Wisconsin Historical Society: The Lorine Niedecker Cottage Listed in National Register of Historic Places

Contact: Jim Draeger


Sumner, Wisc. – The Wisconsin Historical Society has announced the listing of the Lorine Niedecker Cottage in the town of Sumner, Jefferson County, in the National Register of Historic Places. National Register designation provides access to certain benefits, including qualification for grants and for rehabilitation income tax credits, while it does not restrict private property owners in the use of their property.

Lorine Niedecker who was from Sumner, was part of a group of poets known as Objectivists poets; her influence extended nationally and internationally, far outside of the small community where she lived, although rural Jefferson County, the Cottage, and its setting influenced her poetry.  Niedecker’s poetry owes much to her life and the place where she lived, and the subject matter of much of her work- in the Objectivist tradition- directly references her home and its environs.   The Cottage is the place she lived and where she wrote most of her poetry.  The Cottage and surrounding landscapes were influential forces and integral connections to her writing.

Literary Modernism traces its origins to the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Europe and North America.  During this time, modernist writers of both prose and poetry broke from traditional ways of writing and experimented with literary form and expression.  Modernist poetry ascended from literary modernism.  Objectivist poets were a group of second-generation Modernists who emerged in the 1930s.  They were mainly American and were influenced by early Modernist poets such as Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams.  Louis Zukofsky, one of the most prominent Objectivist poets, helped define the movement by stating that the principals of Objective poetry were to treat the poem as an object, emphasize sincerity, intelligence, and the poet’s ability to look clearly at the world.  Lorine became one of the group’s most prominent members.  These poets generally suffered critical neglect early in their careers, which was the case with Lorine; however, over time they were to become highly influential to later generations of Modernist poets.

The register is the official national list of historic properties in America deemed worthy of preservation and is maintained by the National Park Service in the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Wisconsin Historical Society administers the program within Wisconsin. It includes sites, buildings, structures, objects and districts that are significant in national, state or local history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture.

To learn more about the State and National Register programs in Wisconsin, visit www.wisconsinhistory.org.

About the Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. The Wisconsin Historical Society serves millions of people every year through a wide range of sites, programs and services. For more information, visit wisconsinhistory.org.