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

Madison's Castle

In the late 1800s there was a castle on the shore of Lake Mendota OTHER than the Red Gym. This is that castle's mysterious story.

An Unreliable Text and Other Evidence

Wisconsin History books teach that Jean Nicolet was the first white person to reach the state, but he may have been the second.

Historical Essay

Death to Capital Punishment

How Wisconsin Eliminated the Death Penalty

Read about the final person to be executed in Wisconsin before the state prohibited the death penalty.

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

Civil War Battle Summary

Discover the role that Wisconsin troops, including Menominee warriors and our only unit of Black soldiers, played in a dramatic Civil War battle.

The Conflict of Modern and Traditional Medicine

Discover the history of smallpox in Wisconsin and the public's reaction against hospitalization

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.

A Good Mother, a Good Friend and a Good Woman

Discover Juliet Severance, the free-thinking Whitewater physician who was involved with the anti-slavery movement, temperance and women's rights.

A Priest Follows Another Priest's 300-Year-Old Path to Death

Learn how Rev. A. A. A. Schmirler traced the path Fr. Rene Menard took in 1661 down northern Wisconsin's rivers to the likely spot of his death.

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."
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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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