesses, homes and year-round residents of 21 towns in the north throughout the middle of the 20th century.
But he also could not ignore the economic driver that brought outside money into the depressed Northwoods economy, and took nearly 200 careful images of resorts. These show exterior architecture, interior furnishings and happy tourists at play. Some were used as postcards for tourists to send home.
Born also captured the scenic beauty and wild habitats of the north in other series of photographs. He kept separate files of negatives labeled “fish scenes,” “deer scenes” and “bear scenes” as well as an album of selections called “Nature Lover’s Paradise.”
BROWSE THE COLLECTIONS | View nearly 60,000 digitized visual materials in our online database Harry Dankoler Avid Amateur Photographer A diverse but rich collection of amateur photographs by Harry Dankoler lovingly documents the tragically short life of his only son, gold prospecting in Wyoming, even early experiments in photo manipulation.View the Gallery >> Edward A. Bass Doctor & Amateur Photographer Dr. Edward Bass was a practicing physician in Montello when he purchased a Velox camera from the local newspaper office in 1892. More than 130 of his “most perfect pictures” are the subject of this gallery.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 Society816 State StreetMadison, WI 53706Collecting, 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 Forward email This email was sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by askphotos |
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