Wauwatosa Historical Society Collections
The Wauwatosa Historical Society collects, preserves, and stores objects, documents, and images to help us share Wauwatosa’s stories. The special collections of WHS reflect the history of Wauwatosa from its beginnings to the present. It includes school yearbooks, biographical files, the Wauwatosa Times newspaper, cemetery records, and maps. We invite you to browse a selection of our online collections. More collections and access to additional materials are available through membership.
If you’re interested in learning more about our collections or searching in our library, please contact us.
JUDITH A. SIMONSEN RESEARCH LIBRARY
The Judith A. Simonsen Research Library at the Kneeland-Walker House provides valuable access to historical documents. Library volunteers use resources like city directories, maps, archived newspapers, photographs, and journals to research library patrons’ inquiries.
Discover our community’s rich history through a captivating collection of digitized postcards, featuring iconic historic buildings and more. This collection is available to members only. Click to learn about membership options.
Many photographs were published in our book, Images of Wauwatosa. There are hundreds more available, including postcard images. Members have access to our digital collection. Browse a small photography collection online.
This historical society has a collection of published works including newsletters, community histories, and books about Wauwatosa. Visit the Society to browse the collection.
The collections of WHS shall reflect the history of Wauwatosa from its beginnings to the present. This shall also include materials from Milwaukee County and the State of Wisconsin as they relate to Wauwatosa’s historical experience. Collections shall be for the benefit of present and future generations of Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County, and its visitors.
THE SARAH CLAPP QUILT
We’re committed to researching and preserving the Sarah Clapp quilt from 1879. The quilt is silk and velvet with hand embroidery and some painted designs.
Our collection includes the 1876 Historical Atlas (plat map book) of Milwaukee County. In addition, there is a listing for maps that include pre-1900 and post-1900 Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County, and Wisconsin. There are many more maps in our research library. Copies of the 1876 Map of Wauwatosa Township are available for purchase.
What are manuscripts? Manuscripts can be the personal papers of an individual, including correspondence, school report cards, playbills, receipts, and memorabilia. They can include the official records of a business, institution, or organization, including incorporation, minutes, financial material, and correspondence. The name reflects the creator of the material. These collections may also include photographs, books, maps, and artifacts. Below are abstracts from a variety of manuscripts that we hold; there are over a hundred additional smaller files. These primary source materials offer a wealth of historic information, much of which is not found elsewhere.
City of Wauwatosa directories are an excellent tool for finding names and addresses of people, businesses, and churches in Wauwatosa. The directories list the head of household alphabetically by surname, along with their address and occupation. Directories are from 1892 to 1989 (but not inclusive). Regular publication began in 1926. The 1932 book includes new street names and number changes. Directories are available by appointment only in the Judith A. Simonsen Research Library.
WHS holds bound copies of the Wauwatosa News beginning with 1900, and the Wauwatosa News Times through 1994. WHS has the ONLY index to this paper, from 1900 through 1917. This digitized index can be searched by personal or corporate name. Newspapers are available by appointment only in the Judith A. Simonsen Research Library.