by Laura Kayacan, Adult Services Librarian, Door County Library
Door County Library in Sturgeon Bay is a community center that celebrates local literature and history. The Laurie History Room – named for Alexander and Catherine Laurie, who were members of a Door County pioneer family – was created through a donation from their grandchildren in 1975.
The room contains an invaluable archive of books, microfilms, tapes, videos, pamphlets, directories, indexes and magazines that are all related to Door County and Wisconsin. There are works of fiction by local authors or set in Door County, and the nonfiction holdings include books that focus on local history, people, geology, horticulture, shipwrecks, lighthouses, churches, communities, businesses and authors.
Of special note are the family histories, which come in all shapes and sizes and are often unique to this room. The Peninsula Genealogical Society extracted surnames from these books, and that list is available at doorcountylibrary.org/genealogy. Other treasures for genealogists are the obituary and cemetery indexes that the society created. Obituaries are available at the Door County Library Newspaper Archive (1862-1979) or viewable on microfilm in the Laurie History Room. There’s also a large collection of county and city directories and phone books dating from 1917 through today.
Have a look at the old school yearbooks dating back to 1903, or look up a recipe in the 1911 Door County Cook Book: Practical Cooking by Practical Cooks from the Famous Land of Cherries. And while you’re visiting the Laurie History Room, don’t forget to look at Door County: California of the North.
Watch for more gems to be found in the Laurie History Room on the “Door County Library: Local History and Genealogy” Facebook page.