Join us on Saturday, April 17, at 2:30 pm and hear guest speaker Michael Edmonds present “Bunyan's Progress: How the Private Jokes of Lumberjacks Became America's Best-Known Folk Hero." Edmonds, a Wisconsin author, will share new discoveries about Paul Bunyan's origins among working-class loggers in the 1880s. He'll recount a saga of lies, hoaxes, thefts, and greed that carried Bunyan out of the woods, into print, onto the children's shelves in every public library, and ultimately onto YouTube. He'll also describe how printing and publication forever changed the oral tales, and share some of the earliest authentic Bunyan stories as they were told aloud by Wisconsin lumberjacks during the 1880s and 1890s.
Michael Edmonds is deputy director of the Library-Archives division at the Wisconsin Historical Society, where he has worked since 1982. For the last decade he has overseen the Society's efforts to digitize collections, leading the teams that have put nearly half a million pages of manuscripts, rare books, journals, and photos onto the Web. He has also taught at the University of Wisconsin as an adjunct lecturer since 1986. He writes the weekly syndicated newspaper column, Odd Wisconsin, and the blog of the same name. His most recent article, "More Groovy than Woodstock" -- about the Grateful Dead's visit to a rock festival in rural Poynette, Wis., in 1970 -- appears in the current issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History (Spring 2010). His book, “Out of the Northwoods: The Many Lives of Paul Bunyan,” on which his April 17th talk is based, appeared last fall. Signed copies of the book will be available for purchase.