Preservation and Access: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Period of Performance

7/1/2013 - 8/31/2016

Funding Totals

$250,000.00 (approved)
$249,997.00 (awarded)

The Encyclopedia of Milwaukee

FAIN: PW-51309-13

University of Wisconsin System (Madison, WI 53715-1218)
Amanda I. Seligman (Project Director: July 2012 to December 2016)

Production of the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee, in print and digital form.

The project constitutes the middle phase of the production of The Encyclopedia of Milwaukee, to be published in online and print formats in 2017. The print volume will be organized as a traditional, one-volume, A-Z encyclopedia to be published by Northern Illinois University Press. The digital version, to be hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will include the contents of the print volume, along with two other components powered by the digital format, which we call the "Underbook" and the "Overbook." The NEH project period consists of two distinct but interrelated activities: 1) developing the intellectual content of the encyclopedia, approximately 320 original entries and other content, thereby aggregating and synthesizing existing knowledge about Milwaukee and its region; and 2) creating a digital platform to acquire, preserve, and disseminate that intellectual content, in digital and print text, audio, and video form.

Media Coverage

Expanding Encyclopedia of Milwaukee catalogs city’s history (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Allison Beebe
Publication: UWM REPORT
Date: 8/7/2020
Abstract: Plenty of cities have an encyclopedia-style history online, but few have a resource like Milwaukee now does.

UWM unveils first phase of Encyclopedia of Milwaukee (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Michael Schlesinger
Publication: Sunday Morning, CBS 58,
Date: 3/29/2020
Abstract: Before computers and smart phones, hard cover world book encyclopedias filled bookshelves, often times collecting dust. But with the advancement of technology comes a new way of documenting the past.

Free Encyclopedia of Milwaukee now available online (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Pete Zervakis
Date: 3/25/2020
Abstract: After 10 years of hard work, researchers recently finished phase one of the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee project.

UW-Milwaukee Launches New Online Encyclopedia About The City's History (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Rob Ferrett
Publication: entral Time, Wisconsin Public Radio Ideas Network
Date: 3/18/2020
Abstract: We look at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's new "Encyclopedia of Milwaukee" resource and plans for how it can be used by teachers in their classrooms.

UWM's Encyclopedia of Milwaukee goes online (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Eden Checkol
Publication: WISN 12 News at 11 a.m.
Date: 3/10/2020
Abstract: The university's new online tool launched a new resource for residents to learn more about the history of Milwaukee.

The Encyclopedia of Milwaukee Documents the City (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Michael Horne
Publication: Urban Milwaukee
Date: 3/5/2020
Abstract: UW-Milwaukee has built a massive digital archive for the city.

Milwaukee Encyclopedia Collects City's Hidden History (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Amy Kiley
Publication: Lake Effect
Date: 6/27/2013
Abstract: A team at UWM is working to publish an authoritative compendium of Milwaukee history and firsts. From the campaign to save Gertie the duck to the function of “baby hammocks," the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee mines hidden gems of local history. UW-Milwaukee academics are teaming up with other experts to prepare both online and print copies. History Professor Dr. Amanda Seligman is the project’s leader. "There are things about Milwaukee that are really interesting stories that didn’t happen anywhere else, but also have a peek at bigger things that were going on in the world," she says. The encyclopedia's are set for release in 2017, and the digital version will be interactive.

Encyclopedia of Milwaukee project receives national $250,000 grant (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Karen Herzog
Publication: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Date: 5/8/2013
Abstract: A collaborative effort to create a coffee-table book and interactive website chronicling the history of the Greater Milwaukee area has received a $250,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Digital Summer School: The Encyclopedia Of Milwaukee (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Amanda Seligman
Date: 6/28/2018
Abstract: In our second installment of Digital Summer School, Amanda Seligman, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee historian and co-founder of the online project the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee (EMKE), discusses the challenges, triumphs, and goals of the EMKE.

UWM researchers launch online Encyclopedia of Milwaukee (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Greg Walz-Chojnacki
Publication: UWM REPORT
Date: 9/21/2016
Abstract: Health advocate E.R. Krumbiegel’s place in Milwaukee’s history may be obscured by time, but it’s made clearer in the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee, a project spearheaded by UWM historians Amanda Seligman and Margo Anderson. There, Krumbiegel shares pages with better-known figures such as home run king Hank Aaron, poet Carl Sandburg and aviator Billy Mitchell, the city airport’s namesake.

UW-Milwaukee historians building 'Encyclopedia of Milwaukee' (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Casey Geraldo
Publication: WTMJ
Date: 8/30/2016
Abstract: For everyone who's ever done trivia or had a heated dinner-time debate, knowledge really is power. So, for Milwaukee's debaters, a long-term project out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee may spark your interest.

Our City (Media Coverage)
Publication: M Magazine,
Date: 8/22/2014

Encyclopedia aims to catalog the history of Milwaukee (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Molly Snyder
Publication: OnMilwaukee
Date: 9/22/2013
Abstract: Just when we were all fairly certain the internet had killed the encyclopedia, a resurgence of the large, almost-forgotten resource books are making a comeback of sorts.

Drafting Milwaukee’s first enyclopedia (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Nate Imig
Publication: 88Nine (WYMS)
Date: 9/23/2013
Abstract: Local history buffs have begun writing the city's first encyclopedia.

Associated Products

Encyclopedia of Milwaukee (Web Resource)
Title: Encyclopedia of Milwaukee
Author: Amanda I. Seligman
Author: Margo Anderson
Abstract: The Encyclopedia of Milwaukee is a Digital Humanities Project sponsored by the History Department in the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The EMKE offers approximately 700 entries on Milwaukee history topics ranging from arts and culture to philanthropy and nonprofit organizations to business and labor.
Year: 2022
Primary URL:

Urban History Encyclopedias: Public, Digital, Scholarly Projects (Article)
Title: Urban History Encyclopedias: Public, Digital, Scholarly Projects
Author: Amanda I. Seligman
Abstract: Despite skepticism about the scholarly value of urban history encyclopedias, they represent a convergence of public, digital, and academic history. This essay demonstrates the existence of doubts about their value and then argues that both writing and editing urban history encyclopedias are forms of scholarly activity. The conclusion offers preliminary criteria for assessing urban history encyclopedias as works of scholarship.
Year: 2013
Primary URL:
Access Model: subscription
Format: Journal
Publisher: The Public Historian

Bibliography of Metropolitan Milwaukee (Book)
Title: Bibliography of Metropolitan Milwaukee
Author: Margo J. Anderson
Author: Ann M. Graf
Author: Amanda I. Seligman
Abstract: Are you researching the history of the Milwaukee area and looking for suggestions about what to read next? If so, this Bibliography of Metropolitan Milwaukee provides an excellent starting point. Organized into 19 thematic chapters that are further organized by topic, The Bibliography of Metropolitan Milwaukee includes resources for Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties. Subjects covered include places, biographies, race and ethnicity, politics, business, the economy, charity, religion, the arts, architecture, recreation, health, gender, the natural environment, media, infrastructure, bibliographies, and archives. This volume offers the most comprehensive bibliographical resources about the Milwaukee area ever produced.
Year: 2014
Access Model: physical book
Publisher: Marquette University Press
Type: Other
ISBN: 978-0-87462-08
Copy sent to NEH?: No