THE GLENN CURTIS SMOOT LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES
The Glenn Curtis Smoot Library and Archives—located at the heart of the museum building—are home to approximately 1,000 books and 60,000 archival items: photographs, manuscripts, oral histories, research files, and more. These collections offer an unparalleled resource for understanding life in west central Wisconsin during the past two centuries. As a whole, they reflect the primary purpose of the Chippewa Valley Museum: to discover, collect, preserve, and interpret the history and culture of the region. The collections also honor the life and career of the library and archive's namesake, Glenn Curtis Smoot. It is a study library, not a lending library.
We welcome researchers to conduct first-hand research into the history of the Chippewa Valley. All prospective researchers must submit a Research Request Form in advance.
After reviewing the form, CVM staff will contact you within two business days either to schedule an on-site appointment in the library or to let you know when you can expect research done by CVM staff on your behalf to be completed. (Research time depends on the amount of research time authorized, the particular research topic, and staff availability.)
Chippewa Valley Museum members may conduct research at no additional cost. Non-members will be charged a research fee of $10/hour for on-site research or $15/hour for Chippewa Valley Museum staff to search on your behalf.
Appointments will be scheduled between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Tuesday through Friday. If you have further questions about library research, give us a call at 715-834-7871.
Among significant subcollections:
General Photographic Collections. CVM maintains the largest collection in the region with more than 14,000 images ranging in date from the mid-19th century to the present. By agreement with the Eau Claire public library and the Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, CVM is the primary collector of historic photographs. Offers of photographic collections to the public library or the university are referred to CVM. (Offers of public records and large manuscript or documentary collections are referred to the Area Research Center. The public library maintains no special collections.) All three libraries are available to the public.
Logging and Lumbering Collection. Settlement began in the Chippewa Valley during the lumber boom of the 1850s. The huge white pine forest lasted barely fifty years. Its depletion changed life forever for regional Indian communities who depended on the forest and the sawmill towns founded by Yankees and Europeans who had thought the pinery "inexhaustible." CVM maintains images, business documents, personal correspondence, journals, diaries, maps, and other archival materials related to this historically important regional industry.
Farming and Farm Life. CVM has substantial photographic and archival holdings, much of which can be associated with particular farm or rural families.
Gillette/Uniroyal Collection. From 1917-1992, Gillette (later known as U.S. Rubber, Uniroyal, Uniroyal-Goodrich, and owned by Michelin at the time of closure) was the largest employer in Eau Claire. CVM maintains union materials, advertising and other documents associated with this large rubber manufacturing plant and its workforce. An extensive photographic collection begins with the first tire coming off the line in 1917 and traces the 75-year history of rubber manufacturing in the area. Documentation of the collections has increased through an oral history program with former employees.
Schlegelmilch Collection. CVM owns the Schlegelmilch House, a brick home built in 1871 by immigrants Herman and Augusta Schlegelmilch located in downtown Eau Claire. Photographs, correspondence, and documents saved by four generations offer insight into middle-class life during a period of civic growth and transition.