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.

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, Three-Term Wisconsin Governor, U.S. Diplomat

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.

A Short Biography

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, Manufacturer

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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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