Northwestern Mutual Insurance employees gave chairman Edmund Fitzgerald a four-foot long model of the Great Lakes ore carrier that bore his name.  The model became property of his son, Edmund B Fitzgerald, whose estate has donated the model to the Zeidler Humanities Room at the Milwaukee Central Library.  That room is the latest incarnation of the Local History and Marine Room, home to several other ship models, and at one time, the repository of all things local railroading that were too precious to circulate.
It is fitting that the intricately detailed model would end up in the collection, because Edmund Fitzgerald was the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society's first president. The society's archives include thousands of photos of Great Lakes ships, nautical charts, an online database, paintings, memorabilia and ship models.

"A lot of people don't think of the man, they think of the ship," said Peter Hirthe, president of the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society. "This unveiling is to spotlight the man."

Fitzgerald's family tree is loaded with Great Lakes ship captains, including many of his uncles and great-uncles. In 1912, when he was a senior at East High School, now Riverside, he published a paper about Great Lakes shipping in the yearbook.

"Within five decades, he had a Great Lakes ship named after him," Hirthe said. "The layers of this family's involvement in the Great Lakes is incredible. He was just carrying on the tradition."
The Humanities Room have a brief guide to the maritime collection.

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