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

Madison's First Thanksgiving

The Power of the Pumpkin

Read the story of the first Thanksgiving celebrated in Madison.

Speculating on a Dream

Join cantankerous British geologist George Featherstonehaugh as he travels to Madison in 1837 and finds things not as he expected them to be.

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.

Historical Essay

The Story of Memorial Day

Celebrations of Memorial Day Throughout History

Discover the history of Memorial Day celebrations in Wisconsin.

Historical Essay

Madison's Fur Traders

The First White Men in Madison

The first white residents of Madison were fur traders Wallace Rowan, Olivier Ammel and Michel St. Cyr.

Historical Essay

The First Madison Lodgings

From Under a Tree to Madison's Most Popular Lodge

Discover the story surrounding the planning and construction of the first building erected in Madison.

Learn about the various visits Presidents have made to Wisconsin's Capitol city!

Read about how Madison was chosen the capitol city during the first Wisconsin territorial convention

Historical Essay

Madison's Castle

In the late 1800s there was a castle on the shore of Lake Mendota OTHER than the Red Gym. This is that castle's mysterious story.

The Constitutional Convention's Influence on the City

Find out where some of the most traveled streets of Madison got their names.
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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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