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Lyman Draper devoted his life to recording and preserving pioneer stories and documents on frontier history. His extensive collection of material became the foundation for the collections of the Wisconsin Historical Society, of which he was the first secretary and librarian. Draper researched Daniel Boone over several decades intending to publish a definitive biography, but he died before the work was completed. He interviewed Nathan Boone, the youngest child of Daniel and Rebecca Boone, and took over 300 pages of notes, which research material has proved invaluable to Boone researchers ever since.

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