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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How One Family Helped Build the Modern Tourist Destination

Discover how Wisconsin Dells came to prominence as a Midwestern tourism institution.

Historical Essay

Madison's First Thanksgiving

The Power of the Pumpkin

Read the story of the first Thanksgiving celebrated in Madison.

A Dishonest Democrat and a Radical Republican

Learn about the election that was so close that Wisconsin briefly had two governors until one was exposed for tampering with ballots.

Historical Essay

Reform of Military Hospitals

How One Woman Changed Wisconsin During the Civil War

Discover how Cordelia Harvey's mission to reform hospitals during the Civil War would change Wisconsin forever.

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.

Read about how Madison was chosen the capitol city during the first Wisconsin territorial convention

Historical Essay

Petersylvania, Wisconsin

A Bizarre Story of Land Prospecting Gone Awry

Read the amazing story of a man who watched his potential 10,000-square-mile northern Wisconsin empire disappear into thin air.

Historical Essay

Lumberjack Saved Union Fleet

3,000 Dam the Red River

Read this wild story about a Wisconsin Dells lumberjack applying his knowledge of dams to help Union forces escape a Confederate attack.

When and where did The Gideons International really begin? There are more answers then you would think. Give this a read and decide for yourself.

The Path of a Fur Trader and Fort Builder

Learn more about Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle and his impact on our history.
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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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