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We hope you will enjoy reading about Fitchburg, Wisconsin as it developed from a sparsely populated township to a group of small communities and finally to a vibrant and diversified city encompassing nearly all of the township of Fitchburg in Dane county.

FHS Website Alert

When there is new material placed on our website, FHS members will be notified by email detailing what has been added. Non FHS members can opt in to this new feature by sending an email to

New material added to the FHS website November 23, 2020

Added Obituaries and Cemetery information for the following individuals on the Obituaries webpages
Bowman, Duane Fredrick Jr.  Obit  Cemetery
Clayton, Judith “Judy”  Obit  Cemetery
Gionta, Elizabeth M. “Liz” (nee Campagna)  Obit  Obit  Cemetery
Grover, Arthur LeRoy “Hank”  Obit  Cemetery
Nachreiner, Elaine Ruth (nee Pschorr)  Obit  Cemetery
Thompson, Mary Kathleen (nee Lacy)  Obit  Cemetery

Added Obituaries for the following individuals
Houlihan, Helen G. (nee Noble)  Obit
Novara, Mary Lou (nee Kerwin)  Obit

Updated the FHS Obituary Database linked to the Obituaries and FHS Databases webpages.

Short Articles

Making Photos From Glass Negatives

Photographs are an important resource in understanding the past. It documents the architecture of buildings and how they have changed over the years. Photographs of individuals not only show their appearance but tell us about clothing and hair styles through the years. This method of looking at the past is why the Fitchburg Historical Society has archived over 1,100 photographs chronicling the history of Fitchburg. The FHS Photo Database contains a description of each photograph and a thumbnail image of the photograph. Clicking on the thumbnail will bring up an enlarged image.

Glass negative LRRecently, several items including glass negatives were donated to the FHS by a Fox family relative. This type of negative was common in the 1880s to 1920s because of their stability and relatively high resolution at that time.  This technology was supplanted by thin acetate negative film and today with most individuals having a smart phone, sharing digital photos on line has reduced the need to have physical photographs.

Obtaining prints and digital images from glass negatives would typically require the services of a professional photographer.  As an alternative, we tried a do it yourself process that requires an inexpensive light box, a camera and Adobe Photoshop software.  This article describes the process and gives the results which were quite respectable for 118 year old negatives. The process also worked for old thin negatives, some of which date back to about 1909.

Click to read Making Photos From Glass Negatives

To see past articles click here.

Display Case

The Fitchburg Historical Society display case is located near the Fitchburg Room on the southeast corner on the second floor of the Fitchburg Public Library.  The display case highlights a variety of historical items throughout the year.  When the displays are changed, they focus on Fitchburg events and people and/or historical happenings of community interest

Ida Wyman display.jpgThe FHS display case remembers the life and photographic work of Ida Wyman, master photo journalist. She started using a camera at an early age and photography became her life’s work. Ida was curious about people and things so she recorded her feelings with her camera. Through the camera lens, Ida would produce documentary photographs showing everyday events in the world around her. The pictures in this display present some of her cross country travels from New York to Los Angeles in the mid twentieth century to capture bits of Americana. Ms Wyman had photographs published in Life and Look magazines at a time when few women did that kind of work. She received more acclaim for her work in later years as people came to enjoy the gallery presentation talks that she gave during her photo exhibitions. Her photographs can be found in many galleries across the United States and around the world. We honor her memory as we reveal her interesting story by showing some of the pictures she cherished. THANK YOU IDA WYMAN – you will be sadly missed.

Melanie Herzog, PhD, a Dean of Edgewood College, has agreed to reschedule her discussion of the career and photography of Ida Wyman at our annual meeting in the spring. Professor Herzog, an art historian, has written essays about Ida Wyman’s contributions as a photographer. We look forward to her talk about “Ida Wyman, acclaimed photographer of everyday life”.

Wisconsin State Journal obituary New York Times obituary

To see old Displays click here.