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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Historical Essay

Doty, James Duane, 1799-1865

Read a biographical account of the governor of the Wisconsin territory who was largely responsible for the selection of Madison as Wisconsin's capital.

Historical Essay

Nelson, Gaylord, 1916-2005

Founder of Earth Day

This Wisconsin Senator, best known as the founder of Earth Day, championed the preservation of the environment and natural resources.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer

Read about the colonel of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry who was also one of the leaders of the Iron Brigade. This article includes several links.

Brief biography of John Plankinton, a meat packer and businessman.

Review the brief biography of John Plankinton, a meat packer and businessman.

Last Known Female Ho-Chunk Chief

Read an account of the success and legacy of the last known Ho-Chunk female chief and her children.

Brief biography of University of Wisconsin chemistry and natural history professor, Ezra Slocum Carr.

Brief biography of University of Wisconsin chemistry and natural history professor, Ezra Slocum Carr.

Historical Essay

John R. Commons, 1862-1945

The Spiritual Father of Social Security

Read about the life of the "spiritual father" of Social Security and his connection with Progressive Wisconsin ideals.

Read an account of the French explorer who claimed much of Wisconsin for France and who traded with several Indian tribes near Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Read this informative article about the life of the Wisconsin born author, most famous for the children's book series Little House on the Prairie.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer

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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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