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Highlights from Nebraska Photograph Collections

John Anderson Collection


John Anderson was a photographer who worked primarily at Fort Niobrara in Nebraska and on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Born in Sweden in 1869, he came to this country with his parents, eventually settling in Cherry County, Nebraska, in 1884. John was sent back to Pennsylvania to be educated and it was during this time he became familiar with photography. By 1887 he was working as a civilian photographer for the army at Fort Niobrara, near Valentine, Nebraska. In the early 1890s he was working as a clerk in the Rosebud Reservation trading post operated by Colonel Charles P. Jordan. Anderson was a prolific photographer. There are more than 350 glass plate negatives in the collection, including formal portraits of Fool Bull, Ben Reifel, and Crow Dog. Also included are scenes from around Rosebud and views of Fort Niobrara. The collection is not yet fully digitized. Here are just a few samples of Anderson's work.

The John Curry house; 1048
Solomon D. Butcher Collection

This collection contains almost 5,000 images taken in Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado. The main concentration of material comes from Custer County, Nebraska, and tells the fascinating story of homesteading on the Great Plains. In a project funded by the Library of Congress and Ameritech, 3,000+ glass plate negatives were digitized and are available online at the American Memory portion of the Library of Congress website. The collection is also available on microfiche. This photograph is known as "Nebraska Gothic." It is the John Curry homestead near West Union, Nebraska, taken in 1886.

Champion Ag. Club Steer 1927
Nebraska Fairs Collection

The majority of the Fairs collection consists of photographs taken at the Nebraska State Fair. Subjects range from exhibits, horse shows, and 4-H to the midway and grandstand. Here are a few examples from 1880 to 1950.

John Nelson Collection


John Nelson was born in Harestad, Sweden, in 1864. He came to Wheeler County with his parents at the age of seventeen. From there he traveled to the gold fields of Colorado, where he became acquainted with photography. He returned to Nebraska and established a studio in Ericson. His photographs tell the story of small town life in Nebraska during the first decades of the Twentieth Century. His subjects included his local businesses, community activities, and early automobiles. These are just a few examples of his insight into the heart of rural Nebraska. This photograph was likely taken in front of a café in Ericson, Nebraska.

Fairmont Foods Company
Omaha, Nebraska, Collection. RG4218.PH

Fairmont Foods began as the Fairmont Creamery in Fairmont, Nebraska, in 1884. The creamery was a pioneer in milk can pickup and was one of the first creameries to give farmers their own hand cream-separators in its early years. The business grew rapidly and moved to Omaha in 1904. In 1929 it was incorporated and began to diversify its product lines to include frozen foods, cheese, and poultry products. By 1948 the company name was changed to Fairmont Foods, a direct reflection of the corporation's diversification. At one time it was a Fortune 500 company and it earned a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in 1959. The photograph portion of the collection tells the visual story of the rise of Fairmont Foods.

Wounded Knee


The massacre of more than 250 people at Wounded Knee, including many Sioux women and children, on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in December of 1890 is one of the most tragic stories in the history of the Great Plains. This collection consists primarily of photographs taken of the battle's aftermath. The collection contains graphic images of violence. Those photographs are not available online.

For more information about Wounded Knee and the photographs and photographers who recorded the event see Eyewitness at Wounded Knee, by Richard E. Jensen, R. Eli Paul, and John E. Carter, available from our Museum Store. Write to NSHS Store, Nebraska History Museum, P.O. Box 82554, Lincoln, NE 68501, for mail order, or just call the toll-free number, 800-833-6747. You'll get postage and handling information when you call.

Otto Klima Collection


Otto Klima, 1916-2000, was a lifelong collector and contributor to the collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society. His gift of thousands of postcards and photographs cover many topic areas including town views from every county in the state. Here are just a few examples from this eclectic mixture of historic Nebraska images.

advertising card, 10599
Anderson Studio Advertising Card

This advertising card for the Anderson Studio offers a wonderful opportunity to examine photographic portrait studios at the turn of the Twentieth Century. The original object measures only 2x3 inches. The photograph is even smaller. High resolution digital imaging allows us to closely examine small components of small originals. Click on the card to go to an image map.

Thomas Kimball Collection


This new collection comprises photographs taken at the turn of the Twentieth Century in Wakefield, Nebraska. The 4x5 glass plate negatives were found under the floorboards of the old Kimball house.

Kimball County Album


Photograph album depicting an unidentified family's wheat farm. This album is in extremely fragile condition and is restricted. However, digital images are available for use.

Ogallala Tourist Camp Postcard


A typical early auto tourist camp near Ogallala, Nebraska

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Last updated 31 May 2001

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