Milwaukee of Today, the cream city of the lakesc. 1893 book on Milwaukee merchants
1890s Cream City of the Lakes
An apt description for a city built of brick that turned a creamy gold when fired instead of the usual red or brown. When viewed from the Lake Michigan during the sunrise, the still cleaned brick buildings must have radiantly shown!

slogan, Milwaukee: A Bright Spot 1901
1900s A Bright Spot
A new century brought a change. You can notice a reference to the shining city on the lake. Milwaukee was now billed as a top destination for conventions. With the many breweries, opera houses, vaudeville theaters, parks and more attractions (some illegal) the city drew in various national club, labor, industrial and athletic conventions in the early 20th century.

PictureLetterhead on Merchant & Commerce Report
1920s Making Milwaukee Mighty
The cities industrial and shipping base increased greatly during the first World Wars. The Great Depression of the 1930s was not kind to the global community but Milwaukee suffered less than many cities its size. As the depression and dust bowl continued, more rural citizens and immigrants flocked to the big cities to look for employment.

1920s & 1930s Keep Milwaukee Famous
Used as a slogan by Daniel Hoan who wished to remind voters of how the city improved with him as mayor. It borrows quite a lot from Schlitz's branding as, "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous". Schlitz itself rebranded during prohibition encouraging buyers to purchase it's barley malt that, "Keeps Milwaukee Famous". Well, a good slogan is a good slogan.
slogan, Keep Milwaukee On Top
C. 1940 Keep Milwaukee on Top
 Investors and workers alike needed to be reminded that the city was still important in the region and the world. Although it might be viewed as a slight improvement over the "Milwaukee Mighty", it isn't that different from the previous "Keep" slogan.

1970s Milwaukee: Talk It Up
Following WWII, city slogans seemed to take second place to the branding of individual companies towards consumers. Interestingly, this is also the decade that brought the shows of "Happy Days" and "Laverne & Shirley" into every household with a television. Although the slogan seems a little confusing, it definitely has a colorful '70s look. See a sample at the bottom link.
slogan, Milwaukee: Great for Living Great for Business
c. 1980 Milwaukee: Great For Living, Great For Business
A lengthy slogan trying very hard. The flight to the suburbs was on and the downtown of Milwaukee was often very deserted shortly after five o'clock. The city is still working to try people back to the center to this very day.

1982 Milwaukee Builds Winners

1983 A Great Place By a Great Lake

1995 Milwaukee: Genuine American

Like the period following World War II, city slogans have seemed to again fall out of fashion. Visit Milwaukee currently uses a wordless sketch of the art museum. In a city with over half a million people, multiple interests and many businesses, perhaps it is difficult to find a consensus today.

For more images and reflections of the most recent slogans, read Matthew Prigge's Shepherd Express article: Milwaukee City Slogans: Talk 'em Up

By Joel Willems
Curator, Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear
Mexican revolutionary, Pancho Villa
Prior to World War I, members of the Wisconsin National Guard received important active duty experience along the Mexican border. In March 1916, the United States sent over 110,000 National Guard troops to the border against the Mexican revolutionary, Pancho Villa. Wisconsin sent 3 infantry regiments, 2 cavalry troops, an artillery battery, and a field hospital (over 4,000 men) for service. While these men did not see battle or suffer any casualties, this provided mobilization and organizational experience.

WWI United States Army Recruiting Station
In April 1917, mere months after Wisconsin troops returned from the border, the United States declared war on Germany and officially entered the war. Men and women from Wisconsin served in all branches of the armed forces, although the largest concentration of Badgers was in the 32nd Division. 18,000 Wisconsin National Guardsmen began training at Camp Douglas and were eventually merged with Michigan National Guardsmen into the 32nd Division. The 32nd Division arrived in France in early 1918, saw significant action, taking part in three major offensives, and was the first American troops to reach German soil.  

American WWI Soldier or Doughboy
WWI American nurse
Returning American WWI troops on a ship
An additional 10,000 Wisconsin men and women volunteered for service, while 90,000 men were drafted, bringing the total contribution of the state to about 120,000. They served in hundreds of units within the Army, Army Air Corps, Army Nurse Corps, Marines and Navy. These veterans suffered about ten per cent casualties, with over 2,000 dying in service

This is part of our exhibit on WWI at the Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear. The exhibit opens April 2, 2017.
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:

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,
[vii] “Breyers,” Unilever USA Brands, accessed June 23, 2011,

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