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

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.

Historical Essay

Glover, Joshua

Runaway Slave

Biography of Joshua Glover, a runaway slave from St. Louis, Missouri who sought asylum in Racine, Wisconsin in 1852.

Newspaperman and Author

Learn more about this Wisconsin newspaperman. This article contains links to newspaper clippings and a related article.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer

He traveled the world as a young naval officer before helping to lead the 4th Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War. He died in battle.

Adventurer, Explorer and Real Life Indiana Jones

Biography of Roy Chapman Andrews Jones, noted adventurer, explorer and possible model for the character of Indiana Jones.

Fur Trader and Explorer

Brief biography of Médard Chouart des Groseilliers who was a fur trader and explorer.

Historical Essay

Nicolet, Jean 1598-1642

French Explorer

Biography of French explorer Jean Nicolet, believed to be the first European to see Wisconsin.

Librarian, Lecturer, Reformer and Author

Biography of Lutie Eugenia Stearns, librarian, lecturer, reformer and author who helped establish the Wisconsin Free Library Commission.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Lawyer, 8th Wisconsin Governor

Learn about the German born man who would become Wisconsin's 8th governor. This article includes links to original documents.

Learn how Frank Zeidler propelled social, economic and structural improvements in Milwaukee as America's last Socialist Mayor in 1948 - 1960.
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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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