Speakers Bureau

“Tired of the endless parade of TV sitcoms, cheap pulp novels, and sleazy tabloids? Give the WHC Speakers Bureau a try.” —Introduction to the inaugural Speakers Bureau catalog in 1992


A collage of past Speakers Bureau members



For 21 years, humanities presenters traveled the state as members of the Wisconsin Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. They reached practically every county with accessible presentations about literature, history, folklore, ethics, ethnic studies, philosophy, linguistics and more.From Wisconsin to ancient Greece, topics ranged across time and the globe.

Libraries, community centers, schools, and service clubs planned free, public events featuring these outstanding storytellers, historians, performers, and cultural experts. Thousands of people young and old enjoyed high-quality public humanities programs thanks to the dedication of our outstanding public humanities scholars.

Changing needs in communities and significant reductions in the WHC’s federal funding led us to cease supporting the Speakers Bureau in 2013.



A Sampling of Audience Favorites:

Jerry Apps

“The Lighter Side of Life in the Country” presented by Jerry Apps

Jerry is beloved as a rural historian and author. He presented a heartfelt mix of personal stories and Wisconsin history. Reading from two of his books, “When Chores were Done” and “Humor from the Country,” he gave the audience a sense of how tough, good, and fun farm life could be the 30s, 40s, and 50s.

Rose Stephenson

“An Evening with Olympia Brown” by Rose Stephenson

Rose is a performer who specializes in portrayals of important women in history. Using the writing and speeches of Olympia Brown to develop an historically accurate in-character theatre performance, Rose presented for school children and adults. An suffragist from Wisconsin, Ms. Brown worked alongside Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and was the first woman in the U.S. to be ordained as a minister.

Carol Smart

“Honor Song! The Dr. Rosa Minoka-Hill Story” by Carol Smart

Carol is Oneida and one of the oldest grandchildren of Dr. Minoka-Hill. She is also an actress and playwright who brought to life the story of her grandmother, the second American Indian woman in the United States to hold an M.D. degree. The presentation revealed the struggles faced by Native Americans and honored an important figure in Wisconsin history.

Clark Kidder NEW

“ Emily’s Story – The Brave Journey of an Orphan Train Rider” by Clark Kidder

Emily (Reese) Kidder was an orphan brought to Wisconsin in 1909. Nearly 150,000 orphans like her were put on trains in New York City and sent to live with farm families all over the country, particularly in the Midwest. Clark shared his own research on the “orphan trains,” which led to a book about his grandmother called “Emily’s Story-The Brave Journey of an Orphan Train Rider.”