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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Witnesses Tell Their Stories

Learn about the attack on Pearl Harbor through these firsthand accounts from Wisconsinites who were there when it happened.

Historical Essay

Wisconsin's First Election

Creating the Wisconsin Territory

Discover the story of Wisconsin's first elections and how the state was divided into its present-day areas.

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."

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.

The Path of a Fur Trader and Fort Builder

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

The story of Mary Hayes-Chynoweth, one of Wisconsin's best-known mystics who also predicted the future on a number of occasions.

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.

The story of Capt. Jonathan Walker whose hand was branded with "S.S." (for "slave stealer") for assisting fugitive slaves.
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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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