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

Swiss in Wisconsin

Brief history of the Swiss in Wisconsin.

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.

Brief history of Wisconsin's various capitol buildings built and destroyed over the decades.

The Birth of the Badgers

Discover the history of lead mining in Wisconsin, and the origin of Badgers.

Learn about the oldest cities and towns in Wisconsin which were established by 1836 and still exist today.

Historical Essay

1957 Soap Box Derby Racer

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

"Soap box" coaster car operated by Van Steiner in the All-American Soap Box Derby in 1957. (Museum object # 2009.56.1)

Historical Essay

Scotch Giant's Shoe Last

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Shoe last (form) used to make boots for Frederick Shadick of Cottage Inn, Wisconsin, 1849-1854. (Museum object #1968.15.1)

Historical Essay

1930s Permanent Wave Machine

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Frederics permanent wave machine used in Crisella's Beauty Shop in Blanchardville, Wisconsin, late 1930s. (Museum object #1986.79.2)

Learn more about the 1904 fire that destroyed the third Wisconsin State Capitol.

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.
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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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