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

Wisconsin's First Election

Creating the Wisconsin Territory

Discover the story of Wisconsin's first elections and how the state was divided into its present-day areas.

Historical Essay

Another Time's Norms

The Antiquated Belief of a Chief Justice

Discover Wisconsin Chief Justice Edward G. Ryan's opinion on women and court

Hero of the Confederacy

Discover the story of Belle Boyd, the celebrity Civil War spy who died while performing in the Wisconsin Dells.

A Warrior Prepared to Die is Disappointed

Discover the story of a Ho-Chunk warrior who surrenders and is grieved at receiving a fair trial.

Historical Essay

Fort Koshkonong

A Fortification That may not Have Existed

Learn the story surrounding the building of Fort Koshkonong by General Henry Atkinson.

Some Interesting Stories of the Winnebago Chief

Read about Ho-Chunk Chief Dandy's interesting and friendly interactions with white settlers in Wisconsin, even while he was a fugitive.

Historical Essay

The Origins of Thanksgiving

It's not What You Might Think

Discover the historical evidence of the first Thanksgiving.

Civil War Battle Summary

Discover the role that Wisconsin troops, including Menominee warriors and our only unit of Black soldiers, played in a dramatic Civil War battle.

Historical Essay

When Beer Was Almost Illegal

A Popular Speaker Sways Opinion

Discover the connection between P.T. Barnum and the 1853 statewide referendum on liquor sales.

Historical Essay

The Birth of Lake Delton

Learn about the rise of Wisconsin Dells tourism, and read about the creation and collapse of the man-made river it was founded on.
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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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