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

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

Berger, Victor, 1860-1929

Symbol of Milwaukee Socialism

Learn about the man who was the symbol of Milwaukee Socialism. Read about his involvement in the newspaper business, politics, and his anti-war stance.

Historical Essay

Lapham, Increase, 1811-1875

Wisconsin's First Scientist

Read about Wisconsin's first scientist. Learn about his achievements; including his scientific writings, and his work as an engineer and land surveyor.

Historical Essay

Lombardi, Vince, 1913-1970

Legendary Green Bay Packers Coach

Read about the "Coach of the Century" and his preeminent role in leading the Green Bay Packers to many substantial victories.

Historical Essay

Stevens, Brooks, 1911-1995

Industrial Designer

Learn more about this Milwaukeean whose life's work greatly influenced the field of industrial design and the art of salesmanship.

Brief biography of Reuben Gold Thwaites

Brief biography of Reuben Gold Thwaites managing editor of the WI State Journal and historian who was "the best known non-political man in Wisconsin."

Historical Essay

Paine, Byron, 1827-1871

Civil Rights Law

Learn about the Milwaukee based lawyer who won two of Wisconsin's most important civil rights cases and was on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Historical Essay

Nolen, John, 1869-1937

Urban Planning in Wisconsin

Learn about the man whose vision as an urban planner helped transform the city of Madison, the state park system, and the University of Wisconsin.

During the Progressive Era, this Milwaukeean helped Jewish immigrants assimilate into American society while maintaining their ethnic heritage.

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