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Permissions and Copyright

Permission to use our images and copyright are two separate issues.


Permission is not necessary for personal use, such as displaying prints in your home or giving a print as a gift.

Permission is necessary for public use. Fees are charged per image, per format, and include in-context promotion. These fees are separate from and in addition to image fees.

To apply for permission, please follow these steps:

  1. Complete a Permission Request Form (PDF, 125 KB). Make sure to include the image identification number.
  2. Mail, email, or fax the signed request form with payment information to:

    Lisa Marine
    Wisconsin Historical Society
    816 State Street, Room 407
    Madison, WI 53706-1482

    Telephone: 608-264-6475
    Fax: 608-264-6472

  3. After we receive your permission request form and payment, you will receive a Letter of Permission granting specific rights for use of images in your project.
  4. Permission is for one-time use for the life of the project. Subsequent editions require additional payment.
  5. You may crop images to suit design or layout, but you cannot otherwise alter an image without permission. If you do crop images, the credit line must note the alteration.
  6. The granting of permission to publish by the Wisconsin Historical Society does not absolve the end user from copyright liabilities (see information on copyright below).


The Wisconsin Historical Society does not own the copyright to most images in its collections. It is your responsibility to determine whether your proposed use violates copyright, and if so, to obtain permission from the copyright owner. In some cases, we have written agreements with copyright holders. In others, copyright has lapsed. Often, it is not clear who owns copyright. You, the user, are legally liable for complying with the provisions of the law. For more information on copyright, consult the U.S. Copyright Office publications.


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