Collage of historical images.

Wisconsin History Essays

Learn something new about the past and gain a deeper understanding of your world. Hundreds of essays tell the stories of the people, places and events that are Wisconsin history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on Wisconsin's history.

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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.

Historical Essay

Petersylvania, Wisconsin

A Bizarre Story of Land Prospecting Gone Awry

Read the amazing story of a man who watched his potential 10,000-square-mile northern Wisconsin empire disappear into thin air.

Discover historical details and explore our online collections related to Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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

Historical Essay

The Founding of Major Cities

Read how land speculation and the development of transportation spurred settlement in 19th-century Wisconsin, leading to the rise of larger cities.

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.

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.

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

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.

A Wisconsin Civil War Story

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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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