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Society Staff Changes
Bill Woolley

Joyce Rudolph Retires as Exhibits Curator

Earlier this year, Joyce Rudolph announced that she would
retire from her position as Exhibits Curator in order to have more
time to attend to family matters. Joyce joined the Society in
2004 and soon became a central member of our regular
volunteer staff. She reorganized our filing system and took
charge of keeping our scrapbooks up to date. However, her
main interest was in exhibits. As Curator of Exhibits she literally
changed the face of our Society. After visiting a number of other
historical societies and talking with professionals in the field, she
proposed that we reorganize the first floor of the Pickard House,
which for decades was permanently furnished as an early 20

century home, into an actual museum with both permanent and
changing exhibits. This involved a major remodeling and
refinishing the four exhibit rooms which began in the fall of 2011
and took nearly a year. Afterwards, working with Michele
Benson and Bill Woolley, she mounted the permanent exhibit of
the History of Ripon in the entry room and a temporary exhibit
entitled “Ripon Women in Your Grandmother’s Day” which was, by far, the most ambitious set of displays ever
undertaken by the Society in the two adjoining rooms. This was followed at the end of 2013 by an entirely new
exhibit focused on children and Christmas which was open to the public for three days during the Dickens of a
Christmas celebration.

However, Joyce’s main love was the Pedrick–Lawson House where she supervised the reorganization of the
display areas after we received the generous donation of Governor Horner furniture from Brian Wood and Tony
Frommelt. This was competed in late 2012 in time to have the house be part of the Parade of Homes that year.

In addition to all of this, Joyce initiated our current “Summer Sunday” program and created an outreach
program with the Prairie Place Home where she still brings highly welcomed programs about Ripon’s history
once a month for its less mobile residents.

Joyce’s leadership, energy, and imagination will be greatly
missed by the Society. Happily, however, she is still with us
and has agreed to give us what time she has to continue her
work with the Lawson House and the outreach program

Our Archivist, Nedra Martz, Retires

Nedra Martz, who has been our Archivist and a member of
our Board for more than 15 years, has retired to be with family
elsewhere. Nedra joined the Society in 1997. Her first job was
to organize the working files of the Society. Her system

Ripon Historical Society
508 Watson Street
Ripon, WI 54971 USA
(920) 748-5354
Betsy Stanfield, Editor

JUNE 2014

Our future flows from our past.

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worked so well that we still use it today. Soon after that she took the position of Archivist. At that time the
Society was completing its expansion that gave us the basement room for holding and researching archives.
We also received the massive Pedrick Archives that had been stored at the College. Nedra recalls those days
noting that “there were so many boxes everywhere that we could hardly move around.“ Within a year, however,
Nedra had the files organized on shelves in the order in which they exist today. Since then, with professional
advice from the State Historical Society, she created a system for cataloguing and indexing all those files as
well as new accessions to make them easily accessible to researchers. In doing so, she was a pioneer in the
area of using the Past Perfect computer program for controlling archival records. In addition, she has tutored
interns, hosted visiting classes, answered hundreds of reference questions from all over the country and
overseas, assisted numerous researchers, advised members of other societies hoping to create their own
archives, and undertaken new archival projects while also
serving stints as Secretary, Historian, and member of the
Board. Nedra has been a mainstay at our Society and will be
sorely missed.

Carol Sachen to be Our New Archivist

With the departure of Nedra Martz, Carol Sachen has agreed
to take over as the Society’s Archivist. Carol joined the
Society in the spring of 2011 and very shortly thereafter took
over the position of Curator of Artifacts following Mary
Brandt’s retirement from the Society. This year she became a
member of the Board. Carol was a graduate of Ripon College
and lived in Illinois before returning to Ripon.

Society Hosts Meeting of Women’s Clubs
Bill Woolley

In March, the Society hosted a joint meeting the Ripon Education Club, the Science Club, and the Study Club.
Over 40 members of the three clubs were present. Bill Woolley gave a program entitled “Ripon Women in Your
Grandmother’s Day” which featured pictures of displays from the Society’s earlier museum exhibit of the same
name. After the program, the three clubs held individual meetings and then enjoyed refreshments.

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Society Hears about Triarch
Bill Woolley

In March, Catherine Conant presented a program at
the Society on the history of the Triarch Company in
Ripon. Triarch was founded in 1926 by Cathy’s
grandfather, George Conant. A Ripon native, Conant
had long been interested in botany. After showing a
scientist some slides he had made, he was
encouraged to go into the business. He did, and since
then the business continued to grow. George
Conant’s son took over the business in 1957 and
Cathy, who is his daughter, took over in 1989. During
this time the business has grown to the point that it
now has its own building and fifteen employees. Its
chief business is to supply prepared biologic slides to
high schools and universities. Cathy outlined the
process of making slides which is highly intricate especially since Triarch places a premium on quality
production. It has a nationwide reputation and sales in a number of countries overseas.

German-American Culture Topic of April Program
Grant Stanfield

The Society was pleased to welcome Antje Petty,
Assistant Director of the Max Kade Institute on the
UW-Madison campus for the April program on
German-American culture. Several of the guests that
evening were descendants of the area’s early German
settlers. Antje explained how the German immigrants
arrived in this country in three waves, enticed by
heavy advertising in the homeland of rich farming land
and abundant jobs. She also covered the farming
practices, social life and church life of the early

A Packed House Learns About Ripon Knitting Works
Betsy Stanfield

Society member Gary Wetzel spoke to a
capacity crowd in May about Ripon Knitting
Works. The business was started in 1880 by
Jedediah Bowen. Using newspaper clippings
and archival photographs, Gary described
how the company rose to national
prominence during World War II, receiving
several awards from the United States
government for their work supporting the war
effort. After the war, sales lagged, prompting
the company to develop a new product called
the slipper sock. Audience members
recognized many of the employees shown in
the pictures and enjoyed sharing their
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Ripon Historical Society
508 Watson Street
Ripon, WI 54971

The Society is planning lots of interesting and educational programs. Join us!
Programs are at the Society’s headquarters on Watson Street and begin at 7 pm unless otherwise noted.

Sept. 18
Jack Steinbring – The settlement of Ceresco
Oct. 16
Ed James – A history of Wisconsin farming
Nov. 20th Bill Woolley – Dr. George Miller’s contributions to Ripon history