Rosemaling in the Upper Midwest Collection, 1987-1995

Scope and Content Note

The Wisconsin Historical Society Museum Division holds the artifacts, and most photographs, negatives, and slides associated with this project. These photographs, negatives, and slides are arranged according to the Wisconsin Folk Museum cataloguing scheme, and include both field and studio photography. Slide sheets 84-100 contain the 35 mm color slides related to the Rosemaling in the Upper Midwest book project. Sixteen slides are fieldwork images while the rest are studio shots. Most of the 4x5 color transparencies are studio photographs that appeared in the book, and show the work of Gladys Fossum, Verna Spaanem, and Gold Medalists Violet Christophersen, Ethel Kvalheim, Irene Lamont, Susan Louthain, and Vi Thode. Copy slides of 4x5 color transparencies, which are studio shots used in the book, are also present. Three 4x5 black-and-white internegatives show rosemaled furniture and a large plate by Per Lysne. Images of Nordic Fest, a rosemaled Stoughton Laundromat, rosemaled skis and furniture can be found within the 35 mm black-and-white negatives. Contact sheets of those images are present as well. Nine black-and-white negatives exist and 13 slide sleeves hold several color transparencies, including 18 images related to the book production.

The WHS Museum Division also holds the artifact collection, which includes the work of more than 35 rosemalers ranging from Ethel Kvalheim to Oljanna Cunneen. The rosemaled items include chairs, panels, plates, bowls, trunks, tines, and other small objects.

Mills Music Library's Wisconsin Music Archives has one taped interview of Marion Nelson, Director of Vesterheim, interviewed by Phil Martin on January 26, 1989 at the Vesterheim, in Decorah, Iowa. The tape is part of the Archives' Wisconsin Folk Museum Collection, Box 6, no. 257.

Artist files on roughly 50 rosemalers can be found in the Wisconsin Historical Society Library-Archives Division in the “Wisconsin Folk Museum Records” (Call Number M98-044) collection. These files variously contain correspondence--often regarding acquisition of artifacts--as well as news clippings, ephemeral publications, some biographical materials, and sometimes original field notes.

Exhibit materials for “Roses in the Upper Midwest” in Janet C. Gilmore's possession include five mounted black-and-white photographs, one of the Stoughton Laundromat, one of Ethel Kvalheim, another of Thelma and Elma Olsen, one of Vesterheim's main exhibits hall, and a classic portrait of Per Lysne (all of which appear in the book). Four folders hold original and final versions of exhibit text, and an artifact list for the final exhibit. Additional color slides, prints, and negatives, show the final exhibit's installation before tear-down in 1995.