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Historical Essay

Madison's First Thanksgiving

The Power of the Pumpkin

Read the story of the first Thanksgiving celebrated in Madison.

Learn about the first extreme winters in Wisconsin suffered by explorers and settlers in the 17th through 19th centuries, with links to other articles

Learn about the origin, and the many spellings and multiple meanings of "Wisconsin."

The Printer and the Priest

Discover how Wisconsin got its first printing press, and the impact that a Catholic priest would have on Ho-Chunk literacy.

Historical Essay

Beaver Top Hat

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Top hat made from beaver felt and worn by Green Bay resident Morgan L. Martin, c. 1825. (Museum object #1968.644)

The Virgin Mary Appears to an Illiterate Peasant Girl

Learn about the first and only manifestation of the Virgin Mary in the United States near Green Bay, confirmed by the Vatican.

Historical Essay

Early U.S. Settlement

Read how the end of the War of 1812 led to the establishment of American forts and increased exploration and settlement in the Wisconsin territory.

Photographs of Public Libraries in Wisconsin

Learn about how the Wisconsin Free Library Commission helped to establish and improve free public libraries in Wisconsin.

View these 19th-century panoramic, detailed maps of Wisconsin communities.

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.

An Old Man's Tall Tale

Wisconsin pioneer Joseph Crelie was said to be 139 years old when he was exhibited to spectators in 1864. But how old was he really?

Promotions on Paper, 1850s-1975

Custom-designed letterheads were a universal way of proclaiming who you were. Historical letterheads are prime examples of early branding.

Learn about the canal era and the use of steamboats on Wisconsin waterways and lakes in the 19-th century.

Historical Essay

20th-Century Immigration

Learn how economic and social conditions in Wisconsin and elsewhere brought new groups of immigrants to Wisconsin in the 20th century.

Historical Essay

Bra Flag

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Land of the Freed-up Woman American flag banner made from bras, 1971. (Museum object #2000.79.1)

Historical Essay

Lombardi, Vince, 1913-1970

Legendary Green Bay Packers Coach

Read about the "Coach of the Century" and his preeminent role in leading the Green Bay Packers to many substantial victories.

Read about the fur trade conducted with the Wisconsin Indians over two centuries by first the French, then the British, and finally the Americans.

Historical Essay

The War of 1812

Learn about the War of 1812 in Wisconsin when the British relinquished control over that territory and Americans took over the fur trade in the region.

Read about Earth Day's founder, Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin senator and early environmentalist.

Jesuit Missionary

Read about the Jesuit priest who established several missions in Wisconsin during the 17th century.
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