When Nancy Lurie finally got around to opening the large shopping bag filled with packets of letters that had come from her mother's attic, she assumed they held no more than she already knew about her family and their hometown, Milwaukee. Yet, she felt she should read the letters before disposing of them. Spanning the years 1915 - 1922, they turned out to be historically enlightening and entertaining far beyond the concerns of a particular family. To begin with, there were more than 500 letters from Lurie's father, also a Milwaukeean, to her mother when he began work in Canton, Ohio until their marriage in 1921. Beneath these letters were a number of letters from earlier beaux, high school girlfriends, and her mother's mother who wrote on family business stationary. Lurie's mother's diaries (1918 - 1921) and other family memorabilia and oral tradition fill out the general context and missing details as the letters provide on the scene and often unexpected reactions and responses to the transition from horse to auto, the end of the gaslight era, World War 1 - The Great War - at home and overseas. the Spanish Flu epidemic, news from the Russian Revolution, post war labor unrest, courtship customs, domestic life, Prohibition, women's suffrage, and much more.
Nancy Oestreich Lurie conducted numerous research projects and other scholarly activities, including an appointment by the governor to the State of Wisconsin Historic Preservation Review Board and having served on several National Endowment for the Humanities committees and panels. Lurie was awarded more than twenty grants to conduct research by foundations such as Wenner-Gren (formerly Viking Fund), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was also the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Anisfield-Wolf Award sponsored by the Saturday Review, the William B. Hesseltine Award from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, and an honorary doctorate of humanities from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She authored or co-authored more than 110 books, articles, and monographs, including Mountain Wolf Woman (1961), The American Indian Today (with Stuart Levine, 1968), and The Nicolet Corrigenda (with Patrick Jung, 2009).
Published by the Milwaukee County Historical Society. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.