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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Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Politician, Manufacturer

Historical Essay

Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975

Learn more about this Madisonian's contribution to the literary community. This article details his Pulitzer prize-winning plays and novels.

Professor, Geologist and University President

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

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.

Father of the Wisconsin Dairy Industry, Wisconsin Governor

Find out about the Wisconsin governor who championed for high standards in the dairy industry and founded the State Dairyman's Association.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Wisconsin Governor

Brief biography of Gov. Louis P. Harvey, helped organize the Republican Party in 1854, state senator from 1854-1857 and in 1862 became governor.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Wisconsin Attorney General and State Senator

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.

Lawyer, Politician, Senator, Cabinet Officer and Philanthropist

Biography of William Freeman Vilas, 1840-1908.

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.
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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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