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Historical Newsletter

January/February 2004


Greetings at the beginning of a year of anniversaries! 2004 will mark not only the bicentennial of Lewis and Clark's explorations along "the coast of Nebraska," it's also the 150th anniversary of the passage of the Nebraska-Kansas Act, the federal law that not only established Nebraska and Kansas territories, but helped set in motion events that would culminate in the Civil War. There are many items to note for your 2004 calendar, including:

While we look back and commemorate these historic events, NSHS will also use 2004 to look to the future by initiating a new strategic plan to guide our efforts to safeguard and interpret Nebraska's past and make it accessible in ways that enrich present and future generations. We welcome your continued partnership in these endeavors through your continued membership in the Nebraska State Historical Society.

Lawrence Sommer


The year 2004 is the 150th anniversary of the passage of the bill that created Nebraska and Kansas territories, and a number of activities are planned to turn attention to this historic legislation that not only shaped our state but our nation, including:


The Fifth Fort Robinson History Conference will be held at Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford on April 22-24. It is cosponsored by the NSHS and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, with financial support from Ron and Judy Parks of Papillion and the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation. The theme for the 2004 conference is "A New Army for a New Century: Military Culture in Transition, 1890-1917." The conference will feature scholarly papers, tours, exhibits, demonstrations, and social events.

To receive a conference registration form when available, contact Lana Hatcher at 402-471-3272 (e-mail:lhatcher@mail.state.ne.us) or write FRHC, Nebraska State Historical Society, P.O. Box 82554, Lincoln, NE 68501-2554.


The Nebraska State Historical Society is pleased to announce the 2004 NSHS Research Grant Program. Three grants of $1,000 will be available to scholars wishing to pursue research and produce articles on some aspect of Nebraska history or archeology. The grant application period opens January 2, 2004, and applications must be received by March 3, 2004. Winners will be announced in April. The grants are intended to support original research and interpretive writing related to the history of Nebraska and the Great Plains. Applications must be postmarked by March 3, 2004. Projects must be completed within one year.

Applicants from any background, including academic and public historians, graduate students, and independent researchers and writers, are welcome to apply. Preference will be given to applicants proposing to pursue previously neglected topics, or new approaches to and interpretations of previously treated topics. Preference for one of the awards will be given to current graduate students, young scholars, or nonacademic scholars whose work is not otherwise subsidized.

Grant recipients will be expected to spend at least one week during the grant period in residence in Lincoln working at the NSHS, and will be expected to submit a manuscript for possible publication in the NSHS journal, Nebraska History, or other appropriate venue by April 1, 2005.

Funding for the research grant program is provided by the Gladys Marie Lux Education Endowment and the Tom and Marilyn Allan Fund, both administered by the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.

More information about the 2004 Grant Program is available online at http://www.nebraskahistory.org/publish/grants/index.htm by mail from Nebraska History, P.O. Box 82554, Lincoln, NE 68501-2554.


The Nebraska State Historical Society has been named a recipient of the Nebraska Arts Council's 2004 Governor's Arts Award and will be honored at a February 4 noon luncheon at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln. NSHS was cited in the Heritage Award category for its work to highlight and preserve the rich and diverse cultural history of the state. The Society's projects focusing on Czech, Mexican-American, African-American, and native traditions are among the efforts leading to the award.

In addition to the governor and state senators, three to four hundred people are expected to attend. You could be one of them! For more information on the Arts Awards event visit www.nebraskaartscouncil.org or call 1-800-341-4067.


Preserving Memory: America's Monumental Legacy will open January 20, 2004, at the Museum of Nebraska History. This touring exhibit was developed by Save Outdoor Sculpture!, a project sponsored by Heritage Preservation and the Smithsonian Art Museum, and devoted to caring for and learning from America's collection of outdoor sculpture. The exhibit is a series of twenty full-color panels featuring nearly two hundred artworks-including Nebraska's own State Capitol Sower. Visitors will be encouraged to consider the impulses behind the creation of public sculpture and to reflect on their own community's origins memorialized through its monuments.

Sower, NSHS C244-429Preserving Memory also explains some of the most common physical threats to outdoor sculpture. It features communities that have taken steps to preserve these local and national treasures. Special panels for children present information about dogs, horses, secrets, and diseases as portrayed in sculpture. The entry panel will focus on the State Capitol Sower, the restoration of which was partially funded by the Save Outdoor Sculpture! Program.

Public sculpture, monuments, and memorials record our history in brief. They reflect our community goals and collective consciousness. They are memory aids, a sort of family album, a string around each community's finger. "Preserving Memory" explains who and what achieves "monumental status" and gives insight into the process. It also tells the stories of public sculpture, ranging from "found" art by self-taught artists, to totem poles, to commemorative fountains, to the Statue of Liberty.

This touring exhibit was made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It can be seen at the Museum of Nebraska History from January 20 through February 15, 2004. Museum hours are 9:00-4:30, Tuesday-Friday, and 1:00-4:30, Saturday and Sunday.

Preserving Memory: America's Monumental Legacy will travel from the Museum of Nebraska History to the Nebraska State Capitol, where it will be on display from February 23 through February 28. The exhibit will then travel to the Nebraska State Historical Society's Omaha facility, the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, where it can be seen from March 5 through April 23.

Outdoor sculpture will be the focus of January and February monthly brown bag lectures at the Museum of Nebraska History.

For more information contact the Museum of Nebraska History at 402-471-4754.


Travel from Normandy to Bastogne to Berlin with NSHS and Matterhorn Travel in 2004! Society members and their guests are invited to participate in a tour to Europe in conjunction with the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day. The tour will run June 7-15, with an option for an additional one-week extended tour (through June 21). A separate brochure announcing the tour was mailed in December from Matterhorn Travel, an Annapolis, Maryland, travel agency that specializes in joint partnerships with nonprofit organizations.

Highlights include airfare from the USA to Paris, with return from Frankfurt; overnights near Paris, in Normandy, Reims, Luxembourg, and Frankfurt; buffet breakfast and dinner each day; four education sessions with former West Point faculty; a visit to a champagne cellar near Reims; and sightseeing at Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, Pointe du Hoc, Bayeux, Ste. Mere Eglise, Three Museums, Mont-St-Michel, Reims, Bastogne, Luxembourg, Rhineland.

If that's not enough to convince you, how about this added bonus: The NSHS receives a percentage for each trip booked. This great travel and learning opportunity will not only put you in the places where history happened, but it will support the preservation of Nebraska's history as well.

Consult your brochure or visit www.matterhorntravel.com for specific questions about the tour.


Among recent improvements to the NSHS website at www.nebraskahistory.org:

Watch for continued changes throughout 2004. If you have specific suggestions, let us hear from you at web@www.nebraskahistory.org.



The library officially announced that the new Web OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog)  was available on the Historical Society website on November 1. You can connect directly to the catalog at http://www.nebraskahistory.org/databases/librarycatalog.htm. This new automated system includes thirty thousand out of approximately fifty thousand titles held by the library. If you have any questions or comments about the new Web OPAC, please contact Cindy S. Drake at nshs05@www.nebraskahistory.org. The Web OPAC will be updated quarterly. 

By Cindy S. Drake, Library Curator

The library would like to acknowledge a donation from Judy Gibson of Beatrice. She has compiled indexes for various community and county histories published on Gage County that cover various time periods. If you wish to see a listing of these indexes, check for her name in our Web OPAC.

Although we have had them available for several years, we also want to acknowledge the following indexes compiled by Ellen DeVries, who (along with her late husband, Ray) compiled various other indexes in our library. We recently cataloged the printed editions that Ellen indexed of the Intention to Naturalize District Court Records for the following counties: Cass, Lancaster, Nemaha, Otoe, Richardson, and York. If you can't locate the catalog records online for any of these sources, contact me at nshs05@www.nebraskahistory.org for a complete listing.

Engelkemier Family History [edited by Marilyn Wohlfarth and Donna Tritsch]. (Family in Cass County.)

Engelkemier Family History: Update, July 2001, 2003, updated by Mary Sue Engelkemier. (Family in Cass County.)

The Ancestry of Dr. J. P. Guilford: Seventeenth-Century, New England Colonials and a Few Eighteenth-Century Immigrants, Volume 2, [compiled] by Joan S. Guilford. (Family in Hamilton County.)

Descendants of Isaac and Hetty Ann S(c)ears, compiled by Sharon L. Davies; with assistance of many others. (Families in Otoe and Nemaha counties.)

Sheldon All Name Indexes for the Nebraska 1885, 1880, 1870, 1860 Censuses With Notes, compiled by Bruce H. Robertson.

The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, by Robert C. Anderson.

Nebraska 1910 Census Index, published by HeritageQuest from ProQuest, 2002.

Brainard, Nebraska: From Then to Now, the First 125 Years, a Quasquicentennial History, 1878-2003, published by the Q125 Committee, editor, Debbie Behne.

Bloom on the Land: A Prairie Pioneer Experience, [compiled by] Orleatha G. Kellogg. (Families, etc. in Dodge County.)

Clatonia Cemetery: [Index], compiled by Duane H. Hilkinson.

Cortland, Nebraska, 1883-1983. (Centennial history published by the Cortland Centennial Book Committee.)

People of Raymond and Thereabout: An Index of Local People Listed in the Nebraska State Historical Society's Collection of the Raymond Review through 1896, May 16, by [Terri Dreier], 2003.


The Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission is accepting nominations of prospective inductees. To receive a nomination form and the criteria governing nominations, contact Marcia Friesen at 402-471-4746. The deadline for receipt of nominations is 5 p.m. (CST) on April 1, 2004.

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to Nebraska and the nation. Individuals must be deceased thirty-five years to be considered.


January 8: Lincoln Corral of Westerners, "Victorian Christmas Traditions," by Pat Pixley, Historical Society of Douglas County. Meet in the Arbor Room, Holiday Inn, Ninth and P streets, Lincoln. Social hour at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7:00, program at 7:50. For information and reservations (required): call Margaret Allington at 402-488-5698.

January 15: Brown Bag Lecture, "SOS!: A National Look at Outdoor Sculpture," by Deborah Long, objects conservator, Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, NSHS. This presentation will provide an overview of a national project developed to locate, identify, and document all public sculpture in America. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

January 15: Omaha Corral of Westerners, "The History of Omaha South High School," by Gary Kastrick, Omaha South High School teacher. Meet at Original Caniglia's Restaurant, 1114 South Seventh St., Omaha, at 6 p.m. For reservations (required), call Stu Lynn at 402-558-7209.

January 18: Sunday at the Museum Series, "William Jennings Bryan: The Mythic Commoner," by Steve Larrick of UN-L. 2 p.m., John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Bancroft. Free and open to the public; reception following. For information contact the Neihardt Site at 1-888-777-4667 or neihardt@gpcom.net

January 20: Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Mouth of the Platte chapter. Update on design and construction of the Missouri River Basin Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Nebraska City, by Nancy Hoch, cochair of Interpretive Center Foundation. Meet at 6 p.m. at Caniglia's Restaurant, Seventh and Pacific streets, Omaha. For information and reservations (required): mouthoftheplatte@aol.com or 402-571-2502.

February 8: Sunday at the Museum Series, presentation by Joe Watson, singer, songwriter, and guitarist. 2 p.m., John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Bancroft. Free and open to the public; reception following. For information see above.

February 12: Lincoln Corral of Westerners, presentation on archeological dig at Engineer Cantonment by archeologist Rob Bozell, NSHS associate director. For time and reservations (required), see above.

February 17: Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Mouth of the Platte chapter. Planning for Nebraska's July 31-August 3, 2004, Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Signature Event, by Vic Gutman, Nebraska Signature Event coordinator. For time and reservations (required), see above.

February 19: Brown Bag Lecture, "Public Art: A Blessing and a Curse," by Suzanne Wise, executive director, Nebraska Arts Council. Various types of public art, how public art happens, and the reasons why public art can be such polarizing phenomena for communities will be featured. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

February 19: Omaha Corral of Westerners, "Nebraskans in the Civil War," by James E. Potter, NSHS senior research historian. For time and reservations (required), see above.

March 4-6: 47th Annual Missouri Valley History Conference, Embassy Suites Downtown/Old Market, Omaha. See www.unomaha.edu/Uno/history/mvhchome.htm for additional details and for conference program by February 1. The conference e-mail is mvhc@unomaha.edu.

March 11-14: National Association for Interpretation, Heartland Chapter (Region V) Conference, Lied Lodge, Nebraska City. Topics to be covered include Interpretive Program Design; Interpretive Research and Technology; Funding, Grant Writing; Teamwork, Partnerships, and Volunteers; and Living History and Character Development. For more information see the NAI Heartland Chapter website at www.nairegions.org/5/ or contact Merrith Baughman, program chair, at 605-673-3806 or merrdean@gwtc.net.

Indian on horseback logo
Museum Store
heart Simply Irresistibleheart


The Nebraska State Historical Society museum stores carry an array of jewelry that is simply irresistible. The baubles for women and men feature Nebraska's landscape, nature, and designs inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, so give us a call at 402-471-3447, to find out more about the irresistible jewelry that will be adored by your Valentine for years to come.

by artist Cindy Paul - distinct art glass jewelry featuring Nebraska's Platte Valley Horizon, Nebraska
Sky, and Sandhills.

Sterling silver horse pins
- inspired by images from Plains Indians drawings from the late 1800s.

Grandmother's Buttons Collection
- features hand-crafted pieces with authentic Victorian-era buttons.

Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright
- cuff links and money clips are sure to please, in silver and blue pattern.

Simply Sterling
- handcrafted jewelry in sterling silver, featuring petroglyph designs.


MUSEUM of NEBRASKA HISTORY, 15th & "P" Streets, 402-471-3447
10:00 - 4:30, Monday - Friday
1:00 - 4:00, Saturday and Sunday
Museum Store Catalog online



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Last updated 10 March 2004

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