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Blue Men and River Monsters: Folklore of the North

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The north is a treasure trove of folklore. From magical creatures of the old country to legends of the mysterious and macabre, such lore is a fascinating record of the stories people held on to and the customs, foods, and cures that filled their lives. Collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Program, a Depression-era works project, these are the stories of N The north is a treasure trove of folklore. From magical creatures of the old country to legends of the mysterious and macabre, such lore is a fascinating record of the stories people held on to and the customs, foods, and cures that filled their lives. Collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Program, a Depression-era works project, these are the stories of Norwegian and Swiss immigrants, Native American medicine men and storytellers, and pioneers with memories of the earliest days of settlement in the Old Northwest. In search of stories, legends, songs, and other scraps of traditional knowledge, researchers fanned out across Wisconsin and other states. The resulting handwritten notes, thousands of pages in length, capture history as people remembered it. Blue Men and River Monsters collects the most interesting and noteworthy of these tales, placing them alongside stunning artwork collected by the Federal Art Project in Wisconsin. Peruse these pages and discover a new history of the people and places of the old north.


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The north is a treasure trove of folklore. From magical creatures of the old country to legends of the mysterious and macabre, such lore is a fascinating record of the stories people held on to and the customs, foods, and cures that filled their lives. Collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Program, a Depression-era works project, these are the stories of N The north is a treasure trove of folklore. From magical creatures of the old country to legends of the mysterious and macabre, such lore is a fascinating record of the stories people held on to and the customs, foods, and cures that filled their lives. Collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Program, a Depression-era works project, these are the stories of Norwegian and Swiss immigrants, Native American medicine men and storytellers, and pioneers with memories of the earliest days of settlement in the Old Northwest. In search of stories, legends, songs, and other scraps of traditional knowledge, researchers fanned out across Wisconsin and other states. The resulting handwritten notes, thousands of pages in length, capture history as people remembered it. Blue Men and River Monsters collects the most interesting and noteworthy of these tales, placing them alongside stunning artwork collected by the Federal Art Project in Wisconsin. Peruse these pages and discover a new history of the people and places of the old north.

52 review for Blue Men and River Monsters: Folklore of the North

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    3.5 stars I love the idea of people traveling around Wisconsin in the 30's, recording folklore and cultural traditions. This nicely organized book has something for every interest. I was initially excited about the ghost stories, but surprisingly, the stories I liked most in this book were the circus stories and the lumberjack stories. I liked reading about old customs too. I loved how people used to have "bees" for when they wanted to work together to get something done. I had no idea people had 3.5 stars I love the idea of people traveling around Wisconsin in the 30's, recording folklore and cultural traditions. This nicely organized book has something for every interest. I was initially excited about the ghost stories, but surprisingly, the stories I liked most in this book were the circus stories and the lumberjack stories. I liked reading about old customs too. I loved how people used to have "bees" for when they wanted to work together to get something done. I had no idea people had bees for anything but quilting and spelling. It kind of makes me want to organize a Cleaning Emily's Basement Bee and see if I get a any takers. Because there's a little bit of everything, my appreciation of what I was reading went up and down the whole time. I could hear different voices as I read the different sections, and some were better storytellers than others. I was also surprised there weren't more Norwegian stories. The wood engravings scattered throughout the book were striking, especially the work of Frank Utpatel. The artwork was a nice touch.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    This is a collection of Wisconsin folklore anecdotes from Wisconsin citizens. It was originally collected as a WPA project in the 1930s. It also includes illustrations from Wisconsin artists from that time period. I really enjoyed this book. The anecdotes varied from fantastical tales from the old world about gnomes and fairies to the more realistic tales about Wisconsin's early settlers and village life. Throw in a little bit of Native American folklore, and you have the recipe for a picture of This is a collection of Wisconsin folklore anecdotes from Wisconsin citizens. It was originally collected as a WPA project in the 1930s. It also includes illustrations from Wisconsin artists from that time period. I really enjoyed this book. The anecdotes varied from fantastical tales from the old world about gnomes and fairies to the more realistic tales about Wisconsin's early settlers and village life. Throw in a little bit of Native American folklore, and you have the recipe for a picture of what would make Wisconsin what it was in the 1930s. I thoroughly enjoyed this and recommend it to anyone interested in personal histories.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    I was drawn in by the title, but the book has rather little of blue men and river monsters in it. Only the first fifty pages cover myths and legends, the remaining 200+ pages being devoted to historical lore of a generally more mundane nature. I only read the first part, and even that wasn't particularly engaging. I'm sure this book could be of interest to people, especially those interested in reading about early Wisconsin folklore, but it just isn't what I feel like reading. I was drawn in by the title, but the book has rather little of blue men and river monsters in it. Only the first fifty pages cover myths and legends, the remaining 200+ pages being devoted to historical lore of a generally more mundane nature. I only read the first part, and even that wasn't particularly engaging. I'm sure this book could be of interest to people, especially those interested in reading about early Wisconsin folklore, but it just isn't what I feel like reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Some sections dragged, while others were fascinating. The folklore section in particular evoked a time when people easily believed in weird, incredible things - a strong contrast to today's casual cynicism. Some sections dragged, while others were fascinating. The folklore section in particular evoked a time when people easily believed in weird, incredible things - a strong contrast to today's casual cynicism.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ben Smith

    I received this book for free from a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I thought that the folktales collected in the 30s were interesting, but due to the nature of the collection in can be a bit disjointed at times.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shahara LeFay

    Read from library but must buy. An amazing bunch of Wisconsin lore. Definitely to interesting fiction in the next year or three!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Wisconsin Alumni

    John Zimm ’03 Editor From the editor: The north is a treasure trove of folklore. From magical creatures of the old country to legends of the mysterious and macabre, this lore is a record of the stories people held on to and the customs, foods, and cures that filled their lives. Collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Program, a Depression-era works project, these are the stories of Norwegian and Swiss immigrants, Native American medicine men and storytellers, and pioneers with memori John Zimm ’03 Editor From the editor: The north is a treasure trove of folklore. From magical creatures of the old country to legends of the mysterious and macabre, this lore is a record of the stories people held on to and the customs, foods, and cures that filled their lives. Collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Program, a Depression-era works project, these are the stories of Norwegian and Swiss immigrants, Native American medicine men and storytellers, and pioneers with memories of the earliest days of settlement in the Old Northwest. In search of stories, legends, songs, and other scraps of traditional knowledge, researchers fanned out across Wisconsin and other states. The resulting handwritten notes, thousands of pages in length, capture history as people remembered it. Blue Men and River Monsters collects the most interesting and noteworthy of these tales, placing them alongside stunning artwork collected by the Federal Art Project in Wisconsin. Peruse these pages and discover a new history of the people and places of the old north.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rannoch

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carl

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  11. 4 out of 5

    Terry

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erin Burkett

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  14. 5 out of 5

    Titus

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mary

  16. 4 out of 5

    Erin Karsten

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary Luebke

  19. 4 out of 5

    Zack Stewart

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dennis James

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shannon McDermott

  23. 4 out of 5

    WHS PRESS

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dort

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angela

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tam G

  29. 4 out of 5

    Daryl Moad

  30. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  31. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  32. 4 out of 5

    Carla

  33. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  34. 4 out of 5

    Micielle

  35. 4 out of 5

    Annelisa

  36. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

  37. 4 out of 5

    Wonderliv

  38. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Kennedy

  39. 5 out of 5

    Angel

  40. 4 out of 5

    Eddy Bryant

  41. 5 out of 5

    Rasy33

  42. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

  43. 4 out of 5

    Staczy

  44. 4 out of 5

    Vykki

  45. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

  46. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Gunning

  47. 5 out of 5

    Shelton

  48. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Bingham

  49. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

  50. 5 out of 5

    Shana M. Garrity

  51. 5 out of 5

    Noah

  52. 4 out of 5

    Melitta Cross

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