Author Archives: Devra Dragos

Sell, Sell, Sell

Any good marketer will tell you that you need to continually put your product or South side of Front Street looking east from Chestnut Street, Sidney, Nebraskaservice in front of people to make a sale. Today we are bombarded on all sides with commercials and advertising. But years ago there wasn’t such a wide range of media, so how did businesses reach their prospective customers? For some businesses that meant going beyond putting the name of their business on the front of their buildings to spelling out their products on signs meant to catch people’s attention. The Pioneer Drug Store spelled out their interesting combination of products–Front Street, Sidney, NebraskaDRUGS PAINTS OILS GLASS AND WALLPAPER–on the side of the building in the photograph at left. (South side of Front Street looking east from Chestnut Street, Sidney, Nebraska; Cheyenne County Historical Society and Museum Collection) Down the street, Adam Ickes’ Dry Goods Store positioned a sign perpendicular to the street that could be easily read by passersby, at right. (Front Street, Sidney, Nebraska)

Exterior of Glidden Paints BuildingSignage advanced to individual letters attached to buildings as in the picture at right with Glidden Paints capitalizing on their corner position by spelling out their name on two sides of the building. And if you have space on the roof, why not lease it to someone else–like Budweiser–for advertising? (Exterior of Glidden Paints Building, The Durham Museum Collection)

 

 

Capital City Tire CompanyMobile advertising works well, too. Capitol City Tire Company’s truck at left advertises the brand of tires they carried (Capitol City Tire Company; Men wearing signs advertising movieTownsend Studio Collection). And what could be more eye-catching than a group of men walking the street in sandwich board signs promoting the movie Roxie Hart with a pretty Ginger Rogers at right? (Men wearing signs advertising movie; The Durham Museum Collection)

Denver Chop House Restaurant doggieBut what could be better than advertising that a person takes home with them? Use a picture of a cute dog and who wouldn’t want to try out the Denver Chop House Restaurant? (Denver Chop House Restaurant doggie, Omaha Public Library collection) Or if a pretty Gibson-style lady is more to your taste, perhaps you would have hung the calendar plate given out by a Papillion bank. (Banking House of A.W. Clarke 1909 calendar plate, Sarpy County Historical Museum Collection)Banking House of A. W. Clarke 1909 Calendar Plate

Great artist course: Efrem ZimbalistGreat artist course presenting Miss Rosa PonselleTargeted advertising can be very profitable. If you attended the Efrem Zimbalist concert in 1919, your program contained an advertisement encouraging you to purchase a Victrola from Ross P. Curtice Co. so that “Zimbalist will play for you in your own home.” (Great artist course: Efrem Zimbalist; Polley Music Library Collection) Or if you attended the Rosa Ponselle concert a few seasons later, your program listed the Victor Records containing her songs also available at Ross P. Curtice Co. (Great artist course presenting Miss Rosa Ponselle, Polley Music Library Collection)

Visit Nebraska Memories to search or browse for more advertising materials or other historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and various materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Palimpsest anyone?

A recent radio news piece about the redevelopment of an urban area brought to mind a term I first read during a college history course. Palimpsest may be used as a noun, verb or adjective and originally was used in reference to paper or other writing materials which were reused so that the original text was partially erased or obliterated and new text overlay the old. By the nineteenth century the term was used for things which similarly had been layered with something new but still had a trace of the original such as land and buildings.

Take, for instance, the site of the oldest photographic image in Nebraska Memories,  “View looking northwest from 15th and Douglas” (Omaha Public Library Collection). The colorized lantern slide below is from about 1865 and shows Douglas Street from 15th Street to just past 18th Street in Omaha, then the Territorial capital of Nebraska. The roads are dirt (or mud), but houses and other buildings, including the Captiol building on the hill right of center, have been built and trees planted. When Omaha was established in 1854, the topography would have been the same with the land sloping upward from the Missouri River, but it would have been covered in prairie grass as far as the eye could see.View looking northwest from 15th and Douglas

Millions of years ago, Omaha’s locale was close to a large inland sea when dinosaurs roamed the land. Later, glaciers shaped and re-shaped the lay of the land. But we don’t have any images of those times, so back to recorded history…

15th and Douglas Streets, Omaha, NebraskaAs Omaha grew, more businesses moved in and started replacing houses as shown in the image to the left (15th and Douglas Streets, Omaha Public Library Collection). In the five years or so since the previous image was taken, building materials have already been upgraded to brick. The building on the corner which features extra architechtural detailing around the windows housed the City Livery stables.

In addition to new buildings, in the 1890s city officials changed the lay of the land with a re-grading project that lowered the steep rise in Douglas Street as seen in the first image. For more details and images, see Re-Shaping Omaha.

Brandeis Building, Omaha, NebBy the turn of the twentieth century, houses and trees have disappeared along this section of Douglas. “Downtown” businesses as shown in these two postcards from the Omaha Public Library Collection were being built to serve customers who lived farther out. Douglas west from 15th, Omaha, NebThe Brandeis Building, built in 1906 at 16th and Douglas Streets to house a department store and other businesses, is featured in the postcard to the left and is in the background of the postcard showing “Douglas west from 15th, Omaha, Neb.” at right. However, what goes around comes around–the Brandeis Building now houses apartments and condominiums for those wishing to live downtown.

Hotel Fontenelle, Omaha, NebOmaha business districtNew buildings grew taller. Built in 1917, the Hotel Fontenelle at 18th and Douglas Streets, shown in a postcard from the Omaha Public Library at left, had all the modern conveniences of the time. But it later changed its shape as seen (or not seen, as the top of the hotel has been changed) in the photograph at right taken from 17th and Douglas Streets in 1945 (Omaha business district, The Durham Museum collection). It would disappear totally from the landscape in 1983.

15th & Douglas, Omaha from Google EarthSo, what does that northwest view from 15th and Douglas Streets look like today? If one of the first Omaha residents looked at the Google Earth snapshot at right, they would be totally astonished to see all of those buildings. But the hill that the territorial capitol sat on is still there; perhaps there are other features they would recognize too. Imagine what this area might look like one hundred years from now. We can only hope that someone takes and archives pictures over the decades so that others may see the changes that occur.

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Preserving Nebraska’s Past

Are your paper archives crumbling? Are your photographs fading? Now may be the time to plan for preservation, and digitization is one of the best ways to preserve your historical materials.

Van Fleet Teachers CollegeDigital versions of items provide access to content while limiting the handling of delicate materials. The lantern slide of the Van Fleet Teachers College (Nebraska Wesleyan University Collection) to the left has a crack down the right side which, while not readily obvious in the digital image, could become worse if the slide is handled regularly. The 1887 Letter from John Q. Goss and H.M. O’Neal to Major Butler (Sarpy County Historical Museum Collection) below has creases from folds that could eventually crack or tear.

Letter from John Q. Goss and H.M. O’Neal to Major Butler

Some items may disintegrate for other reasons such as chemical reactions within the structure of the material or a poor storage environment. The acetate negative of Lena Carveth and Ernest F. Carveth (Townsend Studio Collection) below is an example of deterioration due to a chemical reaction. Nitrate negatives are even more unstable; as the chemicals in the negatives decay, they become highly flammable and require very specific storage conditions. Before these items disappear forever, consider scanning them according to archival standards.

Lena Carveth and Ernest F. Carveth

If you are wondering where to start with preservation, check out the Nebraska Library Commission’s Preservation of Library Materials list of resources. You will find guidelines and tips on the care and preservation of many different types of materials. And remember, if you do plan to digitize any materials, Nebraska Memories hosts Nebraska-related materials for web access and Library Commission staff may be contacted for consultation.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Miss Tony SmithThe temperatures have been up and down this winter, to the extreme at either end, but only a couple of longstanding records have been broken. When many of the original temperature records were set, people didn’t have the wide-range of clothing material options that we dMaude Zeilingero today. Wool was one of the most common materials used for coats. We assume the coat Miss Tony Smith, in the picture at the left, is wearing was made from wool (Butler County Gallery, 1908). With fashionable puff sleeves, the hem ends about a foot above her floor-length skirt, presumably to keep it out of the wet snow and mud. On some cold mornings I would appreciate those long skirts and multiple petticoats for added warmth. It appears that the scarf around her neck is a fur of some sort. For the middle-class, fur was another material used for warm apparel such as the muff held by Maude Zeilinger in the photo to the right (Butler County Gallery, 1909) .

McNeal familyChristie OtoupalikChildren wore garments similar to that of adults. The teenage girl seated in the picture to the left wears also wears a wool coat almost the length of long skirts and a fur scarf around her neck. Her brother wears a coat and hat that may have been fashioned after a sailor’s outfit–the wool coat is double-breasted with two rows of large buttons, and his hat is a flat cap (C.E. McNeal family, Butler County Gallery, 1906). While the two ladies and the teenage girl all wear fancy hats, Christie Otoupalik, pictured at the left, would appear to have an advantage against the cold wind with her hooded wool coat (Butler County Gallery, 1902).

Matt Cram and John AyresJay RisingMen also wore warm weather apparal made of various materials. Friends Matt Cram and John Ayers wear long cloth overcoats in their studio portrait on the left (Butler County Gallery, 1907), while Jay Rising of Rising City, in the photograph on the right, wears a coat made from some type of fur or perhaps buffalo hide (Rising City Library Collection, 1902). A couple of decades later the rage would include racoon fur coats for the fashionably dressed young folks about town. While today there is a definite taboo against wearing real animal skins and fur, they have been used since the age of cavemen for clothing and other household goods.

Fine Arts Association CommitteeThe trend for fur coats continued on for several decades. Although no longer of racoon, several of the ladies who were part of the Fine Arts Association Committee in Lincoln, wear full coats made of various types of fur (Townsend Studio Collection, 1938.)

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Historical Services Librarian, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Home, Sweet Home, Part II

Be it ever so humble … The interiors of early Nebraskans’ homes varied as much as the exteriors. Sod houses may have had only one room, and tenement houses may have had shared public areas, but there were mansions, too, containing extras like formal entry halls, libraries, smoking rooms, conservatories, sun rooms, and billiards rooms.

Gramophone and chair inside settlement houseThe image at left shows a sparsely finished room in an early 1900s Omaha settlement house which still provided a corner for relaxing in a rocking chair to read a book from the John Birkel familyshelf while listening to music on the gramophone (Gramophone and chair inside settlement house, Omaha Public Library Collection). About four decades later, the descendants of those immigrants would have had a living room more similar to the one at the right (John Birkel family, Butler County Gallery Collection). While basics furnishings are the same and the room is used for reading, relaxing and listening to music, the easy chairs are now upholstered and the floor carpeted while the music comes from the radio at the left. Note that in the settlement house a clock and picture sit on top of the book shelf, while in the later living room a clock sits on the fireplace mantel with a picture hanging above.

Kitchen diningIn a simple house or farm house, meals were most likely served in the kitchen as is the case in the photRay Julius Nye residence dining roomograph to the left (Kitchen dining, Keene Memorial Library Collection). In the better part of town, a fancy house would have had a separate dining room such as the one at right, featuring chandelier lighting, coffered ceiling, carved dining table with matching upholstered chairs, oriental carpet and glass-front cabinet showcasing the fine china (Ray Julius Nye residence dining room, Keene Memorial Library Collection). Still the family in the kitchen looks happy enough.

Man and woman in a kitchenWhile the woman in the picture above probably cooked her family’s meals on a wood stove and used kerosene in her lamps, the young woman in the picture at right appears to have all the latest appliances available in 1945 (Man and woman in a kitchen, Omaha Public Library Collection). In addition to the gas stove and oven, she has electricity (the fuse box is behind her), indoor plumbing and probably a water heater. All that and a soldier safely returned from the war!

Bed at Wallace residenceRay Julius Nye residence master bedroomHow comfortable do you think the bed at the left would be? It seems to dip a bit in the middle. But then this photograph is of a “third floor bedroom,” so even though the room is nicely furnished with extra pillows on the bed, framed photographs hung from a picture rail and a bedside table, perhaps it was not the “best guest room” (Bed at Wallace residence, Omaha Public Library Collection). In the master bedroom at the right, however, one would think the Mr. and Mrs. slept quite well in their own beds with the carved and turned frames (Ray Julius Nye residence master bedroom, Keene Memorial Public Library Collection).

Man in rocking chair at deskNo matter the furnishings or the number or types of rooms, people could still kick back and relax in their own personal space like the gentleman above (Man in rocking chair at desk, Nebraska State Historical Society Collection). Or perhaps enjoy a Christmas party like the children in the picture below with the interesting tree and decorations (Joseph T. May residence Christmas party, Keene Memorial Public Library Collection). We hope your Christmas is as merry as theirs!

Joseph T. May residence Christmas party

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Historical Services Librarian, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Home, Sweet Home, Part I

Ben Miller family outside of sod houseShelter is one of the most important requirements for people living in a harsh environment. Even though we have been enjoying warm fall weather here in Nebraska recently, temperatures will soon drop and snow will fall and the wind will howl at times during the winter. The first homesteaders settling the prairies didn’t always have much to work with in constructing their homes. A number of them used the sod that lay under their feet, cut and stacked into walls. Sod houses provided protection from the sun, wind, and other natural elements; however, residents sometimes wound up sharing the space with more critters than they would have preferred. Some sod houses were used for many years, into the early 1900s, like this sod house belonging to Ben Miller and his family (Ben Miller family outside of sod house, Nebraska State Historical Society Collection).

Family in front of wooden houseAs years went by and their farms became prosperous, families could afford the cost of lumber to build new houses. The farm family in the picture to the right lived in a snug wooden house with a gambrel roof. It does appear that the house is somewhat smaller than the barn in the background, but the barn protected their sources of income (Family in front of wooden house, Nebraska State Historical Society).

Tenement houses and alleyThose families moving west looking for a new life in a larger town, may have wound up in housing such as that to the right. Tenements were built in Omaha in the early 1900s to house not only poor people moving from the east but also immigrants from overseas just as tenements were being built in larger cities such as New York City and Chicago (Tenement houses and alley, Omaha Public Library Collection).

O. M. Carter's residenceNebraska residents who made their money quickly often built homes to reflecFairview, residence of William Jennings Bryan Lincoln, Neb t their wealth. O.M. Carter’s residence to the left was built with wood in the Queen Anne-style of the time. “Fairview”, residence of William Jennings Bryan at the right, also built in a style popular in the United States at the time, was constructed of brick. (Both images from Omaha Public Library Collection.)

Westfield Acres, east elevationSome homes were even more grandiose. Westfield Acres in Fremont, NGeo. A Joslyn residence, 39th & Davenport, Omaha, Nebebraska, to the left, was designed by Alfred C. Class of Ferry and Clas, architects of the 1893 World’s Fair (Westfield Acres, east elevation, Dodge County Historical Society Collection). Joslyn Castle, as its name suggests, was designed along the lines of a European estate house (Geo. A. Joslyn Residence, 39th & Davenport, Omaha, Neb., Omaha Public Library Collection).

J.A. Bentley home, Sidney, Nebr.As time passed and other design styles became popular, examples of those homes were also built across Nebraska. J. A. Bentley’s home in Sidney, to the right, is a nice example of the Prairie-style house (J.A. Bentley home, Sidney, Nebr., Cheyenne County Floyd Nichols homeHistorical Society and Museum). Floyd Nichols’ home, at the left, is a unique style of architechture for Nebraska and still stands in David City (Floyd Nichols home, Butler County Gallery Collection). Browse other exterior pictures of homes in Nebraska at Nebraska Memories.

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Historical Projects Librarian, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Friday Reads: The Care and Management of Lies, by Jacqueline Winspear

winspear-careAlso set in World War I, this book is written from a different perspective than the book Mary Jo wrote about two weeks ago. The story opens in England on a hopeful note with Kezia Marchant preparing for her wedding to Tom Brissenden just weeks before war is declared.  It is a poignant story of love, friendships, changing relationships, differing philosophies, duty, sacrifice, and bravery. The lies of the title include those in the letters Tom writes from the trenches to limit Kezia’s concerns, and Kezia’s unique stories in return of the delicious meals she dreams up to serve him instead of worrying him about changes on their farm. Other characters lie to themselves or live lies to justify their actions and beliefs. This story provides a very human look at how the stresses of war can affect individuals, families, friends, communities and cultures.

This is a standalone book, but Jacqueline Winspear also writes the Maisie Dobbs series set in England after World War I.

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Dining Out

Did you run out and pick up lunch today? Do you plan to eat out tonight? Are you out on the road and need a place to eat?

People in front of restaurantPeople have had a variety of choices for cafes, restaurants, steak houses, etc. in Nebraska over the years. Options included formal and informal. Al fresco dining outside this restaurant was offered in the early 1900s. The photograph to the left captures a crowd at a restaurant offering an outside lunch counter option (Nebraska State Historical Society Collection). Photographer John Nelson took many pictures in the area surrounding Wheeler County where he lived.

Vineyard , Rome Hotel, Omaha, Neb.Hanson's CafeMore formal dining at about the same time was in order at the Vineyard in Omaha’s Rome Hotel at 16th and Jackson Streets, shown in the postcard far left. The wait staff there may have been as numerous as that of the Calumet Restaurant (1411-1413 Douglas Street, Omaha) shown in the postcard bottom left. Tolf Hanson, after selling the Calumet to his brother-in-law, opened Hanson’Group of waitresses, Calumet Restaurant, Omahas Cafe in 1908, a tony restaurant that didn’t quite catch on despite extensive, expensive interior renovations. The building now houses the Omaha’s oldest Chinese restaurant at 315 S. 16th Street. (Omaha Public Library Collection)

Steak houses have also been big in Nebraska for a number of years. Denver Chop House Restaurant doggieThe Denver Chop House at 1518 Dodge Street, used cutting edge advertising in 1894, to promote their 15 Cent Restaurant on the postcard at the top left (Omaha Gorat's Steak House barPublic Library Collection). Opening somewhat later, Gorat’s Steakhouse, 4917 Center Street, Omaha, was and is a popular dining establishment. Cooks in the basement kitchen of Gorat’s Steak House cut generous portions of steak in the 1949 photograph at the left. Cooks cutting up steaksWhile upstairs in the photograph to the right, patrons could enjoy a drink at the sleek bar before eating. (The Durham Museum Collection)

 

Commercial Club dining roomJenquenz Sanitary Lunch CarIn Lincoln, businessmen could eat formally in the Commercial Club dining room on an upper floor of 1110 P Street as they do in the photograph to the left. Or someone in a hurry could grab a bite at the Jenquenz Sanitary Lunch Car a few blocks away at 222 S. 11th Street shown in the photograph to the right. (Townsend Studio Collection)

 

Mrs Tony's CafeMarchio's Italian CafeLocals and teenagers had their own favorite hangouts. Mrs. Tony’s Cafe in Fairmont with its pinball machine was popular with young people in town shown at left. (Fairmont Public Library Collection) Marchio’s Italian Cafe was part of the neighborhood at 13th and J Streets in Omaha, photograph to the right. (The Durham Museum Collection) Joe Gatto Store, view 3And anyone wanting something from the soda fountain had many choices in Lincoln, including Joe Gatto’s Store, to the left. (Townsend Studio Collection)

So, where are we going and what’s for dinner?

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Historical Projects Librarian, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Beat of a Different Drummer

The group performing on the corner a block away for the Friday lunch hour, as I work on this blog post, not only reinforces the fact that everyone has their own taste in music and preference for a “beat” but also the importance of music to humans.

Music has played a big part in Nebraska’s cultural history; in Nebraska Memories, you can browse through our new category of Musical Performers which includes photographic images people of different times, ages, and backgrounds.

Madessa Wolfe1917 Nebraska Normal College BandCarl F. SteckelbergSome student musicians like young Madessa Wolfe, far left, (Harvey L. Boston, Butler County Gallery Collection) enjoyed private music lessons while others learned to play in school bands–high school or college like the 1917 Nebraska Normal College Band, above center, (Wayne State College Collection). Faculty at the University School of Music in Lincoln, such as Carl Steckelberg, above right, (Polley Music Library Collection) not only taught music but also performed regularly.

African AmericanStandard Chautauqua 3Outside of school, bands and orchestras were formed by families, friends, and church and community members. Some were amateurs while others were professional like this Orchestra featuring all male African American musicians, at left (William Wentworth, The Durham Museum Collection). For a time, performers the bell ringers to the left (Alva C. Townsend, Townsend Studio Collection) could be booked through the Chautauqua.

Man boy and girl performing musicallyPerformers made music outdoors in bandstands, fields, parades or on a makeshift stage as in the photo to the right, of a man, boy and girl (John Nelson, Nebraska State Historical Society Collection). Indoor venues included school stages, auditoriums, churches, ball rooms, concert halls, opera houses, prisoner of war camps, orphanages and other institutions.

Great Cathedral ChoirChoirs also played an important role in the musical scene. The Great Cathedral Choir shown here in the State Capitol (Polley Music Library Collection) performed regularly in Lincoln starting in 1919. Singers also played parts on stage in musicals or took part in concerts. The Polley Music Library Collection includes many concert programs featuring visiting and local performers.

Chief Bear DogSo, whether you prefer an indoor or outdoor performance, a formal orchestra or the beat of a single drummer like Chief Bear Dog (John Anderson, Nebraska State Historical Society Collection), take a look at the items representing the rich musical history of Nebraska.

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Historical Projects Librarian, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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New Memories

Have you visited Nebraska Memories recently? Check it out–we not only have a new look but three new collections, too!

Omaha Public Schools contributed a number of historical photographs of schools (inside and out) and pupils. Garden County Historical Society contributed a manuscript of “Recollections,” a collation of newspaper articles which detailed the history of businesses, people and events of Oshkosh and the county. And Rock County Public Library’s audio interviews conducted in 1982 with nine of the county’s long-time residents will be available early next week.

The software used to host Nebraska Memories, CONTENTdm®, has been updated with a number of new features, including:

  • You can now search within a collection or narrow search results by collection, subject, creator, type, date or search term.
  • The Zoom feature now allows a much closer look at details in any image.
  • Audio files now play from within the item record.
  • For postcards that have a transcript, the front and back of the postcard can be viewed side-by-side or the text can be viewed side-by-side with the writing on the postcard. The text may also be searched. Try it out with this postcard: Farnam Street, Omaha, Neb. (Omaha Public Library collection)
  • For documents in PDF with transcripts, the text can be searched and the image of the page can be viewed side-by-side with the text.

Commission staff created predefined searches for topics unique within most of the individual collections. We also, under Browse, added ten new topic groups to provide access to items of interest across the all the collections, including Famous Nebraskans, Interiors  and Medical.

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, seehttp://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Historical Services Librarian, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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High-Rises of the Plains

Ding, ding! Going up … Oh, not that kind of elevator? An “elevator” in the country is different from an “elevator” in the city. Almost every town in Nebraska had a grain elevator at one time–right next to the train tracks. The railroads brought the farmers to the plains, then the farmers grew crops and brought grain to the railroads to be shipped back. But it had to be stored somewhere while waiting for transportation.

Grain elevatorJ.F. Dierks and SonElevators were originally built to store and move grain from docks into ships, but they worked just as well with trains. The mechanized “elevator” that moved the grain up and into silos sometimes used buckets and sometimes conveyor belts. Some towns had multiple elevators. The grain elevator pictured to the left was likely built by Seely, Son and Company of Fremont, Nebraska (Keene Memorial Library Collection). The picture to the right shows another elevator in Fremont, J.F. Dierks and Son.

A.W. Clarke Grain & Ground FeedGrain elevator south of the Union Pacific bridgeElevator buildings might be plain or fancy, but they were originally all built of wood. The simple grain elevator to the left was outside of Omaha (Omaha Public Library Collection). Sometimes a company would combine its elevator with a mill to grind the grain before it was shipped. At the right is an illustration of such a company advertising its services with a New Year’s postcard from the A.W. Clarke Grain and Ground Feed in Papillion (Sarpy County Historical Museum Collection).

Additional images of grain elevators from towns around the state can be found in Nebraska Memories. Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials. You can also find pictures of buildings with the other kinds of elevators, too!

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see Nebraska Memories Participation for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Historical Services Librarian, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Seeing Double

What did people use to do for entertainment years ago? What did they do before 3-D movies and 3-D glasses? Well, one form of entertainment from the mid-1800s through the early 1900s (and popping up in the 1950s and 60s again) was stereographs and stereoscopes. Stereographs are two pictures printed on one card which, when viewed through a stereoscope, would provide one image with the illusion of depth.

Double weddingDouble the pleasure, double the fun. Many stereographs were sold in sets—some showing exotic lands and peoples, others showing everyday sights and activities in small town America. The image to the right, “Double wedding” (Nebraska State Historical Society Collection), shows two couples celebrating their wedding day. In many of the stereographs, as in this one, the two pictures appear to be duplicates.

FinishSometimes, though, the pictures were cropped slightly on one side or the other as can be seen at the left in “The Finish” (Nebraska State Historical Society Collection), where the not as much of the man at the right in the right image shows as in the image on the left. Other times, the photographer would shift the camera slightly to take a second photograph. That might be the case in the picture to the right of “Interior of church and altar in Greeley Centre, Nebraska” (Nebraska State Historical Society Collection)—you do need to look closely to see the slight shift in angle between the two images..

Anything might have been considered fair game as subject matter for stereographs. For example, at the right is a winter scene of the home of a Fremont, Nebraska, resident, Robert S. Somers (Keene Memorial Library Collection) and at the left a “Funeral casket” (Nebraska State Historical Society Collection). Check out  other stereographs in Nebraska Memories which include the interiors of stores and homes, farming activities, commercial and public buildings, Native Americans, and Missouri River flooding.

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Historical Projects Librarian, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Go Old Gold Knights!

University of Nebraska football team, 1894 champions… er, make that Cornhuskers, Big Red? Team names can change over time and the athletic teams at the University of Nebraska Lincoln have answered to several. These handsome young men didn’t let the name Bugeaters (or the striped knee socks) prevent them from taking the championship in 1894 (Townsend Studio Collection). It’s only one week until the first game of UNL’s 2013 season–here’s hoping the Cornhuskers do as well.

Jack Best

Cornhusker

Other UNL football-related images in Nebraska Memories include photographs and a score. Jack Best, an athletic trainer, worked with the team for many years (Townsend Studio Collection). In 1909, Robert W. Stevens, a faculty member, wrote the musical piece “The Cornhusker,” dubbed the “Official Field Song of the University of Nebraska” which includes two “Foot-ball Verses” (Polley Music Library Collection). One verse exhorts the team: “Come a runnin’ boys, Don’t you hear that noise like the thunder in the sky, How it rolls along in a good old song from the sons of Nebraski, Now it’s coming near with a rising cheer that will sweep all foes away, So with all our vim, We are bound to win and we’re going to win today.”

Four linemen of the 1909 football team

Whittier School football squad

UNL was not the only Nebraska school to field a football team. The four lineman from the Normal School at Kearney cleaned up really well for the photograph at the left (University of Nebraska at Kearney Collection). Other schools’ team photos in Nebraska Memories include Wayne State College, David City High School, Nebraska School for the Deaf, and the Whittier School (Lincoln Public Schools Collection) shown at the right. See more photographs of football players from various teams through the years in Nebraska Memories.

Crowd at football game, 1915Nor was UNL the only school to draw crowds to their football games, although it has long been the joke that on Saturday home  football games, Memorial Stadium is the third largest city in Nebraska–and growing. As the picture at the left shows, Kearney Normal school also had many enthusiastic fans (University of Nebraska at Kearney Collection).

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Historical Projects Librarian, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game

The crack of the bat on a ball, the smack of a ball hitting a mitt, and the umpire’s cry of “You’re out!” Ah, the sounds of summer. America’s most popular pastime hit a home run in early Nebraska–be it high school, college, league or pick-up at the sandlot, boys and men enjoyed a game of baseball.

Students playing baseballIn this Union College game from 1911-1912, the player sliding into base wears a uniform, while the player stretching a mitt to catch the ball looks to be wearing street clothes. Other college photos in Nebraska Memories show the teams lined up in uniform, sometimes with coaches and ball boys. Towns, big and small, also had their teams and fans showed up to the games.

 

Orphans playing baseballYounger boys may have played in a league or, as in this picture, in a pick-up game on a lot or playground. These boys don’t seem to have had a home plate or bags for the bases, but there seem to be plenty of bats and mitts as the pitcher winds up for a pitch. And there wouldn’t have been a problem of spiking, as more than one of the boys appears to be barefoot.

 

Damn YankeesBaseball even made an appearance on-stage at the Omaha Community Playhouse with a production of Damn Yankees. These unnamed Omaha crooners may or may not have played baseball at some time in real life, but I’m sure they were crowd pleasers.

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Historical Projects Librarian, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Where do writers get their ideas?

A common answer to this question may be: anywhere and everywhere. So what can they do if they hit a writer’s block or don’t know how to describe something historical? Our suggestion is–try Nebraska Memories!

Dr. Muriel Anderson (Butler County Collection)

The photograph and description of Dr. Muriel Anderson, a blind osteopath who practiced in David City, Nebraska, from 1924 to 1971 can generate many questions and ideas. What would it be like to be a blind doctor? How would your other senses take over when you couldn’t see a patient? What kind of challenges did she face in her medical education in the early 1920s–as a woman, as well as being blind? What other challenging occupations did women with disabilities become successful in during that time? What would it be like to be a patient of a blind doctor? What would happen if a patient tried to pull a fast one on the doctor? What if … ? Now you fill in the blank.

Sleeping porch at the Hospital for Tuberculous, Kearney (Nebraska Library Commission Collection)

A writer may have an idea but might not be sure how to describe the scene. Say your heroine is working in a state institution caring for patients with tuberculosis, what would the patient housing be like? What type of buildings were at a state institution? What type of people were cared for at state institutions? What was life like at a state institution? What did rooms look like in homes, schools, stores, manufacturing plants, and other buildings?

Boy and dog (Butler County Gallery Collection)

A writer might wonder: what did people wear when they were working? What did they wear to have a studio portrait taken? What did they do for fun? What did small western towns look like? What did bigger towns look like? What kind of pets did they have? Find images and stories about all of these at Nebraska Memories.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Historical Projects Librarian, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Lending e-Reader Devices at Your Library?

You may want to take a look at an advisory issued by the Institute of Museum and Library Services if you are currently lending, or are thinking about lending, e-Reader devices. The Department of Justice found that two libraries offering devices were in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In its advisory, IMLS highlights applicable parts of the laws, outlines the settlement of the complaint against each library, and encourages libraries to think about these issues as they acquire new public access technologies

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Celebrating Dear Old Dad

The first Father’s Day celebration was held in Spokane, Washington, in 1910. But it wasn’t until forty years ago Father’s Day finally became a permanent national holiday. It took 62 years of promotion and lobbying to overcome resistance to another “commercial” holiday.

No matter how you celebrate Father’s Day (commercially or otherwise), it can be great fun to look back at images of fathers from the past–or grandfathers, great-grandfathers and fathers of the future. Many images of fathers in Nebraska Memories were taken by Harvey L. Boston, owner of a photography studio in David City, Nebraska, (from 1893 to 1927) including a self-portait with his two young daughters.

Boston’s photographs include young fathers, such as Fred Keller, at left with his wife, Alice, and their young child. The collection also includes fathers who might have started a second family at an older age, such as William H. McGaffin, at right, who was photographed with his son Wesley, born when his father over 60. McGaffin, a widower who married a second time, had already had 14 children with his first wife.

Other Boston images show multiple generations. The collage to the far left includes members of the Gilbert W. Rogers family; in the photograph two fathers are holding younger children. In the center are four generations of the H. W. Lichliter family. And to the right are four generations of the Harper family: James, Morgan, Jack and Phillip.

Some Nebraska Memories images show fathers at work with their children, such as Joe Gatto with his two sons in his store in Lincoln, Nebraska (from the Townsend Studio collection). Others show them relaxing with their families, like the John Birkel family to the right. But, work or play, take some time to celebrate all fathers!

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Government Information Services Director, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Is there a doctor in the house?

Have you ever needed a ride to the hospital? Or emergency medical care? Consider the medical care available 80-100 years ago. It used to be that ambulances simply transported a person to the hospital (or the morgue). Check out the image of this ambulance used in Lincoln in 1922. (Hodgman ambulance, Townsend Studio collection) You might not get much medical aid on the trip, but there are curtains to close for privacy.

No matter how you reached the hospital all those years ago, you might still have a problem getting into the building. At the Ord Hospital (and others), you had to navigate quite a few stairs to the front entrance. (Ord Hospital, Nebraska State Historical Society collection)

Once inside the hospital, there weren’t many bells and whistles like today. In this image from the Alegent Health Immanuel Medical Center collection, the operating room is plain and simple. A basin for the staff to wash up in, a table that could be raised and lowered, a single light fixture above the table–but hey, there were large windows for extra light, and they opened for fresh air, too.

Other mechanical improvements, such as the incubator in the image to the left, may look clunky and out-of-date to us, but you can’t argue with success. The image to the right shows Nancy Lonn, the baby in the incubator, at age four with her older sister Belva Joy. (Thorpe Opera House Foundation/Boston Studio Project collection)

Check out more medical-related images or visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Government Information Services Director, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Nebraska Business Offers Libraries Wholesale Pricing

Liu & DB Enterprises, Inc. has been added to the Library Commission’s Discounts on Books & Supplies page.

Liu & DB Enterprises, Inc. is a wholesale distributor of CD/DVD Media and Packaging. The company is a Nebraska family-owned company in La Vista, Nebraska near Omaha. We are one of the largest suppliers of media packaging in the US as regards to the varieties of products. LDB carries over 1,000 media and packaging products at our 32,000 sq. ft. La Vista facility and serves both domestic and international customers.

Pricing for Nebraska libraries will be wholesale pricing for items such as brand new, high quality 1 to 14 capacity DVD cases.

For more information, including ordering instructions, see the company’s entry on the Discounts on Books & Supplies page.

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Taking a Stroll

… down Memory Lane, er, Main Street. Before suburbs and big box stores, the main street was the heart of many towns. Out on the plains, main streets in many small towns probably began looking something like Crawford’s does in this image from the Crawford Historical Society and Museum Collection. Not enough traffic to keep down the weeds yet, and wooden buildings under construction.

In towns that had been established for a little longer, the main streets became hardened dirt—unless there was enough rain to turn it into mud. And while there is still space between the wooden structures on Sacramento’s main street, progress can be seen in the signage on the buildings and the number of people in the picture. Image from the Phelps County Historical Society Collection.

As more businesses and government buildings went up, amenities such as hitching posts became necessary. In this image of Ericson from the Nebraska State Historical Society Collection, between the stores on one side of Main Street and the Post Office on the other a rope has been strung along several posts for wagon parking down the middle of the street. Notice that the buildings are all wooden structures.

Modern inventions like electricity and the telephone brought poles and wires to town. This image of Eagle’s Main Street shows poles down both sides of the street where it looks like paring for wagons and buggies is limited mostly to the west side of the street—or one business is really popular! Note that there is one brick building on the right-side of the street. This image is from the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors Collection.

By the 1930s most poles and lines have been banished to the alleys. And as seen on Fairmont’s Main Street, street lights have been installed in front of brick buildings. Hitching posts have disappeared and no parking meters have appeared as yet in this image from the Fairmont Public Library/Fillmore County Historical Society Collection.

And over the years, big events in town took place on Main Street, like Fourth of July parades, political speeches, and the Calathumpian Parade shown here in Fremont. This image is part of the Keene Memorial Library Collection.

Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.

Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Government Information Services Director, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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