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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: firsts

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Every library gets frequent questions about the "first" occurrence of some event. There is even a reference book called Famous First Facts to help answer them. Listed below are the Wisconsin events from that book (the 4-digit number refers to the full entry in Famous First Facts where more details can be found). In addition, local newspapers published lists of Milwaukee firsts, Univ. of Wisconsin firsts, and Kenosha County firsts that may be useful. Finally, our online collection of Wisconsin Local History & Biograpy Articles includes more than 700 articles about supposed "firsts" in Wisconsin communities. On its Advanced Search page, type the word "first" (singular, no quotes) in the box labeled "Headline" and select the county that interests you from the drop-down box.

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Wisconsin Firsts.

From Famous First Facts, fifth edition (edited by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell; New York H.W. Wilson Company, 1997)


Animal husbandry professor at a college, 2896 [Madison]
Bicycle corps of cadets, 3187 [Lake Geneva]
Bicycle traffic court, 7195 [Racine]
Blow dryer for hair, 4070 [Racine]
Bohemian dictionary, 1807 [Racine]
Book issued on microcards, 4684 [La Crosse]
Brake for four-wheeled cars, 5439 [Clintonville]
Brother and sister to win national tennis singles championships in the same tournament, 7537 [Milwaukee]
College whose tuition fees were based on family income, 2970 [Beloit]
Confectionary machine, 3968 [Racine]
Congressional representative who was a Socialist, 2607
Continuation school for adults established by a state government, 2889 [Racine]
Czech newspaper, 5670 [Racine]
Dairy school at a college, 2897 [Madison]
Dance major at a college, 2909 [Madison]
Duplicate whist tournament, 4022 [Milwaukee]
Electric blender, 4300 [Racine]
Film rolls for cameras, 5836 [Cambria]
Flour rolling mill, 3915 [Neenah]
Football game to gross $1 million, 7330 [Green Bay]
Forest fire of consequence, 2883 [Peshtigo]
Game management chair at a college, 3078 [Madison]
Governor to be removed from office by a state supreme court, 7611
Hydroelectric power plant to furnish incandescent lighting, 3462 [Appleton]
Lie detector, 4623 [Portage]
Lightweight brick, 2060 [Madison]
Major league baseball game in which the majority of the players on one team were African-American, 7136 [Milwaukee]
Malted milk, 3872 [Racine]
Mayor of a major city who was a Socialist, 2208 [Milwaukee]
Milk butterfat tester, 3874 [Madison]
Monolithic concrete building, 2075 [Milton]
Naval ship to surrender in peacetime without a fight, 6948 [Kewaunee]
Newspaper advertisement printed on aluminum foil, 2347 [Milwaukee]
Newspaper advertisement that looked three-dimensional, 2345 [Waukesha]
Norwegian newspaper, 5668 [Muskego]
Occupational therapy course at a college, 3155 [Milwaukee]
Outboard motor, 6952 [Milwaukee]
Presbyterian elder who was a woman, 6584 [Milwaukee]
Probate delay law enacted by a state, 2842
Quintuplets, 2172 [Watertown]
Radio car for military use, 5246 Lake Geneva]
Safety association (national), 4187 [Milwaukee]
Scandinavian Methodist Episcopal church, 6567 [Cambridge]
Snowmobile patent, 7488 [Sayner]
State legislature to use an electric vote recorder, 7626 [Madison]
Steel ski jump, 7479 [Chippewa Falls]
Strike to last longer than a year, 4600 [Racine]
Unemployment insurance act, 4525
Weather forecast broadcast on radio, 6770 [Madison]
Whist organization, 4021 [Milwaukee]

[Source: wisconsinhistory.org; Kane et. al., Famous First Facts (1997)]
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