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Madison Public Library has the Wisconsin State Journal from 1866 to present and the Capital Times from 1917 to present. These two papers often serve as the only source of obituaries for the Dane County area.

Obituaries can be obtained three ways:

  • Recent obituaries from 11/19/2002 to present can be viewed, many without images, at the Wisconsin State Journal web site (as can recent birth announcements).
  • Obituaries before 11/19/2002 can be obtained by browsing the newspaper microfiche or can be requested (with a two-week date range) by phone, mail, or email.
  • Obituaries from 10/9/1852 to 12/31/1977 may be obtained by accessing NewspaperArchive. A valid library card is needed to access NewspaperArchive outside of the library.

We will obtain obituaries for people with the following criteria:

  • You must provide the name of the person who died.
  • You must provide a date of death, or date range of two weeks.
  • You must provide your own name, mailing address, phone number, and email address (if applicable).
  • You agree to our fax/mail policy (if applicable).

To request an obituary be sent to you, please call the Central Reference department at 608-266-6350 or use our email reference form. If charges apply, please send a request with payment to Madison Public Library; Attn: RUS Office-obit; 201 W. Mifflin St.; Madison WI 53703 with a check made payable to Madison Public Library

Fax/mail policy


For persons within the South Central Library System the first five pages will be sent free and additional pages cost $1 each payable in advance or charged to a valid SCLS library card. If you request the obituary using Interlibrary Loan through your local public library and pick it up there, 30 pages are free and additional pages cost $1 each.

For persons outside the South Central Library System, a $6.00 per page fee applies. Material can be mailed, faxed, or scanned and sent via email. The fees must be paid in advance.

Additional staff charges may apply beyond these limits, or you may be referred elsewhere

If charges apply, please send a request with payment to Obituary Request, Central Reference Department; Madison Public Library; 201 W. Mifflin St.; Madison WI 53703 with a check made payable to Madison Public Library.


The copyright law of the U.S. governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproductions are not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgement, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of the copyright law.