Collage of historic photos.

Historical Figures in Wisconsin

Learn about the lives of your favorite Wisconsin historical figures, from the famous to infamous, and their contributions to our state's history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on historical figures in Wisconsin.

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Historical Essay

Lapham, Increase, 1811-1875

Wisconsin's First Scientist

Read about Wisconsin's first scientist. Learn about his achievements; including his scientific writings, and his work as an engineer and land surveyor.

Historical Essay

Scott, Walter E. 1911-1983

Conservationist, Preservationist and Writer

Discover the history of conservationist, preservationist and writer Walter E. Scott.

Lawyer and Senator

Biography of lawyer and U.S. Senator Matthew Hale Carpenter.

Historical Essay

Lawe, John (1780-1846)

Fur Trader

Biography of John Lawe, a fur trader for Astor's American Fur Company in Green Bay.

Historical Essay

Brisbois, Michael 1760-1837

Fur Trader and Settler

Biography of French-Canadian fur trader Michel Brisbois, who founded the first permanent white settlement in Prairie du Chien.

Historical Essay

Orson Welles, 1915-1985

Cinematic Visionary

Learn about this Wisconsin-born director, his relationship with the film industry, and his lasting legacy as a filmmaker.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Lawyer, Politican, "War Democrat", U.S. Congressman, U.S. Ambassador

Read about General Edward Stuybesant Bragg from Fond du Lac, who served with the Iron Brigade in the Civil War.

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Lumberman

Brief biography of Col. Joseph Bailey, the lumberman famous for his creative application of dams during the failed Civil War Red River Campaign of 1864.

Fur Trader and Explorer

Brief biography of M├ędard Chouart des Groseilliers who was a fur trader and explorer.

Historical Essay

Leopold, Aldo, 1887-1948

Father of Wildlife Ecology

Learn about the man whose focus on the philosophy of conservation would inspire the environmental movement during the mid-20th century.
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Have Questions?

If you have questions about historical research, please contact our Library Reference Services staff by phone at 608-264-6535 or by email.

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