Me in Chicago by MaryMichael Edmonds is a writer and public historian living in Madison, Wisconsin.

His writings on history, nature, and folklore explore ways that ideas have moved through time and space in oral, printed, and digital forms. He’s fascinated by eccentric, unusual, and atypical people or events that mainstream history has usually overlooked. For more than a decade he wrote the syndicated weekly newspaper column, “Odd Wisconsin” highlighting bizarre and little-known stories from the state’s past.

His newest book, Taking Flight: A History of Birds and People in the Heart of America, was published in March 2018. He’s written three other books and edited or contributed to several more, as well as publishing many journal articles, newspaper columns, and book reviews.

Books       (click cover image for more information)

TF - front    WSS - front    Bunyan - front    RE-front

Cap - front       TFT - front    WET - front


His work has won national awards from the American Folklore Society, the American Association for State and Local History, and the American Library Association. He’s currently working on a memoir that focuses on barely conscious assumptions about the world and how they came down through the centuries to lodge in his mind.

Michael joined the staff of the Wisconsin Historical Society in 1982 and retired at the end of 2018. He has also taught part-time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1986. He holds degrees from Harvard University (BA 1976) and Simmons College (MS 1981). At the Wisconsin Historical Society he led the teams that digitized and put online hundreds of thousands of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and other historical documents. Between 2015 and 2019 he oversaw the Society’s education, publishing, and outreach programs.


Selected Articles and Essays (more information)

Online Collections (more information)

Other Books:

Women’s History Resources at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (co-author, Mary E. Fiorenza; Madison, Wisconsin Historical Society, 1997).
Leonard Woolf: A Bibliography (co-author, Leila Luedeking; Winchester, Eng., St. Paul’s, 1992).
Lytton Strachey: A Bibliography (N.Y., Garland, 1981).

Speaking: Michael is happy to speak to civic and academic groups about his research and writing. For more information or to make a request, visit the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Speakers Bureau.  Venues normally cover a modest honorarium and travel costs.