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A sepia-colored medium shot of Ellen Bravo from the thighs up smiling in a casual top while holding papers or photographs with both hands. She is sitting next to two wooden office desks surrounding her. Between 2 o'clock and 4 o'clock, on one of the desks, are a computer monitor and a keyboard. Close to it are two small photographs hung on the wall. Some documents are piled on the desk in front of Bravo. Some others appear in a less neat pile behind her. A window with open blinds attached to the wall between 10 and 11 o'clock.
Milwaukee is the national headquarters for 9to5, the National Association of Working Women. The organization also has chapters in Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Jose. 9to5 was founded in 1973 in Boston by Ellen Cassedy and Karen Nussbaum, two secretaries at Harvard University. They aimed to improve women’s position in the workplace through the… Read More

A. Gettelman Brewing Company

A soft-focus painted advertisement features a drawing that illustrates the A. Gettelman Brewing Company plant. The building complex has two towering chimneys with billowing smoke. Written in black ink on the bottom is "Gettleman Brewing Co. Milwaukee.”
The A. Gettelman Brewing Company (1856-1961) was one of Milwaukee’s major industrial brewers. Although remaining a mid-sized brewer among the city’s giants, Gettelman was an important innovator of beer packaging and advertising and a significant acquisition in the expansion of the Miller Brewing Company. The Gettelman Brewing Company originated as George Schweickhart’s Menomonee Brewery, established… Read More

A.O. Smith Corporation

Long shot of A.O. Smith assembly facilities' interior in grayscale tone. Different machines fills up the largely empty building. The ceiling lights are on, glowing like big dots amid the bright shine emanating from the regularly spaced window walls in the background.
While it is currently recognized as a leader in the production of water heaters, over its history A.O. Smith Corporation has dabbled in a complex inventory of products. Following in his father’s footsteps, company founder Arthur Smith and his successors constantly adapted to market demand and, for the better part of a century, the company… Read More

African American Churches

A grayscale long shot of the facade of St. Mark A.M.E. Church Lovell Johnson Quality of Life Center. The image shows the entrance of a one-story building with a closed door and windows. A small address sign on the wall displays the number "1641."
In Milwaukee, there is a heavy concentration of African American churches in the northwest corner of the central city, in an area roughly bounded by Locust and Brown streets on the north and south, and 7th and 29th streets on the east and west. The creation of this religious landscape is indelibly linked to the… Read More

African Americans

Nineteen men stand in three rows at a construction site. Each of the men wears long sleeves shirt and a hat. Almost all have long pants and jackets on. Four wheelbarrows appear in the middle of this grayscale longshot image. A machine in the center releases steam.
The African American community in Milwaukee dates from the earliest days of the city’s settlement, though the main story is found in the Great Migration—the mass exodus of black southerners to northern, industrial, urban centers through the twentieth century. The black population in Milwaukee remained very small throughout the nineteenth century and into the World… Read More

African Methodist Episcopalians

Grayscale headshot of Ezekiel Gillespie from the chest up in a dark suit jacket, lighter colored collar shirt, and a pair of glasses.
Founded in 1869, St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church is the oldest historically black congregation in Milwaukee. Originally named the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Milwaukee, St. Mark remained the largest African American congregation in the region for decades. Church members played significant roles in the Civil Rights movement and leadership of Milwaukee’s… Read More

African World Festival

Image of a drummer and a dancer performing in an outdoor space. On the left is the shirtless man with a drum strap on his neck and a djembe resting between his legs. His palms float in the air ready to hit the drum. On the right side is the female dancer moving her body expressively in an animal print costume. Her braided hairs fly in the air; her hands and one of her legs are floating in a dance motion.
African World Festival celebrated the development of African culture and heritage in Africa as well as the Americas, from the age of the Atlantic slave trade to the modern era. Attendees could learn about African history through performances of traditional African dance, drumming, and storytelling. A replica of an African village was also constructed on… Read More

African-American Media

Headshot of J. Anthony Josey from the elbows up smiling in a vertical striped vest and notched lapel suit, with a paisley cravat. Josey's right hand's index and middle fingers elegantly clamp a cigar while his face and eyes look to his left.
Milwaukee has had newspapers and media catering to the Wisconsin black community since the 1890s. From the beginning these media outlets sought to increase both the appeal of Milwaukee as a destination for African Americans and as an avenue of racial progress. In April of 1892, two white men, George A. Brown and Thomas Jones,… Read More


High-angle long shot of the Market Square in grayscale color. On the left portion of the image are horse-drawn wagons lining up side by side carrying many bales of hays. Some people gather in small groups near the horses. Men walking individually appear on the right portion of the photo.
Throughout its history, Milwaukee has gone from manufacturing center for a myriad of products to a “post-industrial” city struggling to adapt to the realities of deindustrialization. Often overlooked in such a narrative is the role that agriculture has played in the development of the city and the broader metropolitan region. For more than 150 years,… Read More

Airports and Air Transportation

Wide shot of Charles K. Hamilton showing his posture sitting on his vintage airplane called the Hamiltonian parked on flat ground. He wears a long-sleeved jacket and boots. His hands are attached to the plane's circular steering wheel while one of his feet steps on a part of the aircraft. On top of his head and behind his back is the plane's engine. Several blurry figures stand at the rear of the aircraft.
Since the early 1900s, airports have served as a site for recreation, commercial travel, and the transportation of goods. Today, General Mitchell International dominates Milwaukee air travel, but other small airports serve the area as well. The first flight in Milwaukee is believed to have been made at the Wisconsin State Fair on September 10,… Read More

Al Jarreau

Medium shot of Al Jarreau from the waist up facing left in a light-colored button-down shirt and dark vest; the shirt sleeves are rolled to above his elbows. Jarreau holds a microphone with his right hand and touches his chest with left hand as he performs against a dark background.
Al Jarreau, the “Acrobat of Scat,” was a jazz icon and constant performer who never forgot his Milwaukee roots. He was born in 1940 in Milwaukee to a musical household—his mother taught piano and played the organ in church, while his father was a singer. He sang in the church choir with his brothers and… Read More

Alexander Mitchell

Grayscale headshot of Alexander Mitchell gazing to the right. Mitchell wears a notched lapel suit and a tie.
Milwaukee’s leading financier and railroad magnate in the mid-nineteenth century, Alexander Mitchell was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland on October 18, 1817. Twenty-two years later, he immigrated to the U.S., settling in Chicago. That same year, Mitchell moved to Milwaukee to serve as secretary for a marine and fire insurance company owned by a fellow Scotsman,… Read More

Allan Huber “Bud” Selig

Low-angle shot of the front side of Bud Selig metal statue. The figure is depicted in a suit and tie, standing with his left hand inside his pants pocket and right hand holding a ball. The exterior wall of the American Family Field's stadium is visible in the background.
Allan Huber “Bud” Selig began serving as Commissioner of Major League Baseball in 1992, but his baseball roots were established in Milwaukee decades earlier. Born in Milwaukee on July 30, 1934, Selig grew up watching the minor league Milwaukee Brewers at Borchert Field. After graduating from UW-Madison and serving in the U.S. Army for two… Read More

Allen-Bradley (Rockwell Automation)

The Allen-Bradley Company towers appear prominently from behind a row of duplexes. A clock tower stands tall on one of the corners of the building. An American flag flaps on top of the clock tower with cloudy blue sky as the background.
Founded by Lynde Bradley in 1903 with the financial backing of investor Dr. Stanton Allen, what became the Allen-Bradley Company has served the Milwaukee community for over one hundred years, specializing in the design and manufacturing of various electrical products. During the twentieth century Lynde and his brother Harry built the company into one of… Read More

Allen-Bradley Clock Tower

Close up of the Allen-Bradley Clock Tower, in grayscale. The analogue clock glows, displaying the time at 08.30. The Stars and Stripes flag waves above the top of the tower.
The Allen-Bradley Clock Tower is a four-sided clock that sits on top of the ALLEN-BRADLEY Building (now Rockwell Automation) on the South Side of Milwaukee. Local ARCHITECT Fitzhugh Scott designed the tower. The clockworks were built by Allen-Bradley, which specialized in electrical controls, while the clock faces were created by Super Sky Products in MEQUON.… Read More


Image of a long alley with bumpy paving slabs. Houses along with power poles appear on the left and right sides of the road. A light-colored car is parked by the left edge of the alley, and a darker-colored one is placed on the opposite side.
Alleys have been part of the infrastructure of the City of Milwaukee and several of its surrounding towns from their founding. The 1846 Charter of the City of Milwaukee gave it authority “to lay out new highways, streets, alleys[,] and public walks.” Milwaukee developed a grid pattern of city streets already common in other eastern… Read More

Allis-Chalmers Corporation

High-angle shot of the interior of the Allis-Chalmers' factory building. Rays of sunshine from large windows surrounding the walls light up different gears and machinery equipment lying on the floor. Some machine parts are stacked on top of each other, and some are kept in boxes. When zooming the image, men standing and working beside the huge machine parts come into focus. Above them is a crane hook hanging on the tall ceiling. Close to it, at the top right corner of this image, is a man standing with one hand on his hips and the other hand holding a glass. He seems to oversee the workers below.
Operating from 1847 to 1999, the Allis-Chalmers Corporation was one of Milwaukee’s key manufacturing giants and for a time the city’s largest employer, producing what one historian describes as “the ‘big stuff’ for America’s expanding urban and industrial markets.” Allis-Chalmers originated in James Seville and Charles Decker’s Reliance Works, a pioneer iron foundry and machine… Read More

Alternative Medicine

Wide shot of a portion of Bethesda Springs featuring a small pond at the image's center. A landscaping plant is placed on an island in the middle of the water body. Inscribed on the grass by the pond is "1868-Bethesda." A gazebo with a domed roof stands at the right back of the pond. Tall trees surround the area and hide a grand building in the right background.
The history of alternative medicine in Milwaukee and elsewhere is intrinsically linked to the practice of mainstream medicine. Early medicine in Milwaukee was often a gruesome affair, with bleedings and purges that offered little in the way of relief. The horrors and inadequacies of these treatments bred public distrust in the mainstream medical community. Alternative… Read More

Alverno College

Alverno college students Julia Polk, Sandra Kelsey, Frances Rominski, Mary Sulgit, Nancy Hall, and Charlene James, smiling in their Fall outfits. Some wear glasses and coats, some hold books, as they pose in front of a building.
Alverno College, a Catholic women’s liberal arts college on Milwaukee’s South Side, is most recognized for its role as an international leader in non-graded, ability-based education. That distinction is closely tied to its founding order, the School Sisters of St. Francis (SSSF), and this order’s dedication to the education of all women across Milwaukee. Alverno… Read More

Amateur Sports

Grayscale group photo of the Maple Leaf amateur football team posing in a studio. They pose in three rows. Seven men stand in the back row. Five men sit in the second row. The person in the middle holds a ball that read "Milw. League Champions 1914." Five men in the front row sit cross-legged on the carpeted floor with a large "Maple Leaf" pennant flag.
Participation in amateur organized sports, played for fun or pride, has long been a staple of both recreation and entertainment in Milwaukee. The first formal organized amateur sports clubs in the city were cricket teams. Then-congressman Abraham Lincoln reportedly watched a Milwaukee cricket team play a Chicago club in 1849. By 1852, newspapers were carrying… Read More
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