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

The Trial of Chief Oshkosh

The Clash of U.S Law and Indian Legal Tradition

Learn how the trial of Menominee Chief Oshkosh, one of the most famous in Wisconsin history, pitted Indian traditional justice against white man's law.

Speculating on a Dream

Join cantankerous British geologist George Featherstonehaugh as he travels to Madison in 1837 and finds things not as he expected them to be.

The Printer and the Priest

Discover how Wisconsin got its first printing press, and the impact that a Catholic priest would have on Ho-Chunk literacy.

Historical Essay

More Bank Failures (1857)

Discover the effects that the Panic of 1857 had on La Crosse.

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.

The Constitutional Convention's Influence on the City

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

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

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

Pierce, Hattie, 1829-1944

Born into slavery, Hattie Pierce lived 115 years and was able to fully experience both life before and after emancipation.

Civil War Battle Summary

Discover the role that Wisconsin troops, including Menominee warriors and our only unit of Black soldiers, played in a dramatic Civil War battle.
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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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