Collage of historical images.

Wisconsin History Essays

Learn something new about the past and gain a deeper understanding of your world. Hundreds of essays tell the stories of the people, places and events that are Wisconsin history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on Wisconsin's history.

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Brief biography of Reuben Gold Thwaites

Brief biography of Reuben Gold Thwaites managing editor of the WI State Journal and historian who was "the best known non-political man in Wisconsin."

Historical Essay

Benjamin Butts (1853-1930)

One Man's Journey from Slavery to Madison Business Owner to State Assembly Staff Member

Learn about a freed slave's intriguing story as a barber serving Wisconsin's prominent politicians, and as a well-known, beloved face in the capital city.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Child's ceramic toilet set used by Elizabeth Marshall of Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin, c. 1905. (Museum object #1947.909,A-B)

Read about the development of the Republican Party in Wisconsin in the years prior to the Civil War.

Historical Essay

The Civil War Home Front

Discover how the Civil War affected life on the home front and the role of women in supporting the war effort.

Historical Essay

Farming and Rural Life

Discover how farming drew immigrants to Wisconsin in the 19th century, the state's role as a major wheat producer, and later diversification of crops.

Historical Essay

Governor Dreyfus's Red Vest

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Red velveteen vest worn by Wisconsin Governor Lee Sherman Dreyfus, c. 1975. (Museum object #1982.450.15)

Historical Essay

The First Madison Lodgings

Discover the story surrounding the planning and construction of the first building erected in Madison.

Wisconsin Civil War Regiment

The 45th Wisconsin Infantry was organized at Camp Randall in Madison on November 8, 1864.

Historical Essay

Madison Style Ice Boat Model

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Madison Style ice boat model built by the Bernard family, c. 1917, rebuilt 1977. (Museum object #1983.292)
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