Picturing History | Wisconsin Historical Society

Classroom Material

Picturing History

Discover the people, places, and legends that made Wisconsin history!

Picturing History | Wisconsin Historical Society

Each grade-level essay below is designed for a single class period. When reading, students should consider the following questions:

  • Who (or what) are the main subjects and where did they live (or originate)?
  • How did they respond to the challenges they faced?
  • What role do each play in our shared story?
  • How have their actions or stories affected present-day Wisconsin? How have they affected your life?

Historic Figures

  • Stephen Bonga - Seek out the story of voyageur and fur trade entrepeneur Stephen Bonga as he travels through the northwestern Wisconsin and Minnesota territories.
  • Arthur Davidson and Bill Harley - Engage with the history of Arthur Davidson and Bill Harley, the boys who built the world's most famous motorcycle company. Coloring sheet available!
  • Mildred Fish-Harnack - Uncover the history of historian, spy, and author Mildred Fish-Harnack. Coloring sheet available!
  • Joshua Glover - Learn about Joshua Glover, who escaped enslavement and made a new life for himself.
  • Father James Groppi - Stand with Father James Groppi, the Catholic priest who led fought for justice in Milwaukee's Inner Core. Coloring sheet available!
  • Cordelia Harvey - Explore the history of Cordelia Harvey, the "Wisconsin Angel."
  • Belle Case La Follette - March with Belle Case La Follete, women's suffrage activist and wife of Bob La Follette.
  • Aldo Leopold - Discover the history of ecologist and University of Wisconsin professor Aldo Leopold.
  • Chief Oshkosh - Take a stand with Chief Oshkosh, chief of the Menominee Nation.
  • Kate Pelham Newcomb - Trek through the northwoods with Doctor Kate Pelham Newcomb, founder of the Million Penny Parade. Coloring sheet available!
  • Vel Phillips - Stand with Vel Phillips, the first African American woman to become a judge in Wisconsin. Coloring sheet available!
  • Margarethe Schurz - Learn the history of Margethe Schurz, who created the United States' first kindergarten.

Legends and Lore

  • The Hodag - Reveal the history of the Hodag, Rhinelander's mystical menace. Coloring sheet available!
  • Beware the Tommyknockers! - Unearth the history of the mythical tommyknockers. Coloring sheet available!
  • Paul Bunyan - Discover the history of Paul Bunyan, the legendary lumberjack of the Northwoods! Coloring sheet available!

Turning Points