Laura Godden profile photo

Laura Godden

Specialty area(s)

Special Collections and Area Research Center (ARC) Historian/Archivist

Brief biography

In my position at UW-La Crosse in the Murphy Library Special Collections and Area Research Center (ARC) archive, I work to collect, preserve, and provide access to records of enduring value, aiding researchers from UWL, the community, and beyond. Our archive contains many old and historic documents, but it also strives to conserve modern records for the historians of tomorrow. I assist faculty, students, and other individuals with research on a wide range of topics. I have aided both local and national authors and media outlets, helping them access primary source research materials, some of which include Campus Communications, La Crosse Tribune, PBS History Detectives, Travel Channel, BBC, WXOW News 19, WKBT News 8, On Wisconsin, S&D Reflector, Living in the City, La Crosse Magazine, German American Historical Institute, Smithsonian Institution, and Wisconsin Historical Society Press. I frequently advise and collaborate with local and regional entities on archival resources and other history-related matters. I have worked with the La Crosse Public Library, Recollection Wisconsin, the Pump House Regional Arts Center, K-12 school teachers, the City of La Crosse, and many other local groups and businesses.

Additionally, I research, produce scholarship, and contribute to public history projects. I have collaborated with the history department on Hear, Here, [Art]ifact, National History Day, Graff Guides, Wisconsin 101, Friendly Finding Aid, Oral History Program, and undergraduate research projects (History-on-the-Go, Pacing Through History: A Walking Tour for Multi-Generations, History Hunt, etc.). I also work with the La Crosse County Historical Society (LCHS) on their Historic Pub Crawl and Silent City Cemetery Tour. I have given presentations related to my work and research at the Wisconsin History Society's Local History and Preservation Conference, UWL Faculty Research Day, LCHS's History in a Bag lecture series, La Crosse Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s La Crosse Area Bicycle Festival, Wisconsin Library Association’s Support Staff and Circulation Services Professional Development Conference, Midwest Archives Conference, and Society of American Archivists conference. I have also appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio's Newsmakers as both an author and local history expert.  

Current courses at UWL

Each year, I train approximately nine student researchers who assist us in the archive, and I teach around sixty specialized archival literacy and content-focused instruction sessions to UWL students and community groups. I regularly help educators on campus incorporate archival resources into their instruction and coursework. I have partnered with faculty in various departments, including history, art, theatre, ethnic and racial studies, sociology, archaeology, communication studies, student affairs administration, environmental studies, English, recreation management, economics, geography and earth science. 


Master of Library and Information Science, 2018, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Concentration: Archival Studies

Master of Arts, History, 2011, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Concentration: Ninetieth and twentieth-century American history

Bachelor of Science, 2007, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Major: Broad Field Social Studies, Secondary Education
Second Major: Political Science, Minor: History
Wisconsin Teaching Licensure EA-A, 73, 701

Teaching history

Special Collections and the ARC has conducted presentations, informational sessions, archival orientations, and content-focused classes for: ART 164, ART 172, ART 272, ART 372, ART 373, ART 375, ART 376, ECON 312, ENG 110, ENG 112, ENG 311, ERS 490, GEO 102, HIS 101, HIS 102, HIS 200, HIS 300, HIS 308, HIS 320, HIS 321, HIS 337, HIS 338, HIS 357, HIS 393, HIS 407, HIS 412, HIS 490, REC 320, SAA 705, THA 210, THA 482, UWL 100, National History Day (NHD), La Crosse County Historical Society, La Crosse Area Genealogy Society, Cashton Middle School, Holmen Middle School, Royall High School, Holmen Historical Society, Wonewoc Schools, Lincoln Middle School, Longfellow Middle School, Hmong Elders at La Crosse County Aging Department, Cochrane-Fountain City High School, Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS), La Crosse Area Bicycle Festival, Wisconsin Library Association (WLA), as well as numerous steamboat tour groups and reading clubs.

Professional history

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Murphy Library Special Collections and Area Research Center (ARC), April 2012 to present. 

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, History Department Graduate Teaching Assistant, September 2009 to June 2011.


Research and publishing

“University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Murphy Library Special Collections and Area Research Center (ARC).” In A Resident's Guide to La Crosse, Wisconsin: An Anthology of Essays Written by the Leaders of La Crosse’s Most Well-Respected Businesses, Clubs, Organizations, and Events,100+ Things to Do in America’s Cities Series, xx-xx. Racine, WI: Z Publishing House, forthcoming 2018.

Postcard History Series: La Crosse. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2015. F587.L14 G72 2015, Search@UW (Library Catalog Entry).

“Homecoming, the Lantern, and the Lighting of the ‘L.’” In We’ve Hung the Lantern: A Visual History of the First 50 Years of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, by Leslie F. Crocker, 64-92. Houston, MN: Looney Valley Publications, 2013.

“La Crosse, Wisconsin’s Oehler Mill: The Gradual Reinvention of an Historic Landmark.” University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2011. F589.L15 O44 2012, Search@UW (Library Catalog Entry). 

“Forgotten Peacemaker in a World Moving Toward War: Herbert Hoover’s Unique Brand of Foreign Policy in a Climate of Isolationism.” M.A. Thesis in History. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 2011. 121 pages. E1000 .G579 2011, Search@UW (Library Catalog Entry).