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

When Beer Was Almost Illegal

A Popular Speaker Sways Opinion

Discover the connection between P.T. Barnum and the 1853 statewide referendum on liquor sales.

The Constitutional Convention's Influence on the City

Find out where some of the most traveled streets of Madison got their names.

Read the story of Madison's first and most beloved drunkard, Pinneo.

Historical Essay

Milwaukee's Maverick Aviator

Milwaukee's William Mitchell went from a court-martial for insubordination to being widely understood to be the father of the modern U.S. Air Force.

Historical Essay

Another Time's Norms

The Antiquated Belief of a Chief Justice

Discover Wisconsin Chief Justice Edward G. Ryan's opinion on women and court

Evidence of First Feasts

Take a look at some first hand accounts of the ways Native Americans of Wisconsin celebrated their own Thanksgiving ceremonies.

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

The Origins of Thanksgiving

It's not What You Might Think

Discover the historical evidence of the first Thanksgiving.

Historical Essay

Newhall House Hotel Fire

The Tragedy of January 10, 1883

Read about the tragic fire that burned down Milwaukee landmark, the Newhall House Hotel, leaving 76 dead.

The Surprise and Aftermath of a Miraculous Birth

Discover the sad story of the naturally-conceived set of quintuplets born in Watertown, believed to be the first set of quintuplets in the U.S.
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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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