© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Kathleen Ernst Offers Insight into True Pioneer Life

Wisconsin Historical Society Press

Even with a warm couple of days this week, fall is unquestionably in the air in Wisconsin. You’ve probably been able to turn off the air conditioner, the leaves will soon begin to turn, and it’s time to finish picking tomatoes and start getting the sweaters and sweatshirts out of storage.

But those preparations are generally easy compared to how Wisconsin’s settlers prepared for mid-19th century winters. Writer Kathleen Ernst’s new book details how these transplants got ready – not just for fall, but for all four seasons.  The book, called A Settler’s Year, features photographs from Old World Wisconsin. 

For Ernst, this two-year project was a way to glance into the past. "I would love to have some way of peeking back and finding out what it was really like for more people who arrived with nothing, who didn't speak English, who didn't leave any handy diaries or letters behind. Those are the voices that often get lost," she says .

Kathleen Ernst’s latest book is called A Settler’s Year: Pioneer Life Through the Seasons, published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Ernst will talk about the book Friday at the Waukesha Public Library as part of the society’s Wisconsin History Tour and Sunday at Old World Wisconsin.