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

Epidemic Anniversary

A History of Disease in Wisconsin

Read this informative collection of all the outbreaks and epidemics in Wisconsin's history.

The story of Capt. Jonathan Walker whose hand was branded with "S.S." (for "slave stealer") for assisting fugitive slaves.

Historical Essay

The Budget Deficit of 1921

How a New Progressive Governor Repaired the Economy

Read about Governor John J. Blaine's plan to deal with the Budget Deficit of 1921.

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.

An Unreliable Text and Other Evidence

Wisconsin History books teach that Jean Nicolet was the first white person to reach the state, but he may have been the second.

Historical Essay

Valentine's Callers

The Remarkable History of the Telephone

Learn how Wisconsin resident Richard Valentine's invention would change the world

Historical Essay

The Story of Memorial Day

Celebrations of Memorial Day Throughout History

Discover the history of Memorial Day celebrations in Wisconsin.

The Surprise and Aftermath of a Miraculous Birth

Discover the sad story of the naturally-conceived set of quintuplets born in Watertown, believed to be the first set of quintuplets in the U.S.

The Path of a Fur Trader and Fort Builder

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

Speculating on a Dream

Join cantankerous British geologist George Featherstonehaugh as he travels to Madison in 1837 and finds things not as he expected them to be.
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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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