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Historical Newsletter

December 1998


Artifacts associated with Nebraska's Mr. Baseball, Clarence Mitchell, are on display now at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P streets, Lincoln. Although best known for hitting into the only unassisted triple play in World Series history (1920), Mitchell had a distinguished eighteen-year major league career and was among the top twenty-five hitting pitchers of all time.

The 1920 series baseball and a 1928 World Series ball signed by Cardinal teammates (including fellow Nebraskan and Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander) are featured, along with a uniform worn by Cardinals pitching great Dizzy Dean. About 1937 Dean presented Mitchell with the uniform, which bore the same number, 17, which Mitchell had sported in his 1928-30 career with the Cardinals.

Mitchell was born in Franklin County, Nebraska, in 1891, and played sandlot baseball throughout his childhood. After pitching for Red Cloud in the Nebraska State League in 1910, he signed with the Detroit Tigers in 1911. Following a disappointing rookie season, Mitchell pitched for the Denver Bears of the Western League. A good showing in an "All Star" game against the National League in 1916 led to Mitchell signing a major league contract with the Cincinnati Reds.

Playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1918 to 1922, Mitchell accumulated a 23-20 record, a 3.00 ERA, and a .253 batting average. His 1920 appearance in the World Series became legendary. Using his highly effective spitball, Mitchell was a bright light for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1923 to 1927, earning a 47-50 record for the last place team. Contending for a pennant with the Cardinals in 1928, Mitchell contributed eight victories at the end of the season. Toward the end of his career in 1930, with the New York Giants, he recorded his best season: an 11-3 record, the best winning percentage in the National League, and a .265 batting average.

After his major league career ended in 1932, Mitchell played and managed in the Pacific Coast and Western Leagues. He made his last professional pitching appearance in 1939 at age forty-eight. The Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame inducted Mitchell in 1953. Nebraska's Mr. Baseball died in Grand Island on November 6, 1963.

The museum is open to the public free of charge 9-4:30, Monday-Friday; 9-5, Saturday; and 1:30-5, Sunday. The Mitchell display will be on view through spring of 1999.

(image) Clarence Mitchell as a St. Louis Cardinal, 1928



Holidays Past: From Friday, November 27, through Thursday, December 31, 1998, at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P streets, Lincoln. The museum is sporting its holiday finest and features holiday settings in the 1860s Carson Parlor, the 1890s sod house, and the 1940s general store. Toys from the 1950s will also be displayed.

Exhibit times: 9-4:30, Monday-Friday; 9-5, Saturday; 1:30-5, Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, contact John Schleicher, NSHS, P.O. Box 82554, Lincoln 68501-2554; tel: 402-471-2634.

Nebraska Quilts: A Patchwork History: Continued until December 31, 1998. Twelve quilts spanning a century of Nebraska history, including the oldest surviving quilt known to have been made in Nebraska, are featured in this temporary exhibit. Grace Snyder's nationally renowned Flower Basket Petit Point quilt, composed of more than 85,000 pieces, is highlighted. Times and information as above.

Drawing on the Beat, John Falter's Jazz Portraits: From Thursday, January 7, through Friday, December 31, 1999, at the Museum of Nebraska History. Born in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, in 1910, and raised in Falls City, John P. Falter became one of America's most famous illustrators. Best known for his cover illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post, Falter made the drawings seen in this exhibition during the 1971 Colorado Jazz Party held at the Broadmoor Hotel outside Colorado Springs. A musician himself, Falter captures the essence of jazz performance in these drawings of such greats as George "Pee Wee" Erwin, his childhood friend. Times and information as above.

(image) John Falter in his studio


The Thomas P. Kennard House, a Society historic site at 1627 H Street in Lincoln, will celebrate Victorian Holidays Past, featuring Victorian toys, decorations, and historic photographs Saturday, November 28, through Thursday, December 31. The house will be open 9-12 and 1-4:30, Tuesday-Saturday; l:30-5, Sunday; closed Monday. Admission is free for NSHS members and their immediate families; nonmembers, $1 adults and children free.

There will be an open house Sunday, December 13, 1-5, at the Kennard House with free admission. Also that afternoon, the historic Eastlake Manor at 720 South 16th Street and the Atwood House at 740 South 17th Street, both in the same neighborhood, will be decorated for the holidays and will be welcoming visitors from 1 to 5 with no admission charged. For additional information on the holiday event and tours at the Kennard House contact John Lindahl, NSHS, P.O. Box 82554, Lincoln 68501-2554; tel: 402-471-4764. The Eastlake Manor's telephone number is 402-477-3610. The number for the Atwood House is 402-438-4567.



The Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office, in association with the Adams County Historical Society, announces that an historic buildings survey of Adams County will take place in the fall and spring of 1998-99. The historic buildings survey will attempt to identify historic structures throughout the county. The survey will also intensively study historic properties associated with Germans from Russia settlement, African-American settlement, the Hastings downtown area, and the Heartwell Park area in Hastings. It will provide a guideline for the development of an historic preservation plan for the county. The survey will assist citizens and elected officials of Adams county with planning, tourism promotion, and economic and community development. The survey will also serve as a new source of information about the history and development of Adams County.

The preservation office is planning to participate in several public forums to explain the nature and purpose of the survey, and answer questions and solicit information from the citizens of Adams County. A "kickoff" public meeting was held at the Hastings Public Library on November 18. Additional public meetings will be announced in the Hastings Tribune.

The State Historic Preservation Office is requesting the assistance of Adams County residents for the Historic Buildings survey. Generally, the survey team will examine only properties visible from the public right-of-way. However, many historic rural properties are not accessible or visible from the public right-of-way. Additionally, many properties are not immediately identifiable as historically significant. In order to fully understand and identify the historic resources of Adams County, the survey team needs help to learn about the historic resources of Adams County. According to Bill Callahan, preservation office staff member, "It's very important for our office to have as much public input into the survey process as possible. The survey is intended as a resource for the citizens of Adams County, and it's important that we hear from them in order to discover and study historic resources we would otherwise be unable to find or recognize." Callahan urges people to attend the public meeting and to tell friends and neighbors about the survey and the meeting.

This project is administered by the Nebraska State Historical Society in cooperation with the Adams County Historical Society. Funding is provided, in part, by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Questions about the Adams County Historic Buildings Survey should be directed to Bill Callahan or to Carol Ahlgren, survey coordinator, by telephoning toll-free 1-800-833-6747.


By Cindy S. Drake, Library Curator

As of January 1999, this column will appear bimonthly. There will also be a new format. Each time the column appears it will have a set topic devoted to a genealogical resource. There will be a general introduction about the resource, followed by references to material in the Society's collection that will help Nebraska researchers with this genealogical resource. I will end each column with a "Tip of the Month," which may be an up-to-date note on new sources, ideas, or definitions to help in genealogical research. The column will continue to include New Acquisitions of Interest to Genealogists.

The schedule for 1999: January, adoption records; March, atlases; May, Bible records; July, biographical dictionaries, directories, and biographies; September, cemetery records; November, census records. If you have questions or suggestions about these topics you may address them to me at our address.

The end of the year brings the announcement of a discount for the 1999 Supplement to the Passenger and Immigration Lists Index. This is a heavily used source in our library, but because of the price we are only able to purchase it with donated funds. This is an index to published immigration, passenger, and naturalization records of individuals who came to the U.S. and Canada between the sixteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. Entries in Passenger and Immigration Lists Index provide name and age of immigrant; year and place of arrival, naturalization or other record that indicates person indexed is an immigrant; code indicating the source indexed and the page number in the source that contains the record; and the names of all listed family members with their age and relationship to the main entry. We have the complete set, which began yearly publication in 1982.

There are two parts for the 1999 Supplement. If purchased by December 31, 1998, there is a five percent discount. Each part sells for $223.25 plus postage. Your monetary donation will insure that we have a complete set of this reference source for our researchers. Any monetary donations for this title and others should be directed to my attention and indicate what title should be purchased with the donation.

Eula Brown from Beaver City has published a genealogy titled Ancestors and Descendants of George Washington Parks: Civil War Veteran and Adams County Nebraska Homesteader. It is available for $70 plus $3.59 for postage. We do not purchase family genealogies from our limited budget. Leo Baca from Richardson, Texas, has published Volume VII of his series titled Czech Immigrations Passenger Lists. We have Volumes I-VI. The postpaid price is $19.95. Clearfield Company has reprinted the title Pioneer Families of the MidWest by Blanche Lea Walden. This title was originally published in 1939 and 1941. It consists of three volumes and includes information on the Dorr family in Nebraska. The price is $25 plus $3.50 for postage. We will accept a monetary donation to purchase these titles for the library or donated copies.

New Acquisitions of Interest to Genealogists

I want to apologize to Ralph D. Harrity of West Caldwell, New Jersey, for the error in the September Historical Newsletter. He, not Rodney M. Sherard, is the compiler of The Schutz (Scheetz) and Uhlig Famlies of Nemaha and Adjoining Counties, Nebraska: Forebears of Lillian Belle (Lilly Bell) Romero Harrity, Includes Origins and Settlement in the United States From 1847.

The following cemetery transcriptions were compiled by Ellen and Raymond DeVries of Lincoln and have recently been cataloged: Adams Highland Cemetery: Gage County, Nebraska; Liberty Cemetery (Gage County); Odell Cemetery and Odell Czech Cemetery: Odell, Nebraska, Gage County; Pleasant View Church Cemetery: Pickrell, Nebraska, Gage County; St. James Cemetery; Catholic Cemetery: Cortland, Nebraska; and St. John Lutheran Church Cemetery (Gage County).

Platte County, Nebraska Cemeteries Addenda [Updates and Corrections for all Platte County Cemeteries], was published by the Nebraska State Genealogical Society.

The Frank Family History, compiled by Leo H. Frank. (Families in Lancaster, Merrick and Dodge counties).

Immanuel Zion Lutheran Church, Albion, Nebraska; 1874-1974 Centennial, published by the church.

Greater Prairie Home School, 1987-1997, by Friends of Prairie Home, Rosemarie A. Blundell, editor.

The Terhune Letter. (Families in Webster, Scotts Bluff and Richardson counties).

By Cindy S. Drake, Library Curator

We would like to thank Charles Bukin from Texas for donating the funds to purchase all the titles we requested on our October Wish List.

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 or others 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.

Ho for California! Women's Overland Diaries from the Huntington Library, edited and annotated by Sandra L. Myres, 1980. $17.63.

The Jesuit Mission to the Lakota Sioux: Study of Pastoral Ministry, 1886-1945, by Ross Enochs, Ph.D., 1996. $12.95.

The Moccasin Speaks: Living as Captives of the Dog Soldier Warriors, by Arlene F. Jauken, 1998. $24.95.

Native America in the Twentieth Century: An Encyclopedia, edited by Mary B. Davis, 1996. $27.95.


With the relocation of many of the Library/Archives Division's public records to a new storage location at 440 South 8th Street in Lincoln, access to such records requires some advance planning. Finding aids for public records, which include state, county, and local government records, remain available in the Reference Room at 1500 R Street and reference staff will consult with patrons to determine what records are needed. Records that are on microfilm are immediately available to patrons in the Reference Room. Additionally, some original indexes for specific records are stored at 1500 R Street and can be accessed quickly by patrons during Reference Room weekday hours.

The original format public records now stored in the new "K Street" facility must be requested several days in advance of the time a researcher wishes to use them. Materials ordered will be delivered within two to three days of a specific request submitted to reference staff.

If you have questions about availability of specific materials, call the Reference Room at 402-471-4751 between 9:30 and 4:30 weekdays.


Looking for that special Christmas gift that keeps on giving all year long? How about a membership in the Nebraska State Historical Society? Recipients of this gift will receive Nebraska History, a quarterly magazine devoted to the story of Nebraska's past; monthly newsletters; information about upcoming events; and discounts on publications and items purchased at Society museum stores.

The cost of an annual membership is only $25. Other membership categories are also available. Membership makes a wonderful gift, and helps the Society fulfill its mission of safeguarding and interpreting the past.

For further information about giving a gift of history, contact the Society at 1-800-833-6747 or 471-6758 and ask for Jennifer Little.


The 31st annual Dakota Conference on History, Literature, Art, and Archaeology (formerly The Dakota History Conference) will be presented by the Center for Western Studies May 27-29, 1999, at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The conference theme is "Town and Country: Education on the Northern Plains." Paper title, a one-paragraph summary, and a one-paragraph presenter biography should be sent to the Dakota Conference, Center for Western Studies, Box 727, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57197 by January 30, 1999.

The Council on America's Military Past (CAMP) has issued a call for papers for its 33rd annual Military History Conference, scheduled for May 5-9, 1999, in Omaha. The emphasis will be on frontier western military history. Topics for twenty-minute presentations should be sent to CAMP '99 Conference Papers, P.O. Box 1151, Fort Myer VA 22211. The deadline is December 15, 1998. For more information, call 703-912-6124.


December 3: Lincoln Westerners, "Cather's Christmases," by Ann Billesbach, head of reference services, NSHS. Meet at Ramada Plaza Inn, 9th and P streets, Lincoln, 6:30 P.M. Call Margaret Allington, 488-5698, for reservations (required).

December 17: Brown Bag Lecture, "Cather's Christmases," by Ann Billesbach, head of reference services, NSHS. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, 12th and P streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

January 23: Collectors Saturday Lecture Series, "Photographs," by John Carter. 10 A.M., Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, 1326 South 32nd Street, 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.


for all Society Members

December 7-13

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The NSHS Headquarters Building (including the Library/Archives Division), Lincoln, and the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, Omaha, will be closed December 25-27, 1998, and January 1-3, 1999, in observance of the holiday season.

The Museum of Nebraska History will be closed only on December 25 and January 1.

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Last updated 24 December 1998

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