Local History Collection

Welcome to the South Milwaukee Public Library Local History Collection. This digital resource was launched in 2021 with support from the South Milwaukee Historical Society, the South Milwaukee Industrial Museum, Recollection Wisconsin, and Alex & Meta Stosick.

View the Finding Aid for SMPL’s physical archive collection. This includes materials related to South Milwaukee’s history, the history of the South Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee city and county directories, and other archival materials held at the library.

Bucyrus-Erie “Scoop” Magazines
The Bucyrus-Erie Company’s official employee magazine, published between 1919 and 1983. Includes content about all B-E activities, but with a focus on the happenings at their South Milwaukee plant. Courtesy of the South Milwaukee Industrial Museum.

City of South Milwaukee Government Publications
A collection of materials published by the South Milwaukee government and library.

Historic Photos of South Milwaukee
A collection of photographs and other images of South Milwaukee, from the collections of the South Milwaukee Library, the South Milwaukee Historical Society, and the South Milwaukee Industrial Museum.

Histories of South Milwaukee
Written histories of South Milwaukee, some including photos. 

South Milwaukee City/Telephone Directories
Directories contain both residential and business listings and range from 1911 to 1980. Please note that there are many gaps in this collection and that directories were not produced every year. If you have a directory not included in our collection and are interested in having it added to our digital collection, please contact the library.

South Milwaukee High School “Bay Mist” Yearbooks
Digital copies of SMHS yearbooks between 1926 and 2012. Please note that the yearbook was not published between 1933 and 1935.   

South Milwaukee Historic Newspapers
Browse a keyword-searchable collection of South Milwaukee Journal issues, 1893 & 1899-1930 (1894-1898 issues are presumed lost). The Journal was published weekly in 1893 and after 1905, and published bi-weekly 1899-1904. Some gaps in this collection exist. Newspapers from 1930-2004 will be added to the collection in 2023.

South Milwaukee in the Roman Kwasniewski Collection
Browse more than 100 portraits of South Milwaukee residents in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Roman Kwasniewski photography collection. Kwasniewski ran a south-side studio which catered to a largely Polish-American customer base. His photos of South Milwaukeeans mostly date to the 1920s.

South Milwaukee Public Library Scrapbooks
Between 1930 and 1992, the library maintained a series of scrapbooks containing clippings of news items related to the library. These scrapbooks are an excellent source for information on the history of the library and contain many photos of library events.

Wisconsin Spectacle of Music Programs
The Wisconsin Spectacle of Music debuted in 1946 and grew to the largest celebration of its kind in the nation. The Spectacle was a South Milwaukee summer tradition until the late 1970s and briefly returned in the 1990s. This is a near-complete collection of souvenir programs issued with each event.

World War I Military Portraits – South Milwaukee, Wis.
From the Milwaukee Public Library’s WWI Portrait Collection, browse a selection of military photographs and service records from South Milwaukee residents who served in the First World War.