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, Lumberman

Brief biography of Col. Joseph Bailey, the lumberman famous for his creative application of dams during the failed Civil War Red River Campaign of 1864.

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, 9th Governor of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Politician

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

Civil War Philanthropist, Wisconsin First Lady, Nurse, and Teacher

A brief biography of Wisconsin’s Florence Nightingale, Cordelia Harvey who was a strong voice for innovatring Civil War Military hospitals.

Brief biography of Cyrus Hall McCormick

Read the brief biography of Cyrus Hall McCormick.
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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.