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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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

Madison's Fur Traders

The First White Men in Madison

The first white residents of Madison were fur traders Wallace Rowan, Olivier Ammel and Michel St. Cyr.

Historical Essay

Madison's Castle

In the late 1800s there was a castle on the shore of Lake Mendota OTHER than the Red Gym. This is that castle's mysterious story.

Historical Essay

Louise Williams

First Woman Notary Public

Discover the story of Wisconsin's first woman notary public Louise Williams who provided legal counsel for southern Wisconsin after the Civil War.

How One Family Helped Build the Modern Tourist Destination

Discover how Wisconsin Dells came to prominence as a Midwestern tourism institution.

From Sacred Calumets to Ashtrays

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

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.

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

Eau Claire's Bawdy Past

The Naughty City

Discover Eau Claire's naughty past as a hub of prostitution for the lumbermen looking to support the world's oldest profession.

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?
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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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