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175 Campaign | Wisconsin Historical Society

175 Campaign

Celebrating LGBTQ+ Changemakers, Visionaries, Storytellers.

History is a story with many voices, always growing and evolving—a story we tell together.

Throughout time and place, humans have looked to the past to inspire the future. We study the stories of those who came before us to define who we are today, and who we want to become tomorrow. We have a conversation with our past to build a better future. There are countless chapters in this story — achievements that inspire us to be better, and tragedies that remind us not to go down the wrong path. Follow along as we share fascinating and diverse stories of people and places from Wisconsin history.

In 2021, the Wisconsin Historical Society marks its 175th year of collecting, preserving, and sharing history. Join us in celebrating Wisconsin visionaries, changemakers, and storytellers. We hope you find these stories illuminating, powerful, and inspiring.

Celebrate Wisconsin's LGBTQ+ Community

LGBTQ+ history doesn't end with Pride Month. Follow along throughout July as we continue to explore fascinating stories of history makers with ties to the Badger State who impacted the LGBTQ+ community.

David Carter informal portrait, smiling, medium short hair, a burdundy knit sweater with a plaid collar from a button up poking out.

David Carter

Manonia Evans (left) and Donna Burkett, 1971. Manonia Evans wears a wide labeled dress with short almost capped sleeves, her hair is curly and short, a small smile plays across her lips. Donna Burkett wearing a pork pie hat with a light ribbon, set at a jaunty angle and casual light suit. They stand close together with Evans' arm wrapped around one of Burkett's.

Donna Burkett & Manonia Evans

Judy Greenspan smiles happily at the camera in this outdoor photograph, wearing a leather jacket and a cowl neck like sweater. She used this photo in her campaign for School board.

Judy Greenspan

Lou Sullivan sits dramatically, and somewhat seriously, in a tuxedo with his hair slicked back behind his ears, stylishly. Lou Sullivan pictured in 1974 before attending the GPU’s drag ball.

Lou Sullivan

A formal portrait of Lucia Nunez, her curly hair tousled and slightly two toned, she wears a black turtle neck and a gray sweater jacket.

Lucía Nuñez

Miriam Frank and Charlotte Partridge stand in front of a car, smiling slightly in this informal portrait. They are both wearing long black skirts, and lighter colored blouses. Bespeckled with round frames and both wear hats.

Miriam Frink & Charlotte Partridge

Ralph Kerwineo in a formal portrait, looking slightly away from camera, no hat, and a sharp collar.

Ralph Kerwineo

Ralph Warner, looks almost temptingly at the camera, chin tilted down, hat on.

Ralph Warner

We Will Always Be Here

A Guide to Exploring and Understanding the History of LGBTQ+ Activism in Wisconsin

We Will Always Be Here: A Guide to Exploring and Understanding the History of LGBTQ+ Activism in Wisconsin
Book Launch & Pride Celebration
Virtual Event | Thursday, June 24 | 7 PM

This inspiring and educational book presents examples of LGBTQ+ activism throughout Wisconsin’s history for young people to explore and discuss. Drawing from a rich collection of primary sources—including diary entries, love letters, zines, advertisements, oral histories, and more — We Will Always Be Here shines a light on powerful and often untold stories from Wisconsin’s history, featuring individuals across a wide spectrum of identities and from all corners of the state.

Woodland Pattern Book Center, Milwaukee Pride, and WHS Press welcome authors Jenny Kalvaitis and Kristen Whitson to discuss their new book, We Will Always Be Here. Jenny and Kristen will be joined by two teen panelists. This Zoom event is free and open to the public.

Buy the Book More Event Details

Wisconsin's Gay History | Book Series

We've Been Here All Along Book Cover

In We've Been Here All Along, R. Richard Wagner draws on historical research and materials from his own extensive archive to uncover previously hidden stories of gay Wisconsinites. This book, published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press honors the legacy and confirms that gay Wisconsinites have been fundamental to the development and evolution of the state since its earliest days. Read Free Excerpt

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Coming Out, Moving Forward: Wisconsin's Recent Gay History

Coming Out, Moving Forward, the second volume in R. Richard Wagner’s groundbreaking work on gay history in Wisconsin, outlines the challenges that LGBTQ+ Wisconsinites faced in their efforts to right past oppressions and secure equality in the post-Stonewall period period between 1969 and 2000. This is the second book in the collection published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

Buy the Book
We Will Always Be Here: A Guide to Exploring and Understanding the History of LGBTQ+ Activism in Wisconsin

This inspiring and educational book presents examples of LGBTQ+ activism throughout Wisconsin’s history for young people to explore and discuss. Drawing from a rich collection of primary sources—including diary entries, love letters, zines, advertisements, oral histories, and more—the book provides a jumping-off point for readers who are interested in learning more about LGBTQ+ history and activism.

Buy the Book


We celebrate these forward-looking innovators who charted new paths for others.

Studio portrait of Benjamin Butts wearing bow tie and suit circa 1930. He looks earnestly at the camera, mustache full and eyes twinkling.

Benjamin Butts

C. Latham Sholes in his later years. Looking away from the camera in this formal studio portrait, he stares hard to the left his hair and beard full and white, in a smart suit and bowtie.

C. Latham Sholes

Carl Eliason, inventor of the modern day snowmobile, stands next a snowmobile and the historic marker in Sayner during winter with his fur lined winter clothes.

Carl Eliason

Debra Amesqua wearing a black cowboy hat and a toothy smile holds a small guitar as though she's about to start playing.

Debra Amesqua

Edwin Farber examines a large light fixture looking focused and wearing a smart suit and glasses.

Edward R. Farber

Head and shoulders portrait of Ezekiel Gillespie. He looks slightly to the left away from the camera, looking serious and austere. A small pair of spectacles sit on his nose and he wears a smart suit in this grainy old studio portrait.

Ezekiel Gillespie

Laurel Clark in her astronaut uniform smiling at the camera with the american flag behind her.

Laurel Clark

Michael Vang plays soccer, running hard and fast towards the camera eye on the ball out of frame, another play close behind over his shoulder.

Michael Vang

Longtime Sauk County resident Milly Zantow (1923-2014) sits in front of a wall of plastic, crushed into cubes ready to be recycled. She smiles slightly at the camera, wearing glasses, a white tank top, and a blue apron.

Milly Zantow

Reverend John W. Carhart, ca. 1880, looks at the camera darkly in this formal studio portrait. His beard is full, and his hair is coiffed longer on top short on the sides. His eyes are overcast but there is a slight smile on his lips.

Reverend John W. Carhart

Tom Blake (shown in 1922) a handsome young man wears a swiming costume in front of a wire fence around a swimming pool. He looks steelily at the camera, a bit of a challenge in his eyes hair messy from swimming.

Thomas Blake

Hayward native Tony Wise shown in this undated photo in front of the Telemark Lodge looks off to the right away from the camera while wearing warm winter clothes for the snowy world around him. He's older, a bit rotund, with a slight squint and frown from the glare off the snow.

Tony Wise


We celebrate these changemakers who were pivotal in our state's history.

Ada Deer, 2007. A middle aged woman looking confidently at the camera while smiling. Her shirt is black and she wears beaded necklace pendant.

Ada Deer

Portrait of Professor Ephraim “Eph” Williams looking a bit mysterious with his bowler hat and cane.

Ephraim Williams

In this atmospheric black and white photo, Ingrid Washinawatok looks down and off to the left away from the camera, her hair in main thin braids draped over her shoulders, and hand placed on her neck.

Ingrid Washinawatok El-Issa

Jesus Salas, leader of Obreros Unidos (United Workers), Wisconsin's migrant farm worker union looks away from the camera and down, completely in profile his expression serious. En Espanol: Jesús Salas, líder de Obreros Unidos, un sindicato para trabajadores emigrantes en Wisconsin. Mira lejos de la cámara y hacia abajo, completamente de perfil su expresión seria

Jesús Salas

Lloyd Barbee in a somber crowd at a memorial gathering for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Looking off to the left his expression serious.

Lloyd Barbee

Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes smiles proudly at the camera in this portrait in front of the Wisconsin & US Flags.

Mandela Barnes

Margaret Farrow, Wisconsin’s first female lieutenant governor, at her home in Pewaukee. She looks off to the left away from the camera her hand on her chin smiling and looking as though she might be remembering the past, photos spread before her.

Margaret A. Farrow

Maria Luis Morales speaking at a demonstration for peace. She's wearing a blue shirt for the demonstration and her dark hair pulled back into a ponytail, scales of justice are visible behind her.

Maria Luisa Morales

An austere woman stands facing to the right, but looking left. She holds writing implements and wears a long black robe.

Mathilde Anneke

Looking austere and serious, she looks away slightly to the left of the camera her hair pulled tight to her head.

Mildred Fish-Harnack

Steve Gunderson gestures animatedly in front of chalkboard with equations behind him. Wearing a suit and fun tie he seems excited and engaged.

Steve Gunderson

Women workers pose outside Fairbanks Morse, 1943-1945. Teresa is highlighted in the above image in the second row, third from left. A slight smile can be seen on her face, despite the blurriness of the old image.

Teresa Kuykendall


We celebrate these storytellers who played a role in sharing history.

Allie Crumble working on a quilt, 1987. Throwing some serious side eye.

Allie Crumble

Chef Carson Gulley, University of Wisconsin-Madison residence hall chef, chopping vegetables.

Carson Gulley

Earlene Fuller, smiles happily while holding her bowling ball. From the collection of Earlene Fuller bowling league photographs, 1963-1995.

Earlene Fuller

Helen Farnsworth Mears sitting on a ladder and resting her head against her hand.

Helen Farnsworth Mears

Jerome looking seriously off into the distance while in a canoe. Photograph was taken in 1942 on the Bad River Reservation, probably in the Kakagon sloughs.  He captioned it, The Hunter. You can see his rifle so we know he's out hunting. Based on that and how the rice beds behind him look, likely taken in autumn.

Jerome Arbuckle
Bad River Ojibwe

Undated studio portrait of Lavinia Goodell. She looks directly at the camera and her lips tilted up slightly in a smile.

Lavinia Goodell

Portrait of Lutie Eugenia Stearns looking directly at the camera and seeming serious.

Lutie Stearns

Marin Denning looking at the camera wearing a tradionally beaded neck piece over a paisley print tie and a teal shirt in a black suit jacket. The background is a brightly printed tapestry, with primarily triangle motifies.

Marin Denning

Marjorie Engleman looks away from the camera laughing and looking joyous

Marjorie Engelman

Robert Albert Bloch, author of Psycho, surrounded by tall bookshelves full of books, is sitting in front of a typewriter with an open cigarette case full of cigarettes, a bottle of Wing Fhung Hong, and a pile of papers.

Robert Albert Bloch

Robert Doyle emerges from a captured Japanese pillbox at Buna, New Guinea, (present day Papua New Guinea). The pillbox is built of dirt, logs and foliage.

Robert Doyle

Holocaust survivor Rosa Goldberg Katz in her residence looking quite happy as she sits at her table.

Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust
Rosa Katz

Check out our unique products, books, and upcoming events that continue the celebration of Wisconsin visionaries, changemakers, and storytellers.

Learn More About Wisconsin's History


History is a story with many voices, always growing and evolving — a story we tell together.

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