1928 Milwaukee newspaper advertisement reading,
On February 20, 1928, 147 thousand, six hundred Master Padlocks were shipped by rail to New York City. The shipment weighed sixteen tons and was worth $65,000.  The humorous and ironical part was that the locks were made in Milwaukee, the national beer capital, and in quarters leased from the Pabst Brewery. Pabst was not brewing beer because of the National Prohibition Act. 

Five Flapper Women in fur coats posing in front of Master Lock Company rail shipment. February 1928.
The newspapers were full of articles concerning raids by Federal agents on distilling operations and speakeasies. The tools in the trade of the Federal agents consisted of two items; a long handled ax to smash the barrels of illegal brew and a supply of padlocks to secure the doors and prevent any further use of the establishment.

In the majority of cases, the locks used were Master padlocks, the strongest padlocks ever built. Twenty cold-rolled steel plates, seven times riveted and forming a solid, indestructible case. It could be hammered upon and would not break or crack.

It took seven trucks to move the 16 tons of locks from the company to the train yard. On the sides of the trucks were banners that read, "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous." These banners were crossed out and covered by banners, "Make Milwaukee Mightier." Acting Mayor Cornelius Corcoran of Milwaukee locked the rail car witha 3-foot padlock and broke a bottle of near beer over it. He sent the key to Jimmy Walker, mayor of New York, by air mail.
Images and research by John Lupiezowieck, Master Lock historian

Exhibit of Master Lock on display at the Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear since June 2016 - now

Young Mildred FishA Young Mildred Fish
Mildred Elizabeth Fish was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on September 16, 1902.  She attended West Division High School, and in 1926 worked at what is now the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as a lecturer on German literature.  During this time she met her future husband, a German, Arvid Harnack, who was in the U.S. studying at University of Wisconsin-Madison.  They wed in Wisconsin and left for Germany in 1929 where she studied for her doctorate.  The couple moved to Berlin from Giessen in 1930 where she worked as an assistant lecturer of English and American literature and also as a translator.

Mildred Fish Harnack, Educator and Resistance   1902-1943
Clara, Mildred and Arvid Harnack c. 1931, Deutscher Widerstand, BerlinClara, Mildred & Arvid Harnack c. 1931
It was during this time in Berlin that Mildred became interested in Communism as a solution to poverty.  In 1932, she was let go from her teaching position and toured the Soviet Union with her husband and other academics. Arvid and Mildred began a discussion circle that debated the political situation of the time.  This circle became the center of a resistance group that by 1941 was feeding Soviet agents information about German intentions in the upcoming invasion of Russia.  Mildred and her husband recruited more members who were against the Nazi regime and this group became a hub of resistance inside Germany.  

Mildred Fish Harnack Building in Milwaukee, WIDr. Mildred Fish Harnack Bldg, Urban Milwaukee photo
Unfortunately, this group’s radio messages were intercepted and decoded.  The Gestapo arrested Arvid and Mildred on September 7, 1942, and after a quick trial Arvid was executed on Dec. 22, 1942.  Mildred Fish Harnack was originally given a six year sentence by the court, but Hitler refused to endorse this and ordered a new trial.  Upon Hitler’s direct order, Harnack was found guilty and beheaded on Feb. 16, 1943.  Her last words were, “I loved Germany so much.”

“And I have loved Germany so much.” Mildred's Final Words
For more information, view this short documentary by Wisconsin Public Television: http://wpt.org/nazi-resistance/main

PictureLuick Dairy Milk Can, Chudnow Museum
John Luick, a Civil War veteran, revolutionized the ice cream industry not just in Milwaukee, but throughout the world.  He was born in New York, and except for his two years of service in Virginia, lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Luick “saw the rise of ice cream from a Sunday luxury to an everyday dessert.”[i]  This rise was brought on largely by Luick himself.  

In the 1880’s, Luick was already making delectable ice cream in his small confectionary shop in Milwaukee.  It was his son William’s idea to sell wholesale ice cream, an idea that his father did not readily buy into.  William rented a failing drugstore soda machine on Milwaukee Street between Wisconsin and Wells.  William also purchased a small shop and started to make 10 to 20 gallons of ice cream a day.  At this time, ice cream had to be hand-turned in a small freezer.  A drugstore on 27th and Wisconsin Avenue was William’s first customer.[ii]  Because of his son William’s success in making and selling wholesale ice cream, John was convinced of the business potential.  

“The Dairy Industry is the biggest in the world.  It is bigger than the steel industry.” Thomas McInnerney 1926 to the Milwaukee Sentinel 
PictureLuick Dairy Advertising Truck
In 1897 he formed “Luick’s Ice Cream Co.”  The company grew so big in its first 90 days that the business was moved into a larger building at 602 East Ogden Street.  Copying his son’s idea, he also installed a soda fountain which turned his building into one of the most popular in the city.[iii]  Another of his brilliant ideas was to serve ice cream in the winter, which helped to spread its popularity.   

Luick made a number of important contributions to the Ice Cream Industry.  He was the first person to sell pint “bricks” of ice cream wrapped in paper and quarts of ice cream in cartons.  He created flavors of ice cream other than the traditional Neapolitan flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.  Luick mixed his ice cream with fruit and candy to increase his flavor potentials.  Luick’s business was so revolutionary that confectioners from across the country came to observe his business.  Eventually, John retired and left his business to his son William.

PictureRecreated Luick Ice Cream logo
At the end of 1923, a man named Thomas McInnerney formed the National Dairy Products Corporation with the goal of consolidating all of the independent ice cream companies in the US.  McInnerney was highly successful and merged with Luick Ice Cream Co. in 1926.  Luick Ice Cream Co. was largely left to create ice cream the way it always did.  A newspaper at the time reported, “Mr. Luick [William] will remain president of his company and its organization, methods and product will remain unchanged.”[iv]  William was even appointed to the board of directors of the National Dairy Products Corporation.[v]

PictureMilk Half Pint with Luick & Sealtest Cap
Around 1929, Luick Ice Cream became part of the Sealtest division of the National Dairy Products Corporation, which would eventually become Kraft Foods, Inc.[vi]  Sealtest and Kraft were companies that were purchased by the National Dairy Products Corporation to consolidate the food industry.  In 1969, the National Dairy Products Corporation changed their name to Kraft, which is one of the biggest food-producing companies today.  In 1993, Kraft sold its ice cream brands, including Sealtest (the brand that owned Luick Ice Cream) and Breyer’s to the Unilever Corporation, which owns them today.[vii]   

Nevertheless, Luick Ice Cream was a Milwaukee staple for decades, especially in the 1920’s.  This decade saw the standard of living rise along with wages.  Never before in history did the majority of the population have some sort of disposable income or leisure time.  These two things merged together at the soda fountain or ice cream parlor that Luick helped to popularize. 

[i] “Luick, Veteran of Civil War, Is Dead at 97” The Milwaukee Journal, March 30, 1938, Page 1.
[ii] “Everybody Likes Ice Cream” The Milwaukee Sentinel, January 29, 1952, Section 2.
[iii] Ibid 
[iv] “Chain Concern Booms State Milk Future” The Milwaukee Sentinel, September 3, 1926.
[v] “Trapp Dairy Co. Unites With Chain Organization” The Milwaukee Journal, December 16, 1927, Page 1.
[vi]“Luick Dairy Co. Horse and Wagon,” Milwaukee Public Library Digital Collections, accessed June 23, 2011, http://content.mpl.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/HstoricPho&CISOPTR=4111&CISOBOX=1&REC=1
[vii] “Breyers,” Unilever USA Brands, accessed June 23, 2011, http://www.unileverusa.com/brands/foodbrands/breyers/index.aspx

Born Carrie Lane on January 9, 1859 near Ripon, Wisconsin, Carrie was to be a key figure in the passing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the founding of the League of Women Voters. She gained a college education from what is now Iowa State University. After working as a teacher and school principal, Carrie married Les Chapman in 1885, a newspaper editor. Unfortunately, he died the following year.

Carrie Chapman Catt, Suffrage Leader & Educator  1859-1947
The year 1887 marked a new part of her life as she became involved in the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association. Carrie quickly became a leader in the fight to win women the right to vote and by 1900 she became the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), taking over for legendary women's rights advocate Susan B. Anthony. Her second marriage to George Catt ended in 1905 with his death, and she became involved with the International Woman Suffrage Alliance.

Carrie was asked by NAWSA to return in 1915 to help the struggling organization after suffragist Alice Paul and others had left the group. Ms. Catt got the organization back on solid financial ground and developed a plan to get women the vote through passage of a federal amendment. Carrie was so sure of women getting the vote that she helped establish the League of Women Voters in 1920 before the amendment was passed. After the 19th Amendment was adopted, Catt left NAWSA to help women around the world gain the right to vote. She also endorsed the short-lived League of Nations and the later United Nations.

Elsa Ulbricht Works Progress Handicrafts Project for Milwaukee
Elsa Ulbricht was born on March 15, 1885 in Milwaukee. She studied at the Milwaukee Normal School, receiving a degree in education before attending the Pratt Institute in New York, from which she graduated in 1911. Ms. Ulbricht was asked to join the faculty of the art department of the Normal School upon her return from the east. Elsa was influenced by Wisconsin artists during this time and spent the summers of the 1920s and 1930s painting. Her work in teaching and developing a curriculum at the Normal School led to her appointment as the director for the Works Progress Administration Handicrafts Project for Milwaukee. She had a genius for organizing and a determination to get the job done to create in her words, "socially useful and durable art."

Elsa Ulbricht, Artist and Educator   1885-1980
"Our Club" sketch by Elsa Ulbricht
During eight years of the Great Depression, 1935 to 1943, five thousand Milwaukee County residents were lifted from welfare by working on dolls and toys for poor children; wall hangings, rugs and drapes for hospitals, schools and nurseries; and a myriad of other items including furniture, quilts, pillows, book binding, and costumes for theatrical groups. This WPA project became a model for others around the country, with Eleanor Roosevelt visiting Milwaukee to view its productivity. Elsa also saw to it that African Americans were employed by the project at a time when many were being turned away. She believed that everyone had one thing in common - the need for work.

Elsa Ulbricht newspaper image
Elsa taught and developed an amazing variety of subjects in the art department of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and its predecessors over the forty-four year period 1911-1955, serving the last two years as head of the department. Elsa was also a founding member of the Wisconsin Players, the Milwaukee Art Institute, and the Wisconsin Designer-Craftsmen. She was an accomplished painter, print-maker, weaver and puppeteer as well as a zealous promoter of crafts as major art forms. Ms. Ulbricht died in Milwaukee on March 13, 1980.

"And still they gazed and still the wonder grew, 
how one small head could carry all she knew." 
-1914 Normal School Graduating Verse on Elsa Ulbricht

Young Edna Ferber at desk with typewriter
Edna Ferber was born on August 15, 1885 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She grew up mostly in her native Michigan, in Iowa, and in Appleton, Wisconsin. Edna began her working career at age 17 as a reporter for the Appleton Daily Crescent, later working as a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal. Her 1912 move to New York led her into a circle of influential friends such as Katherine Hepburn, Moss Hart and George Kaufman. In 1920 she covered both the Democratic national convention in San Francisco and the Republican national convention in Chicago for the United Press Association.

Edna Ferber, Author and Newspaper Reporter   1885-1968
Edna Ferber having tea and reading a manuscript
Her talents turned to writing books that offered an accurate, lively portrait of middle-class Midwestern experiences in the 1920s and 1930s. Frequently the heroines of these books were women whose strength and talent made them successful in business, like Emma McChesney in Roast Beef or Fanny in Fanny Herself. Ferber believed that working people still retained "a kind of primary American freshness and assertiveness."

Edna Ferber's Showboat starring Ava Gardner
Edna won a Pulitzer Prize in 1924 for her book, So Big, of which there are three film adaptations. She garnered much critical acclaim for Show Boat, later turned into the musical play and movie. Her later novels Giant, Saratoga Trunk, Cimmaron and Ice Palace were all made into motion pictures. World critics hailed Ferber as the greatest woman novelist of the period. She died on April 16, 1968 in New York City. Her published works include twelve novels, twelve collections of short stories, nine plays and two autobiographies. 

"A Closed Mind is a Dying Mind" - Edna Ferber
Since our Bootlegger’s Bash is coming up on August 20th, I thought I’d make a post for the gentlemen looking for some style advice on what to wear.

In the 1920s, bowties were starting to fall out of fashion for everyday wear. Although they were still the standard for formal evening wear.

For the most part, during the day men mostly wore neckties. In 1926, a designer from New York named Jesse Langsdorf designed the tie that was formed from three separate pieces sewn together. This allowed the tie to retain its shape when it was tied, and was so successful that this shape is still used today.

One type of tie that was popular in the 1920s was the Macclesfield Tie, which had small geometric patterns on it. 

Other ties had stripes in contrasting colors. It was especially common for men in clubs to wear ties with the colors of their club.

During the 1930s wealthier men began wearing silk ties with art deco patterns on them. In general, most ties in the 1930s began having brighter colors and patterns than the ones that were worn in the 1920s, following the trend of the era.

And even if you couldn’t afford the fancy silk ties, there was always an option. Many working class men wore knitted ties made out of simple wool or cotton yarn, and they would try to emulate the fancier patterns or stripes in their knitting.

Also, gentlemen, it is important to note that men in the 1920s and the 1930s wore their ties very short compared to modern standards. Typically it would have been proper to wear a vest or keep your coat buttoned over your tie, but the ends of the tie would barely reach the top of your pants.

Well, gentlemen, I hope this gives you a better idea on what tie you should wear to our Bootlegger’s Bash Event! 

By Kayla Sutherland
Associate, Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear
Ladies, are you planning on coming to our flapper party and want to look the part? Or do you just feel like getting dressed up in that totally in-style “Great Gatsby-esque” look? Well, here’s some ideas on how to get your makeup on point!

First of all, you’ll need to start with your base, and powder your face.

After the natural Gibson Girl look of the early 1900s and 1910s, the 1920s offered women a chance to embrace makeup, and they went for a more “unnatural” look. Ladies would use powders and creams to give themselves pale skin and then apply rouge for nice bright cheeks.

Next, if you’ve looked at any photographs or advertisements from the 1920s I’m sure you’ve noticed that the eyes were one of the main focuses for ladies’ makeup.

Eyebrows were long and thin, and eyes were surrounded with thick eyeliner and heavy dark lashes, and dynamic eyeshadows in bright or dark colors. So try out some colorful smoky eyes! Maybelline was a huge brand at this time, with the first commercially sold mascara, an alternative to brushing on coal and vaseline!

Another focus for your makeup should be your lips. Bright red lips were (and still are!) all the rage! So rock out that red lipstick, ladies! Don’t shy away from color and drama, that’s what the 1920s were all about!

If you think the colors might be a bit bright, just switch your filter over to grayscale and rock out some vintage selfies!

Channel these dynamic ladies, Clara Bow and Louise Brooks, and remember these words of wisdom:

By Kayla Sutherland
Associate, Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear
PictureGarden Homes Construction, 1923
The Garden Homes housing project is the nation’s first and only municipally-built, public housing cooperative. The property, composed of 105 living units in 93 free-standing buildings constructed between 1921 and 1923, is bounded by North 27th Street and West Ruby, North Teutonia and West Atkinson avenues. Its origins can be traced to the 1910 municipal election of the nation’s first Socialist mayor, Emil Seidel. One of the planks of the Socialist platform was construction of city-built, low-cost homes for workers. Although Seidel failed to make public housing a reality during his term, Daniel W. Hoan, the city’s second Socialist mayor, succeeded.

PictureGarden Homes Construction, 1923
In 1920, the lack of adequate working-class housing was the key issue in the community. The Garden Homes Company was formally incorporated in 1921 under new legislation that allowed the formation of public housing corporations. It was originally intended to provide housing for families earning a modest $1,200 to $1,500 a year. Occupants would purchase housing corporation common stock equal to the value of the house. Monthly payments would be spread over 20 years that were to cover interest, taxes, upkeep and other fixed costs. The project would be financed through sale of preferred stock with 5% per annum dividend which would be purchased by city and county governments and other investors. The goal was a home built at a cost of $4,500, about 25% less than a comparable home, which a family would own, or be owned by the cooperative.

PictureAerial Section of Garden Homes, 2016
Not everyone was in favor of this project or loved the idea of public housing. According to a Milwaukee Sentinel report some opposed the plan because it "hinted something strongly of Sovietism” and some believed it did not guarantee individual ownership of the homes.  Some thought success with this project would bolster the Socialist Party in the county, and other business leaders, real estate boards, and politicians were upset about the high, union scale wages being paid to the workers. The Town of Wauwatosa and Town of Milwaukee were upset about plans by the City of Milwaukee to annex the area. Milwaukee, however, eventually won a decision in 1925 in the Wisconsin Supreme Court that approved the annexation. Some disgruntled Garden Home residents wanted individual titles to their properties so that they could sell them at appreciated values.  This led to the cooperative being disbanded in July of 1925. With this change to individual ownership, the Garden Homes Company functioned only to sell the housing stock and pay off all loans—a process that took more than ten years. By the late 1930s only about 40% of the original tenants still lived in the subdivision.

The Garden Homes Historic District in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Despite its problems, Garden Homes was an exercise in American ingenuity. Costs were cut by using a standardized building plan and production line techniques utilizing the crews of tradesmen to work from one house to the next performing the same job each time. But most of all, the Socialists showed the citizens of Milwaukee that when they made a promise, they kept it. 

By Steve Daily
Director, Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear

Young Meta Berger of Milwaukee
Born on February 23, 1873 in Milwaukee, Meta Schlichting was educated at the Wisconsin State Normal School (now the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee). Meta taught primary school after graduating. She was forced to resign when she married Victor Berger in 1897 due to rules that required female teachers to be single.

Meta Berger, Educator and Politician   1873-1944
Milwaukee's Meta Berger with fancy hat
Meta was elected to the Milwaukee School Board in 1909, and as a school board member, she supported progressive measures such as the construction of playgrounds, "penny lunches," and medical exams for children. Ms. Berger also advocated on behalf of teachers for tenure, a pension system, and a fixed salary schedule. She was re-elected again and again, serving a total of 30 years on the board. Meta's work for the school board led to her appointments to the Wisconsin State Board of Education, the Wisconsin Board of Regents of Normal Schools and the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents.

Meta Berger and Wisconsin Governor Heil in 1941
After the death of her husband, Victor, in 1929, Meta was selected to fill his seat on the Socialist Party's National Executive Committee, a position given to few women. She resigned from the Socialist Party in 1940 and spent her remaining years on her farm in Thiensville where she died on June 16, 1944. Meta was a daughter of German immigrants who became a prominent and outspoken activist and politician at a time when women's roles and place were hotly contested.

"We never obtained Suffrage until we made a row about it." 
- Meta Berger