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Historical Newsletter
December 1997

Please enjoy the current issue of the Society's monthly newsletter. Members of the Society receive the newsletter each month by mail as part of their membership. For up-to-date information about historical events, see the Society's online events calendar.


Four new historic site interpretive videos premiered this fall at their respective sites. The documentaries were jointly produced by the Nebraska State Historical Society and the Nebraska Educational Television Network. Each of the documentaries is approximately sixteen minutes long and will be seen both at the sites and broadcast statewide over the Nebraska Educational Television Network. Documentary filmmaker Michael Farrell (In Search of the Oregon Trail, Sandhills Story, Return of the Sacred Pole) served as executive producer for the project.

A Poet's Sanctuary premiered at the John G. Neihardt State Historic Site on October 28, followed by The Daily Grind at the Neligh Mill State Historic Site on October 29. Willa Cather's Home was shown in conjunction with the annual Cather birthday celebration at the Willa Cather State Historic Site in Red Cloud on December 7. The Senator George Norris State Historic Site hosted the showing of A Public Servant's Home on December 8.

Each of the videos was well received and generated much discussion among audience members. The videos will be for sale to the public and be made available to schools. For information on purchasing copies of the videos, contact the Nebraska State Historical Society Museum Store at 402-471-3447. Funding for this project came primarily from a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) invites nominations for its Fifty-third Annual Awards Program, the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of local, state, and regional history. By focusing attention on the accomplishments of individuals and organizations in the field, AASLH hopes to encourage standards of excellence and inspire others to give more care, thought, and effort to their own projects.

Nominations are encouraged for unusually meritorious work with special consideration given to new and promising ideas, approaches, and innovations. AASLH confers awards on a variety of projects ranging from education programs and exhibits, to publications and videos. Individuals making outstanding contributions to the field of state and local history are also eligible for AASLH awards.

Deadline for nominations is March 1, 1998, and they must be submitted with proper documentation to the appropriate state awards chair. Further information, award guidelines, and nomination forms are available by contacting John Schleicher, AASLH state awards chair, Nebraska State Historical Society, statewide services department, P.O. Box 82554, Lincoln NE 68501-2554; phone 402-471-2634, toll-free 800-833-6747, or fax 402-471-3314.



Hastings will host an all-day session of the State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) on Wednesday, February 4. The Hastings gathering is the first of five meetings to be held in Nebraska during 1998. The meetings are being funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

After a brief overview of the SHRAB's historical records strategic plan titled Insuring Nebraska's Documentary Heritage, the morning session features a grant-writing seminar. The afternoon will be devoted to a program on paper preservation.

The Hastings Museum, Fourteenth and Burlington, is the site for this meeting, which begins at 9:30 A.M. For more information about this or other upcoming SHRAB meetings or to obtain copies of Insuring Nebraska's Documentary Heritage, contact Andrea Faling at 402-471-4785.

By Cindy S. Drake, Library Curator

Nebraska Pioneer Family Recognition

In 1998 the farmstead where I live with my husband and son will have been in my family for one hundred years. Our Cass County farm was purchased by my maternal great-grandparents, Henry and Alvina Kehlbeck, on January 3, 1898. I plan to submit our application to the Ak-Sar-Ben/ConAgra Pioneer Farm Family Award program via our county representative to receive what will be the second award for my parents. We received the award in 1988 for the farm my paternal great-grandparents, Friedrich and Wilhelmina Buckman, purchased in Cass County in 1888.

Two organizations in Nebraska currently offer recognition to Nebraska pioneer families. First, Ak-Sar-Ben and ConAgra honor families who have maintained a farm or ranch in the family for one hundred years or more with their Ak-Sar-Ben/ConAgra Nebraska Pioneer Farm Family Award. This program was started in the mid-1950s by Ak-Sar-Ben. The plaques given to the families are usually presented at the annual county fair. Ak-Sar-Ben does not maintain the information in a format readily available for researchers. They supply the Nebraska State Historical Society Library/Archives with a list of these families each year, which gives the name and address of the family that received the award, as well as the name of the county where the farm or ranch is located. For information about receiving this award, contact Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben, 6800 Mercy Road, Suite 206, Omaha NE 68106.

The Nebraska State Genealogical Society has a Family Recognition Certificate Program. The applicant must be a direct descendant from an ancestor who settled in Nebraska, but need not be a resident of Nebraska. There are three categories of certificates: First Family-settled in Nebraska by 1867; Pioneer Family-settled in Nebraska between 1868 and 1879; and Century Family-settled in Nebraska one hundred years prior to the current year. Applications must include photocopies of acceptable sources of proof as listed on the application form and the application fee of $6. Once an application is received and processed by the Society, the applicant receives a signed certificate from the Nebraska Secretary of State. Copies of the application papers are placed in the Nebraska State Genealogical Society Library and the Nebraska State Historical Society Library/Archives. Contact the Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 5608, Lincoln NE 68505 for application forms.

Two books have been published with information on some families who received the Ak-Sar-Ben award: Nebraska Centennial Families and Farms, by Georgene M. Sones and Cindy S. Drake (Curtis Media Corporation, 1987), and Nebraska Century Pioneers: Farms/Ranches, by Mark and Victoria Potter (Taylor Publishing Company, 1987). Although an effort was made to contact all families who received the award, neither book contains the family histories of all award recipients. Both titles are in the NSHS Library/Archives, but they are not available for interlibrary loan.

Another source available only at the Historical Society is copies of the applications for the Pioneer Recognition Program sponsored by the Nebraska Centennial Commission in 1967. Besides the original applications, photocopies of these forms were the beginning of the Nebraska Family Notebooks located in the reference room. These notebooks are in alphabetical order by family name. Today the library continues to add family sheets to these notebooks about anyone who has Nebraska ancestry. Family sheets may be submitted by directing them to me at our address.

Researchers may use any of the NSGS application forms, titles, or the Nebraska Family Notebooks in the Library/Archives Reference Room or contact the Library/Archives reference staff by mail to check these sources (prepayment fee required).

New Acquisitions of Interest to Genealogists

(The February GENEALOGISTS' CORNER will be devoted to new acquisitions.)


An educational series presented by the Nebraska State Historical Society

All presentations are free of charge and will start at 1:30 at the Ethel & Christopher J. Abbott Visitor Center at Chimney Rock National Historic Site, located 2 miles south of Highway 92 on Chimney Rock Road. Limited seating is available.

Sunday, January 18

Autobiography of Red Cloud: A Modern Detective Story

R. Eli Paul, Senior Research Historian for the Nebraska State Historical Society, details the fascinating story of how he unraveled the mystery surrounding the autobiography of Chief Red Cloud.

Sunday, January 25

Firearms on the Overland Trail

Accidental shootings were one of the leading causes of death or injury among overland emigrants; through a study of emigrant diaries, Jim Potter, Associate Director of the Nebraska State Historical Society, discovered some of the reasons why. Potter will detail the sometimes tragic, sometimes comic stories he has uncovered and will have examples of nineteenth century firearms on display.

Sunday, February 1

Germans From Russia in Nebraska

John Schleicher, Education and Statewide Services Coordinator for the Nebraska State Historical Society and himself a descendant of Germans from Russia, will present an illustrated program that looks at the life these people lived and the contributions they made to Nebraska in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Sunday, February 8

Nebraska Highways: A Cultural Landscape

The Oregon Trail, the Pony Express, railroads, the Lincoln Highway, Interstate 80-Nebraska's historic highways are cultural landscapes, corridors that connect places and people with history and memory. Carol Ahlgren, Architectural Historian for the Nebraska State Historical Society, will present an illustrated discussion of the study of these cultural resources.

Sunday, February 15

American Indian Perspective on Westward Expansion

Charles Trimble, an Oglala Sioux born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation and Past President of the Nebraska State Historical Society Board of Trustees, will discuss American Indian views of white westward expansion and settlement.

Sunday, February 22

Un Tesoro de Nebraska (A Nebraska Treasure): Discovering our Mexican Legacy

Gwen Meister, Grants Coordinator for the Nebraska State Historical Society, and Olga Olivares, Director of the Mexican-American Historical Society in Scottsbluff, will discuss the Mexican American Traditions in Nebraska Project which recorded the history, culture, and traditions of Mexican-Americans in Nebraska. The resulting museum exhibit will be on display at the Chimney Rock Visitor Center.

For more information, call 308-586-2581.

The Keya Paha Historical Society, Springview, is reprinting the 1885-1985 Centennial Book. For information write Mavis Tuttle, HC 82 Box 49, Springview NE 68778-9526; call 402-497-2267.

William F. Rapp, Union Pacific Line Depots in Nebraska (1997). Illustrated, 8 1/2 by 11, 28 pp., $8.50 (RSHS members), $10.00 (nonmembers), paper. Order from publisher: Railroad Station Historical Society, Inc., 430 Ivy Avenue, Crete NE 68333.

Sheldon Traveling Art Show, "The Art of Abstraction," Mar. 1-27, Gage County Historical Society Museum, Second and Court, Beatrice. Open museum hours. The museum will also feature through March a special exhibit of cloaks and capes depicting apparel worn from the 1860s through the 1960s.

Forty-first Annual Missouri Valley History Conference, Mar. 12-14, 1998, Regency West Hotel, Omaha. Contact History Department, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha NE 68182-0523.

In observance of Martin Luther King Day, the NSHS Library/Archives will be closed Sunday, January 18, and Monday,

January 19. Society administrative offices and museum offices will be closed Monday, January 19, 1998.

The Museum of Nebraska History will be open regular hours both days.

History Adventure Center graphic The History Adventure Center, a new, hands-on exhibit for children at the Museum of Nebraska History, is open during regular museum hours.

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Last updated 10 December 1997

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