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 First Madison Lodgings

From Under a Tree to Madison's Most Popular Lodge

Discover the story surrounding the planning and construction of the first building erected in Madison.

Historical Essay

The Origins of Thanksgiving

It's not What You Might Think

Discover the historical evidence of the first Thanksgiving.

Historical Essay

Death to Capital Punishment

How Wisconsin Eliminated the Death Penalty

Read about the final person to be executed in Wisconsin before the state prohibited the death penalty.

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 Story of Lost Bird

Discover this harrowing story that brings together a feminist pioneer and the infant her husband found in the aftermath of Wounded Knee.

A Bizarre Story of Scientific Progress

Learn the bizarre story and scientific contributions of Alexis St. Martin, the man who lived over 50 years after a shotgun blasted a hole in his side.

Historical Essay

A League of Their Own

All-American Girls Baseball League Thrives During World War II

The story of the All-American Girls Baseball League that thrilled fans for 12 seasons in cities and towns including Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee.

An Old Man's Tall Tale

Wisconsin pioneer Joseph Crelie was said to be 139 years old when he was exhibited to spectators in 1864. But how old was he really?

The Brief Stay of Rutherford B. Hayes

Discover the visits US presidents have paid to Wisconsin

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.
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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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