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The Founding of Social Institutions

In Wisconsin's early years, most of the wealth generated through trade, manufacturing, and land sales was directed toward construction projects and land investment, leaving few resources to develop cultural and intellectual institutions. As a predominantly producing and distributing center, Milwaukee exhibited a pattern of building construction centered primarily on the stores, hotels, warehouses, and factories needed to supply the local trade and to accommodate the immigrants pouring in through the harbor. Despite the more practical and functional economic objectives of Wisconsin's early white settlers, however, many also expressed an underlying concern for cultural and social improvement.

Some among these early settlers... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: Catherine Beecher and the development of Milwaukee-Downer College  Catherine Beecher and the development of Milwaukee-Downer College
Link to article: Missionaries defend American-style schools for Indian children in the 1830s.  Missionaries defend American-style schools for Indian children in the 1830s.
Link to article: A Green Bay girlhood in the 1820s.  A Green Bay girlhood in the 1820s.
Link to article: A newspaper produced by prisoners at Waupun, 1886  A newspaper produced by prisoners at Waupun, 1886
Link to article: An early description of the Milwaukee Public Museum (1891)  An early description of the Milwaukee Public Museum (1891)
Link to article: Electa Quinney, Wisconsin's first public school teacher  Electa Quinney, Wisconsin's first public school teacher
Link to article: Madison parties in 1837  Madison parties in 1837
Link to article: A college student begs for cookies from home in 1867  A college student begs for cookies from home in 1867
Link to article: Letters from Milwaukee in its infancy, 1836-1846  Letters from Milwaukee in its infancy, 1836-1846
Link to article: Recollections of Old Superior  Recollections of Old Superior
Link to article: A look at the life and legacy of Frances Willard  A look at the life and legacy of Frances Willard
Link to article: A former student recalls Milwaukee Female College in the 1860's  A former student recalls Milwaukee Female College in the 1860's
Link to book: The infant state legislature writes its own rulebook, 1853.  The infant state legislature writes its own rulebook, 1853.
Link to book: Susan Frackelton recalls the Wheelock School for Girls (1926)  Susan Frackelton recalls the Wheelock School for Girls (1926)
Link to book: Baraboo women found their own cultural organization, 1880  Baraboo women found their own cultural organization, 1880
Link to book: Population figures for every Wisconsin community, 1850-2000  Population figures for every Wisconsin community, 1850-2000
Link to book: An account of the First Congregational Church, Prairie du Chien, Wis., 1834-1891  An account of the First Congregational Church, Prairie du Chien, Wis., 1834-1891
Link to book: Opening of the La Crosse Public Library, 1888  Opening of the La Crosse Public Library, 1888
Link to book: Women's charitable work before 1876  Women's charitable work before 1876
Link to book: Conditions in state prisons, schools, and hospitals, 1955  Conditions in state prisons, schools, and hospitals, 1955
Link to book: The Stockbridge-Munsee Constitution, 1857  The Stockbridge-Munsee Constitution, 1857
Link to book: A guide to the Wisconsin Historical Society headquarters, 1900  A guide to the Wisconsin Historical Society headquarters, 1900
Link to book: A short history of prison industries, 1852-2002  A short history of prison industries, 1852-2002
Link to book: An Abolitionist Recalls Anti-Slavery Days in Wisconsin  An Abolitionist Recalls Anti-Slavery Days in Wisconsin
Link to images: Pictures of Wisconsin school buildings, 1868-1950  Pictures of Wisconsin school buildings, 1868-1950
Link to images: Increase Lapham examining a meteorite, ca. 1868  Increase Lapham examining a meteorite, ca. 1868
Link to images: Classroom rules for Milwaukee public schools, 1846  Classroom rules for Milwaukee public schools, 1846
Link to images: Prairie du Chien merchant and judge James H. Lockwood, 1856.  Prairie du Chien merchant and judge James H. Lockwood, 1856.
Link to manuscript: The Milwaukee Public Museum is born, 1848.  The Milwaukee Public Museum is born, 1848.
Link to manuscript: Northern settlers try to join Minnesota, 1847  Northern settlers try to join Minnesota, 1847
Link to manuscript: An Episcopal bishop's diary of his 1834 visit to an Indian mission.  An Episcopal bishop's diary of his 1834 visit to an Indian mission.
Link to places: Stonefield, home of Gov. Nelson Dewey and the State Agricultural Museum  Stonefield, home of Gov. Nelson Dewey and the State Agricultural Museum
Link to places: The University of Wisconsin's first building, North Hall  The University of Wisconsin's first building, North Hall
Link to places: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin  The State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Link to places: The University of Wisconsin's Red Gym  The University of Wisconsin's Red Gym
Link to places: The first kindergarten in the United States  The first kindergarten in the United States
Link to places: Frederick Pabst helps to build a theater in Milwaukee  Frederick Pabst helps to build a theater in Milwaukee
Link to places: Lumber riches fund a Menomonie theater  Lumber riches fund a Menomonie theater

Primary Sources Available Elsewhere

Link to book: Wisconsin Gazetteer from 1853  Wisconsin Gazetteer from 1853
Link to book: A history of women's education at the University of Wisconsin  A history of women's education at the University of Wisconsin
Link to book: An Italian missionary recounts his work in the upper Great Lakes  An Italian missionary recounts his work in the upper Great Lakes
Link to book: Collected historical documents from the Wisconsin Historical Society  Collected historical documents from the Wisconsin Historical Society
Link to book: A historical, documentary, and descriptive history of Wisconsin to 1854  A historical, documentary, and descriptive history of Wisconsin to 1854
Link to book: Wisconsin Blue Books  Wisconsin Blue Books
Link to book: A history of UW- La Crosse  A history of UW- La Crosse
Link to book: Rev. W.G. Miller describes missionary work in the Fox Valley, 1845-75.  Rev. W.G. Miller describes missionary work in the Fox Valley, 1845-75.
Link to book: Memoirs of an influential Kenosha schoolteacher  Memoirs of an influential Kenosha schoolteacher
Link to collections: Biographical sketches and writings of some Wisconsin pioneer women  Biographical sketches and writings of some Wisconsin pioneer women
Link to collections: A timeline and history of Beloit College  A timeline and history of Beloit College
Link to collections: Documents and images of Milwaukee schoolchildren, 1887-present  Documents and images of Milwaukee schoolchildren, 1887-present
Link to collections: The history and development of Lawrence University  The history and development of Lawrence University
Link to collections: Documents relating to child welfare organizations  Documents relating to child welfare organizations
Link to images: Theater posters from a Madison opera house, 1890s  Theater posters from a Madison opera house, 1890s
Link to images: An 1861 guide to the University of Wisconsin  An 1861 guide to the University of Wisconsin
Link to images: Images of schools and libraries in central Wisconsin  Images of schools and libraries in central Wisconsin
Link to manuscript: Broadside describing the organization of the University of Wisconsin, 1868  Broadside describing the organization of the University of Wisconsin, 1868

Related Links

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