Neenah Public Library Local History Collection

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URLs to browse or search the collections

Neenah, a city of 25,000, is a part of the Fox Cities and located in east-central Wisconsin, on the northwest shore of Lake Winnebago. Originally known as Winnebago Rapids, Neenah was incorporated as a village in 1856 and had a population of 1,296 in 1860. Thanks in part to its location on the Fox River, in the mid-1800’s Neenah attracted flourmills and the lumber industry. By the 1870’s paper mills began to take over the industrial landscape of the area and has continued to play an important role in the city’s economy.

The Neenah Public Library’s digital collection presents the history of Neenah primarily from the early 1800’s to the 1950’s. The two Neenah histories highlight the development and important events of Neenah from pre-settlement to the late 1950’s. The city directories provide valuable information to genealogists, while the searchable photograph collection captures life in the Neenah area from the mid-1800’s to the 1950’s. Neenah’s digital collection will be of use to local historians, students, genealogists, and anyone interested in the history of Neenah!

For further sources on Neenah and Winnebago County see:
Neenah Public Library Genealogy and Local History Links
Oshkosh Atlases and Histories-UWDC Wisconsin Collection
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Area Research Center


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Local Histories

City Directories

Phone Directories

Plat Map

  • Atlas of Winnebago County, Wisconsin/W.W. Hixson & Co. (1928).Atlas of Winnebago County, Wisconsin/W.W. Hixson & Co. (1928). The atlas provides plat maps of Winnebago County, Wisconsin including property owners and the amount of acreage owned by individuals. City maps of Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh, Omro, and Winneconne are included.


  • Local PhotographsA collection of 400 photographs of the Neenah-Menasha area, primarily from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. The collection includes photographs of small businesses and industries, churches, schools, parks, downtown and neighborhood scenes, and the people of Neenah-Menasha at work and play.

In 2014, the Neenah Public Library and Menasha Public Library collaborated to expand their digital collections to include new material that complemented the existing resources.  The cornerstone of this addition is an extensive oral history project conducted in the 1970s by UW-Fox Valley professor Michael O’Brien.  Professor O’Brien interviewed residents from a wide range of backgrounds and created an important resource on life in the Neenah-Menasha area in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Print resources added to the collection expand the geographic coverage to include a work on the Town of Menasha, an area that borders the cities of Neenah and Menasha with its own distinct history and identity.  The additional material will also provide information on an important institution shared by the two communities: the Boys and Girls Brigade.  Find these materials in the Neenah Menasha Local History Collection.


This project was funded, in part, through a 2011 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant. The grant provided financial support to digitize and make available online local library resources. For more information about LSTA grants in Wisconsin, contact the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Division for Libraries and Technology or visit the LSTA grant Web site at

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.