Collage of historic photos.

Historical Figures in Wisconsin

Learn about the lives of your favorite Wisconsin historical figures, from the famous to infamous, and their contributions to our state's history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on historical figures in Wisconsin.

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Historical Essay

Bascom, John (1827-1911)

Educator, University President and Author

Brief biography of John Bascom, president of the University of Wisconsin from 1874 to 1887.

Zoologist, Professor and University President

Biography of zoologist and professor Edward Asahel Birge who was president of the University of Wisconsin from 1918 to 1925.

Professor, Geologist and University President

Biography of Charles Richard Van Hise, professor, geologist and president of the University of Wisconsin.

Professor, University President, Geologist and Author

Discover the history of professor, university president, geologist and author, Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin, who establishing the university extension.

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."

Brief bio of Richard Theodore Ely, professor, economist, social reformer and author who played a votal role in shaping the "Wisconsin Idea."

Historical Essay

Leopold, Aldo, 1887-1948

Father of Wildlife Ecology

Learn about the man whose focus on the philosophy of conservation would inspire the environmental movement during the mid-20th century.

Historical Essay

Old Abe, the War Eagle

Civil War Mascot, 8th Wisconsin Infantry

Read about the war eagle who served as the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry. This article contains links to original documents, images, and accounts.

Historical Essay

Spooner, John Coit 1843-1919

Lawyer and Politician

Biography of John Coit Spooner who was a lawyer and politician, known as a leading Stalwart Republican.

Historical Essay

Bull, Ole Borneman 1810-1880

Musician and Concert Violinist

Read about Ole Bull, the Norwegian musician and concert violinist who resided in Madison for several years in the 1870s.
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Have Questions?

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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