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Historical Newsletter

January / February 2005


Beadwork Masterpieces:
Native American Bandolier Bags
of the Prairies and Lakes

Bandolier bags are elaborately decorated shoulder bags made by native people of the upper Great Lakes and prairies from southern Canada to Kansas. These showy, intricately beaded bags are featured in a new exhibit opening Friday, February 25, at the Nebraska State Historical Society's Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln.

Ojibwa, Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Potawatomi, Otoe, and Omaha bags dating from the 1880s to the 1940s are featured in the exhibit, along with historic photographs from the Nebraska State Historical Society and Minnesota Historical Society collections. Bags were loaned for the exhibit from the University of Kansas in Lawrence and Union Station, Kansas City, Missouri. Dr. Tom Myers, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, assisted in development of the exhibit, on display through 2005.


This photo from 1899 features two Omaha boys on horseback,
the one in front wearing a bandolier bag.
NSHS RG1289-2

Curators' Choice: A Film Series at the Nebraska State Historical Society

The Douglas Theatre Company is sponsoring the Society's seventeenth annual film series entitled Curators' Choice. Several curators are choosing and introducing their favorite, somewhat obscure, Nebraska-related films. All films are shown, free of charge, at the Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln, at 1:30 p.m.

Our thanks to the Douglas Theatre Company for its gift to the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation, making this program possible. The series begins on January 23, 2005, and runs for seven weeks. Try to join us for one of these great films.

Nebraska State Historical Society to Award Three Research Grants for 2005

The Nebraska State Historical Society will award three $1,000 research grants to support original research and interpretive writing related to the history and archeology of Nebraska and the Great Plains to be conducted during 2005. The 2005 NSHS research grant application period opens January 2, 2005. Applications must be postmarked by March 1. Recipients will be announced in April. Projects are to be completed within one year.

Applicants from any background, including academic and public historians, graduate students, and independent researchers and writers, are welcome to apply. Preference will be given to applicants proposing to pursue previously neglected topics or new approaches to and interpretations of previously treated topics. Preference for one of the grants will be given to current graduate students, young scholars, or nonacademic scholars whose work is not otherwise subsidized.

Grant recipients will be expected to spend at least one week during the grant period in residence in Lincoln working with materials from the Nebraska State Historical Society collections. The grants are intended to support research that will lead to submission of a manuscript by April 1, 2006, for possible publication in the NSHS quarterly journal, Nebraska History, or another appropriate venue.

Funding for the research grant program is provided by the Gladys Marie Lux Education Endowment and the Tom and Marilyn Allan Fund, both administered by the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.

More information about the 2005 grant program is available online at http://www.nebraskahistory.org/publish/grants/index.htm or by mail from Nebraska History, P.O. Box 82554, Lincoln, NE 68501-2554.

Society State Archives Program Marks Centennial in 2005

Although the Nebraska State Historical Society began preserving manuscripts, printed state reports, photographs, and other documents soon after its founding in 1878, it had no authority to acquire government records that had permanent historical value. In 1901 Addison E. Sheldon, then director of Society fieldwork, began an inventory of records stored in the state capitol vaults. In his report, he noted, "Tons of these papers are burned by the janitors every year, without the least discrimination and without any investigation as to their importance." Among the casualties were the handwritten minutes of the 1875 constitutional convention, which drafted the document that forms the core of the present state constitution. Sheldon saw these minutes being hauled out of a vault by capitol janitors, and they were never seen again.

In 1905, largely at Sheldon's instigation, Senate File 180 was introduced and passed by the Nebraska Legislature on March 30. The act made the NSHS custodian of all public records, documents, and "historical material," not having been in active use for at least twenty years, in any of the offices and vaults of state departments, county courthouses, city halls, or in any other institution receiving legislative appropriations. The act effectively designated the Society to serve as the official state archives.

Lacking a permanent building or adequate staff, the Society could do little for many years to assume this new responsibility, but some important public records did come into its custody. As the public records holdings grew, the first state archivist was employed in 1951. With the completion of the Society's new R Street building in 1953, the archives staff began actively accessioning state and local public records, aided in 1969 by legislation that gave them additional authority to perform their archival functions. Today, the state archives program and its significant holdings are a cornerstone of the Nebraska State Historical Society's service to government and the public, and a rich resource for scholarship.

Pages in History to Hold First Meeting

Anyone who loves literature about Nebraska and the West is invited to become part of the Nebraska State Historical Society's new Pages in History series. "What we are going to do is read some great literature about our past and combine the discussion with the NSHS collections, staff, and other resources of the NSHS," said Society Volunteer Coordinator Deb McWilliams. Volunteers, NSHS members, staff, and the general public are invited to participate.

Pages In History will meet in the auditorium at the Nebraska State Historical Society's Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln, at 2 p.m. Dates for the facilitated book discussion are provided below:

Books may be purchased at the NSHS Museum Store at Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln, checked out from your local library, or purchased from other bookstores. Pages in History will run from January through May. Please contact the NSHS at 471-3272 if you have questions or plan to attend.

Amendment One Approved by Nebraska Voters

Nebraska voters approved Amendment One by a 58 percent to 42 percent margin in the November 2 general election. This amendment to the Nebraska constitution clears the way for the legislature to enact legislation allowing a temporary "hold" on the property tax assessment of historic properties. The measure does not allow a historic property to be taken off the tax rolls­it only allows the legislature to consider legislation that would freeze, for a limited time, any property tax assessment increase resulting from a historic property's rehabilitation.

Legislation to place Amendment One on the November ballot was introduced in the last session of the Nebraska Legislature by Senator Don Pederson of North Platte. Some thirty Nebraska mayors, many of the state's major newspapers, and organizations such as the Nebraska League of Municipalities, the Nebraska Association of County Officials, and the Nebraska State Education Association supported Amendment One.

Amendment One grew out of extensive public input. As early as 1995, the Nebraska Legislature's Task Force on Historic Preservation recommended policy to address historic preservation, and the amendment was drafted following a series of legislative studies analyzing effective ways to encourage preservation.

With passage of Amendment One, the Nebraska Legislature can now consider legislation:

Friends of Amendment One, an organization that supported and publicized the ballot initiative before the election, will now work with legislative sponsors to draft legislation implementing this provision of the Nebraska Constitution. Supporters hope that legislation can be introduced as early as the 2005 session of the Nebraska Legislature.

LIBRARY / ARCHIVES

NEW ACQUISITIONS OF INTEREST TO GENEALOGISTS
By Cindy S. Drake, Library Curator

A Book of Remembrance: The Noerenberg-Norenberg Family, Including Related Families, Treptow, Timm, Pobloth, from Koslin Kreis, Pomerania, Prussia to Ithaca, Nebraska, compiled and edited by Maurla Haehlen White. (German-American families in Saunders County.)

A Century of Living in the Lives of George and Louisa Jane Baker and Their Descendants 1845-1950... [compiled by Mildred Baker]. (Baker and Stuart families in Greeley County.)

Hunter Hall: A Historic Odyssey and Civil War Love Story, by Amy Sadle. (Hunter family in Lancaster County.)

[Kindschuh Genealogy, compiled by Dale Moseman.] (German-American families of Kindschuh, Heller, Koehler, Ehlman, and Meyer in Burt and Dodge counties.)

Medicine Creek Journals: Ena and the Plainsmen, by D. Jean Smith. (Ballantine and Palmer families in Frontier County.)

The Pentico-James-Vasos Family History, compiled by Judy Vasos. (Families in Pierce County.)

The Story of John Peterson and Lizzie Olson [compiled by Anita Sue Peterson Clement]. (Swedish-American families of Peterson, Bloom, and Ericson in Harlan County.)

UPCOMING EVENTS

January 9: Sunday at the Museum Series, "Mark Twain Made Me Do It and Other Explanations of a Writer's Craft," with western Nebraska writer Bryan Jones. 2 p.m., John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Bancroft. Free and open to the public; reception following. For information contact the Neihardt Site at 1-888-777-4667 or neihardt@gpcom.net

January 13: Lincoln Corral of Westerners, "The History of Hot Springs, Arkansas," by Bill Hunt, Midwest Archeological Center. Meet in the Arbor Room, Holiday Inn, Ninth and P streets, Lincoln. Social hour at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7:00, program at 8:00. For information and reservations (required): call Margaret Allington at 402-488-5698.

January 20: Brown Bag Lecture, "Lincoln's Legal History," by Judge Sam Van Pelt.12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

January 23: Curators' Choice: Sunday Afternoon Film Series. Grandma's Boy (1922) Harold Lloyd's favorite film, and one of ours, too. Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln, at 1:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.

January 23: Sunday Afternoon at the Rock Series, "What Has the Nebraska State Historical Society Done for You Lately: An Update," by the NSHS staff. The Society's programs and services are available statewide, and we would like to tell you more about them. 1:30 p.m., Ethel and Christopher J. Abbott Visitor Center at Chimney Rock National Historic Site, located one mile south of Highway 92 on Chimney Rock Road. Free and open to the public; limited seating available.

January 30: Curators' Choice: Sunday Afternoon Film Series. Follow the Fleet (1936) Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sing and dance to the music of Irving Berlin. Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln, at 1:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.

January 30: Sunday Afternoon at the Rock Series, "History and Prehistory of this Segment of the North Platte Valley," by George Zeimens. Like pages of a book, the archeological record lies buried, waiting to be read. George Zeimens of the Western History Center will tell us these fantastic stories discovered just under our feet. 1:30 p.m., Ethel and Christopher J. Abbott Visitor Center, located as above. Free and open to the public; limited seating available.

February 6: Curators' Choice: Sunday Afternoon Film Series. Waterloo Bridge (1940) Two of Hollywood's most beautiful stars, Robert Taylor, a native of Filley, and Vivien Leigh, fall in love in a classic tearjerker. Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln, at 1:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.

February 6: Sunday Afternoon at the Rock Series, "Irrigating the Great American Desert," by Jolene Kaufman. Nebraska's "Nile Valley" did not flow with milk and honey by itself. Jolene Kaufman of the Oregon Trail Museum Association will discuss the phenomenal effort of early settlers of the North Platte River Valley to irrigate their semiarid acres. 1:30 p.m., Ethel and Christopher J. Abbott Visitor Center, located as above. Free and open to the public; limited seating available.

February 13: Curators' Choice: Sunday Afternoon Film Series. Claudia (1943) Omaha native Dorothy McGuire in her breakthrough role as a child bride who grows up. Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln, at 1:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.

February 13: Sunday Afternoon at the Rock Series, "Warfare on the Plains: Strengths and Weaknesses of the Army and Plains Indians," by John D. McDermott. More than men clashed on the Great Plains. Colliding cultures unaware of the other's strengths and weaknesses caused fear, confusion, and war. John D. McDermott, Indian Wars historian, will compare the strengths and weaknesses of these combatants of the Plains. 1:30 p.m., Ethel and Christopher J. Abbott Visitor Center, located as above. Free and open to the public; limited seating available.

February 13: Sunday at the Museum Series, opening exhibit and artist presentation, works by Roger Gerberding of Omaha. 2 p.m., John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Bancroft. Free and open to the public; reception following. For information contact the Neihardt Site as above.

February 17: Brown Bag Lecture. Dr. Tom Myers, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will discuss the beadwork masterpieces included in the Museum of Nebraska History's new exhibit [see above]. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

February 20: Curators' Choice: Sunday Afternoon Film Series. The Sea of Grass (1947) Though the film is set in New Mexico, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, and director Elia Kazan filmed this sprawling western in Nebraska's Cherry County. Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln, at 1:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.

February 20: Sunday Afternoon at the Rock Series, "Ash Hollow, Gateway to the North Platte River Valley," by Jeff Uhrich, Ash Hollow State Historical Park. Most emigrants were delighted to enter this wonderful rest stop to recharge both man and oxen for the trek west. Uhrich will explain its role in the Western migrations. 1:30 p.m., Ethel and Christopher J. Abbott Visitor Center, located as above. Free and open to the public; limited seating available.

February 27: Curators' Choice: Sunday Afternoon Film Series. Up the Down Staircase (1967) Sandy Dennis, who attended school in both Hastings and Lincoln, stars as a young teacher in a turbulent New York high school. Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln, at 1:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.

February 27: Sunday Afternoon at the Rock Series, "Is There Anything More Grand? Emigrant Reactions to Courthouse Rock," by Loren Pospisil. Courthouse Rock was the first great rock formation to greet emigrants as they entered our "Monument Valley." Many of them commented on this "Masterpiece of Nature's Architecture." This program will consist of quotes of emigrants, so let your imagination see Courthouse Rock through their eyes. 1:30 p.m., Ethel and Christopher J. Abbott Visitor Center, located as above. Free and open to the public; limited seating available.

March 6: Curators' Choice: Sunday Afternoon Film Series. The President's Analyst (1967) As secret headshrinker to the president, James Coburn becomes increasingly paranoid in this wicked satire. Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln, at 1:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.


Indian on horseback logo

BOOKS AVAILABLE
from the MUSEUM STORE


MUSEUM of NEBRASKA HISTORY, 15th & "P" Streets, 402-471-3447
10:00 - 4:30, Monday - Friday
1:00 - 4:00, Saturday and Sunday
Museum Store Catalog online


 

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