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Nebraska State Historical Society Annual Report
2002 - 2003

The Nebraska State Historical Society safeguards Nebraska's past and makes it accessible in ways that enrich present and future generations.

From the Board President and the Society Director

Nebraska's history is an essential part of the fabric and identity of the state, and for 125 years the Nebraska State Historical Society's mission has remained unchanged: To preserve Nebraska's past and make it accessible to all Nebraskans in ways that enrich present and future generations. The year 2003 marks not only the 125th anniversary of the Society's founding in 1878-it is also the 50th anniversary of the Society's headquarters building at 1500 R Street in Lincoln. This year that landmark structure, the Society's first permanent home, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Through the past century and a quarter, the Society has become a multifaceted organization serving many diverse interests, but has never lost sight of its fundamental purpose: to instill in all Nebraskans an appreciation for and understanding of the story of their state, and to provide access to resources that will promote inquiry, dialogue, and diversity of opinion to inform decisions facing them today and in the future. As the Society moves forward into the twenty-first century, these institutional values remain the bedrock of its being:

Unfortunately 2003 is also the second consecutive year of severe budget cuts, bringing significant staff reductions, shortened hours, and curtailed services. Similar cuts, caused by state revenue shortfalls, have affected most states.

Nevertheless, the Society's achievements were notable: The Museum of Nebraska History's antiquated air conditioning, which failed completely in the summer of 2002, was replaced with a new state-of-the-art system. In June the reconstructed 1874 cavalry barracks (or Cheyenne Outbreak Barracks) at Fort Robinson was dedicated, its construction made possible by joint funding from the state and the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation. As in other years, the Foundation supported a variety of activities including equipment purchases, publications, internships, National History Day travel scholarships, acquisitions for Society collections, and research fellowships for visiting scholars. To commemorate the 125th anniversary the Society mounted a year-long series of "Nebraska Treasures" exhibits and programs, and the annual meeting on September 26 will mark both the Society and the headquarters building anniversaries.

We want to thank NSHS trustees Herb Grandbois of Omaha and Keith Blackledge of North Platte for their service to the Society. Each has served two terms on the Society board, and their interest, leadership, and good counsel will be missed. Thanks are due, too, to the many friends of the Society who have donated materials to the collections. The museum, the library and archives, and the archeological collections are richer as a result of their generosity- and the story of this state's past is more complete. To make it possible to distribute this report widely while keeping costs low, these donors are not individually acknowledged here, but all will be listed on the Society's website at

Jack Preston, President
Nebraska State Historical Society
Board of Trustees

Lawrence Sommer,
Director and State Historic
Preservation Officer


With six divisions, four locations in Lincoln and Omaha, as well as six state historic sites, a branch museum, and numerous unstaffed properties across the state, the Nebraska State Historical Society is a diverse and widespread institution. Nevertheless, the agency's mission is clear, unified by its institutional values and the seven goals of its strategic plan. The touchstone for all its work, the strategic goals are the framework for the agency's collective achievements in the year 2002­03:

Abbreviations Used
Arch=Archeology Division
DIL=Digital Imaging Lab
GRFCC=Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center
HP=Historic Preservation Office
 L/A=Library/Archives Division
M&HS=Museum and Historic Sites Division
R&P=Research and Publications Division


Acquire, preserve, and make accessible collections, sites, and information that best represent the history and culture of Nebraska and its people.


Increase public awareness of NSHS as the primary resource for Nebraska history information.

Public Service

Deliver historical information and materials to the public in ways that meet users' needs.


Provide and maintain state-of-the-art facilities for Society collections and programs.


Use new technology to further the Society's mission.


Secure and maintain an adequate, stable, and diversified base of financial support.

  • Raised fees and increased earned income through fees for services. (All Divisions)
  • Solicited and received outside funding for Ford Center library cataloging project and equipment purchases. (GFRC)
  • Raised outside funds to underwrite exhibits costs for "Another Nebraska: A Look at our Black Heritage." (M&HS, R&P)
  • Provided support to the NSHS Foundation fundraising efforts through development of exhibits, flyers, posters, newsletters, and other requests. (M&HS)
  • Participated in "Lincoln's History Mystery," a NSHS Foundation awareness and fundraising event. (M&HS, R&P, L/A)
  • Entered into cooperative agreements with the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for curation of federal archeological collections. (Arch)
  • Renewed Nebraska Department of Roads Cooperative Agreement for the Highway Archeology Program. (Arch)
  • Generated more than $19,457 in net sales at museum stores across the state. (M&HS, Vols)
  • Received Transportation Enhancement Act Funds to repair damaged historical markers (M&HS)
  • Received grant funds from federal, state, and private sources. (All Divisions)
  • Staff

    Develop and retain the most qualified staff possible.

    Nebraska State Historical Society Awards

    Addison E. Sheldon Award: Gage County Historical Society.
    For outstanding achievements in the preservation and interpretation of Nebraska history. Also recognized: Kent Wilson, GCHS director, retiring after fifteen years service.

    James L. Sellers Memorial Award: Dr. Timothy Mahoney, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
    For the outstanding article in the previous year's volume of Nebraska History, "The Great Sheedy Murder Trial and the Booster Ethos of the Gilded Age in Lincoln, Nebraska," Winter 2001.

    Robert W. Furnas Award: Robert C. Pettit.
    For outstanding contributions to the Nebraska State Historical Society.
    Thirty-six years as a curator in the Society's museum collections; cataloged tens of thousands of items, oversaw computerization of collections records, donated more than two hundred objects.

    Nebraska Preservation Award: Dutton-Lainson Company, Hastings.
    Rehabilitation of the 1902 Hastings Burlington Depot, in cooperation with the city of Hastings and the Nebraska Department of Roads.

    Asa T. Hill Award: Nebraska Department of Roads.
    For achievements in the preservation of Nebraska archeology. For its partnership with the Society in the Highway Salvage Archeology program and assistance in locating and excavating diverse historic and prehistoric sites.

    Nebraska State Historical Society Board of Trustees

    Jack Preston, President
    Pat Kennedy, 1st Vice President
    Joyce Hillman-Kortum, 2nd Vice President
    Patricia Phillips, Treasurer
    Lawrence J. Sommer, Secretary
    Trustees, elected members:
    Margaret Allington
    Keith Blackledge
    Peter Bleed
    James Denney
    Patrick Kennedy
    Jason Kress
    Ann Marsh
    Patricia Phillips
    Jack Preston
    Charles Trimble
    Sally Stauffer Vifquain
    Bev Wilhelm

    Trustees, appointed members:

    G. H. Grandbois
    Joyce Hillman-Kortum
    Martin Massengale

    Nebraska State Historical Society Financial Report
    Fiscal Year Operations 2002-03
    (Based on preliminary year-end information. Excludes fiscal year accruals.)

    Revenues                         %     Dollar Amounts
    State Appropriations          63.96        $4,123,531
    NSHS Foundation Support        3.98           256,774*
    Earned Income                 18.61         1,199,997
    Federal Grants/Contracts      12.85           828,493
    Donations/Grants/Spec. Events   .60            38,433
    Total Revenues                             $6,447,228
    Museum/Historic Sites         20.74        $1,337,369
    Administrative Services       20.41         1,315,819
    Library/Archives              16.23         1,046,409
    Historic Preservation         15.50           999,394
    Archeology                    12.44           801,936
    Conservation                   8.56           551,825
    Research & Publications        6.12           394,476
    Total Expenditures                         $6,447,228

    *In addition to the figure above the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation provided direct support in the amount of $74,732.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Tony A. Schmitz
    Deputy Director for Operations


    Archeology, Museum, Library/Archives Divisions
    July 1, 2002 - June 30, 2003

    Douglass G. Adams, Ukiah, CA
    Suzy Albin, El Cajon, CA
    Fred Amis, Omaha
    Ramona Anderson, North Platte
    Curt & Donna Arens, Crofton
    Ruth Ann Aschwege, Hays, KS
    Marilyn Atance, London, Ontario, Canada
    JoAnn Auxier, Falls City
    Frank A. Berigan, Jr., Omaha
    Ann E. Billesbach, Lincoln
    Marjorie Wall Bingham, Minnetonka, MN
    Delmar & Ruth Borchers, Utica
    Edward George Borgens, Jr., Sacramento, CA
    Virginia Bowmaster, Lincoln
    Elinor L. Brown, Ceresco
    Dave Brubaker, Sacramento, CA
    Kathryn Buck, Sutton
    Thomas R. Buecker, Crawford
    Delia M. Burchfield, DVM, Bayard
    Walter Cady, Omaha
    Claire A. Callan, Fairbury
    Grace Carmody, Trenton
    Sandra Carter-Duff, Denver, CO
    Joanne Ferguson Cavanaugh, Omaha
    Malcolm H. Churchill, Washington, DC
    Patricia Churray, Lincoln
    Clerk of the Legislature, Lincoln
    Colorado State Archives, Denver, CO
    Congregational Christian Church, David City
    Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT
    Creighton University, History Department, Omaha
    Stanley J. Copley, Franklin
    Lorna (Mrs. Jack) Critchfield, Lincoln
    Dr. Ruth Crone, Omaha
    Earl J. Curris, Warba, MN
    Cushman, Inc., Lincoln
    Ron Dahlke, Lincoln
    Donald G. Darnell, Lincoln
    Davidson Titles, Inc., Omaha
    Thomas M. Davies, Jr., representing the Estate of Hubert Arnold, LaMesa, CA
    Davis Design, Lincoln
    Dawes County Historical Society Museum, Chadron
    Mary DePutron, Lincoln
    Ellen & Raymond DeVries, Lincoln
    Diocese of Nebraska, Omaha
    Angela Dresch, Primrose
    Ned Eastlack, Lincoln
    Jill Ebers, Lincoln
    Paul J. Eisloeffel, Lincoln
    Ramona A. Ellison, Rising City
    John Emmert, Topeka, KS
    Andrea I. Faling, Lincoln
    Mark Ferguson, Billings, MT
    Mary K. Florence, Omaha
    Richard & Jean Flower, Nelson
    William J. Foley, Sr, Topeka, KS
    Dr. Mary Carol Foreman, Stillwater, OK
    Four Footed Fotos Inc., Issaquah, WA
    Mitzi Fox, Albion
    Frances H. Gaines, Omaha
    Richard L. Galusha, Omaha
    Ruth Gehrig, Stamford
    Judy Gibson, Beatrice
    Sue Gilmore, Carroll
    Golden Pioneer Museum, Golden, CO
    Jane Graff, Seward
    Robert L. Graff, Beatrice
    Suzanne Graham, Lincoln
    Mike Grant, Frankfurt, KY
    Great Plains Yearly Meeting, Central City
    Diane Gritz, Lincoln
    Woody Guthrie, Malcolm
    Leland M. Hancock, Lincoln
    Ruth C. Hansen, Lincoln
    Hastings Public Library, Hastings
    Stan Hayes, Manhattan, KS
    Dan C. Hedberg, Whitney
    Joan Hees, Lincoln
    Linda L. Hein, McCook
    Janice Mae Hellerich, Raymond
    Pam Hendricks, Lincoln
    Pat Henry, Lincoln
    Mary F. Eis Hessler, Lincoln
    Historical Society of the 8th Circuit Court, Omaha
    Historical Society of Washington, DC, Washington, DC
    Jack Hoover, Jr., Lincoln
    Eldon Hostetler, Milford
    Barbara L. Houck, Seal Beach, CA
    Mary Ann Behlen Hruska, Walnut Creek, CA
    Marie A. Huber, Bruning
    Cindy Hulsebuss representing the Estate of Thomas Creigh, Jr.
    Gene and Bobbie Hunzeker, Cincinnati, OH
    Lynne M. Ireland, Lincoln
    Gloria Bailey Jackson, Chaseburg, WI
    Josef A. Jackson, Grand Island
    Barbara B. James, Baldwin City, KS
    Mary Jenks, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
    Richard E. Jensen, Lincoln
    Linda Jones, Lincoln
    Dr. Theodore P. Jorgensen, Lincoln
    Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO
    Sarah Keil, Keizer, OR
    Kay Kimberly, Big Springs
    Mrs. Eugene Klum, Lincoln
    Robert E. Knoll, Lincoln
    Jill Koelling, Lincoln
    E.A. Kral, Wilber
    Doug A. Kristensen, Kearney
    Richard Kuska, Taos, NM
    Leo L. Lemonds, Hastings
    Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society, Lincoln
    Lincoln Public Schools Arts & Humanities Focus Program, Lincoln
    Lincoln Public Schools Association of Office Professionals, Lincoln
    Lincoln Symphony Guild, Lincoln
    Connie Linesch, Culver City, CA
    Frederick C. Luebke, Lincoln
    Tom Lutzi, Lincoln
    Sid Magdanz, Omaha
    James Magorian, Lincoln
    Mariposa Museum & History Center, Mariposa, CA
    Jodi Marra, Guilford, CT
    Gerald W. Mathews, Omaha
    Ronald E. Mattson, Baltimore, MD
    Edward McAndrews, Los Angeles, CA
    Ken and Peggy McClure, Lincoln
    Lucia McCreery, Brooklyn, NY
    Jim McKee, Lincoln
    Mary McKee, Aztec, NM
    McLean County Museum of History, Bloomington, IL
    Midlands Marketing, Omaha
    Mid-Continent Public Library/Genealogy & Local History Branch, Independence, MO
    Midwest Bank, Pierce
    Dennis Mihelich, Omaha
    Martha J. Miller, Lincoln
    Ruth V. Mills, Spokane
    Judy Moeller, Lincoln
    James L. Mohon, Norman, OK
    Gerri Monahan, Lincoln
    Rosalind, Morris, Lincoln
    Ronald Morse, Indianapolis, IN
    Gary Mossa, Lincoln
    David R. Murphy, Lincoln
    Ralph Myers, Thornton, CO
    National Blue Family Association, Seattle, WA
    National Society Daughters of the American Revolution - Nebraska, Lexington
    Nebraska Chapter of National Association of Postmasters of the United States, Laurel
    Nebraska Federation of Women's Clubs, Seward
    Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, Lincoln
    Nebraska State Department of Aeronautics, Lincoln
    Nebraska State Historical Society, Administration Division, Lincoln
    Nebraska State Historical Society, Archaeology Division, Lincoln
    Nebraska State Patrol, Lincoln
    Nebraska State Quilt Guild, Fremont
    Nebraska United Methodist Historical Center, Lincoln
    Hilda Neihardt, Phoenix, AZ
    Carol Nelson, Lincoln
    Night Howl Productions, Clay Center
    North Platte Valley Museum, Gering
    Mark Norton, San Francisco, CA
    Dr. Sharon D. Ocker, Sioux City, IA
    Mary-Lou Olsen, Eagle, ID
    Paul Olson, Lincoln
    Christopher S. Parker, Stone Mountain, GA
    John and Mary Pavel, Titusville, FL
    Curt Peacock, Lincoln
    Perkins Library representing Carol and Frank Medsker, Hastings
    Peru State College Library, Peru
    Ray Peterson, Jr., Vancouver, WA
    Phi Alpha Theta, Phi Nu Chapter, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney
    Platte County Historical Society, Columbus
    Ponca Public Library, Ponca
    Lajean Price, Lincoln
    Primrose Centennial Committee, Primrose
    Public Library of Steubenville & Jefferson County, Steubenville, OH
    L. Robert Puschendorf, Lincoln
    Robert L. Quinsey, Eureka, CA
    Harold Raburn, Holdrege
    Russ Reno, Lincoln
    Robert Richter, Ogallala
    Fred J. Riffe, Marathon, FL
    Marlene Riggle, Gillette, WY
    Mae W. Robertson, Rosemont, PA
    Marilyn Rodgers, Marengo, IA
    Al Rodriquez, Omaha
    Phillip J. Rooney, Lincoln
    Daniel J. Roth, Lincoln
    Judy Rowe, Nebraska City
    Tom Ryan, Lincoln
    San Jose Public Library, San Jose, CA
    Chris Sautter, Ceresco
    Dan R. Schneiderheinz, Central City
    John R. Schubert, Lincoln
    Sara Gibson Schwake, Eugene, OR
    Carl Schweser, Iowa City, IA
    Sharon Seagren, Lincoln
    George C. Seward, Scarsdale, NY
    Sharing Across Generations for Enrichment (SAGE), Lincoln
    Gwenith O. Sheldon, De Norte, CO
    Winona Duncan Snell, Laguna Woods, CA
    Marjorie Mae Warren Snodgrass, Lincoln
    Margie Sobotka, Elkhorn
    Barbara W. Sommer, Lincoln
    Lawrence Sommer, Lincoln
    Southeast Community College, Lincoln
    Jan Stehlick, Dorchester
    Georgia Covey Stone, Lincoln
    Elinor L. Stroup, Topeka, KS
    Ray Svoboda, Lincoln
    Donald Swanson, Lincoln
    Textron/Cushman Inc., Lincoln
    Robert Thomson, Plattsmouth
    Texas Historical Commission, Austin, TX
    Donald Trauger, Oak Ridge, TN
    Thad T. Uehling. Lothian, MD
    Underhill Society of America, Oyster Bay, NY
    United States District Court, Lincoln
    University of Nebraska - Archives & Special Collections, Lincoln
    University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha
    Larry E. Vaughan, Lincoln
    Chad Wall, Bancroft
    Laura Pearl Wall, Haigler
    Washington County Historical Society, Ft. Calhoun
    West Virginia Division of Culture & History/Archives & History, Charleston, WV
    Dee Weyeneth, Lincoln
    Lorry Wagner, Brighton, MI
    Chad Wall, Lincoln
    Janice Wendl, Omaha
    James W. Wengert, Omaha
    Mayor Don Wesely, Lincoln
    Western Historical Manuscript Collection, Kansas City, MO
    Larry G. White, Austin, TX
    Sue Williams, Lincoln
    Kathleen L. Young, Lincoln

    here open to all is the history of this people (image)
    Doorway inscription at the Historical Society headquarters building, Lincoln.

    Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation

    Prominent among the year's notable achievements listed by Society Director Larry Sommer and President Jack Preston in their letter at the beginning of this annual report, is the reconstruction of the 1874 cavalry barracks (or Cheyenne Outbreak Barracks) at Fort Robinson. Built with the help of many generous donations that made it possible to match public challenge funding from the Legislature, the barracks is a brilliant example of the impact private-public partnerships can have on the Historical Society's capacity to preserve and interpret the state's history. Without generous private support, we could not provide the solid, physical presence of that building, which enables visitors to visualize the events that transpired there.

    Throughout this report, you have seen other examples of the innovative ways the Historical Society is preserving our state's history and sharing it with the widest audience possible. The Foundation brings donors and projects together to enrich and expand the Society's efforts to safeguard, interpret, and share the irreplaceable record of Nebraska's history.

    The Foundation's work depends on the thoughtfulness and generosity of many individuals, businesses, and foundations. This year, when economy is the watchword, this summary annual report does not have space to list all their names, but a complete list of donors and foundation members will be available online at On behalf of the Foundation's board of trustees, I would like to thank everyone who has joined us in supporting the Nebraska State Historical Society and invite you to experience all the Historical Society has to offer throughout the state.

    Allison D. Petersen, President
    Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation

    Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation Board of Directors

    Allison D. Petersen, President
    Steven E. Guenzel, Exec. Vice President
    Jack D. Campbell, Vice President
    Joanne F. Shephard, Secretary
    C. John Guenzel, Treasurer

    Martha A. Greer
    Dr. James W. Hewitt
    Dr. F. William Karrer
    Dr. Frederick C. Luebke
    Carol F. Maddux
    Dr. Martin A. Massengale
    John D. Massey
    George H. Moyer, Jr.
    James F. Nissen
    Robert D. Northrop
    Cynthia A. Olson
    John W. Webster
    Amy Scott-Willer
    S. N. "Bud" Wolbach
    Dr. John R. Wunder

    Board of Directors Emeritus
    Caroline Kivett

    Ex Officio (NSHS representatives)
    Jack Preston, President NSHS
    Patricia Phillips, Treasurer NSHS
    Lawrence Sommer, Director NSHS

    Executive Committee
    Allison D. Petersen, President
    Steven E. Guenzel, Exec. Vice President
    Jack D. Campbell, Vice President
    C. John Guenzel, Treasurer
    Dr. James W. Hewitt
    James F. Nissen
    John W. Webster

    Jackie Spahn, Executive Director
    128 North 13th Street, No. 1010
    Lincoln, NE 68508
    Telephone: (402) 435-3535
    Fax: (402) 435-3986

    For a detailed, illustrated version of the 2002­03 Nebraska State Historical Society Annual Report visit the Society's website at

    For Nebraska State Historical Society membership information call (402) 435-3535 or e-mail

    Nebraska State Historical Society
    1500 R St., P.O. Box 82554, Lincoln, Nebraska 68501
    Telephone: (402) 471-3270
    Fax: (402) 471-3200




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