Web-famous Price County figures encapsulated by The Pudding's visual story "A People Map of the U.S." all boast their own lasting national contributions to everything from the grocery freezer section to the arts.
The recently released feature links up communities across the United States with the "most Wikipedia'ed" person bearing some connection to those places using data collected from July 2015-May 2019, according to information on The Pudding's website.
Phillips — Esther Bubley
Esther Bubley, a photographer celebrated for capturing the daily lives of American people from WWII through much of the 1960s, represented the most searched figure associated with Phillips on Wikipedia.
Bubley was born there in 1921 to Jewish immigrants Louis and Ida Bubley. The Bubleys relocated to Superior in Esther's early life. Number four of five siblings, Esther helped her family weather the Great Depression by heading up work at a little northern Wisconsin general store. Her father eventually saw success via an auto parts store he established, according to biographical details from the website maintained for the Esther Bubley Photography Archive.
Bubley, who discovered an interest in the arts and photography early on, began work shooting microfilm for the National Archives in May 1942. It was her next post as a darkroom assistant for the Office of War Information that really launched her career as an esteemed photographer in her own right. In an effort to impress her eventual mentor Roy Stryker, who hired her into the position, Bubley began taking photos related to wartime activities in Washington D.C. outside the work day. Her snapshots had a special focus on the women who helped support the war effort, shining in the new roles they embraced outside of the home, according to a summary of the photographer's career on the Library of Congress website.
In time, Stryker promoted her to the role of staff photographer. One of her most famous collections of photographs came out of an assignment following passengers on cross country bus trips over a six-week span. The grouping of shots is said to have captured a nation in transformation, edging out of the Great Depression and into wartime once more, according to information from the Library of Congress.
Eventually she moved along with Stryker as he took on work for Standard Oil Company, where the aim of photography was to illuminate all the aspects of life touched by the oil industry at the time. Among other projects capturing the essence of small town life in 1940s-1960s America, Bubley fully plunged herself into a project immortalizing the people and day-to-day scenes of Tomball, Texas, but one of many oil boomtowns to spring up in the era. She made the place her home for six weeks to complete the study, in that time shooting everything from energy-filled school dances to cowboys perched contemplatively on a fence.
Later on, she completed freelance assignments for a number of well-known publications, including Life magazine. While her lens captured the faces of such famous figures as Albert Einstein and jazz star Charlie Parker, it is perhaps her photographs of women and children engaged in scenes of ordinary life that most endure in the public memory.
Her career eventually slowed in unison with the rise in TV news as primary disseminator of current event details in America, according to the website for her photography archive.
Just as quietly as she would observe her subjects from the background, careful not to interfere with the natural flow of events, Bubley's work was rediscovered by a new audience in the later years of her life, coming to inhabit the walls of many galleries and even canvasses sold at big box retailers.
Prentice — Dennis Morgan
The person garnering the most Wikipedia searches in connection with Prentice is movie star Dennis Morgan, who was born in the northern Wisconsin community on Dec. 20, 1908.
Making his debut in life as Stanley Morner, the famous one-time local resident translated an early interest in acting and singing into a star-studded career on the silver screen, but not before he put in work at his dad's northern Wisconsin lumber camps for a time post-college, according to his obituary in the New York Times after his death in 1994.
As Stanley Morner, the budding celebrity could claim the titles of singer and announcer for a Milwaukee radio station and sportscaster for the fledgling Green Bay Packers.
Discovered by a talent scout during a Chicago performance of "Carmen," he later signed a long-term contract with Warner Brothers. Studio reps updated his name to the movie-ready moniker Dennis Morgan and started casting him in a mix of dramatic roles. His first big break came when Warner Brothers turned him over to another studio for production of the 1940 film Kitty Foyle, in which he clinched a leading role.
From then on, Warner Brothers cast him in headlining roles in some of its biggest films of the 1940s and 1950s. He starred alongside such classic film greats as Bette Davis, Betty Grable, Barbara Stanwyck, and Ginger Rogers.
His occasional visits back to his Northwoods hometown and surrounding communities would create quite a stir, leaving residents wondering when and where they might catch a surprise glimpse of the star, as archives of local news updates attest.
Retiring from acting by the end of the 1960s, Morgan started a new career as a rancher. He was living in Madera County, California at the time of his death in 1994 at the age of 85.
Ogema — Joseph "Pep" Simek, Sr.
The "most Wikipedia'ed" person linked to Ogema was Joseph "Pep" Simek, Sr., a co-founder of Tombstone Pizza who was born in Ogema on Nov. 13, 1926.
Graduating from Westboro High School in 1944, Simek moved onto service with the U.S. Army, which found the new grad stationed in Trieste, Italy from 1944 to 1946, according to the details in his obituary running in the Marshfield News Herald.
He and late wife Frances relocated to Medford from their home in Chicago in 1960. Within a couple of years, the two began operating the Tombstone Tap, located right by a cemetery, with Joseph's brother, Ronald, according to the obituary published for Simek in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Simek brothers decided that making pizza would offer a way to bring in more income to support their families and founded Tombstone Pizza with two other partners in 1962. Initial cooking for the business was done out of the bar's tiny kitchen. Pep reportedly found himself with the time to improve upon the original recipe while recovering from a broken leg.
Sales of the pizza picked up around Medford, where about 2,000 pizzas were sold each day in a few year's time. At that point in culinary history, the pizza was already dished out with that now well-known slogan, "What do you want on your Tombstone?"
Its sale to Kraft and later Nestle put Tombstone Pizzas on the national dinner table by the second half of the 1980s, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel write-up.
Simek continued to hold a key place in the Medford business community via the new restaurant Pep's Pizza and his involvement in other endeavors further from home, reaching the age of 86. He even clinched a place in the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame the year before his passing in 2013, according to information from the Marshfield News Herald.
Park Falls — Luke Timothy Johnson
When it comes to the person arising in the most Wikipedia searches connected to Park Falls, the honor goes to goes to New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson, who was born in the northern Wisconsin community on Nov. 20, 1943.
While born in Park Falls, Johnson spent the first 11 years of his life in Fifield. His mother was a native of Park Falls and attended high school there, and his father came from Fifield, according to Johnson.
"I have many and vivid memories of my 11 years in Fifield, which, when I look back on it, seemed a Tom Sawyer time and place," Johnson said, noting that at the time Park Falls, just four miles to the north, seemed like the big city to him and others in Fifield.
His mother's parents and three of her seven siblings lived in Park Falls, so Johnson's family spent quite a lot of time there for visits. He especially remembers the music-driven festivities held for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July in the little park next to the railway station there along with the debut of Flambeau Rama celebrations.
"Park Falls in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s was a lively and lovely town," Johnson stated, noting that employment opportunities offered by the paper mill infused Park Falls with a level of prosperity not seen in Fifield at the time. The smaller neighboring community depended a lot on the "hunting, fishing, and vacationing habits of folks from Milwaukee and Chicago" when it came to its economic conditions then, as explained by Johnson.
His father died when Johnson was just six weeks old, and his mother, becoming the widowed mother of six children, died of brain cancer when Johnson was 11.
"The family was scattered, but remained united in spirit and in the deep conviction that we grew up in a time and a place that was precious, and which marked each [of] us in positive ways," he stated.
After wrapping up service as a Benedictine monk in Louisiana, he married his late wife Joy, delved into work as a New Testament scholar and teaching at Yale, Indiana University, and later Emory University in Atlanta, where his career would exceed two decades.
Ahead of his 2016 retirement, Johnson held the position of Robert W. Woodruff Professor Emeritus at Emory University's Candler School of Theology, according to a biography on the university website, which notes that the endowed Robert Wood Johnson chair is the most distinguished at Emory.
Celebrated as a scholar and teacher focused on the "literary, moral, and religious dimensions of the [Bible's] New Testament," Johnson has also authored 31 books and numerous scholarly articles, along with even more articles directed at a general audience.
He's also been well-received as a speaker on biblical topics at venues across the U.S.
Johnson concluded that all of that traffic on Wikipedia can probably be attributed to the many books and articles that he has written as well as his frequent lectures in various places.
Johnson stated, "Some of my opinions please some of the people some of the time; some please many of the people most of the time; none please all the people all the time. Which is about right."