Shopping cart

Out of the Northwoods: The Many Lives of Paul Bunyan, With More Than 100 Logging Camp Tales (Hardcover)

Out of the Northwoods: The Many Lives of Paul Bunyan, With More Than 100 Logging Camp Tales Cover Image
Email or call for price.


Every American has heard of the lumberjack hero Paul Bunyan and his big blue ox. For 100 years his exploits filled cartoons, magazines, short stories, and children's books, and his name advertised everything from pancake breakfasts to construction supplies. By 1950 Bunyan was a ubiquitous icon of America's strength and ingenuity. Until now, no one knew where he came from—and the extent to which this mythical hero is rooted in Wisconsin. 

Out of the Northwoods presents the culture of nineteenth-century lumberjacks in their own words. It includes eyewitness accounts of how the first Bunyan stories were shared on frigid winter nights, around logging camp stoves, in the Wisconsin pinery. It describes where the tales began, how they moved out of the forest and into print, and why publication changed them forever. Part bibliographic mystery and part social history, Out of the Northwoods explains for the first time why we all know and love Paul Bunyan.

About the Author

Michael Edmonds has published several books and articles on literary and intellectual history. He joined the staff of the Wisconsin Historical Society in 1982 and helped lead its effort to mount rare books and manuscripts on the Web, stumbling on the mystery of Paul Bunyan's origin while looking for lumberjack memoirs to share online. He holds degrees from Harvard University and Simmons College. He received a 2007 American Local and State Historical Society Award for his pioneering work on the “Turning Points in Wisconsin History” portion of the Wisconsin Historical Society website.

Praise For…

"Long left for dead by folklorists as the largely fake creation of timber industry ad men and bombastic fiction writers, the real Paul Bunyan of lumber camp storytelling lives through Michael Edmond's superbly researched, richly illustrated, and engagingly written study. The last and best word on Bunyan!" (James P. Leary, Professor and Director of the Folklore Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"Through exhaustive research and sound reasoning Michael Edmonds makes a convincing case to move Bunyan's birthplace from New England or Canada to the logging camps of northern Wisconsin. In the process, he introduces readers to a largely unfamiliar, unsanitized, pre-print Bunyan known only to woodsmen of a bygone era. This is an important contribution to the study of folklore and, at the same time, something new and fun for the Bunyan fan in all of us." (Professor Kurt Kortenhof, Saint Paul College)

2009 Bronze in the Reference Category from ForeWord Magazine's Book of Year Awards
2010 Bronze in the Great Lakes Best Regional Non-fiction from Independent Publisher Book Awards
2010 Finalist in the Regional Non-fiction Category from National Indie Excellence Awards
2010 Bronze in the Historical/Biography Book Category from PubWest Book Design Awards

Product Details
ISBN: 9780870204371
ISBN-10: 0870204378
Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society Press
Publication Date: October 19th, 2009
Pages: 304
Language: English
3019 Oakland Dr.
Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Open Monday - Saturday

Phone (269) 385-2847