As one of the first historical societies in the State of Wisconsin the Ripon Historical
Society is well established. In 1899, out of a concern to preserve the early history and
development of Ripon and the Wisconsin Phalanx, the Ripon Historical Society was
founded. Its charter members branched out to gather historical records and artifacts
wherever possible and to write the stories of the prominent men, women and events
before all recollections were gone or forgotten.Attorney Samuel M. “Sam” Pedrick, whose family was among the first settlers in Ripon,
was the youngest of the Ripon Historical Society’s charter members. For fifty years he
researched, collected and wrote material about Ripon and its people. The result
became what we now know as the Pedrick Papers. A part of this collection is the eighty
volume Pedrick Genealogy Notebooks which are a treasure of information documenting
the early families and individuals in Ripon and surrounding areas.
Access the Ripon Library Pedrick Genealogy Here
Another part of the Pedrick Papers are fifty volumes of Ripon
history through 1960 known as the Pedrick Historic Collection. These volumes are
available for use at the Society and only by appointment.
From 1932 to 1943, Pedrick also wrote articles on Ripon’s early history for the Ripon Commonwealth newspaper. At the request of Ripon resident Mildred Watson, Dr.
George Miller of Ripon College agreed to compile and edit Sam Pedrick’s articles into
book form. The result was the book, A History of Ripon Wisconsin, published in 1964.
This started a movement by Ripon citizens to find the Historical Society a permanent
location to house Pedrick’s work and other Ripon articles which had been collected over
the years. By 1968 the Society had moved into its current headquarters at 508 Watson
Street. The Pedrick Papers were first housed at Ripon College. As a celebration of the
100th anniversary of the Ripon Historical Society, an addition was added to the
headquarters at 508 Watson Street. The Pedrick Papers were then moved to the
Society headquarters to form a permanent archive.
The Ripon Historical Society archives documents, books, artifacts, artwork, photographs
and other memorabilia spanning over 175 years.
These items help detail
Ripon’s place in the State of Wisconsin and our nation. The stories listed on our
website are only a glimpse into Ripon’s history ~ each has a deeper story of its own.
Our programs, events, and exhibits appeal to local, national and international visitors
along with students wishing to connect with history. We also assist researchers seeking
information about specific topics and issues, individuals with an interest in history who
support and join various historical societies, and members of the general public who are
interested in finding out more information on Ripon, or their own family members who
might have lived in the Ripon area.
The Ripon Historical Society is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization and
donations to the Ripon Historical Society are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by
The Historical Society is open every
Friday and Saturday, 10 AM-1 PM
and by appointment.
Mail: 508 Watson Street, Ripon, WI 54971
Phone: (920) 748-5354