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

Vieau, Jacques (1757-1852)

Fur Trader

Biography of pioneer fur trader Jacques Vieau.

Historical Essay

Lapham, Increase, 1811-1875

Wisconsin's First Scientist

Read about Wisconsin's first scientist. Learn about his achievements; including his scientific writings, and his work as an engineer and land surveyor.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer

Read about the colonel of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry who was also one of the leaders of the Iron Brigade. This article includes several links.

Historical Essay

Kilbourn, Byron (1801-1870)

Land Speculator and Politician

Brief biography of surveyor, land speculator, railroad promoter and politician Byron Kilbourn, twice elected mayor of Milwaukee.

Read about the life of this influential Wisconsonite and his contributions to the field of architecture. Article includes links to many primary sources.

United States Supreme Court Justice

Biography of William H. Rehnquist, who was born in Milwaukee and went on to serve as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Historical Essay

Barbee, Lloyd A. (1925-2003)

Civil Rights Advocate and Legislator

Biography of Lloyd A. Barbee, Milwaukee civil rights advocate and legislator.

Last Socialist to Run a Major American City

Learn about Milwaukee's third and last Socialist mayor. Read about the many improvements made to the city of Milwaukee under his leadership.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Lawyer, Politician, 6th Wisconsin Governor, Presidential Cabinet Member

Brief biography of lawyer, judge and politician Alexander W. Randall, who served as the sixth Governor of Wisconsin from 1858 until 1861.

This Milwaukee born woman successfully advocated for progressive reforms in the educational system and was influential in the Milwaukee socialist movement.
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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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