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

Petersylvania, Wisconsin

A Bizarre Story of Land Prospecting Gone Awry

Read the amazing story of a man who watched his potential 10,000-square-mile northern Wisconsin empire disappear into thin air.

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 development of professional sports teams in Wisconsin in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Learn about the origin, and the many spellings and multiple meanings of "Wisconsin."

Historical Essay

Bra Flag

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Land of the Freed-up Woman American flag banner made from bras, 1971. (Museum object #2000.79.1)

A Wisconsin Civil War Story

Historical Essay

Wisconsin's Early Schools

How the University was Began

Discover how the lack of educational opportunities in Wisconsin helped create the University of Wisconsin.

Steamships, Canals and the 19th Century Economy

Discover what happened when 19th century Wisconsin settlers tried to construct a canal between the Mississippi and the Great Lakes.

How Wisconsin was Divided

Discover how the Ordinance of 1787 extended government, prohibited slavery and led to the survey of public lands north of the Ohio River.

Historical Essay

Peshtigo Fire

Brief account of the Peshtigo Fire that, in 1871, destroyed in two hours a swath of forest 10 miles wide and 40 miles long.
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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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