"Juliette Kinzie: Frontier Storyteller" author Kathe Crowley Conn, fur trade-era reenactors, 1-3 pm, 3/14, Madison Children's Museum. Free with admission. 608-256-6445
Location: Madison Children's Museum Log Cabin, 100 North Hamilton Street, Madison. Hear an account of a woman moving to the Wisconsin frontier in the early 1800s, and the courage, strength, and ingenuity it took to survive there. Fur trade reenactors from the Wisconsin Historical Museum will join Kathe Crowley Conn, author of Juliette Kinzie: Frontier Storyteller, the newest biography in the Badger Biographies Series for young readers, to share Kinzie's observations of frontier life.
Bio Explores Life of "Juliette Kinzie: Frontier Storyteller"
In the early 1800s, girls were not expected to be explorers, but Juliette Magill Kinzie broke all expectations. She moved from her fancy home in Connecticut into a rustic log cabin in what would later be called Wisconsin and faced the frontier -- and all of its joys and struggles -- documenting the stories of all of those she met along her way.
A new Wisconsin Historical Society Press biography for young readers, Juliette Kinzie: Frontier Storyteller (Paperback, Retail $12.95) by Kathe Crowley Conn, documents her story for future generations of explorers. The newest addition to the Society Press' Badger Biographies Series, the book traces the life of this inspiring pioneer and writer, as well of that of her husband John, an Indian Agent at Fort Winnebago (near Portage, Wis.). While John worked in the new Wisconsin territory, Juliette traced their lives and the lives of those she encountered in 1830s Wisconsin, including fur traders, Ho-Chunk Indians, and fellow frontiersmen.
Juliette believed in the power of storytelling and that everyone had a story to share. After the Kinzie's moved from the frontier to Chicago, she wrote a top-selling book about their life at Fort Winnebago, one of Wisconsin's earliest settlements, titled: "Wau-Bun: The 'Early Day' in the Northwest." Her descriptions of the war, hunger, and change both Indians and settlers faced in the early 1800s -- as well as the story of how she and her husband survived and embraced frontier life -- continues to provide an important first-person account of the Wisconsin frontier, says retired Wisconsin State Archeologist Robert A. Birmingham, author of the Society Press book Life, Death and Archeology at Fort Blue Mounds. "Her book contains one of best first hand descriptions of the people and land when, what is now, Wisconsin was considered a part of the western frontier. I have found it invaluable in my own researches on early American settlement," he says.
The Kinzie biography also includes the story of how Juliette's adventurous spirit and resilience inspired her granddaughter, Juliette Gordon Low, to found the Girl Scouts of the USA in 1912.
An e-book version of "Juliette Kinzie: Frontier Storyteller" is also available through a variety of e-book vendors.
WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH HONOREE
Juliette Kinzie's life not only inspired her granddaughter but continues to inspire. Kinzie will be part of the newly launched "Wisconsin Women Making History Project" website that will showcase many of the Wisconsin women who have played a vital role in state history. The site, developed through a partnership between the Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Humanities Council, Wisconsin Media Lab, and the UW Women's Studies Consortium, launches this month, National Women's History Month at www.womeninwisconsin.org.
About the Author:
Kathe Crowley Conn has worked in education, public programming, institutional management, and philanthropy for thirty years. Her interest in the history and ecology of the Midwest began during a childhood spent roaming the lakeshore and open fields near Chicago and became a hallmark of her term as president and executive director of the Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Madison. She founded Nature Net: the environmental learning network to foster a love of the land and the thrill of discovery in children throughout the state. She resides in rural Rock County with her family.