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Betty Quadracci

Betty Quadracci signs a signature plaque at the Milwaukee Press Club's Hall of Fame dinner in 2012.
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… Read More

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… Read More

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.… Read More

Catherine B. Cleary

As a lawyer, philanthropist, and businesswoman, Catherine B. Cleary was a pioneering force in both Milwaukee and the broader United States.
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… Read More

Catherine M. Conroy

In 1978, Catherine Conroy (seated, left) was honored as Woman of the Year by the Milwaukee chapter of NOW. In this photograph with her, from left to right, are Katherine Clarenbach, Mary Jean Collins, and Gene Boyer.
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… Read More

Charlotte Partridge

To honor their "unusual foresight and great courage," Miriam Frink (left) and Charlotte Partridge (right) were presented with illuminated scrolls at the Layton School of Art's 34th commencement in 1954.
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… Read More

Dorothy Enderis

Born in 1880, Dorothy Enderis is remembered for her lifelong commitment to the importance of education and recreation opportunities.
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,… Read More

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… Read More


This iconic family portrait, taken during the early 20th century in Milwaukee's Polonia neighborhood, features the Uszler family and their 13 children.
The “family” is a core institution of all known human societies. There are a variety of definitions, reflecting the complexity of the concept. At its simplest, the family is “a group of persons united by the ties of marriage, blood, or adoption,” who usually, but not necessarily, live together in a “household.” More expansive definitions… Read More


Two people walk west on Wisconsin Avenue in the early twentieth century towards the Gimbel’s Department Store.  Their dress suggests their gender identity as a woman [left] and a man [right].
The people who have lived in the Milwaukee metropolitan area make up a diverse population—they inhabit a wide variety of social and economic dimensions, including, but not limited to the following: ancestry and ethnicity, economic situation, age, living arrangements, political and religious views, and gender. An examination of all these identities and categorizations, each providing… Read More

Golda Meir

Photograph of Golda Meir and her 8th grade class taken at the 4th Street Elementary School in 1911. Meir is seen at the extreme right in a white dress.
Born Golda Mabowitz on May 3, 1898 in Kiev, the future Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, faced anti-Semitism from an early age. Indeed, in 1903 her family moved to Pinsk to escape the threat of Russian pogroms. Shortly thereafter, the family emigrated to Milwaukee. There, the family opened a grocery store, which Meir helped run… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

Josette Vieau Juneau

Painting, oil.  Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Oil painting on canvas.  Portrait of Josette Vieau Juneau, 1852 (from life).  Artist: G. P. A. Healy (Chicago).  Water gilt frame.
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… Read More

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… Read More

LGBT Milwaukee

In 1970, the Gay Liberation Organization (GLO) was founded at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as an early effort to organize gay men and women in the area.
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… Read More

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.… Read More

Mabel Raimey

Mabel Raimey attended Marquette University Law School starting in 1922 and was the first African American woman admitted to the Wisconsin Bar in 1927. This photograph was taken between 1950 and 1970.
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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More