Storyteller: Lois Sprengnether Keel

Michigan Storyteller

Lois Sprengnether Keel, (LoiS) tells stories from around the world and back through time. LoiS has a wide variety of storytelling programs or can create one just for you. Among her historical programs, reenacting Liberetta Lerich Green permits many different programs, but LoiS also has programs as a Hired Girl, a One-Room School Teacher, celebrating Victorian Era Christmas, and Skipping Through the Halls of Fifties Memories—a look at the 1950s. She also tells stories from the Great Lakes region, including tall tales of Paul Bunyan and Native American tales of the Anishinaabe (also called Chippewa, Ojibwe, or Ottawa) after working with Michigan elders.

A new program appropriate to both the Centennial of the U.S. in World War I and Women’s History is about the “Hello Girls,” the bilingual phone operators who fought for 60 years to gain finally veteran’s status. LoiS appears as Marine City operator, Oleda Joure Christides, who was based at U.S. military headquarters in Chaumont. Michigan Bell Telephone provided several women, many from Detroit, and two from Hillsdale, one of whom was the only one to die and be buried “Over There.”

The Liberetta program adapts to cover many aspects of Michigan history: Michigan of 100 years ago; the Underground Railroad; the Civil War, both from the homefront in Michigan and looking out to her soldier brothers; music of abolition and the Civil War; education in Michigan; and even pioneer life as Liberetta recounts her parents adjustment to the Michigan frontier of 1835. Liberetta “time travels” 100 years into what, for her, is the future.

Liberetta’s oral history, newspaper accounts, letters, and other research are tied together with the abolition song sung at the planting of the “Beacon Tree” that marked the Lerich family Underground Railroad station in Shelby Township, Michigan. Her brothers, Will and Isaac, served in the Civil War. Letters by and about them are interwoven with that same song transformed to “Lincoln and Liberty.” Liberetta’s moving exactly 100 years into the present is why she is currently in deep mourning the loss of her husband, Addison Green, a Macomb county farmer, and her father, Peter Lerich, at age 97. More information may be found on LoiS’s pwebsite.

A certified Word Weaving instructor, LoiS loves to spread the joy of storytelling and its many uses. She has been storytelling since 1970. Some of the workshops LoiS has already offered include: the Basics of Storytelling; Storytelling Thematically for Teachers; Story Starters for Your OWN Stories; Preserving Memories through Oral History.

LoiS is comfortable with groups of all ages and sizes and can supply references from programs throughout the&nbspstate.

Contact Lois at

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Historical Society of Michigan 7435 Westshire Dr., Lansing MI 48917
Email | Phone (517) 324-1828 | Fax (517) 324-4370

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