Online Collections

Click on a link below to see the collection overview page. Use that as a starting point for your research.

  • 1964 Freedom Summer Project
    Browse or search over 30,000 original documents from Freedom Summer, an effort by civil rights activists to integrate Mississippi's segregated political system.
  • American Journeys
    A digital library and learning center containing eyewitness accounts of early American exploration and settlement.
  • Eugene Walter Leach Collection
    This digital collection contains the papers of Walter Eugene Leach (1857-1983), a Racine, Wisconsin, historian and curator of the Racine County Museum.
  • GI Press Collection
    When completed in 2017, this collection will contain page images and searchable text of 2,400 periodicals and other items such as pamphlets and posters created by or for U.S. military personnel during the Vietnam War era.
  • Henry and Elizabeth Baird Collection
    The papers of Elizabeth and Henry Baird from 1798 to 1937, prominent 19th-century Wisconsin settlers.
  • Increase A. Lapham Papers
    Lapham (1811-1875) was a biologist, archaeologist, engineer, and map-maker who helped found several major state institutions and the National Weather Service.
  • Lizzie Black Kander Papers
    View the papers of Kander (1858-1940), sometimes called "The Jane Addams of Milwaukee," including reports, correspondence, brochures, clippings, minutes of meetings, photographs and materials related to "The Settlement Cookbook".
  • Local and County Histories
    Detailed accounts of individual cities, townships, villages, prominent residents from 1850-1920.
  • Maps and Atlases
    More than 25,000 maps and atlases. Many focus on Wisconsin, the Great Lakes and North America. Most predate 1900.
  • McCormick - International Harvester Collection
    Original documents and publications about the history of Cyrus Hall McCormick and the International Harvester Company.
  • Menu Collection
    The Wisconsin Historical Society's ephemera holdings include a wide range of menus (mid-1800s to the present day) from restaurants and hotels; schools; specialized organizations and societies; private homes; and menus for special occasions such as commemorative and farewell dinners; trade conferences; political events; and meals offered during transit, such as passenger ships and trains.
  • Museum Collections
    The Wisconsin Historical Museum contains over 110,000 historical objects and nearly 400,000 archaeological artifacts documenting the history of Wisconsin from prehistoric times to the present. Browse selected subjects from the Wisconsin Historical Museum collections.
  • National Register and State Register of Historic Places
    Both registers include buildings, sites, districts, structures, and objects that are designated as significant in national, state or local history. More than 2,300 listings are searchable on our website. Each listing has a digital record providing basic information about the property.
  • Oral Histories: Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust
    Hear the stories of 22 Holocaust Survivors and two American witnesses interviewed between 1974 and 1981.
  • Senator William Proxmire Collection
    Explore more than 7,500 pages of articles, press releases, and photos, plus 40 oral history interviews.
  • Turning Points in Wisconsin History
    Articles, images, books, manuscripts, and other eyewitness accounts of key historical events of Wisconsin's history. Includes essays, lesson plans and reference tools for teachers.
  • Vel Phillips Papers
    The Vel Phillips papers, 1951-2009, document the life and career of Milwaukee’s Vel Phillips, whose work as a lawyer, city alder, civil rights leader, judge, and Secretary of State profoundly influenced Wisconsin’s civil rights history throughout the latter half of the 20th century.
  • Visual Materials in Our Collections (includes formerly named Wisconsin Historical Images)
    Browse or search over 75,000 digitized photos, drawings, paintings, topical galleries and other materials. Learn how you can access over 3 million images in our physical collections.
  • Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory Collection (AHI)
    Provides details on more than 133,000 historic buildings, structures and objects that reflect Wisconsin's distinct cultural landscape. Each property has a digital record providing basic information about the property. Most include exterior images.
  • Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database
    Contains examples of furniture, ceramics, textiles, and other 19th and early 20th century material culture artifacts from museum and historic site collections across Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin Historical Collections 1855- 1915
    Thousands of pioneer memoirs, archival records, original journals, explorers' narratives, interviews, and other eyewitness accounts of Wisconsin's past.
  • Wisconsin Historical Society Web Archives
    Online archive of selected websites of state agencies, local governments, political campaigns for gubernatorial or U.S. Senate races, topical issues and online publications.
  • Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles
    16,000 historical and biographical articles that were published between 1860 and 1940 from hundreds of Wisconsin local newspapers.
  • Wisconsin Magazine of History Archives
    More than 2,000 feature articles and essays exactly as they originally appeared in the Wisconsin Magazine of History.
  • Wisconsin Thematic Panels Collection
    Paul Vanderbilt's 96 thematic panels, containing 799 individual photographs, represent the culmination of a half-century of thinking about how pictures work.
  • Wisconsin Women's History
    The Wisconsin Women's History digital collection shares a selection of manuscripts and ephemera documenting the lives of women in Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin in the Civil War
    Over 25,000 pages of original documents including soldiers' letters, diaries, and memoirs; regimental histories and rosters; photographs, maps, biographies and battle summaries.

Search Our Catalogs

Society card catalog, 1901. WHI 57048.

Library Catalog


The Society's library and archival holdings are cataloged in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's library catalog.

Finding Aids


These finding aids (registers) describe archival resources held by 19 repositories throughout Wisconsin.

Featured From the Collections

Braves jersey from the collections of the Wisconsin Historical Museum.
  • Curators' Favorites
    Browse over 200 historical essays on selected artifacts from the Wisconsin Historical Museum. These objects were chosen by museum curators for the fascinating stories they tell about Wisconsin history.
  • Online Exhibits
    View rich variety of online exhibits about the people, places and events in Wisconsin history interpreted or examined through historic treasures from the Museum collections.
Resource Descriptions

Learn about resources available across the Society for specific topics.

Learn how to access and explore the Henry and Elizabeth Baird Papers.

Learn how to access and explore the McCormick-International Harvester Collection.

Search digital records on more than 140,000 historic buildings, structures and objects throughout Wisconsin.

Among the Top Five Institutions for Genealogy Research in the U.S.

Search the Wisconsin Historical Society's vast family history collections, which are among the top five for genealogy research in the U.S.

Resource Description

About Our Newspapers

Full Newspapers, Name Index, Local History and Biographical Clippings

Explore our physical and digital collections of newspapers, which is the second largest collection of newspapers in the U.S.

Resource Description

About Our Paintings

Wisconsin Historical Museum Collections

Explore our collection of paintings, many of which can be viewed online.

Resource Description

About Our Microfilm Collection

Access Information and Sales Service

Learn how to access the extensive microfilm collection at the Wisconsin Historical Society.