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, 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.

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, Politician

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

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Lawyer, 8th Wisconsin Governor

Learn about the German born man who would become Wisconsin's 8th governor. This article includes links to original documents.

Historical Essay

Old Abe, the War Eagle

Civil War Mascot, 8th Wisconsin Infantry

Read about the war eagle who served as the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin Infantry. This article contains links to original documents, images, and accounts.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, 9th Governor of Wisconsin

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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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