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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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.

Historical Essay

Floods in Wisconsin

Read a detailed account of the most significant floods in Wisconsin history. This article contains links to photographs and newspaper articles.

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)

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

A Plot of Land Becomes a City

Discover how Wisconsin went from a small part of a territory to a capital city.

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

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

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)

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