Woodland Indian Traditional Artist Project Collection, 1992-1995

Scope and Content Note

The Wisconsin Historical Society Museum Division possesses the artifacts purchased during the survey, most of which appeared in the “We Chose to Go That Way” exhibit at the Folk Museum, as well as the mounted photo enlargements and exhibit text from the exhibit.

Folklorist James P. Leary possesses some National Endowment for the Arts and Fund for Folk Culture grant files and the project's ethnographic documentation, which included transcribed audiotapes and some traveling exhibit text. The “Woodland Indian Project” materials held by Leary document the preparation and implementation stages of the project as well as the lives and work of the featured traditional artists. The “Grant: NEA Woodland Indian Project Year 1, 1992 October-1993 September” file contains the grant application, resumes, letters of support, NEA terms and conditions, grant award letter, request for extension of grant, 1995 final report, financial reports, and correspondence. The “Grant: Fund for Folk Culture Woodland Indian Project, 1994-1995” file consists of the grant application, resumes, FFC guidelines and application forms, grant award letter, expenses, a January 6, 1995 interim report, and a 1995 final report. The “Contacts” file includes an Indian Tribes of Wisconsin brochure; a contact list with artist name, skill, address, and phone number; a Folk Museum newsletter announcing the project; handwritten notes; and a tentative list of artists to be documented with name, skill, tribe, state, and gender, compiled in 1992. The “WFM (Wisconsin Folk Museum) Woodland Indians” file contains planning materials including a project description, a slide index of artist samples, and a proposal for a book project. The “Events/Publications” file consists of a Wisconsin Folk Museum newsletter, letters to Madison newspapers to advertise events, copies of articles, and press releases.

Files on each artist documented in the project are also available. Each of the artist files contains tape transcripts, correspondence with the artist and/or relatives of the artist, short biographies and quotes that were used in the exhibit, and consent forms. Some files contain newspaper articles and brochures. The “Ned and Josephine Daniels” file contains a floppy diskette and an autobiography of Josephine Johnson Daniels based on the interview with Leary. The “Myron Lowe” file contains no consent form. The “John Snow” file includes a photograph, instructions for carving a John Snow brown trout icefishing decoy, and articles about him. The “Louis Webster” file contains an autobiography based on the tape transcript, a photocopy of his promotional biography with photo, and a tape index from a 1989 interview conducted by Leary.

Also included are 17 digital audio tapes containing interviews with the artists. The interviews provide narratives of the lives and work of the artists, detailing how traditions have been passed on and altered over time. CD copies of the tapes were prepared in 2005.

Janet C. Gilmore and James P. Leary maintain at their home in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, the Lewis Koch photography of the artists--color slides and black-and-white negatives, contact sheets, and some prints--as well as their own photographs of the artists and their artistry during fieldwork, artist demonstrations, or in exhibits. Gilmore also has amassed a miscellany of unprocessed files, color slides, black-and-white negatives, and contact sheets regarding the two exhibits, the traveling exhibit tour, the summer 1995 artist demonstrations, grant administration, marketing, and publicity.