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All MPL Neighborhood Branches will be CLOSED on Tuesday, November 3, 2020*

*Central Library will remain open to patrons and staff for limited services at reduced capacity. Learn More

Zablocki Branch open for curbside service only October 23-November 1

In order to accommodate extremely high early voter turnout, Zablocki Branch will open to the public on
Friday, October 23-November 1 for curbside service only.

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Historic Portrait Collection

The Historic Portrait Collection consists of photographs and images of almost 2,000 individuals related to Milwaukee.


Access the Index

These individuals include Milwaukee residents of various levels of prominence, as well as photos of famous individuals who visited Milwaukee. The images run the gamut from ordinary citizens to prominent national politicians and celebrities. To date, none have been digitized.

Also included in the collection are images of individuals with a more regional or national level of celebrity who visited Milwaukee. These portraits include many presidents, national politicians, members of Congress and the Senate, as well as well-known entertainers.

The photos range in date from the mid- to late 19th century through the present day.

A finding aid describing the collection is available both online and at the Humanities Desk. The finding aid lists alphabetically by last name and first name, the individuals included in the Historic Portrait Collection. A more detailed alphabetical index has also been prepared and is available online from the link on this page, as well as in print at the Humanities Desk. It also lists individuals whose photographs may be found in the following sources:

Bielfeld Kegelklub Album
Butler Album
CETA: Spirit of Milwaukee
Grannis Album
Historic Photo Collection
Jones Island, March 1904 to April 1905
Kern-Meinecke Album
Riverview Album
Horace Seaman Collection
Socialist Portraits
Yenowine’s Illustrated News, 10/12/1895

The Historic Portrait Collection is part of the Historic Photo Archives at Milwaukee Public Library. To access these portraits, please visit the Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room at Central Library or call 414-286-3061.