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

Best, Jacob Sr. (1786-1861)


Biography of German brewer Jacob Best Sr., founder of the company that became Pabst Brewing.

Historical Essay

Nicolet, Jean 1598-1642

French Explorer

Biography of French explorer Jean Nicolet, believed to be the first European to see Wisconsin.

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

Paul, Les, 1915-2009

Legendary Guitarist and Electronics Innovator

Learn about Les Paul, pioneer of the solid-body guitar and innovator in recording techniques.

Documented and Legendary Accounts of Lincoln's Visits to Wisconsin

Abraham Lincoln's visits to Wisconsin, documented and legendary.

Fur Trader, Merchant, Judge and Territorial Legislator

Biography of fur trader, merchant, judge and territorial legislator James Henry Lockwood.

Learn how Frank Zeidler propelled social, economic and structural improvements in Milwaukee as America's last Socialist Mayor in 1948 - 1960.

Read about the German born man who made an indelible mark on the history of Milwaukee with his creation of the Pabst Brewing Company.

Adventurer, Explorer and Real Life Indiana Jones

Biography of Roy Chapman Andrews Jones, noted adventurer, explorer and possible model for the character of Indiana Jones.

Historical Essay

Baraga, Frederic (1797-1868)

Read about the Austrian born missionary who worked with many groups of Native Americans and settlers in the upper Midwest.
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If you have questions about historical research, please contact our Library Reference Services staff by phone at 608-264-6535 or by email.