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: A look at the life and legacy of Frances WillardA look at the life and legacy of Frances Willard
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, 1886A 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: Catherine Beecher and the development of Milwaukee-Downer CollegeCatherine Beecher and the development of Milwaukee-Downer College
Link to article: Madison parties in 1837Madison parties in 1837
Link to article: Letters from Milwaukee in its infancy, 1836-1846Letters from Milwaukee in its infancy, 1836-1846
Link to article: A college student begs for cookies from home in 1867A college student begs for cookies from home in 1867
Link to article: Recollections of Old SuperiorRecollections of Old Superior
Link to article: Electa Quinney, Wisconsin's first public school teacherElecta Quinney, Wisconsin's first public school teacher
Link to article: A former student recalls Milwaukee Female College in the 1860'sA 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: An Abolitionist Recalls Anti-Slavery Days in WisconsinAn Abolitionist Recalls Anti-Slavery Days in Wisconsin
Link to book: A local historian chats about Prairie du Chien (vol. 1)A local historian chats about Prairie du Chien (vol. 1)
Link to book: Baraboo women found their own cultural organization, 1880Baraboo women found their own cultural organization, 1880
Link to book: Susan Frackelton recalls the Wheelock School for Girls (1926)Susan Frackelton recalls the Wheelock School for Girls (1926)
Link to book: Population figures for every Wisconsin community, 1850-2000Population figures for every Wisconsin community, 1850-2000
Link to book: An account of the First Congregational Church, Prairie du Chien, Wis., 1834-1891An account of the First Congregational Church, Prairie du Chien, Wis., 1834-1891
Link to book: Opening of the La Crosse Public Library, 1888Opening of the La Crosse Public Library, 1888
Link to book: A local historian chats about Prairie du Chien (vol. 2)A local historian chats about Prairie du Chien (vol. 2)
Link to book: A short history of prison industries, 1852-2002A short history of prison industries, 1852-2002
Link to book: A guide to the Wisconsin Historical Society headquarters, 1900A guide to the Wisconsin Historical Society headquarters, 1900
Link to book: The Stockbridge-Munsee Constitution, 1857The Stockbridge-Munsee Constitution, 1857
Link to book: Conditions in state prisons, schools, and hospitals, 1955Conditions in state prisons, schools, and hospitals, 1955
Link to book: Women's charitable work before 1876Women's charitable work before 1876
Link to images: Classroom rules for Milwaukee public schools, 1846Classroom rules for Milwaukee public schools, 1846
Link to images: Increase Lapham examining a meteorite, ca. 1868Increase Lapham examining a meteorite, ca. 1868
Link to images: Pictures of Wisconsin school buildings, 1868-1950Pictures of Wisconsin school buildings, 1868-1950
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: 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 manuscript: The Milwaukee Public Museum is born, 1848.The Milwaukee Public Museum is born, 1848.
Link to manuscript: Northern settlers try to join Minnesota, 1847Northern settlers try to join Minnesota, 1847
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