James B. Stoltman at the University of Wisconsin

Article excerpt

Jim Stoltman is not a retiring person. Jim Stoltman is retired. I have trouble reconciling these statements in my mind. Maybe Jim is drawing his pension at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but he is not retiring in any way, shape, or form. In fact, he is downright enthusiastic. Those who know him might even say bubbly, practically effervescent. Usually, that enthusiasm translates into getting students excited about archaeology.

Sometimes it's dangerous. Never mix the domestic banana and the wild Stoltman. Some years ago at lunch, Stoltman, who prefers very overripe bananas of the sort that would gag an emaciated baboon, got enthusiastic about his topic, gesticulated erratically, and we all watched as his newly peeled, overripe banana flew into the lap of an innocent colleague. Or the time we were to sail off into the sunset on one of the Madison lakes. Jim shoved the canoe that was to take us to the sailboat so hard it shot off out into the lake.

Such enthusiasm, fortunately, is also bound up with a very large heart and a major dollop of kindness. Many people don't know that Jim and Sallie have been a warm welcome wagon for every new faculty member in the department, spending time, energy, and money getting them settled happily in Madison. Twentyfive years ago, three days after I moved to Madison, Jim attended the birthday of my two-year-old daughter. Today he hides candy in his office for my 10 year old.

It is a great pleasure to contribute to a volume honoring James B. Stoltman. As a teacher, researcher, colleague, and archaeologist he has done the right thing throughout his career. Things started off right when Jim met and wisely married Sallie, his wife of 40 years. One thing led to another, including Wendy in 1961, Jeff in 1962, and Andy in 1966.

Jim's early career is summarized in the previous article by Kelly et al. Since his arrival in Madison, Jim has been a productive, valuable, and valued member of the Department of Anthropology for 34 years. He was tenured in 1970 and promoted to full professor in 1974. Jim served as chair of the department from 1981 to 1984 and became emeritus in 1998.

His scholarly productivity is enviable. He has published two monographs, edited six volumes, and authored more than 35 research papers, along with dozens of reviews. Two of those volumes were written specifically to make the archaeology of Wisconsin more accessible. His bibliography is appended. He has served as the Governor's appointee to the Historic Preservation Review Board and the Burial Sites Preservation Board for the State of Wisconsin, as President of the Wisconsin Archeological Survey and the Wisconsin Archeological Society, and on the editorial board of several major journals. His contribution to the archaeology of this state was recognized by the Wisconsin Archeological Society in 1979 with the award of the Lapham Research Medal for distinguished service in anthropological research.

Stoltman has taught a variety of different courses as part of the offerings of the archaeology section of the department. These courses included a summer field school for undergraduates beginning in 1968, training countless novices in the principles of field archaeology and eating on the ground. Stoltman has a rather tarnished reputation for field work in the rough, renting abandoned housing where the showers are in the dirt-floored basements and hiring cooks named Chef Boyardee.

As an instructor, he is remarkable. His teaching evaluations in all of his courses are exceptional, ranking at the top of the department. He often teaches an evening course on Wisconsin archaeology, attracting many continuing students and others interested in local archaeology. His commitment to the discipline has included fieldwork involving Native Americans in researching their own ancestry. It is clear that Stoltman has been a dedicated and excellent teacher. He has cajoled and inspired several generations of graduate students to greater heights. …