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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The Birth of the Badgers

Discover the history of lead mining in Wisconsin, and the origin of Badgers.

Historical Essay

Stereo Realist 3-D Camera

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Stereo Realist f3.5 camera made by the David White Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, c. 1951. (Museum object #1980.337)

How Wisconsin was Divided

Discover how the Ordinance of 1787 extended government, prohibited slavery and led to the survey of public lands north of the Ohio River.

Historical Essay

1930s Permanent Wave Machine

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Frederics permanent wave machine used in Crisella's Beauty Shop in Blanchardville, Wisconsin, late 1930s. (Museum object #1986.79.2)

Historical Essay

X-Ray Shoe Fitting Machine

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Simplex fluoroscope machine by X-Ray Shoe Fitter, Inc., Milwaukee. Most likely used in a Sturgeon Bay shoe store, c 1945-1955. (Museum object #1992.109)

Civil War Battle Summary

Brief summary of the Battle of Appomattox Court House where Confederate General Robert E. Lee was forced to surrender to Union commander Ulysses S. Grant.

Historical Essay

Canals in Wisconsin

Read about the canal era in Wisconsin, including the canal at the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers and the Milwaukee and Rock River Canal

Historical Essay

Lumberjack Saved Union Fleet

3,000 Dam the Red River

Read this wild story about a Wisconsin Dells lumberjack applying his knowledge of dams to help Union forces escape a Confederate attack.

Historical Essay

The War of 1812

Wisconsin's Involvement with the war on the French, British and Natives

Learn how the British relinquished control of Wisconsin and Americans took over the region's fur trade during the war of 1812.

Historical Essay

Travel and Tourism

The Invention of a new Pastime

Discover how new technology helped create the tourist industry in Wisconsin in the 19th century
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If you have questions about historical research, please contact our Library Reference Services staff by phone at 608-264-6535 or by email.

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