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

Valentine's Callers

The Remarkable History of the Telephone

Learn how Wisconsin resident Richard Valentine's invention would change the world

From Slave to Healer

Learn about Mary Ann Menard, Wisconsin's first doctor.

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.

Historical Essay

Madison's Fur Traders

The First White Men in Madison

The first white residents of Madison were fur traders Wallace Rowan, Olivier Ammel and Michel St. Cyr.

Hero of the Confederacy

Discover the story of Belle Boyd, the celebrity Civil War spy who died while performing in the Wisconsin Dells.

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

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.

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.

Historical Essay

Epidemic Anniversary

A History of Disease in Wisconsin

Read this informative collection of all the outbreaks and epidemics in Wisconsin's history.

Historical Essay

How Madison Became a City

Madison went from a small village in 1836 to being organized and governed as a city in 20 years time
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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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