Mr. Taylor was active in civic affairs, as well as an amateur photographer, botanist and historian. As part of a celebration of 100 years of white settlement, he prepared this history of the Wisconsin Rapids area in 1934-1935. Taylor continued to add to it through 1940. His choice of events reflects his interests. He was not writing about strangers, but friends he had known for most of his life. Despite these limitations, he produced a work of true significance. Many of these photos do not exist elsewhere and his knowledge of the early days of the area is unexcelled. Much of his information came from the people involved.
The Pictorial Book
The Pictorial Book (Volume One) consisted on photos pasted into a large album with captions for some of the photos. The title page reads "100 YEARS OF PICTORIAL & DESCRIPTIVE HISTORY OF WISCONSIN RAPIDS WISCONSIN BY T. A. TAYLOR 1934". The on-line version retains all captions and the order of the photos, but does not attempt to reconstruct how they were arranged on the page. Any text added by the editor has been placed in brackets.
A few of the photographs are missing or damaged beyond use.
The books were on public display at the Library for over thirty years. The glue used to attached the photographs to the pages and the constant handling discolored many of the images. Some items have been edited to offset the effects of time, glue and wear. Due to the large size of some of the original photographs, some scanned images do not include the entire content of the original photograph. In some cases, scans were made from the original source documents (e.g. Wisconsin Historical Collections) instead of the damaged versions in the book. Two items that were negative microfilm printouts were inverted to improve their legibility.
The pages in this volume were numbered, but some of the numbers are worn off. It appears that the pages were shuffled at some time. As a result the page citations in Vol. 2 do not always coincide with the page numbers assigned (sometimes by the editor) in Vol. 1.
The volume originally included a photographic index. To replicate this, the editor has compiled a subject index to the photographs.
The Library is planning to have the originals preserved and restored. Serious historians can request access to the original text and copies of the photos. The originals of the photos are being withheld from public use until they have been properly restored and preserved.
The Historical Book
The Historical Book (Volume Two) is text with occasional illustrations. The cover title is "Historical Wisconsin Rapids 2nd Vol." The author divided this work into several major sections. The editor has broken two of the sections (the Chronological Sketch and Pictures in the Album) into subsections for ease of use. The original index to the volume has not been reproduced, since the page numbers do not correspond to the on-line version. A Table of Contents that lists the headings that Taylor used has been compiled.
Taylor typed the text of the Historical Book onto ledger (11 x 17) paper before the invention of White Out or correcting ribbons. This method and medium resulted in some unusual sentences, spelling errors and typographical inconsistencies. The text has been lightly edited. Some typographic and spelling errors have been corrected. Punctuation has been regularized. Any additions to the text have been noted in brackets. No changes have been made to any dates, places or names, nor have any historical inaccuracies been corrected.
This work, in part and in its entirety, is the property of the McMillan Memorial Library of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. It is not to be reproduced, in part or in whole, without the permission of the Library. Links to McMillan's web site are encouraged and do not require notification.
The editor and project manager is Assistant Director Andy Barnett, though many members of the McMillan Memorial Library staff have contributed to the effort.