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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Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Wisconsin Governor

Brief biography of Gov. Louis P. Harvey, helped organize the Republican Party in 1854, state senator from 1854-1857 and in 1862 became governor.

Historical Essay

Babcock, Stephen, 1843-1931

Read about the agricultural chemist at the University of Wisconsin whose extensive research led to advances in the dairy industry.

Historical Essay

Bashford, Coles (1816-1878)

Lawyer, Politician and Governor

Discover the history of Wisconsin governor Bashford Coles.

Read about this Wisconsonite, whose leadership in the Women's Suffrage Movement helped Wisconsin become the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment.

Read about the Wisconsin governor's tragic death, which occurred while he was helping wounded Civil War soldiers after the Battle of Shiloh.

Historical Essay

Brunson, Alfred (1793-1882)

Wisconsin's first Methodist Missionary

Biography of Methodist clergyman, lawyer, politician and author Alfred Brunson

Ojibwe Chief

Biography of Ojibwe chief Joe Gishkitawag "Cut Ear" White, who was murdered by white game wardens.

Historical Essay

Bascom, John (1827-1911)

Educator, University President and Author

Brief biography of John Bascom, president of the University of Wisconsin from 1874 to 1887.

Historical Essay

Nelson, Gaylord, 1916-2005

Founder of Earth Day

This Wisconsin Senator, best known as the founder of Earth Day, championed the preservation of the environment and natural resources.

Historical Essay

Scott, Walter E. 1911-1983

Conservationist, Preservationist and Writer

Discover the history of conservationist, preservationist and writer Walter E. Scott.
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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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