John Gurda

"The past is always present"


John Gurda is a Milwaukee-born writer and historian who has been studying his hometown since 1972. He is the author of twenty-one books, on subjects ranging from life insurance to Frank Lloyd Wright and from heavy industries to historic cemeteries. The Making of Milwaukee is Gurda’s most ambitious effort.  With 450 pages, more than 500 illustrations, and a cast of thousands, it is the first feature-length history of the community published since 1948. Milwaukee Public Television premiered an Emmy Award-winning documentary series based on the book in 2006.

In addition to his work as an author, Gurda is a lecturer, tour guide, and local history columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He holds a B.A. in English from Boston College and an M.A. in Cultural Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Gurda is an eight-time winner of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Award of Merit.