NSHS Home  |  Research & Publications  |  Publications

Historical Newsletter

August 1998


The Nebraska State Historical Society and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission have been selected to receive a 1998 American Association for State and Local History award. The Society and the Commission have won a Certificate of Commendation for the Fort Robinson History Conference, a joint project of the two state agencies.

The AASLH Awards Program is the nation's most prestigious competition for recognition of achievement in local, state, and regional history. Awards for 1998 represent seventy-one organizations and individuals from the United States. Award winners will be celebrated at a special banquet during the 1998 AASLH Annual Meeting in Sacramento, California, on September 11, 1998.

Drawing on Fort Robinson's excellent museum collections and preserved period structures, the conference has twice brought together capacity crowds of prominent authors, scholars, military history enthusiasts, and local historians to learn and discuss provocative subjects. Wrote one attendee, "This program has become a model for other institutions looking for a program that engages experts and general audiences alike."

Organizers Eli Paul, senior research historian, and Tom Buecker, curator of the Fort Robinson Museum, are planning the Third Fort Robinson History Conference for spring 2000.


Don't forget the annual history conference and meeting in Valentine on October 2-3. Tours and speakers will explore the history and landscapes of the Nebraska Sand Hills. Registration materials will be mailed to all Society members in September. The meeting is open to the public, but reservations are required. For information, contact Deb McWilliams, 402-471-4955.


The Nebraska State Historical Society has received a $17,500 grant from the Nebraska Greenspace Stewardship Initiative to be used for redevelopment of the public green space in front of the NSHS Headquarters Building at 1500 R Street, Lincoln. The plan was developed by Kim Todd, Finke Gardens and Nursery of Lincoln. It is an updated version of the original 1953 plan created by Kansas City landscape architects Hare and Hare.

The new plan has been deliberately designed to be compatible with the proposed redevelopment of Centennial Mall. The NSHS Headquarters Building is the focal point of the north end of the mall. Key elements of the plan include new trees and shrubs, reseeding of the lawn, a new sprinkler system, and new flag poles. Scheduled completion date is September 1998.



The Nebraska State Historical Society invites children, adults, and quilters of all ages to attend Quilt Day at the Museum on Sunday, August 9, 12 noon to 5 P.M.

This event will be a fun-filled day of activities and sharing at the Museum of Nebraska History at Fifteenth and P streets in Lincoln featuring the new temporary exhibit, Nebraska Quilts: A Patchwork History. Children will discover the history and "how-to" of quilts by participating in games, storytelling, and art projects. Pat Cole, guest curator and museum volunteer, and Paula Doe, NSHS exhibits coordinator, will share background stories on the exhibited quilts with a slide lecture at 2:30 P.M. Throughout the afternoon, quilters are encouraged to bring their modern or antique quilts for "show and tell." Diane Russell Harbison from the Ford Conservation Center will be on hand to offer preservation advice, and Carolyn Ducey, curator of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's International Quilt Study Center, will talk about the dates, materials, and patterns used in your antique and heirloom quilts. To experience quiltmaking firsthand, everyone is invited to add his/her stitch to a community quilt and watch a women's group demonstrate the quilting process. Mark your calendars for this fun and educational event. For more information call Jessica Stoner at 402-471-4757 or 1-800-833-6747.

(image) One of the featured quilts in the new exhibit is this Lone Star quilt made in 1895 by Mary Norris, mother of Senator George W. Norris, for her granddaughter, Hazel Norris.


Ever tell a tall tale? Yearn to spin a yarn? On Saturday, September 19, from 12 noon to 5 P.M., the Nebraska State Historical Society will provide an opportunity to develop your storytelling skills and enjoy Nebraska storytellers of today. The "Willa Cather Celebration: A Storytelling Day" will bring the traditions, present, and future of storytelling together as we mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of Cather's Pulitzer Prize in literature, learn about the art of storytelling, listen to Nebraska storytellers of today, and tell our own stories. All events will be held at the Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln.

To learn more about the art of storytelling, two morning workshops will be offered free of charge from 10 A.M. to 12 noon; one for adults with Matthew "Sitting Bear" Jones, and one for kids with Mary Lee Johns. Pre-registration is required; please call 402-471-4757. The afternoon will be filled with "Nebraska through Song and Story" by Dan Holtz, 12 noon to 1 P.M., a talk by Dr. Sue Rosowski of the University of Nebraska entitled, "Why Cather Matters," 1:30-2:30 P.M., and five different storytellers between 2:30 and 5 P.M., including Bill Kloefkorn, with poems based on Cather's writings, Mary Lee Johns with Lakota stories, Gwen Cook with Hawaiian stories, Linda Garcia-Perez deRivera with Latino stories, and one storyteller to be announced.

One of the day's highlights will be a "finish the story" contest with divisions for children and adults. Additional special activities for children include learning about and listening to stories with Lincoln children's author Marjorie Filley Stover, and singing and playing instruments with David Marsh, a Denton music scholar.

Don't miss this great opportunity to celebrate and participate in Nebraska storytelling. For more information call Jessica Stoner, 402-471-4757. Speakers for this program are just a few of the 134 programs made available to Nebraskans at little or no cost through the Nebraska Humanities Council.

The Oglala Lakota Nation presented a flag to the Society during a June 12 visit by Society trustees to the Pine Ridge Reservation. Holding the flag are Society Director Lawrence Sommer and Executive Assistant Deb McWilliams.


By Cindy S. Drake, Library Curator

The National Genealogical Society 1998 Conference in the States (Part 2)

Sandra Clunies, a New England genealogist, provided a lengthy bibliography in the NGS Syllabus for her program titled, "Computer Creativity For Family Reunions or Any Gathering of Your Genealogical or Historical Society." This listing includes web sites.

Sharon DeBartolo Carmack gave a humorous presentation on "Colorful Colorado Characters," as well as co-presenting with Roger D. Joslyn, "Recipe for Writing Your Family History." Sharon and Roger are collaborating on a family history titled American Lives and Lines: Ancestors and Descendants of Roland J. McMahan and Mildred Elizabeth Fearn that will be out later this year.

In this book Roger will be doing the "reference writing," which is "bare bones" genealogy, and Sharon will be doing the "narrative family history," based on what she calls the "Carmack Formula." She transports the current generation back to Colonial times for both ancestors, then brings them to the present. Her narrative is based on: (1) facts (2) story--why, how, what (3) background, based on the time period within the county and state where the family lived (4) social history, a study of everyday lives of ordinary people in a society (including the social life and customs of the ethnic group) and (5) theme, which may be based on a conflict within the family, whether immigrants adjusting to a new life, young widows with children, or a wife abandoned by her husband.

Roger and Sharon supplied some excerpts from their book which make for an interesting reading style that you don't normally find in genealogies. Check out their book later this year. It will be published by Newbury Street Press in Boston. Sharon is also the author of A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Female Ancestor: The Genealogy Sourcebook; and Italian-American Family History: A Guide to Researching and Writing About Your Heritage.

I also renewed my contacts with staff from the Kansas State Historical Society who were at the conference. For those of you doing Kansas research, there is a new "Guide to Research Resources in the Library and Archives Division of the Kansas State Historical Society." Contact them for a copy at the Kansas History Center, 6425 SW Sixth Avenue, Topeka, KS 66615.

If you have not located this web site on your own, I want to give you the new URL for "Cyndi's List of Genealogical Sites on the Internet." It is http://www.CyndisList.com/. Several sources have proclaimed it as absolutely the best compilation of links (over 28,000) to Internet sites for genealogists. Cyndi Howells is the owner and webmaster of this site, as well as being the author of Netting Your Ancestors: Genealogical Research on the Internet.

Former Nebraska resident Ruby Coleman gave a program on "Locating and Utilizing Social Security Information." In regard to using the Social Security Death Index at LDS Family History Centers, she commented that the preferred site on the Internet for using this index is from Ancestry. Their URL is http://www.ancestry.com/ancestry/search.asp. REMINDER: Individuals who died before 1962, when the records were computerized, are not in this index, even if they had a social security number.

John W. Carlin, archivist of the United States, attended the conference to address questions about the National Archives and Records Administration's space planning. As part of the discussion at one of the sessions his staff mentioned that the National Archives Preliminary Inventories (NAIL) are going online and the project should be completed by 2002.

In closing I would like to share with you a saying by Hodding Carter that Sharon Boatwright gave us during her program: "There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings."

Next month's column will be devoted to New Acquisitions of Interest to Genealogists.

By Cindy S. Drake, Library Curator

The following are high priority titles we wish to purchase for the library. The title and author are given, along with the approximate price (including postage if known). Members are encouraged to donate funds toward the purchase. Please direct monetary donations to me with a note on your check specifying "L/A Wish List" to alert our accounting staff.

Cheyenne Memories, 2d ed. with a new preface, by John Stands in Timber and Margot Liberty, Yale University Press, 1998. $16.

A Common Land, A Diverse People: Ethnic Identity on the Prairie Plains, by Harry F. Thompson, et. al., Nordland Heritage Foundation, 1987. $7.

Creators of the Plains, by Thomas E. Mails, Council Oak Distribution, 1997. $10.95.

Dakota War: The United States Army Versus the Sioux, 1862-1865, by Micheal Clodfelter, McFarland & Company, 1998. $42.95.

Discovered Lands, Invented Pasts: Transforming Visions of the American West, by Jules David Prown, et. al., Yale University Press, $25.00.

We would like to thank the following donors: William Slaughter for donating two copies of his book titled, Trail of Hope; The Story of the Mormon Trail; Lori, Dixie, and Cheyenne Gottula for donating the funds to purchase Bartenbach's Opera House.



Don't miss your opportunity to volunteer at the Nebraska State Fair. This is a chance to help the Historical Society and have fun at the same time. Volunteers are needed to greet the public and provide information at the Cunningham Schoolhouse and Hudson Log Cabin in the Heritage Village area at the State Fair. Hudson Cabin volunteers also conduct the sale of merchandise.

The 1998 State Fair runs from Friday, August 28, through Monday, September 7. Volunteers may choose to work from the following three- or four-hour shifts: 9 A.M. to 1 P.M.; 1 to 4 P.M.; and 4 to 7 P.M. Parking and gate admission are provided by the Historical Society.

To sign up for a day and time, please contact Deb McWilliams at 402-471-4955. Thank you for your generosity and commitment to this project.


August 9: Quilt Day, 12 noon to 5 P.M., Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln. Quilt "show and tell," scavenger hunt for kids, and slide presentation. For information call Jessica C. Stoner, museum office, 1-800-833-6747 or 402-471-4757 in Lincoln.

August 10, 11, 13: Adventures in Architecture. NSHS summer workshop for kids (ages ten through twelve). For information call Jessica C. Stoner, as above.

August 12: Haymarket Mystery. NSHS summer workshop for kids (ages ten through twelve). For information call Jessica C. Stoner, as above.

August 20: Brown Bag Lecture, by Joe DeFilipps, Lexington, Nebraska. "Nebraska Railroad Depots: Yesterday and Today." 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

August 22: Collectors Saturday Lecture Series, by Andrea Faling and Ronna Rivers. "Postcards," 10 A.M., Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, 1326 South Thirty-second St., Omaha. Free and open to the public. To schedule a twenty-minute appointment with speaker ($25 fee), call 402-595-1180. Appointments can be scheduled between 1:30 and 4 P.M.

September 17: Brown Bag Lecture, by Mark Ellis, doctoral candidate, UNL History Department. "Crimes in the West: Lincoln County, Nebraska." 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

September 17: Dr. Stephen Ambrose, Third Annual Governor's Lecture in the Humanities. Ambrose is author of Undaunted Courage, a biography of Meriwether Lewis. Cocktail buffett, 5:30 P.M., Sheldon Art Gallery; lecture, 7:30 P.M., Kimball Recital Hall, both on UNL City Campus. For information, call 402-474-2131.

September 19: Willa Cather Celebration: A Storytelling Day, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln. See story elsewhere.

September 26: Collectors Saturday Lecture Series, by Roger Sharpe and Julie Reilly. "Native American Materials," 10 A.M., Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, 1326 South Thirty-second St., Omaha. Free and open to the public. To schedule a twenty-minute appointment with speaker ($25), call 402-595-1180. Appointments can be scheduled between 1:30 and 4 P.M.

In observance of Labor Day NSHS administrative offices and museum offices will be closed Monday, September 7. The NSHS Library/Archives will be closed September 6 and 7. The Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha will be closed September 5 through September 7. Museum of Nebraska History exhibits are open.

Back Issues


NSHS Home  |  Search  |  Index  |  Top

Last updated 18 August 1998

For questions or comments on the website itself, email
Nebraska State Historical Society - P.O. Box 82554, 1500 R Street, Lincoln, NE 68501
Nebraska State Government Homepage
 |  Website Policies  |  © 2009 All Rights Reserved