The Polar Bear Expedition by Andrea Hoffman

While France and Germany served as the battleground for the vast majority of Wisconsin troops during World War I, some soldiers–including Captain Ralph E. Ramsay of Beloit, Wisconsin–found themselves stationed far away from the Western Front.   During the summer of 1918, President Woodrow Wilson acquiesced under pressure from Great Britain

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The Archivist Chronicles: A Union Addition by Andrew Baraniak

The use of wallpaper as a substitute for newsprint was a common occurrence for some printers in Louisiana and Mississippi during the Civil War. Most paper mills were in the North, and printers in those regions looked to wallpaper as an alternative to dwindling paper supplies as the war dragged

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D-Day + 70: Honoring Wisconsin’s Heroes by Kevin Hampton

“Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!  You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.” –   General Dwight D.

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The Statue on the Square by Guest Author Bob Drane

Have you ever noticed, amidst the festivities of a Farmer’s Market Saturday on Madison’s Capital Square, the moment when visitors come upon the statue of that soldier on King Street – a young man in uniform, standing tall, eyes fixed on the horizon, somehow intent on moving forward on behalf

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Wisconsin’s Fighting Flag by Kristine Zickuhr

Although Wisconsin became a state on May 29th, 1848, it did not have a state flag until decades later.  You might not know that the first version of Wisconsin’s state flag participated in the hardest battles of the Civil War. The ladies of a community often sewed flags for the first

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The “Grand Old Lady of Memorial Days” by Jennifer Carlson

Did you know that Memorial Day was first established as “Decoration Day” by the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) in May of 1868? Just three years after the Civil War, with so many soldiers lost, it was a way to pay tribute to those killed during America’s bloodiest war. To honor their loved

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Full Matching Leather Jackets

The standard issue uniform for American World War II soldiers consisted of a basic wool uniform, a field jacket or wool coat, leggings, and various other pieces. Most of the clothing was a light to medium shade of olive drab. Some soldiers even wore items from home—either because they needed

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The Archivist Chronicles: Civil War History Mystery

Each of the thousands of objects in our collection has a story behind them. Ideally, our staff records that story at the time the item is donated—but sometimes we have to uncover the story ourselves, even after more than 100 years have passed. These “history mysteries” are a challenging but fun aspect

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Spencer Bronson: Witness to Murder

On April 14, 1865, during a performance of the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater, actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth slipped into the theater box and shot President Abraham Lincoln at point blank range before fleeing. Lincoln died on April 15th, becoming the first American president to be assassinated. Booth

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The Iron Brigade & the Black Hat

“There are them damned black hatted fellows again!” This cry, and others like it, were made by disheartened Confederate troops on the first day of fighting at the battle of Gettysburg. Under the impression that they faced untrained militia, the Rebel troops quickly recognized the distinctive black Model 1858 “Hardee” hat

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