What’s in the Manitowoc County Historical Society Archives?


Discovering your family’s history is an amazing journey.

Census records, newspaper articles, photographs, and other artifacts hold the keys to a past we can only imagine. Our local history archives may be able to help you in your search. 

  • Compiled written history of Manitowoc County

  • Manitowoc County plat books for family owned land

  • Manitowoc County immigration dates and declarations from 1848 to 1929

  • Manitowoc County cemetery lists

  • Manitowoc County Civil War veterans biographies

  • Compiled village and town histories

  • Various church records including: St. Wendel, St. Isidore, St. Fidelis, St. Patrick

  • City and county directories beginning in 1864

  • Various one-room school materials, attendance records, and yearbooks. 

  • A collection of early Manitowoc newspapers is also available for limited examination and referencing.

  • Thousands of images and documents for our County's cities, towns, and rural villages.

  • Local business records and documentation

  • Donated scrapbooks

  • Oral histories have also been collected and are available in various formats on a wide-range of subjects. 

Looking to do research?

Please contact us at (920) 684-4445 to make a research appointment or go to our research request page.  Our library is staffed through volunteer effort and we appreciate your understanding in letting us know you would like to plan a visit.

While there is not a charge for research requests, donations are very much appreciated so we are able to continue the great work of preserving our local heritage.


Collection Features

 Green Bay Packers - Chicago Bears, 1955

Green Bay Packers - Chicago Bears, 1955

Cornick Collection

A hallmark of our local history collection is a group of over one thousand negatives taken from 1940-1980 by local photographer Daryl Cornick.


 Francis Kadow Photograph of Sally Swarick (left) and Ginny Bast Dill (right)

Francis Kadow Photograph of Sally Swarick (left) and Ginny Bast Dill (right)

Kadow Collection

Francis M. Kadow was born in 1899 and grew up in Manitowoc. He left school at age 16 to help his father run the Mikadow Theater, which opened in 1916. He eventually owned and operated both the theater and the radio station WOMT, headquartered on the second floor of the theater. Kadow was also an amateur photographer and took photos of Manitowoc that are included in this collection.


Aluminum Goods/ Mirro Collection

The Mirro Collection is a treasure of the Aluminum Goods legacy in the people of Manitowoc County. The collection includes objects, archives, and photos. Rarely seen design work and marketing materials are included in the collection.


2008.68.28 Benke.jpg

Benke Collection

Hermann C. Benke documented the city and surrounding county in portraits and postcards for 20 years. Benke was born in Zempelburg, Germany, in 1869. His family immigrated to the United States in 1872, eventually settling in Kansas. Hermann finished school and became a teacher at age 17, with photography as his hobby. His collection includes images taken from 1894 to about 1915.  When he moved to Manitowoc, Benke took advantage of the penny postcard craze and made a suitable living photographing the city’s scenes and events and then printing postcards. When a convention was in town, he would photograph the parade or city decorations and have postcards available for attendees the next day.