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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Black Voting Rights Activist

Biography of Ezekiel Gillespie who was active in Milwaukee's small Black community, especially on voting rights issues.

Historical Essay

Lawe, John (1780-1846)

Fur Trader

Biography of John Lawe, a fur trader for Astor's American Fur Company in Green Bay.

Historical Essay

Baraga, Frederic (1797-1868)

Read about the Austrian born missionary who worked with many groups of Native Americans and settlers in the upper Midwest.

Professor, Geologist and University President

Biography of Charles Richard Van Hise, professor, geologist and president of the University of Wisconsin.

Historical Essay

Carver, Jonathan (1710-1780)

Explorer and Author

Biography of explorer and author Jonathan Carver

Historical Essay

Orson Welles, 1915-1985

Cinematic Visionary

Learn about this Wisconsin-born director, his relationship with the film industry, and his lasting legacy as a filmmaker.

Historical Essay

Derleth, August, 1909-1971

Author and Publisher

Biography of author and publisher August Derleth, 1909-1971.

Death of the Chief

Discover the history of Ho-Chunk chief Red Bird from 1788-1828.

United States Supreme Court Justice

Biography of William H. Rehnquist, who was born in Milwaukee and went on to serve as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Author, Diplomat, Editor and Professor

Discover the history of author, diplomat, editor and first professor of Scandinavian languages at the University of Wisconsin Rasmus Anderson.
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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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