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Read about the most famous escapes of fugitive slaves along Wisconsin's Underground Railroad. Includes links to primary sources.

Photograph

John Brown's Cabin

Date: 1890 ca.

Description: A view of the cabin of John Brown (5/9/1800 – 12/2/1859), an American abolitionist who advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to end slavery...

Date: 1854-04 

Description: Poster advertising an Anti-Slave Catchers' Mass Convention at Young's Hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 13th, 1854. The poster attempts to unite indivi...

Print

John Brown

Date:  

Description: Engraved vignetted carte-de-visite of John Brown, who led a raid on the U.S. Arsenal on October 16, 1859, at Harper's Ferry in the hopes of capturing weapo...

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

Photograph

Sherman M. Booth

Date:  date unknown

Description: Sherman Booth (1812-1904), abolitionist editor and leader.

Photograph

Frederick Douglass

Date:  

Description: Quarter-length carte-de-visite portrait of Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist and publisher of the newspaper The North Star.

Analyze primary and secondary sources to learn more about motivations and emotions involved during the Civil War era and Underground Railroad

Photograph

Susan B. Anthony

Date:  date unknown

Description: A portrait of an elderly Susan B. Anthony. She is known primarily for her leadership in the women's rights movement, but was also an activist for other soc...

Historical Essay

Abolition and Other Reforms

Read about 19th-century reform movements such as temperance and antislavery, as well as experimental utopian communities, in Wisconsin.

Photograph

Sojourner Truth

Date:  date unknown

Description: Three-quarter length carte-de-visite of Sojourner Truth. The text at the bottom says "I sell the shadow to support the substance."

Photograph

Men of Anti-Slavery

Date:  

Description: Portraits from "Illustrious Men of Anti-Slavery Times". Includes Theodore Parker, Wendell Phllips, William Ellery Channing, Charles Sumner, Wm. Lloyd Garr...

Learn to use primary source materials to teach students about the abolitionist movement in Wisconsin in the 1850s.

Date: 1863-09 ca.

Description: Proclamation made by the Episcopal Clergy of Philadelphia protesting the statement made by John Henry Hopkins, Bishop of the Diocese of Vermont, supporting...

The story of Capt. Jonathan Walker whose hand was branded with "S.S." (for "slave stealer") for assisting fugitive slaves.

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

Historical Essay

Louise Williams

First Woman Notary Public

Discover the story of Wisconsin's first woman notary public Louise Williams who provided legal counsel for southern Wisconsin after the Civil War.

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

Discover Juliet Severance, the free-thinking Whitewater physician who was involved with the anti-slavery movement, temperance, and women's rights.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Giant knife presented to John Fox Potter by Missouri Republicans after his challenge to duel with a Virginia congressman, 1860. (Museum object #1957.112)
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