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 law.

Our board of directors

Tracy O'Brien
Pat Grahn
Acting President
Gary Wetzel
Roberta Walker
Steve Riemer
Lara Grant
Chris Wiegand
Travis Nygard
Sandy Soda
David Sakrison
Joe Walker
Dave Soda


The Historical Society is open every Friday and Saturday, 10 AM-1 PM and by appointment.


Mail: 508 Watson Street, Ripon, WI 54971
Email: riponhistsoc@gmail.com
Phone: (920) 748-5354