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September/October 2003

Swanson Biggs Adams Family Foundation Grant for Reader/Printer for Reference Room

Don Swanson has traveled all over the United States researching his family's genealogy. His travels have taken him to state historical societies, libraries, and county courthouses in Tennessee, Virginia, and Oklahoma.

During his research junkets, he experienced both the highs and lows of the research facilities he encountered.

One thing he noticed in nearly all the locations he visited was how slow and cumbersome the printing process was after the information was found. After the desired article or document was located, the microfilm it was recorded on was removed and placed on a different machine, relocated, and then printed.

Such was the case when Don and other researchers visited the Nebraska State Historical Society's Reference Room.

During one of his research trips, he discovered the ease and convenience of a reader/printer combination machine. The reader/printer makes it possible for the user to locate the article of interest, read it, and print it without reeling the microfilm back, moving to another machine to load the film, scrolling to the desired article, and THEN printing the article. He thought the Nebraska State Historical Society should have the same technology.

photo of Don Swanson
Don initiated a discussion that led to a $15,000 grant from the Swanson Biggs Adams Family Foundation to purchase a Canon MS-800 digital microfilm scanner with laser printer. The machine was installed on July 21, and Don was there for the inaugural print (see photo at left). He said, "This will make the research process go very quickly because they can find the article and print it right on the spot."

The efficiency of the machine is a definite benefit to its users, but Don also wanted to provide access to the reader/printer as a benefit to Society members.

Society members can reserve the machine for three-hour blocks of uninterrupted use. The gift from the Swanson Biggs Adams Family Foundation also makes it possible to provide free prints of the research materials to members. Non-members pay 50 cents per copy and are restricted to 15-minute blocks of time.

"In the past we've looked at possibilities of offering membership discounts in the Reference Room, and the generosity of the Swanson Biggs Adams Family Foundation enables us to offer that. We think that members will be thrilled to get free copies and that this will expedite their research immeasurably," said Andrea Faling, associate director for Library/Archives at the Nebraska State Historical Society.


Foundation Sponsors Volunteer Archeology Dig at Engineer Cantonment

An elk rib bone, buttons, tacks, a Great Blue Heron bone, smaller bird bones, pieces of dishes, pipe stems -- this is only a partial list of the artifacts discovered at the Engineer Cantonment site during a volunteer excavation sponsored by the Foundation. Foundation and Society trustees and their guests had a unique opportunity to join Society archeologist Rob Bozell for a day of excavation and discovery on July 18.

Engineer Cantonment is now the oldest "discovered" Euroamerican archeological site in Nebraska. Earlier trading posts are known to have existed along the Missouri, but none have been found. The site has archeological research potential as well as national historic significance by virtue of its association with the Long expedition.

The Long expedition was a voyage led by Major Stephen Harriman Long that built upon the discoveries of Lewis and Clark. While wintering at Engineer Cantonment, the expedition built several cabins, documented local flora and fauna, and improved American relations with local Native American tribes.

Volunteers assisted archeologists with light, careful digging using small trowels, screened dirt for artifacts, identified artifacts, and drew profiles of architectural remains and formations. At the end of the day, they had uncovered what appears to be the main fireplace of the set of buildings.

 excavation view
Jerry Toll, Ron Westlake, Foundation President Allison Petersen, Society Senior Research Historian Jim Potter, Foundation Trustee Neal Ratzlaff, and Society archeologist Ron Bozell at Engineer Cantonment excavation site.

Volunteers after a long, hot day of excavating!

"The NSHS Archeology Division truly appreciates the help of the Foundation trustees during our excavations of Engineer Cantonment. The site is one of the most important properties in Nebraska related to development of the American West, the history of scientific explorations, and understanding early nineteenth-century lifeways," said Bozell.

Bozell plans to continue the excavations this fall and has invited Foundation trustees and their guests to join him.

"This site contains information yet to be unearthed. We're looking forward to working with the Foundation and guests on additional volunteer digs."

 Bev Karrer
Volunteers Bev Karrer, Ron Westlake, and Allison Petersen discovering the science of archeology and unearthing important information about this significant site.

Volunteers assisting Society archeologist
Rob Bozell.

 Bill Karrer
Foundation Trustee Dr. Bill Karrer
of Omaha.

For more information on the site or the upcoming volunteer excavation, contact Jac Spahn at 888-515-3535.


How Can YOU Help the Society Protect Our State's Past?

The Historical Society is charged with protecting, interpreting, and sharing Nebraska's history. Imagine caring for over 135 years worth of documents, photographs, maps, manuscripts, film, books, buildings, and sites, and the huge collection of the many items used by Nebraskans throughout those years. Don't forget the responsibility to record the stories of our state, carefully protect and preserve all those items and information, AND make all of the information accessible in meaningful ways to the citizens of Nebraska and beyond.

The Historical Society does all of that every day-- but they could use YOUR help. Private support can have a great impact on the tools and resources available to protect our state's heritage well into the future.

From time to time, we'll feature needed equipment or information that can help the Society increase the understanding, appreciation, and accessibility of Nebraska's history.

Now here's how YOU can help! Look over the list and see if there is something you can help us purchase. Or maybe you know someone who could help, or maybe you have one of these items you would be willing to donate.

Please contact Jac Spahn at the Foundation, 888-515-3535, if you can help us with any of these items. Together we can be a part of history and the future!


2003-04 Foundation Board of Directors

Allison D. Petersen, Walton, President
Steven E. Guenzel, Lincoln, Executive Vice President
Jack D. Campbell, Lincoln, Vice President
C. John Guenzel, Lincoln, Treasurer
Joanne F. Shephard, Valentine, Secretary
Martha Greer, Lincoln
Dr. James W. Hewitt, Lincoln
Dr. William F. Karrer, Omaha
Dr. Frederick C. Luebke, Lincoln
Carol Maddux, Wauneta
Dr. Martin A. Massengale, Lincoln
John D. Massey, Scottsbluff
George H. Moyer, Jr., Madison
James F. Nissen, Lincoln
Robert D. Northrop, Lincoln
Cynthia Olson, Lisco
Amy Scott-Willer, Omaha
John W. Webster, Omaha
S. N. "Bud" Wolbach, Grand Island
Dr. John Wunder, Lincoln

Lawrence J. Sommer, Lincoln, NSHS Director, Ex-officio
Jack Preston, Lyman, NSHS President, Ex-officio
Patricia Phillips, Omaha, NSHS Treasurer, Ex-officio

Contact Information:

Jackie Spahn, Executive Director
Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
128 North 13th Street, #1010
Lincoln, NE 68508

Ph: 402-435-3535
Toll Free: 888-515-3535
Fax: 402-435-3986

July/August 2003 Issue

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Last updated 31 October 2003

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