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

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.

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

When Beer Was Almost Illegal

A Popular Speaker Sways Opinion

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

Historical Essay

The Trial of Chief Oshkosh

The Clash of U.S Law and Indian Legal Tradition

Learn how the trial of Menominee Chief Oshkosh, one of the most famous in Wisconsin history, pitted Indian traditional justice against white man's law.

The Brief Stay of Rutherford B. Hayes

Discover the visits US presidents have paid to Wisconsin

Evidence of First Feasts

Take a look at some first hand accounts of the ways Native Americans of Wisconsin celebrated their own Thanksgiving ceremonies.

Historical Essay

The Birth of Lake Delton

Learn about the rise of Wisconsin Dells tourism, and read about the creation and collapse of the man-made river it was founded on.

Historical Essay

Pierce, Hattie, 1829-1944

Born into slavery, Hattie Pierce lived 115 years and was able to fully experience both life before and after emancipation.

Historical Essay

Curling in Wisconsin

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

Historical Essay

Madison's First Thanksgiving

The Power of the Pumpkin

Read the story of the first Thanksgiving celebrated in Madison.
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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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