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From its first settlement by Fourierite communards in the 1840s, before Wisconsin became a state, Ripon has had a long and distinguished history, swept by and nourishing important currents of the nation’s saga. The party of Abraham Lincoln was born here in 1854, in the nation’s first public gathering to call itself “Republican Party.” On the eve of the Civil War, Ripon’s “Booth War” brought the city to national attention as a hotbed of abolitionism. Ripon is the birthplace of suffragette Carrie Chapman Catt and department store pioneer H. Gordon Selfridge. Its stately homes and neighborhoods remind many visitors of New England, and its historic downtown remains one of the best preserved in the region. Ripon College, founded in 1851, has often been described as the “Harvard of the Midwest.” Its alumni include actors Spencer Tracy and Harrison Ford, jazz singer Al Jarreau, American physicist and health researcher Elda Emma Anderson, and astronaut Jeffrey Bantle.
About the Author
Authors Amanda Gesiorski, Naomi Jahn, and Christian Krueger are history majors at Ripon College. Though not native to Ripon, each of these young women has adopted the city as her second home. Editors Andrew Prellwitz and David Sakrison are instructors at the college.
Table of Contents
1 Settlement 9
2 War, Politics, and Petticoats 33
3 The College on the Hill 53
4 Commerce and Industry 77
5 Schools and Churches 99
6 Out and About 113