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Collections of posts can also be generated for historical periods by clicking through a post below, scrolling to the bottom, and choosing the tagged dates shown on the page.

Agriculture and Environment

  • Wisconsin’s Ancient History in the Kickapoo Valley

    If you look closely, the landscapes around us tell stories about the past. Sometimes in the curve of a road, a line of trees, or stretch of prairie careful observers can find evidence of the …

  • a color photo showing a swiss style bank barn painted white with a lean-to on one side

    The Evolution of a Swiss Barn

    The expansion of Wisconsin’s dairy industry in the 20th century not only altered the economy of the state, but it also influenced the structure of the very barns that housed the bovine champions of the …

  • A group photo showing a gathering of men behind an American and a Swiss flag

    The Swiss Roots of America’s “Dairyland”

    When the wheat crop failures of the late nineteenth century jeopardized the incomes of many of Wisconsin’s immigrant farmers, the region’s Swiss population transitioned to a trade that they knew from the Old World: dairying …

  • An Ojibwe man and woman on a boat in a marsh harvesting wild rice in 1966 near Ashland, WI

    When Lake Koshkonong was a Marsh

    Maintaining practices like an annual visit to Lake Koshkanong to hunt and harvest food is an important way for indigenous knowledge and culture to be passed-on to the next generation.

  • Migrant Workers and the Bond Pickle Company

    The Bond Pickle Company of Oconto, Wisconsin was founded in 1915 by five brothers. The Bond brothers quickly developed the firm, by 1917 acquiring 10 “salting stations” where the cucumbers were received from local farmers and a …

  • More Agriculture & Environment posts

Home and Daily Life

  • An Ojibwe man and woman on a boat in a marsh harvesting wild rice in 1966 near Ashland, WI

    When Lake Koshkonong was a Marsh

    Maintaining practices like an annual visit to Lake Koshkanong to hunt and harvest food is an important way for indigenous knowledge and culture to be passed-on to the next generation.

  • an illustration of an infant reaching for a bottle of malted milk

    Malted Milk and Infant Nutrition

    Although known today mostly as a flavoring for milk shakes and chocolate-covered malt balls, malted milk made its first appearance in the 1880s as a substitute for human breast milk.  At that time, breastfeeding babies …

  • The Wisconsin Chair Company

    Founded in 1888 by Frederick A. Dennett, the Wisconsin Chair Company (WCC) was perhaps the most important business in Ozaukee County at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. The company, …

  • Emelie Manthei’s Point Blanket Coat

    When the Great Depression hit Wausau in the 1930s, Emelie Manthei (now Emelie Borth) was a high school student from a working-class family. Her father lost his job before finding employment with the Works Progress …

  • Children in Door Country line up to visit the bookmobile

    Creating the Door County Bookmobile

    Door County Library Bookmobile service began in 1950 through a Wisconsin Free Library Commission experiment called the Door-Kewaunee Regional Library Demonstration. The Demonstration was developed to explore the possibilities of providing library service to remote areas of the state. …

  • More Home & Daily Life posts

Education

  • Group portraits of nine men in uniform before a boat.

    The Rescuers of the Tanner

    On September 10, 1875, six rescue boat volunteers were dispatched to aid the crew of the Tanner, a cargo ship foundering in Milwaukee Harbor after being struck by a powerful storm. All six of the rescue boat …

  • Map of Lake Geneva, WI, featuring Williams Bay.

    Williams Bay, WI

    Captain Israel Williams founded Williams Bay, Wisconsin, in 1835. Williams and his two sons originally traveled to Wisconsin from their Massachusetts home to look for good farmland. Williams Bay was later named in honor of …

  • An image of a nebula taken by the Yerkes Telescope

    Astronomy in the 1900s

    In the 1800s, astronomers valued telescope magnification to investigate planets and stars. In the 1900s, astronomers started to ask questions about the structure of our galaxy, the Milky Way, which lead to greater emphasis on …

  • black and white image of the Yerkes telescope and the half dome housing it

    Yerkes Telescope Construction and Use

    The construction of the 40-inch refracting telescope at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, was directed by George Hale, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago, and funded by Charles Yerkes, a Chicago businessman. The telescope is made …

  • Children in Door Country line up to visit the bookmobile

    Creating the Door County Bookmobile

    Door County Library Bookmobile service began in 1950 through a Wisconsin Free Library Commission experiment called the Door-Kewaunee Regional Library Demonstration. The Demonstration was developed to explore the possibilities of providing library service to remote areas of the state. …

  • More Education posts

Government, Politics & Law

  • Wisconsin’s Ancient History in the Kickapoo Valley

    If you look closely, the landscapes around us tell stories about the past. Sometimes in the curve of a road, a line of trees, or stretch of prairie careful observers can find evidence of the …

  • A group of women posing with bicycles

    The 1890s Bicycle Craze in Wisconsin

    Bicycles entered the United States on the East Coast from Europe in 1869. By 1880, bicycling in the U.S. had become so popular that the League of American Wheelmen (LAW) was founded. One of LAW’s …

  • A man hauling pipes in a wagon over deeply rutted and muddy roads

    Wisconsin Road Conditions

    One of the biggest impediments to the progress of the popularity of bicycling in the late 19th century was bad roads. Wisconsin roads in the 1880s were “plagued by mud, poor signage, and crumbling bridges …

  • Slavery in Wisconsin

    It may come as a surprise to learn that during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries slavery existed in the region that would become the state of Wisconsin. Over this period, thousands of enslaved African …

  • The 1911 Workman’s Compensation Act and the Birth of an Industry

    Wisconsin passed the nation’s first constitutionally upheld worker’s compensation law in 1911. It is one of the great successes of Progressive-era social legislation and a triumph of the Wisconsin Idea.[1] Previously, American workers toiling in industrialized workplaces …

  • More Government, Politics & Law posts

Military and War

  • What is a Point Blanket Coat?

    The practice of converting Hudson’s Bay Company blankets into coats began years before the company began mass-manufacturing point blanket coats in the twentieth century. During the fur trade, Native Americans hunters traded beaver pelts for …

  • Picture of Old Abe, the eagle, on the Case company logo

    Old Abe’s Visual Legacy

    Old Abe began his career as a real, live eagle, serving as a mascot during the Civil War. In the decades that followed, the Grand Army of the Republic brought the bird on tours around the country. In the many …

  • French map detail showing the Baye des Puans

    French Wisconsin at Fort la Baye

    French explorers, voyageurs (fur traders), Jesuit priests, and other settlers began arriving in the Upper Great Lakes region of North America in the mid-1600s. Jean Nicolet supposedly landed near present-day Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1634, naming the …

  • A hand-drawn map showing the Great Lakes used by french explorers

    French Cartography in the Great Lakes

    French mariners and explorers using the Le Maire Sundial Compass depended on both their own specialized navigational expertise and maps produced by French cartographers. Many such maps were created based on explorer accounts of the navigable waterways …

  • Dr. James T. Reeve

    The owner of this particular cupping kit was Dr. James T. Reeve. Dr. Reeve was born near Goshen, New York, on April 26, 1834. Despite losing his father at age five and his mother five days before …

  • More Military & War posts

Religion and Philosophy

Science and Technology

  • Wisconsin’s Ancient History in the Kickapoo Valley

    If you look closely, the landscapes around us tell stories about the past. Sometimes in the curve of a road, a line of trees, or stretch of prairie careful observers can find evidence of the …

  • a color photo showing a swiss style bank barn painted white with a lean-to on one side

    The Evolution of a Swiss Barn

    The expansion of Wisconsin’s dairy industry in the 20th century not only altered the economy of the state, but it also influenced the structure of the very barns that housed the bovine champions of the …

  • A group photo showing a gathering of men behind an American and a Swiss flag

    The Swiss Roots of America’s “Dairyland”

    When the wheat crop failures of the late nineteenth century jeopardized the incomes of many of Wisconsin’s immigrant farmers, the region’s Swiss population transitioned to a trade that they knew from the Old World: dairying …

  • A disc cutting lathe from the 1930s

    The Record Production Process

    Paramount Record’s parent company, the United Phonographic Corporation, decided to begin recording and pressing records to include with their phonograph cabinets in the early 1920s. Paramount initially recorded in studios throughout the United States. They …

  • Paramount Records

    The Wisconsin Chair Company’s (WCC) decision to enter the record label industry was an economic one. With the United Phonographic Corporation (UPC) picking up steam, management at the WCC began pressing records. The UPC’s first …

  • More Science & Technology posts

Transportation

  • A group of women posing with bicycles

    The 1890s Bicycle Craze in Wisconsin

    Bicycles entered the United States on the East Coast from Europe in 1869. By 1880, bicycling in the U.S. had become so popular that the League of American Wheelmen (LAW) was founded. One of LAW’s …

  • A man hauling pipes in a wagon over deeply rutted and muddy roads

    Wisconsin Road Conditions

    One of the biggest impediments to the progress of the popularity of bicycling in the late 19th century was bad roads. Wisconsin roads in the 1880s were “plagued by mud, poor signage, and crumbling bridges …

  • A black and white photo of the South Park, a whaleback ship

    Great Lakes Shipping and the SS Meteor

      The SS Meteor sailed the lakes longer than most ships of her day, and in her many reincarnations she offers a portrait of how some of the industries on the Great Lakes changed– and what those changes …

  • A map showing the twin ports of Duluth, MN and Superior, WI as well as the harbor and river between

    The American Steel Barge Company

    Duluth, MN and Superior, WI face each other across the Saint Louis Bay. In the mid-nineteenth century, as grain harvests of the northern plains expanded, logging grew, and as iron and copper mining developed in …

  • A color postcard showing a lighthouse and lifesaving station in wisconsin.

    Early Lifesaving Stations in Wisconsin

    A Slow Beginning As maritime commerce grew in the early 19th century, the loss of vessels and crews to shipwreck increased. In 1848, the federal government, through the United States Revenue Marine, established its first lifesaving …

  • More Transportation posts