While the NSHS maintains its own book publishing imprint, some books by NSHS staff have been published elsewhere. These titles, listed below, are available at NSHS Landmark Stores. To order, call 402-471-3447, or use the order form.
James E. Potter
Standing Firmly by the Flag: Nebraska Territory and the Civil War, 1861-1867
2013, University of Nebraska Press. Paperback, 375 pages.
From a pool of barely nine thousand men of military age, Nebraska--still a territory at the time--sent more than three thousand soldiers to the Civil War. They fought and died for the Union cause, were wounded, taken prisoner, and in some cases deserted. But Nebraska's military contribution is only one part of the more complex and interesting story that James E. Potter tells in Standing Firmly by the Flag, the first book to fully explore Nebraska's involvement in the Civil War and the war's involvement in Nebraska's evolution from territory to thirty-seventh state on March 1, 1867.
Although distant from the major battlefronts and seats of the warring governments, Nebraskans were aware of the war's issues and subject to its consequences. National debates about the origins of the rebellion, the policies pursued to quell it, and what kind of nation should emerge once it was over echoed throughout Nebraska. Potter explores the war's impact on Nebraskans and shows how, when Nebraska Territory sought admission to the Union at war's end, it was caught up in political struggles over Reconstruction, the fate of the freed slaves, and the relationship between the states and the federal government.
David Royce Murphy, with contributions by: Michael L. Tate, Michael Farrell
Scenery, Curiosities, and Stupendous Rocks: William Quesenbury's Overland Sketches, 1850-1851
2011, University of Oklahoma Press. Hardcover (11" x 11"), 304 pages, 157 B&W Illus., 13 Maps.
A nineteenth-century artist's firsthand impressions of the American West
Long before Hollywood brought the landscapes of the American West to movie screens, clever impresarios invented ways of simulating the experience of western travel and selling it to mass audiences. In 1851, entrepreneur John Wesley Jones hired artist William Quesenbury to join such a venture. Quesenbury and other artists traveled the overland trails through Nebraska Territory to sketch the "scenery, curiosities, and stupendous rocks" they encountered, and Jones used selected material for his "Pantoscope," a gigantic, scrolling panoramic painting. Scenery, Curiosities, and Stupendous Rocks gathers 71 of Quesenbury's sketches from the Jones expedition and a gold rush trip the year before. These works in pencil are illuminated by eyewitness accounts from the period, modern maps, contemporary photographs, and descriptive notes.
David Royce Murphy, Michael L. Tate, and Michael Farrell set Quesenbury's depictions, including Pikes Peak and Courthouse Rock, in historical context. Their insightful essays offer accounts of the artist's mid-century travels, the worlds of panoramic art and field exploration, and the contemporary conception of natural space. In exploring these topics, the book offers alternate conclusions about the purpose of the sketches. Jones's moving panorama opened in late 1852 under the title "Pantoscope of California, Nebraska & Kansas, Salt Lake & the Mormons" and was wildly popular on Boston and New York stages.
Today, the Quesenbury sketches are all that remains of Jones's project. The sketches reproduced here, rare records of that ambitious enterprise as well as the sights en route to California gold, offer evidence of the way mid-nineteenth-century Americans envisioned the West.
Richard E. Jensen, R. Eli Paul, and John E. Carter
Eyewitness at Wounded Knee
2011, University of Nebraska Press. Paperback, 210 pages. Paperback edition of this 1991 book, with new introduction by Heather Cox Richardson and re-scanned photographs.
This first book-length photographic history of events that led up to and followed the bloodshed at Wounded Knee, 1890-91, brings together and assesses 143 photographs, most from the collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society, made around the time of the massacre.
August Scherneckau; edited by James E. Potter; translated by Edith RobbinsMarching with the First Nebraska: A Civil War Diary
2007, University of Oklahoma Press. Hardcover, 368 pages.
A pioneer Nebraskan offers a German's-eye view of the Civil War.
August Scherneckau's diary is the most important firsthand account of the Civil War by a Nebraska soldier that has yet come to light. A German immigrant, Scherneckau served with the First Nebraska Volunteers from 1862 through 1865. Depicting the unit's service in Missouri, Arkansas, and Nebraska Territory, he offers detail, insight, and literary quality matched by few other accounts of the Civil War in the West. His observations provide new perspective on campaigns, military strategy, leadership, politics, ethnicity, emancipation, and a host of other topics.
Scherneckau takes readers on the march as he and his comrades plod through mud and snow during a grueling winter campaign in the Missouri Ozarks. He served as a provost guard in St. Louis, where he helped save a former slave from kidnappers and observed the construction of Union gunboats. He describes the process of transforming a regiment from infantry to cavalry, and his account of the First Nebraska's pursuit of Freeman's Partisans in Arkansas is an exciting portrayal of mountain fighting.
An annotated edition that brings to bear the editors' and translator's respective expertise in both the Civil War and the German language, Scherneckau's account is an important addition to primary material on the war's forgotten theater. It will be a valued resource for historian and Civil War enthusiast alike.
Richard E. Jensen and James S. Hutchins, Editors
Wheel Boats on the Missouri: The Journals and Documents of the Atkinson-O'Fallon Expedition, 1824-26.
2001, Montana Historical Society Press in association with the Nebraska State Historical Society, 262 pp., 8 photographs, 1 map, index, cloth
Col. Henry Atkinson commanded some 475 troops on an expedition up the Missouri River to impress the Native American with the military might of the United States and to investigate rumors of Canadians illegally participating in the fur trade. Diaries by Atkinson and Maj. Stephen Watts Kearny describe the 3,000 mile trip. An introduction and numerous footnotes by Jensen and Hutchins provide the historical background, identify participants, and discuss the innovative man-powered wheel boats.
Richard E. Jensen, Editor
Happy As A Big Sunflower: Adventures in the West, 1876-1880.
By Rolf Johnson
2000, University of Nebraska Press in association with the Nebraska State Historical Society, 240 pp., contents, 9 photographs, 5 maps, index, paper
Twenty-year-old Rolf Johnson came to Nebraska in 1876. In his diary he described events in his life as a pioneer ranging from building sod houses and fighting prairie fires to his innocent romantic encounters. When he left home in 1879 his diary becomes a travelogue of his experiences in the Black Hills, Denver and the Southwest.
R. Eli Paul, Editor
The Nebraska Indian Wars Reader, 1865-1877
1998, University of Nebraska Press in association with the
Nebraska State Historical Society, 245 pages
This anthology of well-written articles from the journal Nebraska History is the essential introduction to this bitterly contested period in the state's history. Preface, introduction, epilogue, suggested readings, index; 50 photos, 6 maps.
Richard E. Jensen, editor
From Fort Laramie to Wounded Knee: In the West That Was
by Charles W. Allen
1997, University of Nebraska Press in association with the
Nebraska State Historical Society, 286 pages, paper
The varied and colorful career of Charles Wesley Allen (1851-1942) took him throughout the northern Plains during an exceptionally turbulent era in its history. He was at the Red Cloud Agency when Red Cloud attempted to prevent the raising of the American flag and the Lakota nearly took over the agency. Allen also visited Deadwood at the height of the Black Hills gold rush, helped build the first government agency on the Pine Ridge reservation, and reported on the Lakota Ghost Dance. Allen happened to be walking through the Indian camp at Wounded Knee when shots rang out on December 29, 1890, and his is arguably the best of all the eyewitness accounts of that tragedy.
Based upon a manuscript in the collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society, Allen's previously unpublished account concerns of the years he described as "the most exciting chapter of my life." As much the chronicle of the passing of an era as a personal narrative, its simple, direct, and often moving prose captures the injustices, gritty details, and relentless energy of a period of dramatic change in the West.
R. Eli Paul, editor
Autobiography of Red Cloud, War Leader of the Oglalas
1997, Montana Historical Society Press, 220 pp., paper
Red Cloud--the only Native American leader ever to win a war against the United States Army. In the 1860s he destroyed Capt. William J. Fetterman's command, closed the Bozeman Trail, and forced the United States to a peace conference. A brilliant military strategist, Red Cloud honed his skills against his tribe's traditional enemies--the Pawnee, Shoshone, Arikara, and Crow--long before he fought to close the Bozeman Trail.
Here, for the first time in print, is the story of Red Cloud's early years as he told it to a white friend in the 1890s. This manuscript, from the collections of the Nebraska State Historical Society, brings us closer than the historical record ever has before to understanding the life of the Lakota's greatest war leader until the rise of Crazy Horse.
John E. Carter
Solomon D. Butcher: Photographing the American Dream
1985, University of Nebraska Press, 139 pp., cloth
For millions of Americans, Solomon D. Butcher's photographs epitomize the sod house frontier. His images, a collection of the Nebraska State Historical Society, constitute the most extensive photographic record in existence of the generation that settled the Great Plains. Their faces and places are imprinted on our mind--jaunty bachelors and earnest husbands (Civil War veterans of both armies), spinster sodbusters and determined mothers, cowhands, farmhands, and former slaves--all in search of land of their own. This first book devoted to Butcher and his photos presents a unique visual chronicle of that epoch, firmly establishing Butcher's place in frontier photography.
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