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Schooling began in Milwaukee in 1836 with the establishment of a tiny private school. As the frontier trading post grew, city fathers established public schools in each of the city's six wards. The first Roman Catholic parochial schools also appeared early in the Milwaukee's history; they would eventually be followed by Lutheran and Jewish schools. Other milestones in the history of Milwaukee schools are the founding of the first high school in 1857 and the establishment of one of the nation's first kindergartens a few years later. Like school systems in other major American cities in the 20th century, Milwaukee schools have struggled to come to grips with the diversification of the student body, with declining resources and increasing demands, with teacher-administrator clashes, and with the politicization of education. "Schooling" will offer documents and images that not only recreate the experiences of students in Milwaukee County's public and private schools, but also offer perspectives on the policies and pedagogy of their teachers and administrators.

Schooling Photo Gallery

Special topics

Special topics are packages of documents and images we've found interesting in our research. If you're wondering where to start, you can select a topic and explore.

Students work in the classroom at the Milwaukee County Home for Dependent Children, ca. 1930s. Milwaukee County Historical Society.

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