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Historical Newsletter

March/April 2000


The Society is pleased to announce that Frank H. Dupuis of Lincoln has recently donated a white canvas mess jacket that once belonged to Gen. John J. Pershing. George Woodbridge, a military illustrator and early cartoonist for Mad Magazine, purchased this jacket and a Pershing tunic at a New York militaria store sometime around 1950. Woodbridge donated the tunic to the West Point Museum, and in 1952 he gave the mess jacket to his friend, Mr. Dupuis. Since that time, the jacket has been stored in the attic of the Dupuis home.

image of PershingThe faded remnants of Pershing's initials appear in ink on the back inside seam of the garment. The manufacturer's tag is sewn onto an inside pocket and reads "Richard Marco, 91, Escolta, 91, Manila." The jacket has a single star above each four-inch cuff denoting the rank of brigadier general. Unfortunately, the gold knots that would have been attached to the top of the shoulders are missing.

Research indicates that the mess jacket dates from about 1912. Pershing spent many of the early years of the twentieth century in the Philippines and held the rank of brigadier general from 1906 to 1917. In December 1911 and January 1912 the army advised its officers to adopt the use of a standard white mess jacket. The jacket now in the possession of the Society matches the specifications given by the army at that time. Pershing left the Philippines in December 1913.

The jacket is currently stored at the Ford Conservation Center and will be receiving conservation treatment in the near future. The public will have an opportunity to view it in the years ahead, as it is slated for exhibition as part of the Museum of Nebraska History's Nebraska Experiment exhibit scheduled to open in 2002.


During the first half of its fiscal year, The Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation has received grants totaling $62,800 in support of the Nebraska State Historical Society.

The Peter Kiewit Foundation approved a grant of $36,000 to purchase a digital camera to assist the conservators at the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha. The camera will make it possible for the Society to safely digitize three-dimensional objects and objects from the collections that are too big for the digital scanner.

The Foundation also received a grant of $5,000 from Richard Holland of Omaha in support of the Ford Center. His gift will be added to the Kiewit Foundation grant to complete the funding of the digital camera. As with most technology, the camera's costs increased since the original estimate obtained several months prior to receiving the grant.

In November The Willer Foundation of Omaha provided funding to purchase an infrared camera for the Ford Center. This camera will allow conservators to view underdrawings on watercolors and pastels; to see lines that were erased from pencil drawings; and to decipher faded script in a non-invasive manner. It can also be used to confirm or determine types of materials used on objects, especially ethnographic and other organic objects. The grant totaled $11,800.

As one of only fourteen regional conservation centers in the United States, the Ford Center serves as a prime conservation resource for the public, students, scholars, and conservators throughout the state, the Midwest region, and the country. However, until a generous grant was received from a private Omaha foundation, the Ford Center library did not hold many of the important reference materials and specialized volumes focusing on chemistry, technology, art, and preservation of objects from art, history, and archeological and cultural collections necessary to the field of conservation. The Friedland Family Foundation provided a grant of $10,000 to purchase the needed and specialized volumes.

The Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation seeks to secure private funding to assist the Nebraska State Historical Society in its mission. Gifts to the Foundation help the Society to protect our state's heritage and assure that it is accessible for generations to come.


Janyce Falcon Hunt, chair of the Nebraska State Historical Society nominating committee, is seeking candidates for election to the Nebraska State Historical Society Board of Trustees. Candidates must be members of the Society and must contact Hunt by May 1, 2000.

Comments and suggestions may be sent to Janyce Falcon Hunt, 777 Skyline Drive, Blair, NE 68008-1861.


A new book by the late Charles W. Winter, Nebraska Territory Postal History (Louisville, Ky.: Western Cover Society, 1999), has just been published. Winter was a native Nebraskan and longtime collector of Nebraska postal history. The book is dedicated to the late Joseph R. Seacrest of Lincoln, also a philatelist and student of Nebraska history. Gifts to the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation from Winter, Joseph R. Seacrest, and James C. Seacrest supported the book's publication.

The 166-page, hardcover volume traces the preterritorial and territorial history of mail service in Nebraska, illustrated with maps, photographs, and covers, many from Winter's collection. The narrative is supplemented with a postmark catalogue that will be of value to philatelists and museum curators.

Nebraska Territory Postal History is available for $35 plus $4 shipping and appropriate sales tax from the Museum Store, P.O. Box 82554, Lincoln, NE 68501 or call 1-800-833-6747 for credit card orders.


The paper lab at the Ford Center needs an old electric griddle or heated serving tray to aid in backing removals. The ones available at retail now have sides that prevent large objects from lying flat on the surface. An old Salton from the 1960s works well. If you have this item for sale or donation, contact Ronna Rivers at the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, 1326 S. 32nd St., Omaha, NE 68105-2044; tel: 402-595-1142.



Pastimes and Playthings, a festival of old toys and games for children, will be held on the grounds of the Thomas P. Kennard House, 1627 H Street, Lincoln, Tuesday, May 2, through Friday, May 12. Hours for the event will be 9-12 and 1-4:30, Tuesday through Friday; and 1-5, Saturday and Sunday. Pastimes and Playthings has been a popular event for school children and serves as a valuable learning tool to teach what life was like in Victorian times. Games and toys for the event will include grace hoops, rolling hoops, cup and ball, tops, potato sack races, thaumatropes, and zoetropes. For tour registration and information call the Kennard House, 402-471-4764.


The Neihardt Annual Spring Conference will be April 29. The topic is Neihardt's River: The Missouri as Metaphor, featuring Tom May (River City Folk), balladeer and storyteller, and Jack Gladstone, artist in residence at Glacier National Park, also a balladeer and storyteller. Histories, stories, and both traditional and original music about the Missouri will be presented. Sen. Robert Kerrey has been invited to talk on his back-to-the-river initiatives, which include proposals for environmental, economic, and aesthetic restoration and preservation of the river and surrounding lands. Hilda Neihardt will present stories of her father's love for the river as shown in his works and personal life.


On December 8, 1999, the Nebraska State Historical Society repatriated human remains from the J. R. Coffin Collection to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Marcella Cash and Terry Gray, representatives of the tribe, traveled to Lincoln in order to transport the remains to South Dakota for reburial. This repatriation represents the latest of the Society's ongoing efforts in complying with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).


By Cindy Drake, Library Curator

City Directories

City directories for cities or towns usually include the names and occupations of the residents, as well as lists of all the businesses in town. City directories help you locate an ancestor in a specific locality at a specific point in time. They are useful in locating families in federal and state censuses when the census records are not indexed. The address will help you locate the precinct or ward on maps (sometimes printed within the directory) of the city. With that information census guides should help you locate the enumeration district number for the area in the city where the family lived so you have to check only one district in the census records to locate your family. City directories often indicated if an individual was an owner, renter, or boarder. If they owned property, the address helps in locating property and tax records.

City directories before and after 1900 included only the head of the household, the address, and the occupation of the person listed. Later directories included other members of the household, as well as telephone numbers. Some directories included a separate section where the streets are listed alphabetically, followed by the house numbers and the name of the resident (a "reverse" street directory). This section is useful in locating other relatives or friends who may have lived in the same area.

Reviewing multiple years of city directories for the same family will help you determine when they arrived (especially for immigrants), address changes, and if they left, the year they were no longer listed. The year of death for the head of the household may be determined when after several years the name changes to another member of the household. There are some directories that even included the names and death dates of residents who died the previous year.

Always check city directories for other information besides surnames. The major features can include street and business directories, advertisements, information regarding civic and social institutions, hospitals, cemeteries, orphanages, etc. If you locate the names of churches that were nearest to the address where your ancestor lived, you can contact them (if they are still in existence) for records regarding your family, or the church archives for that denomination.

City directories normally were published every year and in most cases were printed on cheap paper. Most city directories and gazetteers from the 1800s and early 1900s may be crumbling, and in some cases the only way they have been saved is if local, state, and national organizations or publishing companies have preserved them on microfilm or microfiche.

Past and present city directories should be in the town or city public library, local and state historical societies, as well as IN regional and national libraries such as the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress has its list of city directories for nearly seven hundred American cities, towns, and states, on the following website: http://www.kinquest.com/genealogy/resources/citydir.html. Some other repositories with large collections of city directories include the Family History Library in Salt Lake City; Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana; New York Public Library in New York City; and the New York State Library in Albany (http://unix2.nysed.gov/genealogy/citydir.htm). In some cases the collections of these libraries may include not only original volumes, but microfilm and microfiche of city directories from such companies as Research Publications, Inc. (a division of Primary Source Media which microfilmed city directories before 1861 for the fifty largest cities in the U.S.) and Heritage Quest. Primary Source Media at http://www.citydirectories.psmedia.com/ has posted more than two hundred city directories on its website. They are posting more directories from later years, but at present they have ninety-nine major cities posted from the year 1859. Although some free search is available at this site, you must subscribe to have access to the entire collection.

In the NSHS Library we maintain a collection of city directories for Nebraska. Early city directories for Lincoln, Omaha, and Hastings are available on microfilm (up to the 1940s for Omaha and early 1970s for Lincoln and Hastings). They are available in their original format for later years for these three cities and for Beatrice, Kearney, South Sioux City, Fremont, Grand Island, North Platte, Norfolk, Nebraska City, McCook, Falls City, and Scottsbluff. The years we have are available on request. We plan to have the list available on our website later this year. Our holdings in some cases are incomplete, so we are always willing to review donated copies for gaps in the collection. Please contact me if you are aware of city directories that might be available as donations. I am still seeking donated copies of the Lincoln City directories after 1996.

Update: I mentioned a URL in my January/February column for The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy (rev. ed.) which is no longer active. The current URL is http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/inddbs/3259.htm.

New Acquisitions of Interest to Genealogists

Tapestry: A Partial History of Some Pioneer Families of Polk County, Nebraska, by Hazel M. Cunningham. (Also includes the Burritt and Pointer Families.)

The Norland Family Tree, 1824-1979, [compiled by Orville A. Norland]. (Norwegian-American Families in Garfield and Custer Counties.)

The Steinauer Family Tree, compiled by Mary Susan Miles, with the help of Katherine Anne Wehrbein and Martha Mae Miles. (Family in Pawnee County.)

Vincent Family Records, compiled by Sheridan E. Vincent and Cecil LaVerne Vincent. (Families located throughout Nebraska.)

Finding a Place Called Home: A Guide to African-American Genealogy and Historical Identity, by Dee Parmer Woodtor, 1998.

The Carpenter Ranch: Cyril Carpenter's Sandhills Ranch at Whitman, Nebraska, 1908-1995, by Gloria L. Hayden and Eugene B. Hayden. (Families in Cherry and Buffalo Counties.)

Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor, by Bertram H. Groene, 1996.

William and Elizabeth Dalton: [In the Beginning], by Jean D. Harper. (Family in Webster County.)

Diary of George McKinney Dunkle: August 25, 1862 to November 29, 1864; 112th Regiment Illinois Volunteers, Company D, transcripts by Mary W. Greenwald. (Family in Cass County.)

Joseph Hansel Family, [compiled by Harold and Mae Hansel]. (Families in Lancaster and Gage Counties.)

Marriage Records, Dodge County, Nebraska: 20 Apr. 1910 to 07 Oct 1912, by Clarabelle Mares for the Eastern Nebraska Genealogical Society, 1999.

The Census Book: A Genealogist's Guide to Federal Census Facts, Schedules and Indexes, by William Dollarhide, 1999.

Urbanek Family History: 250 Years (1745-1995), [compiled by Bill Urbanek]. (Czech-American Family in Stanton County.)

The Williams, Prince, Norman, Cox and Allied Families, [compiled] by John Mitchell Williams. (Families in Douglas County.)


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 library collection. 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 mail to: nshs05@www.nebraskahistory.org.

Better Gardening, Easy Manufacturing Co., Lincoln, Nebraska. (Catalog of garden machinery from the early 1930s.)

Cedar Rapids, Nebraska 1884-1984. (We have one copy in our collection and would like to locate a second copy.)

Country Kids Cookbook-Wallace District #60, Hastings, Nebraska, 1993.

Dawson County Nebraska Atlas and Plat Book, 1979-1980.

The Disguised Wayfarer and Other Stories of Swedish Pioneer Life in America, by Just Adolph. (Published in 1926 by the Covenant Book Concern of Chicago. There are references to places in the Midwest including Nebraska.)

Favorite Recipes. Published by The Ladies Aid of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, 23rd and N Streets, Lincoln, Nebraska. (Danish recipes, date not given.)

Iowa Beef Processors, Inc. An Entire Industry Revolutionized!, by Dale C. Tinstman and Robert L. Peterson, 1981.

Nebraska American Legion Auxiliary Culinary Gems, 1989.

New Reconstructions in the Yale Peabody Museum. Merycoidodon gracilis Leidy, Merycoidodon culbertsonii Leidy, Daphoenus vetus Leidy, 1923. American Journal of Science, Vol. VI, No. 32, pp. 91-99. (Offprint of the American Journal of Science regarding oreodonts and the rich paleontology of the Nebraska Tertiary faunas.)

Saline County, Nebraska Plat Book, 1949. (Published for the Saline County Farm Bureau.)

Some Principles and Rules for Right Eating Formulated From the Teachings of Viola Mizell Kimmel, 1922. (Mrs. Kimmel was from Creighton, Nebraska.)

United Methodist Church Cookbook--Members and Friends. (Aurora, Nebraska, Community Cookbook, 1995.)

Woman's Club Cook Book, compiled by the Bassett Woman's Club, Bassett, Nebraska, 1930.



15th & "P" Streets, Lincoln, NE

March 20 - 26, 2000
10:00-4:30, Monday - Saturday
1:30-4:30, Sunday



March 2: Rachel Snowden Corral of Westerners, "Western Art," by Linda Duda. Meet at 7117 Jones Circle, Omaha, 6 P.M. Call Cathy Lynn, 402-558-7209, for information or reservations (required).

March 9: Lincoln Corral of Westerners, program on fur trade era, by Jim Griess. Meet at Holiday Inn, Ninth and P Streets, Lincoln, 6:30 P.M. Call Margaret Allington, 488-5698, for reservation (required).

March 12: Sunday at the Museum Series, "Clues to Clara," NHC program by Laureen Riedesel. 2 P.M., John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Bancroft. For information contact the Neihardt Site at 1-888-777-4667.

March 12: Zanuck Film Series: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Time and location as above.

March 16: Brown Bag Lecture, "Duke Paul of Wuerttemberg on the Missouri Frontier," by Prince Hans von Sachsen-Altenburg, Duke of Saxony, Germany. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P Streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

March 16: Omaha Corral of Westerners, "The Cozads of Cozad," by Jim Denney, NSHS board member. Meet at DC Centre, 7117 Jones Circle, Omaha, 6 P.M. Call Bob Savage, 402-391-3252, for information or reservations (required).

March 19: Zanuck Film Series: All About Eve (1950). 2 P.M., Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P Streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

April 6: Rachel Snowden Corral of Westerners, "History of Nursing in Nebraska," by Ann Van Hoff. Time and location as above.

April 9-May 10: Exhibit of oil paintings by Linda Welsch of Dannebrog, NE., John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Bancroft. For information contact as above.

April 13: Lincoln Corral of Westerners, program on Senator George Norris by State Senator Dave Landis. Time and location as above.

April 20: Brown Bag Lecture, "Muirl Willo Dorrough and the Alliance Junior Normal School," by Andrea G. Radke, Ph.D. candidate, History Department, UNL. 12 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P Streets, Lincoln. Free and open to the public.

April 20: Omaha Corral of Westerners, "Show and Tell Night," with members bringing historic artifacts and explaining their significance. Time and location as above.

April 27-29: Third Fort Robinson History Conference, Fort Robinson State Park, Crawford, NE. For information contact NSHS at P.O. Box 82554, Lincoln, NE 68501-2554 or call 402-471-6548.

June and August: Summer Workshops for Kids. Call 1-800-833-6747 for a brochure or visit the NSHS website at www.nebraskahistory.org.

June 9-21: Nebraska Institute for K-12 Educators: Teaching Nebraska History and Culture Through Social Studies and the Humanities. Call 1-800-833-6747 for a brochure or visit the NSHS website as above.

June 19-July 1: Trails and Tales Tour and Institute 2000, Forts and Fables. Sponsored by Peru State College with support from Nebraska Humanities Council, Nebraska State Historical Society, and Peru State College Foundation. Up to six hours graduate credit available in history or English. For information contact Dr. Sara Crook, P.O. Box 10, Peru State College, Peru, NE 68421; 402-872-2237.

In observance of Easter, the Society headquarters and the Ford Conservation Center in Omaha will be closed Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23. The Museum of Nebraska History and all historic sites except Neihardt and Cather will be closed April 23. Call for holiday hours at the Neihardt Site (402-648-3388) and Cather Site (402-746-2653).

In observance of Arbor Day, the Society headquarters and the Ford Center will be closed Friday, April 28, through Sunday, April 30. The Museum of Nebraska History will be open regular hours. All historic sites except Neihardt and Cather will be closed April 28. For holiday hours at Neihardt and Cather, call as above.

January/February 2000 Issue

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