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Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. His nonfiction books include: Living a Country Year, Every Farm Tells a Story, When Chores Were Done, Humor from the Country, Country Ways and Country Days, One-Room Schools, Cheese, Breweries of Wisconsin, Ringlingville USA (History of Ringling Brothers circus), Old Farm: A History, Barns of Wisconsin, Horse Drawn Days: A Century of Farming With Horses, Campfires and Loon Calls, Whispers and Shadows, and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. His children's books include: Stormy, Eat Rutabagas, Tents, Tigers and the Ringling Brothers, and Casper Jaggi: Master Swiss Cheese Maker, and Letters From Hillside Farm (A YA novel). He has an audio book, The Back Porch and Other Stories. Jerry has published Six novels, The Travels of Increase Joseph, In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story, Blue Shadows Farm, Cranberry Red, Tamarack River Ghost, and The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.  Jerry is a former publications editor for UW-Extension, an acquisitions editor for the McGraw-Hill Book Company, and editor of a national professional journal.

Jerry has won awards for his writing from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Library Association (the 2007 Notable Authors Award), American Library Association, Foreword Magazine, Midwest Independent Publishers Association, Robert E. Gard Foundation, The Wisconsin Council for Writers (the 2007 Major Achievement Award), Upper Midwest Booksellers, and Barnes and Noble Bookstores, among others. In 2010 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Science, was named a Fellow by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters in 2012, and was named to the Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2016, Jerry won the White Cedar Outstanding Teaching Award from The Clearing.

University of Wisconsin Employment

  • County Extension Agent, Green Lake and Brown Counties, 1957-1962.
  • Publications Editor, State 4-H Office, 1962-1964.
  • Assistant, Associate and full Professor, Ag. And Extension Ed. Dept, 1964-1974.
  • Professor, Continuing and Vocational Education, 1974-1994.
  • Staff Development, University of Wisconsin Extension. 1964-1974, 1982-1985.
  • Chancellor’s Office, University of Wisconsin Extension, 1989-1993.
  • Chair, Department of Continuing and Vocational Education, 1977-1979, 1982-1987.
  • Director of Kellogg funded National Leadership Development Program, 1989-1993.
  • Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1994-present.

Books - (Related to Rural History and Rural Life)

Books - (Related to Education)

  • Toward a Working Philosophy of Adult Education. Syracuse U. 1973.
  • Tips For Article Writers. Wisconsin Regional Writers, 1973.
  • Problems in Continuing Education. McGraw-Hill. 1980.
  • Problemas de La Educacion Permanente. Paidos Educador. Barcelona, 1983, 1994.
  • Problems in Continuing Education. Arabic Translation.
  • The Adult Learner on Campus. Follett. 1981.
  • Study Skills for Adults Returning to School. McGraw-Hill. 1978, 1981.
  • Improving Your Writing Skills. Follett. 1982.
  • How to Improve Adult Education in Your Church. Augsburg. 1972
  • Ideas For Better Church Meetings. Augsburg. 1975.
  • Improving Practice in Continuing Education. Jossey-Bass (Simon & Schuster). 1985.
  • Higher Education in a Learning Society. Jossey-Bass (Simon & Schuster). 1988.
  • Study Skills For Today’s College Student. McGraw-Hill. 1990.
  • Mastering The Teaching of Adults. Krieger. 1991.
  • Leadership For The Emerging Age. Jossey-Bass, 1994.
  • Teaching From The Heart. Krieger. 1996.

Additional Publications

Apps has written more than 800 articles and columns that have appeared in Wisconsin newspapers and magazines, and in national magazines. He has chapters in several books including an article in the Oxford Companion to United States History. Two recent monographs are “Giving Old Barns New Life: Ethnic History and Beauty of Old Barns,” and “Giving Old Barns New Life: Wisconsin’s Changing Farmsteads,” (Both University of Wisconsin-Extension).

Radio, TV

Awards and Recognition

  • First place award in non-fiction and scholarly book writing (1977, 1989, 2002 Council for Wisconsin Writers).
  • Award of Merit: For Distinguished Service to History (1978, 1981, 1993, 1999, 2003) State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
  • Research to Practice Award for books in education (1982), American Association for Adult and Continuing Education.
  • Adult Educator of the year award for books in education (1987), Wisconsin Association for Adult and Continuing Education.
  • Landsdowne Scholar, University of Victoria, 1991
  • Outstanding Literary Achievement Award (1993), Wisconsin Library Association.
  • Recognition Award (1994), Wisconsin Retired Educators Association.
  • Wisconsin Idea Award (1994), University of Wisconsin-Extension
  • Writer in Residence (1995) Rhinelander School of Arts.
  • Award for Excellence in Interpretation of Wisconsin and Midwest Heritage (1996), Robert E. Gard Foundation and Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters.
  • Fellow: International Hall of Fame for Adult and Continuing Education. 1996.
  • Wisconsin 4-H Alumni Award. Wisconsin 4-H Foundation, 1998.
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Alberta, 1988.
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Alaska, 1995.
  • “Midwest Favorite” book award from Upper Midwest Booksellers Association, 1999, 2000.
  • Pride of Wisconsin Award for Excellence in the Field of Regional Literature, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 2001, 2002.
  • Outstanding Academic Title award, Association of College and Research Libraries, American Library Association, 2005.
  • Major Achievement Award, Council for Wisconsin Writers, 2007
  • Notable Authors Award, Wisconsin Library Association, 2007
  • Old Farm: A History, A Midwest Connections Pick, Midwest Booksellers Association, 2008
  • Old Farm: A History. Council for Wisconsin Writers, Inc. - First Place in 2008 Ellis/Henderson Outdoor Writing Category
  • Old Farm: A History. 2008 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Finalist in Environment Category
  • Old Farm: A History. 2008 Midwest Independent Publishers Association - First Place in Nature Category and Finalist in Midwest Regional Category
  • Old Farm: A History. 2009 Independent Publishers Book Awards - Gold in Best Regional Nonfiction in Great Lakes Region
  • Old Farm: A History. 2009 National Indie Excellence Awards - Finalist in History Category
  • Blue Shadows Farm. 2009 Midwest Book Awards - Finalist in General Fiction
  • Cranberry Red. 2010 Midwest Book Awards-Finalist in General Fiction
  • Distinguished Service Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, 2010
  • Barns of Wisconsin. 2011 Silver Award: Best Regional Nonfiction book, Independent Publishers Book Awards
  • Barns of Wisconsin. 2011 Finalist: Next Generation Indie Book Awards
  • Elected as Fellow, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters (2012)
  • A Farm Winter With Jerry Apps, Regional Emmy Award Winner, 2014
  • White Cedar Outstanding Teaching Award, The Clearing, 2016

News Articles

Professional Affiliations

Authors Guild, Council For Wisconsin Writers, Wisconsin Regional Writers Association, Wisconsin Academy for Sciences Arts and Letters, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Trust for Historic Preservation, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Member Society of Midland Authors.


Publications Editor, University of Wisconsin-Extension (1962-1965), Acquisitions Editor, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1976-1982. Writing Instructor: School of the Arts, Rhinelander, 1971-2000; The Clearing, Door County, 1990- present; Write by the Lake, UW-Madison, 2001-2006; Green Lake Writers’ Institute; Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa. Consulting editor to Follett and Jossey-Bass publishing companies. Consultant and narrator for the production of “Barns” Video, Wisconsin Public TV, 2000. June Dairy Month spokesperson for the Dairy Council of Wisconsin, 1999.

Ph.D. in Education and Rural Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Married, three grown children. Interests include farming, wilderness canoeing, nature study, and cross-country skiing.


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Website by Matt Apps
Last updated: 08/01/2017 09:18 PM CST