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Appleton is located in the Wisconsin counties of Calumet, Outagamie, and Winnebago, along the Fox River, north of Milwaukee. The city shares its history with Lawrence University, as the two grew together. Although the first settlers in the area were fur traders, the Lawrence Institute was chartered in 1847, and Samuel Appleton donated $10,000 for the newly founded college library, for which his name was given to the community.

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