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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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

Historical Essay

Paine, Byron, 1827-1871

Civil Rights Law

Learn about the Milwaukee based lawyer who won two of Wisconsin's most important civil rights cases and was on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

French Fur Trader

Learn about one of the first French fur traders to visit Wisconsin. Read about his experiences with Indian tribes and his exploration of the countryside.

Historical Essay

Chapelle, Dickey, 1919-1965

Female War Correspondent

Read about the Wisconsin born photojournalist who was one of the first female war correspondents. This article contains a link containing her photography.

Historical Essay

Baraga, Frederic (1797-1868)

Read about the Austrian born missionary who worked with many groups of Native Americans and settlers in the upper Midwest.

Brief biography of newspaperman and eventual Governor (1891-1895)

Historical Essay

Paul, Les, 1915-2009

Legendary Guitarist and Electronics Innovator

Learn about Les Paul, pioneer of the solid-body guitar and innovator in recording techniques.

This Milwaukee born woman successfully advocated for progressive reforms in the educational system and was influential in the Milwaukee socialist movement.

Historical Essay

John R. Commons, 1862-1945

The Spiritual Father of Social Security

Read about the life of the "spiritual father" of Social Security and his connection with Progressive Wisconsin ideals.

Historical Essay

Bartlett, Tommy (1914-1998)

This Milwaukeean's prolific life in the entertainment business helped transform the Wisconsin Dells into the major tourist destination it is today.
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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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