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Betty Quadracci

Betty Ewens Quadracci was born the fourth of six children in 1938. Raised in SHOREWOOD and Milwaukee’s Upper East Side, she overcame polio as a young girl in the 1940s. In 1961, she graduated from Washington, D.C.’s Trinity College. Trained as a Montessori teacher, she helped establish the Montessori School of Waukesha in 1964. She…
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Beulah Brinton

Photograph of the Beulah Brinton House in Bay View. Today, the building is home to the Bay View Historical Society.
Born in Jay, New York, Beulah Brinton (1836-1928) moved to BAY VIEW from Michigan with her husband Warren, a manager at the Milwaukee Iron Company, in 1872. There, she served as a midwife and taught English and home economics to the wives of immigrant steel mill workers. During her forty years in Bay View, Brinton…
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Caroline Quarlls

This portrait of Caroline Quarlls was taken when she lived in Sandwich, Ontario, Canada after escaping slavery.
Caroline Quarlls (later Quarlls Watkins) is widely recognized as the first enslaved person to migrate through Wisconsin using the Underground Railroad, reaching Canada and freedom in 1842. Born in 1826 in St. Louis, Missouri, Quarlls decided at age 16 to escape slavery, leaving her home on July 4th, 1842. She traveled by steamboat from St.…
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Catherine B. Cleary

Catherine B. Cleary (1917-2010) was a formidable figure on a local and national scale, and a trailblazer for women in business. Born to a prominent family, she intended to pursue a career in education and law. When, despite her credentials, local law firms only offered her positions that did not take advantage of her legal…
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Catherine M. Conroy

Catherine M. Conroy (1919-1989) was a prominent leader in the labor and feminist movements in Milwaukee. Born in Milwaukee, Conroy worked as a cafeteria worker in a county tuberculosis sanitarium and County General Hospital after high school in 1938. She was hired as a long-distance operator at Wisconsin Bell in 1942, later transferring to the…
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Charlotte Partridge

Charlotte Partridge (circa 1881-1975) was an internationally renowned art educator, the founder of Milwaukee’s Layton School of Art, and Chair of the Federal Art Project in Wisconsin. Her legacy allows us to trace the growth of socially-engaged art practice during the first half of the twentieth century in the United States. Partridge was born in…
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Dorothy Enderis

A world-renowned continuing education and recreation pioneer, Dorothy Enderis was born in 1880 to Swiss immigrant parents in Elmhurst, Illinois. The following year, her family moved to Milwaukee. After graduating from the Milwaukee Normal School in 1901, Enderis worked for eight years as that institution’s assistant librarian and then as a fourth-grade teacher. In 1911,…
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Eldon Murray

Photograph of Milwaukee LGBT community activist Eldon Murray, 1930-2007.
Eldon Murray (1930-2007) was a nationally-recognized figure in the gay rights movement. Murray was born and raised in Vincennes, Indiana. He relocated to Chicago at age 18 and later served in the Korean War. He settled in Milwaukee in 1955, where he began a career as a stockbroker. Murray’s local activism began in 1969, after…
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Ione Quinby Griggs

Photograph of the iconic Ione Quinby Griggs taken during the 1970s, the latter half of her impressive newspaper career. She retired in 1985.
An advice columnist for more than half a century, Ione Quinby Griggs (1891-1991) became a beloved Milwaukee icon. Famed in 1920s Chicago’s “Jazz Age” as a front-page “girl reporter,” her reportorial reputation came from coverage of women of lesser repute, “murderesses,” and mobsters’ molls of Chicago’s most notorious decade. However, her reportorial range encompassed women…
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Jane Bradley Pettit

Respected across Milwaukee for her extensive philanthropy, Jane Bradley Pettit's efforts continue to benefit the community today.
Called “Milwaukee’s No. 1 philanthropist,” Jane Bradley Pettit (1918-2001) earned the respect of an entire city as a result of her selfless giving to educational, cultural, and entertainment causes. Jane Bradley Pettit was born Margaret Jane Sullivan to Dwight Sullivan and Margaret “Peg” Blakney Sullivan. After they divorced, Harry Lynde Bradley, a co-founder with his…
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Josette Vieau Juneau

Portrait of Josette Vieau Juneau at age 51, from a painting by Geo. P. A. Healy. 
Josette Vieau Juneau (1804?-1855), was the Métis “founding mother” of Milwaukee, who midwifed the settlement, literally and figuratively, in its formative years—and was the grandmother of a Métis U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Paul O. Husting. Menominee and French Canadian, she was born in Green Bay—when still called La Baye, a vestige of its Nouvelle France…
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Laura Ross Wolcott

Engraving of Dr. Laura Ross Wolcott, who became Wisconsin's first female doctor in 1857. Wolcott was also a founding member of the Wisconsin Woman Suffrage Association.
Laura Ross Wolcott (1834-1915) was the first female doctor in Wisconsin and an important leader of the woman suffrage movement in Milwaukee. She was born in Maine, educated in Boston, and graduated in 1856 from the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She came to Milwaukee in 1857, opened a private practice, and later…
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LGBT Milwaukee

The composite designation “LGBT” functions as an acronym to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Milwaukeeans who, since the 1960s, have challenged the city and metropolitan region to end gender and sex based forms of discrimination. In the process, they have demonstrated vibrant activism and artistry bifurcated by the politics of gender and race. By…
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Lizzie Black Kander

Studio portrait of Lizzie Black Kander, forerunner of the settlement movement in Milwaukee and author of the wildly successful "The Settlement Cook Book."
Lizzie Black Kander’s life experience coincided with the emergence of industrialized cities, rapid urbanization, and the massive immigration of her coreligionists from Eastern Europe. Elizabeth, “Lizzie” Black was born in Milwaukee on May 28, 1858 to John and Mary (Perles) Black. The Blacks lived on Milwaukee’s South Side, having moved from Green Bay in 1844.…
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Mabel Raimey

Mabel Raimey (circa 1900-1986) earned the right to practice law in Wisconsin in 1927, making her the first African American woman to hold such a distinction. She would practice law until she suffered a stroke in 1972. Prior to her admission to the bar, she became the first black woman known to attend law school…
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Mary Blanchard Lynde

Portrait of Mary Blanchard Lynde, a woman known for her activism and reform advocacy throughout Wisconsin.
Mary Blanchard Lynde (circa 1820-1897) moved from upstate New York to Milwaukee with her husband, William Pitt Lynde, in 1841, a few weeks after their marriage and about a year after her graduation as valedictorian from the Albany Female Academy. In addition to raising seven children with William, a successful politician and founding partner in…
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Mathilde Franziska Anneke

After immigrating to Milwaukee in 1850, Anneke became a prominent force in advocating for education and women's rights in Wisconsin and around the United States.
Mathilde Franziska Giesler Anneke was an internationally known educator, women’s rights advocate, journalist and publisher, poet, author, and arts critic who immigrated to Milwaukee in 1850. Over her life in the city she became involved in major liberal political battles of her day, and in her later years she ran a renowned women’s school in…
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Meta Schlichting Berger

Photograph of Meta Schlichting Berger in 1911.
Meta Schlichting Berger won election to the Milwaukee school board in 1909, seven years after women could vote in such an election, and a decade before women earned the right to vote in the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Berger remained on the school board for another 30 years. In this and other prominent public…
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Prostitution

Trading cash for sex, either with streetwalkers or at brothels, is a practice as old as Milwaukee itself and, despite law and crusades against it, survives to this day, primarily men buying sex from women. The earliest references to prostitution in Milwaukee date back to the early 1850s, as articles appeared in the Milwaukee Sentinel…
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Sexual Health

In 1916 Milwaukee Health Department inspectors posted this notice in factory toilets and public toilets to offer “advice” on treating or avoiding sexually transmitted diseases.
The World Health Organization defines sexual health as “a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality” and emphasizes “it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity.” In the context of Milwaukee’s history, the main focus of policies and practices surrounding sexual health, however, concerns the prevention and…
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