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 Origins of Thanksgiving

It's not What You Might Think

Discover the historical evidence of the first Thanksgiving.

Some Interesting Stories of the Winnebago Chief

Read about Ho-Chunk Chief Dandy's interesting and friendly interactions with white settlers in Wisconsin, even while he was a fugitive.

A Dishonest Democrat and a Radical Republican

Learn about the election that was so close that Wisconsin briefly had two governors until one was exposed for tampering with ballots.

The Path of a Fur Trader and Fort Builder

Learn more about Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle and his impact on our history.

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.

When and where did The Gideons International really begin? There are more answers then you would think. Give this a read and decide for yourself.

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

Curling in Wisconsin

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

Historical Essay

Newhall House Hotel Fire

The Tragedy of January 10, 1883

Read about the tragic fire that burned down Milwaukee landmark, the Newhall House Hotel, leaving 76 dead.
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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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