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

Chase, Warren 1813-1891

Spiritualist, Social Reformer and Politician

Biography of spiritualist, social reformer and politician Warren Chase.

Lawyer, Politician, Senator, Cabinet Officer and Philanthropist

Biography of William Freeman Vilas, 1840-1908.

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

Oshkosh, Chief (1795-1858)

Chief of the Menominee Indians

Biography of Menominee Indian chief Oshkosh.

Historical Essay

Nicolet, Jean 1598-1642

French Explorer

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

Lumberman, Resort Operator and Humorist

Biography of Eugene Shepard, whose "Hodag" monster hoax made Oneida County a tourist attraction.

Historical Essay

Evinrude, Ole 1877-1934

Inventor

Biography of Ole Evinrude, a Norwegian-American inventor who created the first outboard motor.

Historical Essay

Porlier, Jacques 1765-1839

Fur Trader and Chief Justice

Biography of fur trader and chief justice of the Brown County Court Jacques Porlier.

Historical Essay

James, Ada Lois (1876-1952)

Suffragist, Social Worker and Reformer

Biography of suffragist, social worker and reformer Ada Lois James.

Soldier, Fur Trader and "Father of Wisconsin"

Brief biography of soldier, fur trader and the "Father of Wisconsin," Charles Michel Langlade.
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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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