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

Paul Bunyan

America's Best-Known Folk Hero

Read about America's best-known folk hero. This article details the extensive folklore tradition surrounding the legacy of Paul Bunyan.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Lawyer, Governor's Guard

Read about a very influential Civil War Colonel that served as aide-de-camp to the top commanders of the Iron Brigade. Includes inks to learn more.

Historical Essay

Chapelle, Dickey, 1919-1965

Female War Correspondent

Read about the Wisconsin born photojournalist who was one of the first female war correspondents. This article contains a link containing her photography.

Historical Essay

Anneke, Mathilde, 1817-1884

This woman founded the first feminist newspaper in the United States. Read about her dedication to women's rights and her opposition to slavery.

Historical Essay

John R. Commons, 1862-1945

The Spiritual Father of Social Security

Read about the life of the "spiritual father" of Social Security and his connection with Progressive Wisconsin ideals.

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.

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.

Historical Essay

Babcock, Stephen, 1843-1931

Read about the agricultural chemist at the University of Wisconsin whose extensive research led to advances in the dairy industry.

Read about the German born man who made an indelible mark on the history of Milwaukee with his creation of the Pabst Brewing Company.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, 15th Wisconsin Governor, U.S. Congressman

Read about Wisconsin's 15th governor. The article details his Civil War service, his role in politics, and includes links to primary and secondary sources.
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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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