Newspapers always played a central role in my life. As kids, we sprang to our feet at the thud of The Racine Journal-Times newspaper landing on the front porch. Whoever brought in the paper doled out the individual sheets so each of us (my two younger brothers and I) could read sprawled on the living room floor while my mother and older sister did the same sitting in our comfortable living room chairs.
Central to our newspaper reading was the “paperboy” who delivered the paper every day except Sunday and came to the house every Thursday afternoon to collect the weekly subscription fee. We kids all knew the paperboy and looked up to him. Secretly, we all aspired to become paperboys when we were older. It was the early 1940s, and these jobs offered a start in life for young boys whose early years had been scarred by the Great Depression.
On Becoming a Newspaper Boy
As a youngster, I had long wondered what could be more exciting than becoming a newspaper boy. To qualify, you had to be at least 14 years old. If under 16, you were required to have a state-issued work permit. Above all, you had to be a responsible person, one who could do the job and do it well. It was obvious that the RJT circulation manager was selective in hiring teenage boys to deliver their papers. Several of my friends who desperately wanted carrier jobs applied regularly but were never hired. Knowing their habits, I understood why.
I applied for a job shortly after my 14th birthday. In early 1943, a nearby route opened up. To my delight, I was chosen to fill it. Several months later, the route that included our street became available, and I was able to transfer to it.
I don’t recall any special orientation for newly hired carrier boys. I suspect that Harry Rarick, the RJT Circulation Manager, gave me detailed instructions and valuable advice when he signed me on. The topics he covered undoubtedly included such matters as delivering the afternoon papers as soon as possible after picking them up, keeping accurate records of the names and addresses of subscribers, recording the weekly payments received from subscribers, and every Friday afternoon going downtown to the newspaper office to turn in the newspaper’s share of the subscription price. When our meeting ended, I received an account book to keep my subscriber records, as well as a bright new orange newspaper bag stamped with big bold black letters: THE RACINE JOURNAL-TIMES.
New carriers learned the ropes by spending a day, perhaps several days, shadowing their predecessors. That is when you found out exactly where people expected to find their delivered newspapers. You picked up important information about your customers, such as their generosity or lack thereof, their propensity to complain, and their procrastination in paying you each week. If the retiring carrier hadn’t already taken another job, you accompanied him on his collection rounds and were introduced to your new customers.
Being a paperboy was a highly desirable job. It provided spending money to teens in an age long before parents thought much about weekly allowances. That was certainly the case with my parents, who seemed to have never heard of allowances. Once you became a paperboy, you no longer had to search out odd jobs mowing lawns, shoveling snow, or weeding people’s gardens to bring in a dime or sometimes a quarter. Vivid memories of the Great Depression caused people to watch their finances carefully.
As a paperboy, you quickly learned many skills that proved to be of great value later on. Most parents impressed on their sons—mine certainly did—what kind of behavior was expected of paperboys: being courteous to your customers, being conscientious about collecting money from your customers, keeping accurate records, signing up new residents as customers after previous residents moved away, being persistent with customers past due in their payments; and most difficult of all, making it clear to them that nonpayment for more than two weeks would cancel their subscription.
We paperboys took great pride in our bright orange RJT newspaper bags. The mark of real distinction, however, was the arrival of the coin dispenser you ordered from the newspaper. These shiny silver plated gadgets, which you snapped on over your belt, had four cylindrical tubes to accommodate pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. As you collected money from your customers, you inserted the coins you received into their appropriate slots. To give change, you simply pressed the appropriate dispenser lever as many times as needed. .
The day’s work began when our group of a half-dozen paperboys gathered about 4 p.m. at our newspaper drop-stop in front of Jefferson Elementary School on West Sixth Street. When the speeding, orange-colored RJT delivery truck reached us, it came to a quick stop. The fellow in the passenger seat hopped out, opened the back door of the panel truck, and tossed our route-number-labeled newspaper bundles onto the sidewalk. He jumped back into the truck, and it sped off to the next stop. We picked up our bundles of newspapers, untied the bundles, counted the papers, and stuffed them into our newspaper bags.
We then headed off to our delivery routes, rolling our newspapers tightly so we could throw them accurately onto people’s front porches.. The process is even more complicated to describe than tying a necktie. You began by taking out of your bag an already folded newspaper. Next, you . . . Suffice it to say, the point was to create a compact missile that could be easily and accurately thrown.
The next challenge was to lob the rolled newspaper to a targeted spot on each customer’s doorstep. For people who lived in upstairs flats–and there were many of them, papers had to be placed inside entrance doors on the front, side, or back of the house. Rainy days required special care to ensure that the delivered papers would stay dry. Cold snowy days posed a different problem: keeping your hands warm enough to fold the papers and wearing loose enough clothing so you could throw the papers accurately. Delivering my 80-90 newspapers usually took about a half-hour in the summer and 45 minutes to an hour in winter.
While waiting for the delivery truck to arrive, we always found ways to amuse ourselves. We talked about all kinds of things, horsed around with each other, played marbles on the school ground, organized friendly snowball “fights,” and engaged in typical teenage bragging about all kinds of preposterous activities and accomplishments. None of us knew enough about sex to make that a viable topic of conversation.
One special joy I remember could occur only in Racine. On Friday afternoons the delivery truck usually arrived late, sometimes after 4:30 pm, perhaps because the printing was delayed long enough to include the week’s stock quotations. By then we had already completed most of our subscriber collections for the week. I think we received five cents of the 25 cent weekly subscription price. Feeling prosperous and deserving of a special treat, we would saunter across West Sixth Street to Jensen’s Bakery. Typically, each of us would buy a small date-filled kringle, a delicious Danish pastry. We then headed back across the street to the school steps where we hung out, consuming our kringles in a matter of minutes. I think we paid 10 cents for a 12 ounce half kringle; a full-sized kringle cost 20 cents but that was more than any of us could eat at one sitting. How delicious those kringles were! Despite the amount of sugar we ingested, it was burned it off quickly as we made our delivery rounds.
The high point of the year for every paperboy came on Christmas Day. The RJT provided us with calendars, one for each subscriber. We were to distribute them to our customers as a way of thanking them. More importantly, it was an opportunity for them to thank us with something more valuable than words—namely “cash.” I recall going from door to door, knocking, and when the door opened, politely wishing the customer a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. While doing so, I pulled a calendar out of my delivery bag and handed it to the customer. People knew the routine, which played out something like this: “Oh, come in, it’s so cold out there. Oh, thanks so much for the calendar. Wait here just a moment.” They soon returned and pressed some coins into your hand.
You thanked them, but didn’t dare look to see how much they gave you; that would have seemed crass. But once you were out of the house and heading down the sidewalk, you took a quick glance at the coins. It was rare for subscribers to give you nothing at all. It was equally rare for them to give you a dollar bill. Most commonly, you received some coins, ranging from as little as a nickel or a dime to as much as a half-dollar. When you got home, you eagerly counted your “take.” I remember receiving $20.00 in Christmas tips that first year, an average of about 25 cents per subscriber or the equivalent of the weekly subscription price. For a 14 year-old in 1943 this was a real bonanza.
I kept my carrier job for more than two years, giving it up at the end of my junior year in high school. I could not continue because as a senior and the incoming editor of the Washington Park High School newspaper, The Park Beacon, I would have to be on duty in the school newspaper office every afternoon. Even more pressing, I would be away at Northwestern University for five weeks enrolled in a summer journalism institute for incoming high school newspaper and yearbook editors.
Both of my younger brothers followed in my footsteps as paperboys. Younger boys often began by delivering Sunday editions of the Milwaukee and Chicago papers because the RJT did not publish on Sunday. My younger brother Forest started at age 12 with a route of more than 100 Sunday Milwaukee Journal customers that covered a far larger area than my route. Not having a bike, he delivered his papers pulling them in our wagon! (How it was that he could work at such an early age remains a mystery.) Later he took on a daily morning Milwaukee Sentinel route, and still later he acquired my old route. My youngest brother Harlan later inherited that same route. So, at one time or another we all delivered papers on the West Sixth Street-Park View route. For years afterwards, we loved to discuss our “paperboy” days, about the scandalous behavior of some of our customers, what happened to such and such a family, and who were the worst customers about paying their newspaper bills.
D-Day June 6, 1944
The RJT delivery truck dropped off our newspapers bundles as usual on an early April Monday afternoon in 1944. To our surprise, we found that each bundle included a notice from Harry Rarick, the circulation manager, commanding us to meet at 6:30 p.m. that Friday night in the downtown newspaper office. Packing our papers into our newspaper bags there on the steps of Jefferson Elementary School, we puzzled about the likely reason for the meeting. Nobody had the slightest clue, nor could anybody recall any similar meeting in the past.
Friday night arrived. We trekked to the downtown newspaper office. One by one we turned over the money we had collected for the newspapers we received that week. The money was collected by the intimidating, red-faced, chain-smoking Hank Larson, who was the stereotypical newspaper guy we all knew from the movies. After that, the hundred of us paperboys squeezed into an adjacent room where Harry Rarick called us to order. We still had no idea what he might say. It went something like this.
“We want to alert you to the likelihood of a big news story in the next couple of months. We plan to publish ‘Extra’ editions of the newspaper that day. We will need your help delivering these papers. When the time comes, a phone call will inform you when to report to your newspaper drop-off location to pick up your papers. What you will then do is deliver a paper to each of your customers. As you walk your route, from time to time you should yell “Extra! Extra!” In addition, call out the headline on the Extra, whatever it might be. We hope people will be attracted by your calls and rush for their newspapers to read the news.”
That was it. As we were dismissed, Rarick told us not to say anything about what was discussed at the meeting. Most of us followed that instruction, having been indoctrinated in World War II wartime secrecy with cautionary phrases such as “Loose lips sink ships” and “Silence is security.” As if there were German and Japanese spies lurking everywhere listening to us talk while we waited for the RJT delivery truck! I think we all had some inkling the Allied armies would be invading France to create a Second Front, but I don’t think any of us put two and two together.
On June 6, 1944, it began. Early that morning, probably about 4:30 a.m., our telephone rang and a voice told me to report immediately to my newspaper pickup spot. I dressed quickly, ate my cereal breakfast of Wheaties, and ran the two blocks to Jefferson School. A couple of my fellow newspaper boys were already there or arrived breathlessly minutes later. We opened our newspaper bundles and saw the headline. Across the top of the front page in bold three-inch high letters was the single word: “EXTRA!” Immediately below in one-inch type was the newspaper’s name –The Racine Journal-Times. Then came the banner headline, again in three-inch high letters, proclaiming “ALLIES LAND IN FRANCE." Below that, in the center four columns, was a photo of infantrymen rushing forward through the surf, rifles held high, with the word “INVASION” superimposed across the top of the photo. The outer two columns on each side of the page carried smaller headlines giving more details.
So, the long-awaited, much-discussed Second Front finally opened. What electrifying news after two and one-half years of war! As we loaded our papers into our orange carrier bags, we talked briefly about how to proceed. We all figured we could make our deliveries and still get to school on time that morning. Off we went to make our rounds. When I completed my deliveries, another phone call said another Extra was waiting to be delivered. By noon more Extras had arrived and needed to be delivered. Later that afternoon the regular edition was dropped off for delivery. What a busy day it was.
I have no recollection of delivering those additional Extras published later in the morning. Yes, the RJT published a total of FOUR Extras. The second, probably appearing several hours after the first one, bore the headline: “2nd EXTRA” followed by “BIG INVASION LAUNCHED.” Then came the another: “3rd EXTRA” followed by “BEACHHEAD IS SEIZED.” And the final one: “4th EXTRA” followed by “INVADERS SLASH INLAND.” All this before the regular afternoon edition. I quickly noticed that from one Extra to another the only content changes occurred in the front page stories that carried over to the second page. Everything else remained unchanged
Were we told there would be extra Extras? I don’t recall. Did we deliver extra Extras over the course of the morning? I don’t recall. Were the extra Extras sold at city news stands? I don’t know. Did we skip school that morning so we could do our job? I simply don’t remember.
With the arrival of the full-sized afternoon edition, and its many background stories, readers learned about the size of the invasion force and the logistics of mounting the invasion. The news was upbeat. What we did not know at the time was how precarious a hold the Allied forces maintained on the French beachheads in those early hours.
What caught my eye were several full page advertisements. One played on something that was probably published in 1917 when American troops, including many 32nd Division men from Racine (two of my uncles among them), arrived in France to fight in World War I: The headline in the ad shouted, “Lafayette, we are here,” to which the word “ AGAIN!” had been added. Another full page, in lieu of the usual editorial page offerings, featured an already- famous Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover drawing entitled, “Let Us Pray.” Still another linked the D-Day landing to the importance of supporting the 5th War Loan program then underway. In addition, announcements told readers that prayer services were being held at local churches, and that President Roosevelt would address the nation that evening, offering prayers for the success of the invasion.
The afternoon edition carried a particularly interesting story: “Journal-Times Gives Readers Special Service On Invasion.” It described how the newspaper staff got set for its D-Day coverage and the Extra editions it produced. For the previous month or more its editorial staff had worked to prepare background stories on the invasion. The fires had been kept lit so the molten lead in the linotype machine would be ready on short notice to set type for the Extras. In addition, its 106 paperboys, described as “carrier salesmen,” had been alerted by the Circulation Department to be at their posts by 5 a.m. to begin delivering the Extras. It also mentioned that additional Extras followed in rapid succession as war correspondents reported in. These stories was accompanied by a photo showing a local man purchasing the first Extra early that morning.
At home we kept the radio on to hear the latest news. That evening we listened to the popular news commentator, Gabriel Heatter, known as the “voice of doom.” He always began his evening radio broadcast with the words, “Ah, there’s good news tonight.” And that night he was correct. We also listened to the famous Edward R. Murrow with his dramatic opening: “This [pause] is London,” and his sign-off statement: “Good night and good luck.” We never listened to Walter Winchell (my father despised him) for specializing in society gossip. But he did have a dramatic flair with his staccato delivery. He always began his broadcasts against the background of a Morse code signal with a flashy, rapid-fire greeting: “Good evening Mr. and Mrs. North and South America from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea ... Let’s go to press!"
The D-Day landings in France and the events that followed greatly expanded everyone’s knowledge of geography; in my case, far beyond what I had learned in my sixth grade geography class. It began with Pearl Harbor, and was followed by an ever-lengthening list of initially obscure battle sites, among them Bataan, Corregidor, Singapore, Guam and Midway Islands, Guadalcanal, the Coral Sea, New Guinea, the Kassarine Pass, Salerno, Monte Casino, and many more such places in the months ahead.
Behind the Headlines
What prompted this reflective essay was my discovery of all four copies, now yellowed with age, of the June 6, 1944 D-Day Extras announcing the invasion. They were in a box of high school memorabilia stored in the attic. To my surprise, I discovered that the microfilm copy of The Racine Journal-Times in the Wisconsin Historical Society Library’s newspaper archive, did not include any of the four Extras—not a single one of them.
So, what should I do with these Extras? I was torn between giving them to the Wisconsin Historical Society on the UW-Madison campus or to the Wisconsin Veterans Museum on Capitol Square in downtown Madison. I realized that incorporating them into the microfilm copy would probably be impossible. Knowing the Wisconsin Historical Society already holds far more items in its collections than it can ever display, I asked the Veteran’s Museum staff members if they would be interested. Both the focus of that museum and the D-Day coverage in the Extras would increase the likelihood of their being displayed. The Veteran’s Museum Librarian told me they would love to receive this material for their collection.
When I delivered these newspapers to the Veteran’s Museum Librarian, she asked me how it was that I had these Extras. In response, I mentioned something about my having delivered these Extras as a paperboy on D-Day. The Librarian asked me what I could remember about that day. As I began recalling the day’s events, it occurred to me that I should write down my recollections to accompany the Extras. The result is this essay, with its reproduction of the front page of the original Extra and a collage of the banner headlines from the three subsequent Extras.
Writing this essay led me to take a closer look at the Extras. I was curious about how the lead stories changed from one Extra to the next. I decided to compare the content of the Extras with the regular afternoon edition of the paper. For starters, the numbering of the Extras surprised me. The first was listed as VOL. 88, NO. 132, the same number that appeared on the previous day’s edition. But each subsequent Extra carried the same issue number, 133, which was the same used on the June 6 afternoon edition. What about the content? I noticed that from one Extra to the next, the only content changes occurred in the longer front page stories that continued onto page 2. Everything else remained unchanged, and much of that appeared to be already prepared copy designed to provide readers with important background information about the invasion and preparations for it.
In reviewing the regular microfilm copy of the June 6 afternoon edition, I was curious about what I would find. Inasmuch as the afternoon edition ordinarily went to press at 2 p.m. (8 p.m. in France), it could not provide much more in the way of detail about the day’s events. It did, however, include more background information on the invasion, the troops involved, the military leaders in charge of the invasion, and so on.
News about the war on other fronts had not been squeezed out of the afternoon edition. Most evident was the extensive coverage of the fall of Rome to Allied forces two days earlier. Briefer reports appeared on the fighting in the Pacific and on the Russian front. Several news items reported deaths and injuries of Racine servicemen.
To get the flavor of the content of the The Racine Journal-Times before the invasion, I looked closely at the May 31 edition. Imagine my surprise on reading this headline: “Armies Ready for Invasion; Traffic Streaming South.” The article that followed described the roads in southern England being choked by the movement toward the southern coast of trucks, troops, artillery, tanks, and other machinery of war. Wasn’t this a hint of what was to come? Then on June 1 a story appeared, headlined as follows: “Decisive Action Near, Declares Secretary Stimson” (Stimson was Secretary of War). Another hint. On June 5 a headline read: “Bombers Rip Installations on French Coast.” These were hints about what might be coming, but exactly when and where the invasion would occur remained cloaked in mystery.
The editorial page featured an array of well-known columnists, among them investigative reporter Drew Pearson, David Lawrence on political analysis, Dorothy Dix on etiquette, and Dr. William Brady on health and medicine. Plus “What happened 20, 30, and 40 years ago,” which as kids we read avidly. And the comic strips, among them Alley Oop, Red Ryder, Freckles and his Friends, and Boots and her Buddies. Plus the one-frame cartoons my Dad liked so much: “Our Boarding House” and “Out Our Way.” Finally, there was the usual coverage of sports, including the Racine Belles team which was part of All American Girls Ball League that operated during the war years in a dozen or so Middle West cities. (Remember the 1992 movie about the girls’ teams, “A League of Their Own”?)
The movie advertisements also caught my eye. Aside from radio, which was a major source of entertainment at home, it was the movies that took people out of their homes. Admission fees for movies were low: for kids, usually 10 cents plus a one cent wartime entertainment tax. That price bought you a double feature. Racine’s eight theaters were showing a great lineup of films featuring well-known movie stars, among them: “See Here, Private Hargrove” with Donna Reed, Keenan Wynn, and Robert Benchley; “Variety Show” with Dick Powell; “For Whom the Bells Tolled” with Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman; Humphrey Bogart in “Passage to Marseille;” “Song of Bernadette” featuring Jennifer Jones; and “Girl Crazy” with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.
Turning then to the June 7 edition, I found a story, “Students Top Bond Quota.” It was about my high school, the Washington Park High School. The story reported that prior to D-Day, the school and its students still needed $6,957 in sales of War Bonds and War Stamps to reach its goal of $75,000, enough to pay for a P-51 Mustang Fighter plane. (Imagine a school trying to raise a billion dollars for today’s stealth fighter plane.) On the day after D-Day, its students—and I was among them—bought more than $10,000 in War Bonds and War Stamps to more than meet its goal. How many War Stamps did I buy that day? I don’t remember. But I do recall the home room ritual. Every Wednesday morning we each marched up to the desk of our homeroom teacher, Miss Holt, to make our weekly purchases of War Stamps. Like every home room, we pushed for 100 percent participation and usually achieved it. If any students held back, they were chastised until they coughed up their money or borrowed a dime from a classmate to buy a single stamp and give us a perfect record.
D-Day calls for prayers by President Roosevelt, The Racine Journal-Times Editorial Board, and local religious leaders were quite understandable because the invasion casualties were expected to be high. Hints about the casualties that might be coming appeared in the paper on June 5. In connection with the fall of Rome, the June 5 edition printed a photo showing the dedication of a temporary American military cemetery in Nettuno, Italy, where Lt. General Mark Clark, commanding the Fifth Army, had spoken. In the background appear row upon row of simple white wooden crosses inscribed with the names of the dead. Two days later, the day after D-Day, the count of American casualties in the Italian Campaign was announced in an article, “3 Day Fight Near Rome Costs U.S.” From the Salerno landing in September 1943 to the end of May 1944, casualties totaled more than 57,000, including almost 20,000 dead or missing. These numbers did not include the almost 2,500 casualties in the first three days of June as American forces converged on Rome.
We paperboys already knew about casualties among our military personnel. The newspapers we delivered regularly carried notices about young Racine men being drafted or enlisting, as well as those wounded or killed. From time to time we noticed changes in the service flags that wives and parents hung in their front windows to indicate that a family member served in the armed forces. In the red-bordered flags visible on my paper route, some of the blue stars mounted against a white background had already been replaced by silver stars to indicate a wounded serviceman. In several homes the blue stars had turned to gold indicating that someone living there had been killed.
That happened at our house seven months earlier when on November 11, 1943, Armistice Day, a dreaded “We regret to inform you . . .“ telegram from the War Department arrived with the news that an older brother had been killed in action in Italy. The wartime death of a family member is something you don’t get over, you simply go on profoundly changed. I can still recall my Dad, on returning home from work, reading the telegraph brought to the house earlier that day by a Western Union delivery boy. I am sure Dad knew what the telegram meant before reading it. All he could say was “It’s Jim.” A few weeks later, it was then early December, Dad arrived home one evening with a phonograph record. It was Bing Crosby singing the popular ballad, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” That was the one and only time I ever saw him cry. The rest of us did too. Needless to say, that record was never played again. Even now, hearing that Holiday song brings back old and painful memories.
After the war, that temporary cemetery at Nettuno on what was the Anzio beachhead became the site of a permanent American Battle Monuments Military Cemetery and Memorial. Located on a long sloping hill in a lovely setting just above the town of Nettuno. The Cemetery and Memorial, which I have visited several times, is a sad but awe-inspiring sight with its almost 8,000 thousand white marble grave markers. One of them displays the name of our older brother:
JAMES W. HANSEN
SGT 125 FA BN 34 DIV
MINN OCT 27, 1943
These visits always bring a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes at the terrible waste of war. Some months after D-Day, I delivered the newspaper that announced Jim’s death and his posthumous award of the Silver Star for bravery under fire. He was one of so many young men whose lives were snuffed out long before they had an opportunity to really experience life.
* * *
How fortunate I am to have been able to recapture these memories, both happy and sad. It happened only because more than 70 years ago, without much thought, I stuffed these newspapers into a box of high school memorabilia and, even more remarkably, preserved them for all these years.
But now, the days of newspaper boys are gone. Why? Because of vast changes. Probably the most important was the rise of television and the instant news it provides. Producing Extras of the kind I delivered on D-Day in June 1944 is no longer necessary or profitable. The popularity of network evening news broadcasts caused newspapers to respond by printing morning editions. Meanwhile, the postwar world of growing prosperity made it increasingly difficult to recruit what were sometimes called “carrier salesmen” to deliver the morning papers and manage their paper routes. And now, with the advent of cell phones, everyone is instantly informed of newsworthy developments from around the world.
We all know the rest of the story. Newspapers are now delivered mostly by adults who rise well before dawn, load up their vehicles, speed along their routes, and toss their plastic, sleeve-wrapped slimmed-down newspapers through their open windows as they pass by subscribers’ homes. For them, this is just another job. Nobody ever meets or comes to know these anonymous workers.
Paperboys are history. With their disappearance, something important has been lost. What started as an important learning opportunity and, indeed, a “calling” for young boys is gone. Boys like me, my brothers, and countless others gained so much from their experience delivering newspapers. We developed at an early age not only good work habits, but also important life skills that served us well. In the past, many paperboys went on to great fame and fortune, including three U.S. Presidents (Hoover, Truman, and Eisenhower), famous entertainers (Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Ed Sullivan), and national icons (Carl Sandburg, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Isaac Asimov, and Tom Brokaw).
But, no more. We must recognize that with time, everything changes, including the price of those delicious Danish kringles we gobbled down on Friday afternoons; whose price rose from ten cents in 1943 to $5.00 today.
Note: For the D-Day newspaper headlines, see the next two attached pages.
Note: For their inspiration, helpful comments, and editorial suggestions, I am indebted to my former paperboy brothers; Forest and Harlan Hansen, my older sister Phyllis who never had the opportunity to become a “paperboy;” Sharon Van Sluijs, UW-Madison historian Richard Leffler, and UW-Madison’s unofficial campus historian, the late Arthur Hove.
About the Author
At age 92 I decided to showcase my recent and current writings on a variety of topics outside of my career interests as an economist. My wife Sally’s dementia, my experiences of war, and my interests in improving higher education all compel me to write.
For most of the last decade I maintained a low profile, necessitated by my wife Sally's suffering from a decade-long siege of vascular dementia. After she passed away several years ago I wrote about our experience, in the belief that this would be helpful to the many others who suffer from dementia and their family caregivers. I am currently seeking a publisher for my book manuscript: The Forgotten: Dementia and the Right to Die.
Over the past few years I began working on several other writing projects that are described more fully elsewhere in my blog. These include a nearly-completed book manuscript on my "expected proficiencies approach to the college major'' as a vehicle for reinvigorating liberal education. I continue to write on the shortcomings of UW-Madison's affirmative action policies and programs that over the years have been renamed "diversity and inclusion" policies and programs.
Within two weeks of my graduation from UW-Madison in June 1950, the Korean War broke out. I was drafted and expected to be sent to Korea to join our fighting forces there. But instead I was sent to Turkey for 18 months. How lucky I was. I am also writing a memoir of my Korean War military experience when I served as an U.S. Army adviser in our military aid program in Turkey.
Until I began branching out beyond economics, I failed to realize what a profound effect the Great Depression and World War II had on me as I grew up. I have already captured some of these recollections, with more of them to follow.
With that introduction, I turn you over to my blog entries as well as my other writing projects described more fully elsewhere in my blog. Best wishes ~ W. Lee Hansen
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Award-winning author W. Lee Hansen, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Full bio.