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

Benjamin Butts (1853-1930)

One Man's Journey from Slavery to Madison Business Owner to State Assembly Staff Member

Learn about a freed slave's intriguing story as a barber serving Wisconsin's prominent politicians, and as a well-known, beloved face in the capital city.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Early hand-carved table made by Levi Havemann, a German immigrant to Madison, c. 1860. (Museum object #1998.21.1)

Wisconsin Civil War Regiment

Read about the 25th Wisconsin Infantry, which served in the Civil War 1862-1865 and lost 460 men during service.

The Story of Lost Bird

Discover this harrowing story that brings together a feminist pioneer and the infant her husband found in the aftermath of Wounded Knee.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Deauville-style chair used at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Memorial Union Terrace on Lake Mendota, 1930s. (Museum object #1982.271.9)

Wisconsin Civil War Regiment

The 42nd Wisconsin Infantry was organized at Camp Randall in Madison and mustered into service on September 7, 1864.

Historical Essay

Old Abe and the Iron Brigade

Wisconsin in the Civil War

Discover how a pet eagle named Old Abe helped Wisconsin serve the Union in the Civil War

Historical Essay

Vinnie Ream Marble Sculpture

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Spirito Del Carnevale (Spirit of the Carnival)sculpture by Vinnie Ream, 1870. (Museum Object #1965.270.2)

Historical Essay

State Capitol Spittoon

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Ornamented bronze cuspidor (spittoon) used in the Wisconsin State Capitol, c. 1915-1955. (Museum object #1955.3600,A-B)

Historical Essay

Magician's Escape Trunk

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Escape trunk, restraining devices, and curtain used by magician Ben Bergor of Madison, Wisconsin, 1940s. (Museum objects #1982.159.17,19,21,23,25)
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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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