Collage of historic photos.

Historical Figures in Wisconsin

Learn about the lives of your favorite Wisconsin historical figures, from the famous to infamous, and their contributions to our state's history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on historical figures in Wisconsin.

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Historical Essay

"Fighting" Bob La Follette

Governor and Progressive

Discover how Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette and the Progressive Movement reformed state government and the Republican Party.

Brief biography of John Plankinton, a meat packer and businessman.

Review the brief biography of John Plankinton, a meat packer and businessman.

A Brief Biography of Bill Harley and Arthur Davidson

Learn how Bill Harley and Arthur Davidson were inspired as boys to create the world's largest motorcycle company.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer

Read about this ardent abolitionist who rose from company captain to brigadier general.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Lawyer, Politician, 6th Wisconsin Governor, Presidential Cabinet Member

Brief biography of lawyer, judge and politician Alexander W. Randall, who served as the sixth Governor of Wisconsin from 1858 until 1861.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Politician, University of Wisconsin Regent

Read about one of the Democratic Party politicians around the time of the Civil War. This article details his Civil War service and contains several links.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Politician

Read about the Norwegian immigrant who became colonel to the predominately Norwegian 15th Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War.

Read a short biography about this U.S. Senator famous for his penny-pinching attitude toward government spending and his courage in taking unpopular stands

Wisconsin Civil War Officer

Read about the colonel of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry who was also one of the leaders of the Iron Brigade. This article includes several links.

Historical Essay

Schurz, Carl (1829-1906)

Wisconsin Civil War Soldier, U. S. Senator, German-Language Newpaper Editor

Read about Carl Schurz, the German immigrant and political reformer who helped elect President Lincoln, fought in the Civil War, served as a U.S. Senator.
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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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