University of Wisconsin–Madison

Arts & Leisure Through Objects

Arts & Leisure

Explore Wisconsin’s history through objects related to arts and leisure.

Related Histories

  • a color postcard showing a bird's eye view of downtown Wausau

    The Wausau Group: The Businessmen Who Revived Wausau’s Economy

    Located on the Wisconsin River, Wausau developed as a logging town in the 1830s. George Stevens chose the site because of the waterfall that spanned the river, which provided power for sawmills used to turn …

  • A detail of a printed poster advertising the Wausau Witner Frolic and showing a clown on skiis

    The Wausau Winter Frolic: Wausau’s History as a Sports Capital

    In 1929 a teacher in Waupaca asked her pupils what Wisconsinites did for winter sports. According to one newspaper, the children “with one accord all exclaimed: ‘They go to Wausau!’” In the 1920s, when Wisconsinites …

  • A technical illustration diagramming the parts of a mepps lure, highlighting the furry tail at one end of the lure.

    Squirrel Tails Wanted? The Improved Mepps Lure

    Driving through Antigo, visitors are often puzzled by a sign proclaiming “Squirrel Tails Wanted”. It identifies Sheldons’ Inc., manufacturer of Mepps lures. Squirrel tail hair has unique properties ideal for lures. [1] Its addition to the …

  • A technical drawing of the Mepps fishing lure identifying its component parts

    Mepps Lures: The Antigo Connection

    A chance encounter of an American G.I. in France after World War II with a local fisherman led to the development of a major industry in Antigo, Wisconsin and put Antigo on the sports fishing …

  • a black and white photo of a man fly fishing in the Wolf River standing in the rapids

    The Wolf River

    Todd Sheldon first discovered the virtues of the Mepps Aglia spinner and later realized improvements afforded by a tuft of squirrel tail while fishing at one of his favorite spots: the Wolf River. Today the Wolf continues …

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Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society (Image ID 8336)