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Women of Brown County: Syble Hopp

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Syble interviewed for a teaching position with the Superintendent of Brown County Schools, Joe Donovan, in the 1950s. He knew instantly that she was destined to do more than teach kindergarten. Joe’s dream was to create a program for students with special needs, and he knew Syble was the one to do it. Syble’s special needs program started with one classroom and grew into its own school, named in her honor. Starting the program was not an easy task. At the time many students with special needs did not attend school. Syble went door to door to recruit students and meet with parents. She eventually became a leader in Special Needs Education. Syble advocated for her students and other children with special needs, as she believed they deserved the chance to receive an education and the opportunity to have days full of fun and creativity. Her dedication not only touched her students but also the teachers she worked with and mentored. Because of her work, the school is still open today. I

Women of Brown County: Alydia Braskamp

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What makes someone a hero? Is it their selflessness and empathy? Their instinct to help others? If these are the requirements, Alydia Braskamp exceeded all of these characteristics. She proved her compassion and courage through her service in World War I, working as a nurse under Dr. Bellin, and the creation of the Baby Health Center. Alydia was born in Alton, Iowa in 1883 and moved to Green Bay in 1917 when she was 34 years old; but she did not stay long. The First World War had started, and she was called away to serve with the Red Cross. Alydia was stationed near Bordeaux, France. As a woman in the early 1900s, Alydia was given work as a nurse in an operating room and with ambulances. She also did some field work and documented the experience through a photo album, which the Neville cares for as part of the Collection.   The photographs show devastating scenes after attacks, the morgue, ceremonies, and life at the base. In France, Alydia assisted the war effort, served those on th

Women’s History Month: Helen Ferslev

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Helen was a devoted educator, talented artist, and a local history advocate in Green Bay. Helen is particularly important to the Neville because without her we may not be where we are today. In honor of all she’s done for our community and the museum we want to share just a few of her accomplishments. Helen is one of several special women that lived here in Brown County that valued the arts and the preservation of history. Helen’s dedication to preservation of history is most evident in her hard work to make our current museum building a reality. Helen served as President of the Neville Public Museum Corporation. Before 1983 the museum sat in a smaller and less conducive building on Jefferson St. Helen fought for a new facility that was eventually supported by the county, the city, and private donors, a true community project. Here is Helen breaking ground with the County Executive, the Mayor, and the Museum Director. Neville Foundation president, Helen Ferslev, Mayor Samuel Halloin, B

Women’s History Month: Elizabeth Baird

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Elizabeth moved to rough and tumble Green Bay in 1824, right after she married Henry Baird at age 14. When she moved here, she did not speak English very well, which made it difficult to talk to her new neighbors. In addition to language barriers, her husband, the lawyer, bought a farm thinking he could manage both businesses. He couldn’t. Elizabeth ran the farm and raised their four daughters. She also helped out at her husband’s law office. She would translate at the office and even recorded deed records. Elizabeth spoke fluent Ottawa, French, and English. Not only did Elizabeth serve her family, she also served the community. After the Peshtigo Fire in 1871, she spearheaded the relief effort. Items for the victims poured in from across the country, and Elizabeth dispersed the gifts. She also wrote a history of Green Bay during her lifetime. Her stories depict daily happenings, special events, and historically significant moments. These serve as a wealth of information for research

Women’s History Month: Deborah Beaumont Martin

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On the shelves in every historic institution in Brown County sits a two volume, 900 page historic work called “History of Brown County.” Published in 1913, this compilation of historic data was the result of hard work that Deborah Martin was only paid $150 to complete. Historian Glenn Toule said it best after Deborah’s passing, “it is in the field of history that Miss Martin made her greatest contribution to Green Bay and Brown County.” Thanks to her diligence and work, the history of our area has been preserved for us and future generations. Deborah's fascination with the community and the people who made it led her to work as a librarian and historian for more than 30 years. She ran the Kellogg Public Library at a time before women could even vote. Deborah was also instrumental in creating a public museum. She was part of the Green Bay Art Club that started the Green Bay Public Museum (now the Neville). At the time of her death she was the President of the Board of Directors

Barbie Day

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Here at the Neville Public Museum, we care for an extensive doll collection. This collection houses dolls from around the world and even includes some Barbie dolls. The Barbie dolls in our collection range in date from the 1950s through the 1990s. This Barbie was received as a gift from the Neville Public Museum Corporation. It was purchased from Georgia Rankin, a Barbie Doll collector from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in the 1960’s. The black and white swimsuit being worn by the doll is the original outfit traditionally worn by dolls manufactured from 1959-1961. This picture shows one of the newer Barbie dolls in our collection. It is a part of the Hollywood Legends Collection/Collector’s Edition and represents Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz. It was a gift from the Neville Public Museum Corporation in 1995. Although both of these dolls are manufactured by the same company, they were created using different materials. This means we have to care for these dolls in different

Women’s History Month: Mildred Hollman Smith

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  “Seize your opportunities,” Mildred Smith (1893-1996) would always say. She lived by these words to make her city a better place. Mildred saw a need for environmental reform in Green Bay. She helped create the Green Bay Air Pollution Department and served on the Mayor’s Committee for a Cleaner Green Bay. This work led to Green Bay receiving the All-American City Award in 1965. She was one of 20 women invited to the Beautification Conference in Washington, D.C. Mildred was also active in the League of Women Voters, the YWCA, and on the board of the Family Service Agency. She even served for 40 years on the Tank Cottage Board. Mildred worked tirelessly to make Green Bay a better place for all of its residents. Lisa Kain Curator