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Historical Newsletter

August 1999


Dr. R. Douglas Hurt, director of the Center for Agricultural History and Rural Studies at Iowa State University and editor of Agricultural History, will provide the keynote address for the Society's annual meeting and history conference September 24-25 in Lincoln. His topic will be "Midwestern Distinctiveness." Among Dr. Hurt's numerous publications are The Dust Bowl: An Agricultural and Social History (1984); Indian Agriculture in America: Prehistory to the Present (1987); American Farms: Exploring Their History (1996); and The Rural West Since World War II (editor, 1998).

Conference sessions will be held at the Museum of Nebraska History at 15th and P streets in Lincoln, and at the newly expanded and renovated Nebraska Union on the city campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Watch your mail for program and registration materials. Remember that one need not be a Society member to attend the conference, provided he or she pays the required registration fees. Please encourage your friends to attend.


At its March meeting, the Society Board of Trustees approved the establishment of a research grant program to support original research and interpretive writing on some aspect of Nebraska history or archeology. The grant recipient is expected to conduct research in the Society's collections and produce a manuscript that can be considered for publication in Nebraska History. Funding for the program is provided by the Lux History Education Endowment administered by the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.

Several applications were received for the 1999 research grant and after careful consideration, Dr. Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, professor of history at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, was awarded the grant. Her research will examine rural childhood in the years between 1870 and 1920, with a specific focus on Nebraska for the purposes of the grant project. Dr. Riney-Kehrberg intends to examine the world of the midwestern rural child in terms of work, play, and education, and to seek a better understanding of both the hardships and compensations that farm life provided to rural children.

The Society plans to continue the research grant program, and will announce deadlines and application procedures for the year 2000 grant in future issues of this newsletter and in other venues.


Interested in creative, new ideas for using Nebraska Trailblazer in the classroom? Announcing the new Nebraska Trailblazer Teacher's Guide now available on the Nebraska State Historical Society website. The Nebraska Trailblazer Teacher's Guide features ideas for hands-on activities, map activities, and research projects, as well as excerpts from period newspapers and diaries, worksheets, coloring pages, checkup sheets, and vocabulary for six Trailblazer issues: (1) American Indians (2) Explorers (3) Oregon Trail (5) Settlers' Homes (14) State Capitol (15) Nebraska State Symbols.

The Nebraska Trailblazer Teacher's Guide was created by NSHS staff and Barbara Fields, teacher and mentor at the Omaha Public Schools. To access the guide, please visit the NSHS website at www.nebraskahistory.org and click on "Research/Resources," then "Teachers Resources," and then "Teaching Materials." We are also interested in your suggestions for activities and projects which you use to further explore Nebraska Trailblazer topics. For more information about the guide or to submit your ideas, please contact Jessica Stoner at 1-800-833-6747 or 471-4757 in Lincoln.


A Nebraskan Goes to NATO: General Alfred M. Gruenther, a new hallway case exhibit in the NSHS Headquarters building, highlights the distinguished career of a Platte Center native in the United States Army and as the supreme allied commander of NATO. March 1999 marked the centennial of Gruenther's birth, and 1999 is also the fiftieth anniversary of NATO.

General Gruenther was born March 3, 1899, at Platte Center, Nebraska. He attended St. Thomas Military Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was graduated from West Point in 1918. Gruenther served thirty-eight years in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of general in 1951. President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him supreme allied commander of NATO in 1953, a position in which he served until 1956. From 1957 to 1964 he was president of the American Red Cross.

Gruenther returned to Nebraska often and was keynote speaker for the Platte County centennial celebration in 1956. He died May 30, 1983, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The exhibit is open to the public free of charge. Hours are those of the Headquarters Building, Monday-Friday, 8-5; Saturday, 8-5; and Sunday 1:30-5.


The Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International (CGSI) will hold its next Genealogical/Cultural Conference in Lincoln October 13-16, 1999, at the Cornhusker Hotel. The conference will be a four-day event featuring speakers on genealogical, cultural, and historical topics. There will also be an on-site library, sales room, ethnic music and dance performances, bus tours, and other special events.

With over 4,000 members drawn from fifty states and twenty foreign countries, CGSI is the world's largest nonprofit organization devoted to the genealogy of the ethnic groups that comprised the former nation of Czechoslovakia. Dave Pavelka, president of CGSI, cited Nebraska's large Czech-American population, together with the active Czech ethnic organizations in Wilber, Lincoln, Omaha, Clarkson, and other Nebraska communities, as key factors behind CGSI's selection of Lincoln for the conference.

For more information about the conference write CGSI at P.O. Box 16225, St. Paul, Minnesota 55116-0225, or call 612-595-7799, or check CGSI's website at http://members.aol.com/cgsi.


The Omaha World-Herald will publish a book of photos submitted by readers. Omaha, Times Remembered will be a 168-page book containing black and white photos of life in Omaha from 1885 through the 1960s.

"The World-Herald is encouraging readers to submit family photos for the book," stated Kristine Gerber, project coordinator. "The book will focus on people at work, home, and play--not the typical brick and mortar shots."

Photos will be accepted through August 15. "All you need to do is look through your old photos and find a few that show people in Omaha. Then call me at 444-1186 to set up an appointment," Gerber explained. Each photo will feature a cutline, headline, and the name of the person who submitted the photo. The World-Herald plans to publish the book before the holiday season.


Several interns are making important contributions to the work of the Society, while receiving training that will further their education or careers. Amy Allison and Kurt Mantonya are performing laboratory work for the Archeology Division. Will Duly is cataloging objects for the collections department of the Museum of Nebraska History. Melissa Calderwood has worked as a reference assistant and has processed collections for the Library/Archives Division. Joey Pilakowski is assisting the Library/Archives Division and the museum's education and statewide services department with planning for the two-week summer institute for Nebraska teachers. These internships are supported by the Lux History Education Endowment administered by the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.

Janet Dineen is an intern from the UNL Anthropology Department who is helping the Library/Archives and Research and Publications divisions collect and analyze data from the 1885 census on Custer County settlers so as to better interpret the Butcher Collection of sod house photographs. Another UNL internship involves Pamela Magee of the ethnic studies program, who is collecting information for an oral history project on the African American community in Hastings. The Society's Historic Preservation Office is coordinating this project.

Diane Russell and Gerri Strickler are currently interning at the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha. Both are working in the objects conservation laboratory. Strickler's internship is supported by the Society Foundation, while Russell's internship is provided through Ford Center earned income.



Beginning in the 1999-2000 school year, guided tours of the Museum of Nebraska History will be available in the months of September through February. From March through August, students can explore the museum with new, self-guided scavenger hunts instead of guided tours. This program will enable more school groups to visit the Museum of Nebraska History, and provide teachers and students with new flexibility and accountability.

Reservations are required for the self-guided scavenger hunts. Teacher versions of the scavenger hunts, with answers, will be mailed with confirmation letters one month prior to your visit. The scavenger hunt will also be available on the NSHS website (www.nebraskahistory.org) in early February. To schedule a scavenger hunt or for more information call Rosemary at 1-800-833-6747 or 471-4754 in Lincoln.


A quilt depicting the history of the Nebraska Panhandle prior to 1900 is scheduled for display at the Museum of Nebraska History, August 1-15, 1999. The quilt, titled "Trails Across Western Nebraska," was completed by the Panhandle Quilters Guild in 1998. The guild has been touring the quilt to area elementary schools and museums to help educate students about the region's pioneer history. The quilt will be displayed on the second floor of the museum in the Pioneer Gallery.



The Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office will conduct a historic buildings survey of Wayne and Cuming counties beginning this fall and continuing through summer of 2000. As part of the project, the preservation office will also prepare an in-depth study of historic school buildings statewide.

The SHPO hopes that the Wayne and Cuming county surveys will assist in the development of a regional northeast Nebraska historic preservation advocacy group. Several public meetings will be held in both counties in support of both the survey and the advocacy group development. At press time, a consultant to conduct the survey had not been selected.

For information about the Wayne and Cuming county historic buildings survey, the historic schools project, or the northeast Nebraska preservation advocacy group, call Bill Callahan at 402-471-4788.



Lincoln will play host to a regional gathering of archivists this fall. October 14-16 are the dates for the joint meeting of the Midwest Archives Conference and the Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists, the two organizations representing fourteen states, from Wyoming and Colorado to Michigan and Ohio. NSHS staff have been working hard on the program and local arrangements, which include a reception at the Museum of Nebraska History and tours of the State Capitol, the International Quilt Study Center at UNL, the Strategic Air Command Museum, and the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center.

Sessions and workshops will explore topics ranging from digital imaging, outreach, image licensing, electronic records management, and web design to documenting architecture, Native Americans, westward expansion, and the paranormal. The newly renovated Holiday Inn in Lincoln's Haymarket District will be the meeting headquarters.

For more information contact Andrea Faling at 402-471-4785 (E-mail, bun@www.nebraskahistory.org); or Paul Eisloeffel at 402-471-4750 (E-mail, pje@www.nebraskahistory.org).


The following list consists of interesting titles from or about Nebraska we were pursuing through online auction houses, rare book dealers, and donation requests. For various reasons we were unable to acquire them for our collections. If you are aware of the availability of other copies of these titles, please contact Library Curator Cindy S. Drake at 402-471-4786 or e-mail to: nshs05@www.nebraskahistory.org

The Bird Decoy: An American Art Form, a catalog of carvings exhibited at the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery Lincoln, Nebraska, edited by Paul A. Johnsgard, 1976.

Bilz Fireworks Catalog-1938, Omaha, Nebraska.

Buffalo Bill's Great Wild West Show, by Walter Havighurst and illustrated by John C. Wonsetler. Published by Landmark Books, New York, 1957.

C. W. Anderson's Favorite Horse Stories, collected and illustrated by C. W. Anderson [1967]. (Anderson was born in Wahoo.)

Christmas Chimes 1928, an annual Christmas publication issued by The Young Peoples Leagues of The United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church. Published by the Danish Lutheran Publishing House in Blair. (We have the 1952 and 1954 editions.)

Constitution and By-Laws of the Eagle Independent Telephone Co. Incorporated May 1, 1906, Eagle Nebraska. Printed by Beacon Print, 1910. (We do not have any telephone books from the Eagle Independent Telephone Company.)

Davey in the Sand Hills, by Anne M. Hallady [1951]. (Story based upon a Presbyterian missionary family in the Sand Hills of Nebraska.)

Dobberstein Registry: Genealogy and History of 19th Century Dobberstein Immigrants from Prussia and Their Offspring in America, by Robert Cole, 1999. (Family from Prussia who immigrated to the Midwest during the mid-to-late nineteenth century, and whose descendants moved to Nebraska and other neighboring states.)

Ernest K. Gann's Flying Circus, by Ernest K. Gann, 1974. (According to the table of contents, he stopped in Nebraska.)

Experiences of a Pioneer Evangelist of the Northwest, by W. B. Hill, 1902. (The author of this book was an evangelist among the early settlers of the Northwest for many years. Some of the places mentioned in this book are Rock County, Minnesota, The Battle Creek Sanitarium, North Dakota, and Nebraska.)

Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, published by the Hornady Manufacturing Company of Grand Island, 1968 (2nd printing). (We do not have any publications from this company in our library.)

Household Arts Dept., Omaha World-Herald, 1936. Recipes personally tested/prepared under the direction of Nadine Bradley, director of the World-Herald Household Arts Department. Published by the World Publishing Co., Omaha.

A Lockhart Family in America, privately published by Anna May Cochrane Gregarth, 1972. (Four generations of frontiersmen in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Chronicled families include: Alexander, LeCounte, Cochrane, Stafford, Nail, Elliott, Kilian, Smith, Ruote, Hermann, Gregarth, Jones, Laffoon, Valentine, Parrish, Burchett, and Nelson.)

Reference Passage Bible-New Testament, compiled by I. M. Jones, 1912. Published by the Alpha Publishing Co., Lincoln.

The Tattler, by the Blair High School. (We have references to the following issues that were published: 1/1916; 3/1917; 5/1917.)

10 Wrong Ideas About Farm Engines, by Cushman Motor Works, Lincoln, 1919.

Tillotson, Tillison and Tillitson, by Margaret Tillotson Ragsdale, 1999. (Includes Nebraska families.)

Warp's Review Books, 1926, 1933, 1934, and 1942. Published by Warp's Publishing Co., Minden. Some examples include: Kansas History, Agriculture, Grammar, Government, Arithmetic, Physiology, Geography, and Seventh Grade Arithmetic.

Warp's Teachers' Examination Question and Answer Book: Algebra, compiled by Oscar Warp, published in Minden in 1927.

What Do I Do Now? A Guide to Correct Conduct and Dress for Business People, by Mildred M. Payne, instructor of stenography, office practice, business etiquette, Kearney State Teachers College, Kearney, 1940.

We are still seeking donated copies of Lincoln City Directories from 1996 to the present. Donations are still being accepted for an additional $235 to purchase the 1999 Supplement to the Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, Part II. We were able to purchase Part I at a discount total of $197.75 so we have $37.25 to use toward Part II. Please indicate this title with your monetary donation. Thank you.


First Annual OAH Regional Conference, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, August 4-6, 2000. The meeting seeks to bring together American historians located in the Midwest, including those from community and four-year colleges and high schools, and those employed in government, museums, and the private sector. For information about submitting proposals for papers or sessions, contact MRC 2000 Program Committee, Dept. of History, 603 Ross Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-1202, or 812-855-9853. Deadline for proposals is Nov. 1, 1999.


August 19: Brown Bag Lecture, "The Fontenelle and Cabanné Trading Posts," Richard E. Jensen, senior research anthropologist, NSHS. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

September 16: Brown Bag Lecture, "Just Plains Dirt: Sod Houses in Nebraska," by Carol Ahlgren, formerly architectural historian, NSHS, now of the Omaha office of the National Park Service. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

American Association for State and Local History/Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums, joint annual meeting, Baltimore, Maryland, September 29-October 2, 1999. For more information or a program guide, call 615-320-3203 or e-mail to history@aaslh.org.

In observance of Labor Day, the NSHS Headquarters Building (Library/Archives) in Lincoln will be closed Sunday, September 5, and Monday, September 6. The Gerald R. Ford Center in Omaha will be closed Saturday, September 4, through Monday, September 6. The Museum of Nebraska History and branch museums will be open regular hours.

July 1999 Issue

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