On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, UWL Emeritus Professor Bruce Mouser was awarded the Eugene W. Murphy Library Special Recognition Award posthumously. Mouser passed away in late 2018. Nancy Mouser, his wife, accepted the award on his behalf. The Murphy Award recognizes those individuals or organizations that have made major contributions to the mission, programs and purposes of Murphy Library.
Bruce Mouser was a dedicated scholar and prolific author. Even after his retirement from the History Department at UW-La Crosse in 1996, he authored 15 books and 32 scholarly articles. He relied heavily on Murphy Library’s Interlibrary Loan services and the Library’s resources in his research. In 2012, he donated the bulk of his extensive research materials and manuscripts, totaling over twelve cubic feet, to Murphy Library Special Collections.
Mouser is best known in La Crosse for his articles, books and public lectures on Black settlement along the upper Mississippi River. His biography of George Edwin Taylor, For Labor, Race, and Liberty: George Edwin Taylor, His Run for the White House, and the Making of Independent Black Politics, was published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2011. The book reflects on the historic presidential run of La Crosse resident George Edwin Taylor in 1904. Running against Theodore Roosevelt, Taylor was the first African American ticketed as a political party’s nominee for U.S. president. The book was nominated for several awards including the Pulitzer Prize in biography. In 2014, he also published A Black Gambler’s World of Liquor, Vice, and Presidential Politics: William Thomas Scott of Illinois, 1839-1917. Mouser also extensively researched the life of George Poage using materials in Murphy Library Special Collections. Poage was a resident of La Crosse and the first African-American to win a medal in a modern Olympics at St. Louis in 1904. Mouser eventually decided not to publish his biography of Poage but instead offer it as an open access e-book through Harvard University at https://hutchinscenter.fas.harvard.edu/files/hutchins/files/george_coleman_poage.pdf.