A few men and women, mostly from German-speaking cantons, pioneered this remarkable Swiss community in the mid-1830s. Thousands who followed in their footsteps participated actively in the development of a vibrant new city, branding it with a unique style of efficiency and progressivism. The immigrants and their progeny prospered and distinguished themselves in various fields of science, commerce, art, and industry. They helped launch Charlie Chaplin’s career, produced coumarin used in flavorings and perfumes, wrote a popular guide for 19th-century immigrants, and helped shape the nation’s banking industry. Among their finest were Milwaukee’s first archbishop, a world-renowned surgeon, an elected governor, an influential radical “free-thinker,” a kindergarten pioneer, a wine grower, a successful whiskey distiller, and a prolific architect.
About the Author
Maralyn A. Wellauer-Lenius authored the first English-language Swiss genealogy manual, Tracing Your Swiss Roots (1979); was the publisher and editor of The Swiss Connection: a Genealogical and Cultural Newsletter (1993 to 2003); and holds a master’s in education. She has lectured on Swiss genealogy throughout North America since the 1970s and was a founder of the Swiss Center of North America (New Glarus, Wisconsin). Wellauer-Lenius is a life member of the Swiss American Historical Society and recipient of their prestigious Paroz Award (1998).