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

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.

Historical Essay

Doty, James Duane, 1799-1865

Read a biographical account of the governor of the Wisconsin territory who was largely responsible for the selection of Madison as Wisconsin's capital.

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.

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.

Historical Essay

Nolen, John, 1869-1937

Urban Planning in Wisconsin

Learn about the man whose vision as an urban planner helped transform the city of Madison, the state park system, and the University of Wisconsin.

Lawyer, Politician, Senator, Cabinet Officer and Philanthropist

Biography of William Freeman Vilas, 1840-1908.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Three-Term Wisconsin Governor, U.S. Diplomat

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.

Brief biography of University of Wisconsin chemistry and natural history professor, Ezra Slocum Carr.

Brief biography of University of Wisconsin chemistry and natural history professor, Ezra Slocum Carr.
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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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