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

Leopold, Aldo, 1887-1948

Father of Wildlife Ecology

Learn about the man whose focus on the philosophy of conservation would inspire the environmental movement during the mid-20th century.

French Fur Trader

Learn about one of the first French fur traders to visit Wisconsin. Read about his experiences with Indian tribes and his exploration of the countryside.

Historical Essay

Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975

Learn more about this Madisonian's contribution to the literary community. This article details his Pulitzer prize-winning plays and novels.

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.

Father of the Wisconsin Dairy Industry, Wisconsin Governor

Find out about the Wisconsin governor who championed for high standards in the dairy industry and founded the State Dairyman's Association.

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.

French Exploration of the North American Interior

Find out about the two French explorers that traversed the Wisconsin countryside in 1673. This artcile details their exploration of the Mississippi.

Historical Essay

Allis, Edward P. (1824-1889)

Learn more about the entrepreneur and manufacturing innovator who established, Allis Company, Milwaukee's largest industrial employer in the late 1880s.

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.

Jesuit Missionary

Read about the Jesuit priest who established several missions in Wisconsin during the 17th century.
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