Published since the mid-1880s, the State of Wisconsin Blue Book is a standard reference source for Wisconsin information: population, history, election data, agriculture, industry and much, much more. But don’t let the details dissuade you. Lengthy feature articles on a variety of topics are a pleasant surprise in the middle of this muddle of minutiae.
“Wisconsin at the Frontiers of Astronomy” is one such example. Written by Peter Susalla and James Lattis for the 2009-2010 edition of Wisconsin’s Blue Book, the 87 page article (on glossy paper) includes over 80 photographs and illustrations that help move the reader through time, from the prehistory of Wisconsin astronomy thru the development of telescopes and observatories.
“Wisconsin in the Civil War”, written by staff from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, and the Wisconsin Department of Veteran’s Affairs, is a 69 page treasure hidden within the 2015-2016 edition. The article provides a historic survey from the precursors that lead to Civil War, thru to the care of the veterans that lived thru the war.
The Wisconsin Blue Books can be read cover to cover online, through the UW Digital Collection. Later copies can also be found on the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau site.