Collage of historical images.

Wisconsin History Essays

Learn something new about the past and gain a deeper understanding of your world. Hundreds of essays tell the stories of the people, places and events that are Wisconsin history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on Wisconsin's history.

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Historical Essay

Louise Williams

First Woman Notary Public

Discover the story of Wisconsin's first woman notary public Louise Williams who provided legal counsel for southern Wisconsin after the Civil War.

Get to know Isaac P. Walker, the first Wisconsin resident to be a presidential candidate contender in 1850.

A Bizarre Story of Scientific Progress

Learn the bizarre story and scientific contributions of Alexis St. Martin, the man who lived over 50 years after a shotgun blasted a hole in his side.

Historical Essay

Valentine's Callers

The Remarkable History of the Telephone

Learn how Wisconsin resident Richard Valentine's invention would change the world

Historical Essay

The Man with the Iron Hand

Learn about explorer Robert de La Salle's iron-handed chief lieutenant, Henri de Tonty, and what resulted in most likely the worst winter of his life.

Spirits Lead a Woman to Fortune

Morris Pratt was a well known psychic medium whose legacy is his eponymous spiritualist institution in Whitewater, known locally as "Pratt's Folly."

The Printer and the Priest

Discover how Wisconsin got its first printing press, and the impact that a Catholic priest would have on Ho-Chunk literacy.

Historical Essay

Fort Koshkonong

A Fortification That may not Have Existed

Learn the story surrounding the building of Fort Koshkonong by General Henry Atkinson.

From Slave to Healer

Learn about Mary Ann Menard, Wisconsin's first doctor.
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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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