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

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

Gumball Slot Machine

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Trade stimulator gumball slot machine seized from a Shullsburg, Wisconsin tavern in 1945. (Museum object #2008.13.1A-B)

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

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

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)

Historical Essay

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)

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.

Learn about the lead mining boom in southwestern Wisconsin in the early 19th century and the miners who gave Wisconsin its "badger" nickname.

Read about the creation of the Wisconsin territory, the formation of a territorial government, and the move of the capital from Belmont to Madison.
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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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