Wisconsin Biographies

The Biographies

Leaders In Government

Meet people from Wisconsin’s past who felt a calling to represent their communities, serving as leaders in local, state, or national governments!
Illustration of Walter Bresette

Walter Bresette

Treaty Rights and Sovereignty


Not afraid to stand up for what he believed in, this member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa dedicated himself to protecting the rights and lands of First Nations people in Wisconsin.

Illustration of Charles Clark

Charles Clark

From Rags to Riches


From New York to Neenah, this industrious innovator’s journey to becoming a leader in the paper products world was marked by his commitment to serving his community and country.

Illustration of Belle Case La Follette

Belle Case La Follette

Ballots and Bloomers


This activist and advisor didn’t let limiting ideas about what women could do —or uncomfortable corsets—confine her in her quest to get access to the ballot box and foster greater peace in the world.

Illustration of Gaylord Nelson

Gaylord Nelson

A Vision for the Earth


From outdoor adventures in Clear Lake, to representing his community and his state in government, this down-to-earth visionary always kept his eyes on the environment to make a better world for us all.

Illustration of Chief Oshkosh

Chief Oshkosh

Leader in Troubled Times


When the United States Government’s land grabs put his people in harm’s way, this Menominee leader pushed back and proposed a new plan to protect their homeland and way of life.

Illustration of Vel Phillips and James Groppi

Vel Phillips & James Groppi

The Fight for Fair Housing


Upon learning about the school and housing discrimination happening in their hometown, these Milwaukee movers and shakers took action, making their case on the campaign trail, in the courtroom, and on the streets of their city.

Embroidered illustration of Joe Bee Xiong from animated biography

Joe Bee Xiong

War to Peace


From growing up in a mountain village in Laos, to leaving his home country after the Vietnam War, to making a new home in Eau Claire, this Hmong American leader became a cross-cultural connector in his community.