Leslie A. Bellais

Email: lbellais@wisc.edu

Advisor: John Hall



In January 2019, I retired after 28.5+ years as the Curator of Social History (formerly Curator of Costume & Textiles) at the Wisconsin Historical Society. My primary research interest has been in 19th century women’s clothing, especially underwear. Currently, my broader interest is in midwestern history, especially Wisconsin, with an emphasis on crime and vigilantism.


M.A., College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA, US History to 1815, museum management training
M.A., University of Wisconsin, US History, material culture minor
B.A., Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, VA, historic preservation


  • U.S./North American History

MA Title

  • “Bringing Up the Rear: The History and Significance of Late 19th Century Bustles”

Working Dissertation Title

  • “‘Traitor State’: A Crisis of Loyalty in World War I Wisconsin”

Selected Publications

  • Wisconsin Magazine of History

Professional Affiliations

  • Costume Society of America, Midwest Region board member