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Sunday Book Review

The Life of Increase Lapham: Early Chronicler of Plants, Rocks, Rivers, Mounds and All Things Wisconsin

Local English professor, Martha Bergland and journalist, Paul Hayes tell the compelling story of Wisconsin’s first scientist and one of our most treasured naturalists…Increase Allen Lapham.

In addition to Lapham's ability to observe, understand, and catalog the natural world he was…

-Self taught and mastered the fields of botany, geology, archaeology, limnology, mineralogy, engineering, meteorology, and cartography.

-Considered the "Father of the U.S Weather Service," Lapham lobbied Congress and the Smithsonian Institution to create an agency to forecast storms on the Great Lakes and both coasts.

- A genus of North American plants, Laphamia was named for his botanical research and certain markings found on iron meteors were designated by J. Lawrence Smith  as Laphamite markings (Note: the cover of the book shows Lapham examining a meteorite that had fallen in Wisconsin in 1868).

-An author whose guide to the Wisconsin territory was the first book published in Wisconsin.

- A scientist who identified and preserved thousands of botanical specimens and surveyed and mapped Wisconsin's effigy mounds.

Told through Lapham's letters, journals, books, and articles, Studying Wisconsin is a perfect book to take with you on a walk through Lapham Peak Unit (the higest point in Waukesha County) of the Kettle Moraine State Forest on a fall afternoon http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/lapham/.

Like Lapham, when asked late in life which field of science was his specialty, he replied “I am studying Wisconsin”, you too can better understand the natural wonders of Wisconsin through the work of Increase Lapham. Enjoy!

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About the Author

Natalie is the Deputy Director with the New Berlin Public Library... Read More »

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