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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Wisconsin Civil War Officer, U.S. Congressman

Brief biography of Civil War veteran and three term U.S. Congressman best remembered for disobeying orders to return fugitive slaves to their owners.

Brief biography of Reuben Gold Thwaites

Brief biography of Reuben Gold Thwaites managing editor of the WI State Journal and historian who was "the best known non-political man in Wisconsin."

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Wisconsin Governor

Brief biography of Gov. Louis P. Harvey, helped organize the Republican Party in 1854, state senator from 1854-1857 and in 1862 became governor.

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, Wisconsin Attorney General and State Senator

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.

Last Socialist to Run a Major American City

Learn about Milwaukee's third and last Socialist mayor. Read about the many improvements made to the city of Milwaukee under his leadership.

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

Historical Essay

Catlin, John, 1803-1874

Brief biography of pioneer lawyer, politician and railroad man John Catlin.

Brief biography of pioneer lawyer, politician and railroad man John Catlin.

Historical Essay

Edwin Witte, 1887-1960

Father of the Social Security Act

Learn about this Wisconsin-born economist and his active role in the development of the Social Security Act.
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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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