Sunday, November 01, 2009

Democratic Party of Wisconsin History Project

Have you ever been curious about the history of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin? To the best of my knowledge the only relatively recent info published on this subject is The history of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, 1949-1999, by Dr. Richard Carlton Haney, Professor (now emeritus) of History at UW Whitewater, Erica Feldkamp, past DPW Intern, and Paul Tewes, past DPW Executive Director.

Unfortunately, this pamphlet is out of print and very difficult to obtain, although a few libraries have copies. Several years ago Dr. Haney and the DPW granted permission to put the newer edition online, and after a long delay here it is:

You can read it online, print a copy, or download it as a (rather large) PDF file. It's short, only about twenty-five pages of text and ten pages of pictures, and reads like a magazine article (which it originally was), although the additional material added in the second edition makes it somewhat disjointed at times.

One thing I find particularly interesting is the ideological struggles within the party over the years. Ideology and primary fights are two things that can tear a political party apart faster than just about anything else. There are important lessons here for today's DPW, although they're not always quite as obvious as one might think.


The Democratic Party of Wisconsin History Project is my effort to preserve documents and other materials from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, and whenever possible to make them available on the web. I have two reasons for doing so. First, as I've learned from trying to trace my own family history, unless there is an active effort to preserve historical information it will inevitably be lost. Second, I hope that making such information more easily accessible will help current party leaders make wise decisions and lead to a bigger and more vibrant Democratic Party.

Please help me with this project. If you have material from past party conventions, DPW reports, newsletters, pictures, or personal stories about the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, contact me (, and I will digitize them and put copies online to protect and preserve them for posterity.


Northwoods said...

This is interesting. I printed it out though because it's too much to read online.

I like the idea behind your project. I'll have to dig through some of my old cardboard boxes and see if I have any interesting artifacts.

Russell, you regularly impress me with your creative thinking.

Russell Wallace said...

I'm very fortunate to have some great folks in my inner circle who provide advice and support, and this is an idea that originally came from one of them. So I can't exactly take all the credit...