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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Witnesses Tell Their Stories

Learn about the attack on Pearl Harbor through these firsthand accounts from Wisconsinites who were there when it happened.

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

How Madison Became a City

Madison went from a small village in 1836 to being organized and governed as a city in 20 years time

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?

Historical Essay

Fort Koshkonong

A Fortification That may not Have Existed

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

Historical Essay

Pierce, Hattie, 1829-1944

Born into slavery, Hattie Pierce lived 115 years and was able to fully experience both life before and after emancipation.

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

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.

Historical Essay

Madison's Fur Traders

The First White Men in Madison

The first white residents of Madison were fur traders Wallace Rowan, Olivier Ammel and Michel St. Cyr.

Historical Essay

Newhall House Hotel Fire

The Tragedy of January 10, 1883

Read about the tragic fire that burned down Milwaukee landmark, the Newhall House Hotel, leaving 76 dead.
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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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