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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The Conflict of Modern and Traditional Medicine

Discover the history of smallpox in Wisconsin and the public's reaction against hospitalization

From Sacred Calumets to Ashtrays

Discover the important role that tobacco and the Peace Pipe have played throughout Wisconsin's history.

Historical Essay

Petersylvania, Wisconsin

A Bizarre Story of Land Prospecting Gone Awry

Read the amazing story of a man who watched his potential 10,000-square-mile northern Wisconsin empire disappear into thin air.

Discover the connection between P.T. Barnum and the 1853 statewide referendum on liquor sales and why it failed.

A Disappointment that Created a Community

Learn about the most successful Utopian community in Wisconsin, born of a failed doomsday prediction.

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.

Discover how two Ojibwe chiefs traveled to Washington DC and negotiated with then-President Millard Fillmore to keep rights to their land.

Historical Essay

Curling in Wisconsin

Discover the rich history of the sport of curling in Wisconsin.

Spirits Lead a Woman to Fortune

Morris Pratt was a well known psychic medium whose legacy is his eponymous spiritualist institution in Whitewater, known locally as "Pratt's Folly."

From Slave to Healer

Learn about Mary Ann Menard, Wisconsin's first doctor.
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If you have questions about historical research, please contact our Library Reference Services staff by phone at 608-264-6535 or by email.