John Wolf

John Wolf, a UW-Madison graduate student during the 1967 Dow Chemical protests on campus, captured dozens of photographs of the event that have not been published until now.

Wolf historic photo

John Wolf captured this image of a police officer hitting a student protester with a billy club during the Dow protest of Oct. 18, 1967. Wolf, a UW-Madison graduate student at the time, filed away his photo negatives from the event for 50 years, until the university recently asked alumni to send in their memories of that historic day. 

John Wolf was a 23-year-old graduate student in the history of science at UW-Madison in 1967, and occasionally worked as a stringer for Associated Press. He was one of many photographers who followed student demonstrators up Bascom Hill on Oct. 18 to the Commerce Building and captured what occurred there that day.

But Wolf’s photos were never published; instead, the negatives were filed away. Wolf, who spent 35 years as a science writer and communications specialist for the university, pulled out those negatives again after alumni were asked for their memories of the Dow riot. Many of the images have been published for the first time on the website 1967.wisc.edu.

“I was an observer more than a participant,” said Wolf, now 73. “On the other hand I guess I was moderately sympathetic with the anti-war views of the protesters. It was also clear that the police didn’t handle the situation as best they could, and I suspect that’s largely because they hadn’t encountered that kind of demonstration in the past, at least of that size.”

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