Rural History Books

One-Room Country Schools: History and Recollections

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Remembering his first day of school, Jerry Apps writes, “Mother insisted that I comb my hair, which I reluctantly did before clamping on my cap. A cap was wonderful for little boys who hated combing their hair, but now I had to comb mine before I could wear my cap. This simple event signaled great changes that were about to occur.”

Cover of One Room Country Schools

Horse Drawn Days: A Century of Farming with Horses

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This book captures stories of rural life at a time when a team of horses was a vital part of the farm family. Author Jerry Apps pairs lively historic narrative with reminiscences about his boyhood on the family farm in Wisconsin to paint a vivid picture of a bygone time.

cover of Horse Drawn Days

The Civilian Conservation Corps in Wisconsin: Nature’s Army at Work

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Jerry Apps presents the first comprehensive history of the CCC in Wisconsin. Apps guides readers around the state, from the Northwoods to the Driftless Area, creating a map of where and how more than 125 CCC camps left indelible marks on the landscape. Captured in rich detail as well are the voices of the CCC boys who by preserving Wisconsin’s natural beauty not only discovered purpose in their labor, but founded an enduring legacy of environmental stewardship.

CCC book cover

Wisconsin Agriculture: A History

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Jerry Apps examines everything from the fundamental influences of landscape and weather to complex matters of ethnic and pioneer settlement patterns, changing technology, agricultural research and education, and government regulations and policies. Featuring first-person accounts from the settlement era to today, along with more than 200 captivating photographs, Wisconsin Agriculture breathes life into the facts and figures of 150 years of farming history and provides compelling insights into the state’s agricultural past, present, and future.

Cover of Wisconsin Agriculture

Barns of Wisconsin

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This book, featuring photos by Jerry’s son, Steve, celebrates Wisconsin’s history and culture. In addition to the plethora (140) of vivid color photos, Jerrys has provided a map of Wisconsin barns for readers making the scenic driving tour.

Cover of Barns of Wisconsin

Cheese: The Making of a Wisconsin Tradition

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Jerry Apps narrates the history of cheese making in Wisconsin from the 1840s to the present. Apps documents the daily lives of early cheese makers and how Wisconsin became the nation’s number one cheese producer. The experiences come from the cheese makers, milk haulers, cheese graders, and buyers with stories of snow-blocked roads and frozen milk, of fish in milk cans, wine in cellars, and cheese aging on shelves.

Cover of Cheese: The Making of a Wisconsin Tradition

Ringlingville USA: The Stupendous Story of Seven Siblings and Their Stunning Circus Success

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Ringlingville USA is the story of seven brothers who started with next to nothing and became the most famous circus family ever known. This is an extensively illustrated history with many never before published photographs. This history of the Ringling Circus, the first in more than 50 years, recounts the hard work, business savvy, and entrepreneurship of the Ringling Brothers as they created the largest, most famous circus in the world.

Cover of Ringlingville