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Mice paddling a canoe?
Random Thoughts, August 3
Mice paddling a canoe
This is a reproduction of a Huppler card drawing, done with tiny black dots. He gave it to me in 1961 when he was living in Muscoda with his father.

MUSCODA - Probably few folks in this village remember when mice in Muscoda paddled canoes and/or drove a Hudson roadster automobile. Don’t worry, the little rodents existed only in the mind of a Muscoda native and artist, Dudley Huppler.

         Huppler was born in Muscoda August 8, 1917. He attended high school in Muscoda where he developed a life-long interest in reading. He then enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Madison, receiving  bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

         He first worked for the WPA, a make-work federal program during the Great Depression when jobs were scarce. He later returned to the U.W. as a teaching assistant.

         Through the years he made frequent visits to Muscoda to visit his family who operated a meat market here. I interviewed Dudley in September, 1961. By then he was an international traveler with many connections throughout the art world. He also spent time teaching at the University of Minnesota and had studios in Santa Monica, California and New York City

         As an artist Dudley developed a system of tiny black dots to portray mice and other characters. He used the method in children’s books and on sets of cards that he marketed in New York City and small places like Ed’s Store and Ruth’s Dress Shop in Muscoda.

         One of his books has characters who lived in “Mouscoda”  during the 1920s, including a young girl who is given a croquet set and struggles to learn the game. 00

         His books for children are not among the collection at the Muscoda Public Library. However there is a book on local shelves that chronicles Huppler’s life and accomplishments.

         His life ended in August, 1988 in Boulder, Colorado. By that time he estimated he had created more than 38,000 drawing and paintings.