Category Archives: Nebraska Memories

The Joys of Hunting Season in Nebraska

Before the advent of grocery stores, people produced much of their food. Although Blackbirds flying over field gardens and livestock supplied staples such as vegetables, milk and bacon, many settlers looked to hunting to supplement their diets as well as provide some much needed cash from the sale of pelts. Nebraska Memories not only features postcards and photographs birds and game, but of people posing with their rifles and the fruits of their labors as well.

While the blackbirds featured in the above image may not have been intended for dinner,  you can almost imagine a bird hunter eagerly awaiting their flight so that they might snag a bird or two to add to their collection. Take this photographic postcard from Bird hunt Wheeler County. It shows a hunter, with his trusty hunting dog, firing at several game birds. Chances are, these birds were destined for the family dinner table and the tail feathers used to decorate a hat.

In addition to shooting game birds, Nebraskans hunted other animals, such as coyotes. After 1860, fur traders saw the value of coyote fur pelts increase from almost nothing to a few dollars or more per pelt. Coyote pelts could not be used as rugs, but they could be made into coats, jackets and hats. As such, they most likely became a source of income for many people. mand woman with coyote hides Additionally, ranchers disliked coyotes because they attacked sheep and cows. The couple featured in this postcard may have shot coyotes in order to harvest their fur or they may have been helping ranchers protect their livestock.  Four men with shotguns

Not all photographs focus on potential targets or an expedition’s results. Some images are of the hunters themselves. This photographic postcard not only features four hunters posing with their shotguns, but three dogs can be glimpsed as well. While two of the three dogs are not visible clearly, the third one sits at his master’s feet, ready for action. Okay, maybe not. But bird hunters relied on dogs such as pointers, spaniels, setters, and retrievers to fetch downed birds. Despite their somewhat casual stances, I do not doubt the abilities of these hunters or their dogs.

Undoubtedly, hunting enabled many families to survive the often harsh and rugged Nebraska plains. A settler with a good shot gun could provide food, warm clothing or bedding in the form of fur pelts and cash from the sale of game or pelts. Hunting also helped protect livestock from predators like coyotes.

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, contact Dragos Devra Technology  &  Access Services Director.

 

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“The establishment of the town of Hastings was an afterthought…”

First National Bank

First National Bank – 2nd Street, West from Hastings Ave. As you can see in Google Street view, this building is still standing today.

“The establishment of the town of Hastings was an afterthought with the men who settled upon the three homesteads which formed the original parts of town.” I don’t know if that is true but that is what Henry G. Smith wrote in the Book of Hastings : a sketch of the town with illustrations. This book, published in 1906, is available in Nebraska Memories.

The Book of Hastings tells the history of the area starting in 1869. In 1873, the Hastings Town Company (page 6) was formed to develop the town of Hastings. On April 20, 1874, Hastings was declared an incorporated town.

Browsing this book, I learned a lot about the history of Hastings and the surrounding area. The book does not have a table of contents or an index, so I wanted to highlight some of the information available in this book.

  • A number of railroads had service to or through Hastings over the years including the St. Joe & Grand Island, Burlington & Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley. (page 18)
  • Juniata was selected as the county seat of Adams County in December 1871. Not everyone was happy with this. For years, folks fought to move the county seat to Hastings while others fought to keep it in Juniata.
    Juniata

    Juniata (page 81)

    The group supporting Juniata won the 1875 election but lost the 1877 election. They were not happy with the loss and contested the vote. The issue was finally settled by Judge Gaslin. (page 22)

  • A fire in 1879 destroyed 33 buildings in the Hastings business district. Many of the wooden buildings that burned were replaced with brick buildings. Later that year the Burlington depot was destroyed to cover up a murder. Fires in 1881, 1890, and 1905 also destroyed many businesses in town. (page 28)
  • At the time this book was written, there were 18 church organizations in Hastings. A brief history of each organization is included. (page 40)
  • The Hastings Library opened in January 1888. It was run by the Library Mite Society until it was taken over by the city government. In the spring of 1905 the new Carnegie building was completed. The library contained about 6,000 volumes. Miss Mabel Stone was the librarian. (page 46)
  • Hastings residents started discussing the possibility of building a college in 1873 however, Hastings College did not become a reality until 1882. J. J. H. Hewitt was the first student to graduate in 1887. Dr. W. F. Ringland was the president of the college for the first 15 years. (page 70)
  • Starting on page 81 you can find lists of many of the towns first officials including the mayor and councilmen.
  • Towards the end of the book you will find a list of “Personal Sketches of Early Settlers” (page 95) followed by a list of businesses titled “Among the Business Houses” (page 103).
  • The book is also full of pictures of houses however; most of them are only labeled with the name of the current resident.
Residence of C. Koehler.

Residence of C. Koehler. (page 54)

I hope you take a few minutes to learn more about Hastings by looking at the Book of Hastings : a sketch of the town with illustrations.

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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Header Crew for Wheat HarvestFall is my favorite time of the year.  I love the crisp morning air, the feel of a warm sweater, the tart taste of apple cider on my tongue.  For some, however, fall is a sad time.  The wheat has been harvested, the trees are bare, and winter is around the corner.

According to the song, “Nebraska in the Fall,” the leaves turn to “red and gold . . . . the flaming sumac flaunts her colors bold and Nebraska in the Fallcottonwood and maple have turned to yellow gold!” Having moved to Lincoln in January, this will be my first Nebraska autumn. While I have experienced the cooler mornings, I have yet to see trees dripping with red and orange colored leaves as described by the song’s writer, Hazel Dolan of Louisville.

However, fall does not invoke images such as those described by Hazel Dolan for all people. In my experience, some see fall as a season of leafless trees and bleak landscapes, like the scene on this postcard of the Pavilion at Omaha’s River Park. Pavilion, Riverview Park. Omaha, Neb. Regardless, many find a way to enjoy the season.  This group from Lincoln’s Union College apparently found something to celebrate or at least a way to stay warm! woman drinking out of a bucket

While most of the fall-related images in Nebraska Memories are of leafless trees, there are many other pictures that capture the essence of autumn – crews harvesting hay and other crops, nature scenes and music scores.

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, Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director

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Hotel Fontenelle and Hotel Castle

Hotel Fontenelle, Omaha, Neb.The first images the Hotel Fontenelle and Hotel Castle I saw were those included in Nebraska Memories. I didn’t know anything about the hotels and there wasn’t a lot of information about them included in Nebraska Memories. I decided to do a bit of research hoping to find a few interesting tidbits that I could share with you. I found more than just a few tidbits; I found what I consider to be a research jackpot. The Omaha Daily Bee newspaper did multiple page specials on both hotels when they opened. These special supplements are made up of multiple stories that tell about the hotels. Many of the companies that built, furnished and continued to work with the hotels also had advertisements in the supplements highlighting how they were connected to the hotels. These supplements were fun to read. I learned a lot about each hotel but it was also amusing to see what things were important to write about in 1915.

The Hotel Fontenelle opened in February 1915 on the corner of 18th and Douglas streets. It operated as a hotel until 1971 and was razed in 1983. The supplement covering the Hotel Fontenelle in the Omaha Daily Bee was published on February 28, 1915. The supplement is 15 pages long and was published in two sections. Both parts contain photos of the inside of the hotel.

Omaha Daily Bee - February 28, 1915 - second section

Omaha Daily Bee – Section 2

Omaha Daily Bee - February 28, 1915 - first section

Omaha Daily Bee– Section 1

Here are a few things in the article that caught my attention for one reason or another.

  • “There are really sixteen stories in the Fontenelle – above the street. And there are two stories, very busy stories below the street. Total height, eighteen stories.”
  • The architecture is Gothic. The first 10 stories are dark brick, above that is white tile and “the building design is of fretted and gabled French chateau style, with gabled roof painted a pleasing green.”
  • The land cost $215,000.
  • The land and building were owned by the Douglas Hotel Company. The supplement includes a list of officers and directors of the Douglas Hotel Group posing in front of Hotel FontenelleCompany. The Interstate Hotel Company of Nebraska leased the hotel and ran it.
  • William R. Burbank was the director general of the hotel. Abraham Burbank was the managing director.
  • The hotel has 350 guest rooms. The room rates varied depending on if they faced the street and the size and configuration of the room. The cheapest room listed was $2 a day while a corner suite that had a bedroom, bathroom and sitting room was $10 a day.
  • “Sample rooms will rent at $2.50 up, according to size and location.” Traveling salesmen stayed at the hotel and used a sample room to display their products. The Baird Buildingsample rooms were located on the tenth and eleventh floors. The rooms had thick carpeting, telephones and private toilet and bath rooms.
  • All of the rooms in the hotel had a telephone. Telephones were also placed in other locations such as the kitchen, barbershop, lobby and elevator. A very long article explains the 63 miles of telephone wire used and the switchboard could serve a town of about 3,000 people.
  • Every room had “ice water on tap”. The water was “cooled to a temperature of forty degrees by ammonia coils” before being distributed through the building.
  • The L. G. Doup Co. of Omaha provided the box springs and mattresses for the hotel. The mattresses were of the “very best quality — the hair used in the mattresses is long curled horse hair of the quality known as drawings…”
  • Big Electric Signs on top of New Hotel” – A short articles talks about the importance of the electric signs. “It is so built that it harmonizes with the Downtown Omahagable roof of the French chateau style of architecture.”
  • Included in the supplement are the floor plans for the ground floor and the main floor.
  • Hotel on Cow Stable Site” This column talks about the land the hotel was built on and how it was “far remote in the outskirts of a frontier country village fifty year ago; today the location of Omaha’s $1,000,000 modern and palatial hotel…”
  • Hotel Has Its Own Laundry” – I was surprised to read that the laundry was located on the 13th floor. “This is the only original motor driven laundry in Omaha. … big “extractors,” which turn on their vertical axes at a speed of a thousand revolutions a minute. These are for drying the wash. They remove the moisture by centrifugal force instead of by the slow and primitive process of drying.”Banquet at Fontenelle Hotel
  • Thomas R. Kimball was the architect for the hotel. According to the article, he was also the architect for the S. Cecelia’s cathedral, the Burlington station, designed the city library and the Methodist hospital.
  • I’ve never heard of a telautograph but the Fontenelle had one. “A telautograph is an instrument that will reproduce your handwriting perfectly at a distance.”

 

Hotel Castle and other buildingsThe Hotel Castle was located on corner of 16th and Jones Street and opened in March 1915. The main building was six stories high. The hotel had 150 rooms. All of the rooms had a toilet and running hot and cold water. One hundred of them also had private baths. Rooms rented for $1.25-$2 a day. Attached to the hotel is a two-story building referred to as the annex. The 50×80 feet convention hall or ballroom is located on the second floor of the annex.

c

Omaha daily bee

The special supplement about the Hotel Castle was published on March 21, 1915 in the Omaha Daily Bee. Here are some of things I found interesting about the Hotel Castle.

  • “The Hotel Castle is absolutely fireproof. From basement to proof [sic] there is hardly a splinter in the construction that can be consumed by fire. The doors of the rooms are about the only inflamable things, the rest being concrete and marble.” Multiple times in the article, fireproofing is mentioned. This may seem odd at first but keep in mind that in 1913 a fire destroyed the Dewey Hotel killing around 20 people. If you would like to read about this fire there is an article about it in the Mach 1, 1913 issue of the Omaha Daily Bee.
  • “even the smallest rooms have three lights,…and a third at the head of the bed so that guests can enjoy the luxury of reading in bed.”
  • Miss Clara Fry was proprietor of the cigar stand. Miss Fry also owned a cigar stand in the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne Wyo.Yourex silverware
  • “Vinegar, pickles, olives, sauerkraut, ketchup and the like will be supplied to the new Castle by Haarmann Vinegar and Pickle Company…”
  • The supplement contains a picture of a guest room and a bathroom and other rooms in the hotel.
  • Yourex silverware was used at the hotel.Eckman Chemical Company
  • “The Eckman Chemical Company was the first outside concern to rent one of the store buildings facing Sixteenth Street on the ground floor of the Castle.” According to their ad “If you have sick hogs, try Eckman’s special treatment for sick hogs.”
  • If you need a laugh, I’d suggest reading the article “Some Guests to be Barred – Messrs. Rat, Mouse, and Bug and Their Families to Find No Homes Here.” It is a rather long article that tells the story of how Mr. Rat and his family were not able to find a place to live in the new Castle Hotel.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the Hotel Fontenelle and Hotel Castle.

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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Plotting the Route: Maps of the Missouri River

The summer I turned ten, my family drove from Montana to northern California to visit my grandparents. My dad put me in charge of plotting our route. This was pre-GPS. I actually had to look at the road atlas. Unfortunately, my dad rejected many of suggestions. I think it had something to do with the fact that some of them would have taken us through North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado – not exactly the most direct way to travel from Montana to California. Regardless, I found I enjoyed looking at maps. Something I still like to do.

Maps do more than tell us how to get from one place to another. Depending on the map, they can convey informationMap of Omaha City, Nebraska  like elevation, land use, socio-economic levels. If they are maps of bodies of water, they mark the locations of navigational hazards, ship wrecks and water depth. In some cases, we can use maps to show how rivers have changed their course over time or the evolution of land use in an area. Nebraska Memories features several maps and an atlas or two.

Maps depict more than geography. Some focus on the mundane and the ordinary, such as city planning. For example, this map of Omaha from 1866 shows the city laid out in a grid pattern. While the city blocks are numbered, individual owners are not named. With a little help from a Polk Directory and/or the Census, you could figure out who lived where. Regardless, this map provides us with plenty of information — it shows the location of Nebraska’s first capitol building at Twentieth and Dodge Streets. It also tells us the Omaha experienced some flooding during its early years. How do I know? The map marks the locations of several levees along Omaha’s eastern boundary. Also, the cemeteries are located on the western edge of Omaha, far from the Missouri River.

Map of the Missouri River from surveys made, in accordance with acts of Congress approved June 18, 1878 and March 3, 1879, under the direction of Major Chas. R. SuterSpeaking of the Missouri River,  two atlases chart the course of the Missouri River from its mouth to its source in Three Forks, Montana.  Both the Map of the Missouri River from its Mouth to Three Forks, Montana and the Map of the Missouri River from surveys made, in accordance with acts of Congress approved June 18, 1878 and March 3, 1879 under the direction of Major Chas. R. Sutter show an amazing amount of detail.

Map of the Missouri River: from its mouth to Three Forks, Montana These maps plot the locations of islands, sandbars, vegetation, the locations of previous channels and much, much more. The Map of the Missouri River from its Mouth to Three Forks, Montana also notes  Indian settlements, wood yards, and large ranches. Since the maps are drawn as though you are looking at them from above, it’s like looking at the nineteenth-century version of a Google map.

Map of the Missouri River: from its mouth to Three Forks, Montana

Maps, like old photographs and postcards allow us to travel into the past. We not only see how rivers have changed course or how cities have evolved, we catch a glimpse of what mattered to the mapmakers. Since the Missouri River was a major transportation route, these mapmakers were focused on documenting navigational hazards, woodlots, and Indian settlements. They wanted to ensure that riverboats would be able to navigate safely, as well as resupply as necessary. Looking back on that long ago road trip to California, the maps we used may not have contained the same sorts of information as the ones found within Nebraska Memories, but they provided us with the information we needed.

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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

 

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Sometimes it is more than just a Nebraska Memories Blog Post

This week I had planned to write a short blog post highlighting some of the photos in Nebraska Memories taken 100 years ago in 1916. While I hadn’t actually typed a single character, mentally I had a great start on the post. That was until I did a quick web search on Spirella. That search started a chain of events that led to a bit of work and me deciding to revise the post I’d been mentally composing.

Here is the picture from 1916 that started my search. As you can see this image shows a room full of women sewing what looks like wide strips of fabric.

Spirella Company

Spirella Company

Deputy 11th Street BuildingThe Spirella Company was located at 211-215 S. 11th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska. The Library Commission’s office is located between 12th and 13th streets so this building would have been located about a block west. Unfortunately, the building was torn down but we do have a picture of the outside of the building taken in 1918.

Don’t worry if you don’t recognize the name Spirella. Before starting this blog post, all I knew was that the Spirella Company made corsets and that in 1918 Ira B. Saunders was the General Manager of the plant.

A quick web search led me to the article in Wikipedia about Spirella. It provided me with a lot more information about Spirella and the twisted and flattened coils of wire used in the corsets. The Wikipedia article however was missing what I considered to be an important piece of information. There was no reference of the factory in Lincoln. How could that be, I was just looking at a picture of the factory.

Spirella Plant in LincolnThis is where the extra bit of work started. I knew I had to add the Lincoln location to the article but before I did, I wanted to do a bit of research to see if I could find any more information. The first thing I found that clearly confirmed that Spirella had a location in Lincoln was a one-page ad in the March 1917 issue of The Ladies’ Home Journal. The ad contained an image of the plant and stated, “At Lincoln, Nebraska, a plant was located to care for our clients west of the Mississippi.” The full ad is available online but I have included the image of the Lincoln building that was used in the ad. Did you notice that the top decorative triangle is missing? The curvy line to the top and left of the building is an image of the springs used in the corsets.

The American FederationistIn the 1917 issue of The American Federationist another ad mentions the Lincoln location. In the add it states “Spirella Corsets Are Made in Spirella’s Daylight Factories under Safe, Sanitary, Convenient, Working Conditions by well paid, contented, skilled works who find joy in their work.”

While I had more than enough information to update the Wikipedia article I was still curious, so I did a quick search across the historic collection of newspapers available on the Library of Congresses’ Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers website. While I didn’t find any information about the factory itself, I did learn a bit more about the corsets and the local corsetiere.

Click to enlarge.Mrs. Magnolia Duke was a corsetiere in the North Platte area. There were numerous ads for her services in The North Platte semi-weekly tribune along with articles that mention her work. To the right is an example of one of those ads. This is from The North Platte semi-weekly tribune. (North Platte, Neb.) May 23, 1911, Image 8

In August of 1911, Magnolia traveled to Pennsylvania to attend the National Training School of Spirella Corsetieres. You can read about her trip in the article titled Home from Training School that appeared in the Sept. 1 edition of The North Platte semi-weekly tribune. (The article is at the top of the page, just to the right of the owls.)

"Try the new Spirella Corset."Another corsetiere in the state was Mrs. J. R. McCleary of Falls City. Here is her ad for corsets that appeared in the June 28, 1907 issue of The Falls City Tribune.

After gathering this information, I was able to update the Wikipedia article to include the factory in Lincoln. I also passed the information on to my colleague who added additional information to the photo in Nebraska Memories. As you can see, what I thought was going to be a simple blog post turned out to be a chance for me to correct wrong information and provided additional information to enhance our metadata 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.

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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Here Comes the Bride!

Bride and groom outside of church June is the month for weddings. In Western culture, the tradition of marrying in June dates from Roman times, when early Romans celebrated the festival of Juno, the goddess of marriage and childbirth, on June first. As such, couples considered June to be a good time to marry. During the Victorian Era, weddings were held in June because of the availability of flowers. Some claim that because many people bathed only once a year, usually in the spring, brides chose June because they and their guests were still relatively clean. In the modern era, brides and grooms may select June for other reasons. Or they may choose not to wed in June, but at a time more convenient for them.

Interestingly, it appears that of the couples appearing in Nebraska Memories, many chose not to marry in June. According to the dates on the photographs, these couples wedded in months other than June. Or at least the photographs were not taken in June. So perhaps June was not a popular time for couples to wed in Nebraska. Unfortunately, we don’t know why couples chose their wedding dates. For some, it simply may have made more sense to marry in the dead of winter than to wait for warm summer days.

Hickman weddingHaving grown up among farmers and ranchers, where weddings were often squeezed in between planting and harvesting,  haying or even hunting season, I think some couples wedded when they and their families had a free moment!  In same cases, it appears couples married before the groom had to report to base or ship off to war.

Looking through Nebraska Memories, I found a variety of wedding-related Kelly wedding: birde and groom in a car after the ceremonyphotographs. For the most part, they are of brides and grooms, wedding venues and wedding parties. Many are studio portraits of brides and grooms, but a few are less formal. No, not the candid shots that we’re used to seeing of brides feeding cake to their grooms or children dancing! But smiling and relaxed couples, standing with friends or sitting in their cars.

While we don’t know the fate of the couples featured in this post, we do know what happened to one: Ben and Katherine Homan of David City, Nebraska, who married on November 22, 1901. According to the notes attached to this photograph, they raised nine children and operated Homan Appliance store.  A colleague did some digging and discovered they had many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Mr. and Mrs. Ben Homan

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 for more information, contact Devra Dragos Technology & Access Services Director.

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Dogs Rule and Cats Drool

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post titled “Cats Rule and Dogs Drool” that highlighted the cat photos in Nebraska Memories. I don’t want to offend dog lovers, so today’s post has gone to the dogs.Seefus Tavern and confectionary store

While I don’t know if any of the cats were drooling in the photos, I do know when comparing the number of cat pictures to dog pictures in Nebraska Memories that dogs definitely rule. There are only 11 photos of cats in the collection compared to 70+ photos that contain at least one dog. To be fair in a number of the photos the dog is not the center of attention and is just part of the crowd. This is true in this 1927? photo of a group of men and a dog standing in front of the Seefus Tavern and confectionary store in Valley, NE. In the description of the photo, you will find the names of all of the men, but the dog will forever be nameless.

Fred Schumacher familyYou can also find dogs included in People and dogs in front of sod housemany of the family photos that were taken in front of the house. The Fred Schumacher family had at least two dogs that were included in their picture. Looking at the picture, I wonder if that white spot over by the chickens is a cat. The family in this photo, entitled People and dogs in front of sod house, included two large dogs in their photo. I wonder if the chicken was included on purpose or if it just wandered into the shot.

Fire Department, 1910-1911, Crawford, NebraskaIn other photos, dogs can be spotted front and center. Football team 1906ThGerman prisoners of war at Camp Atlantae man in the front row of this photo of the Crawford fire department is holding a dog sitting in the front row with him. The German prisoners of war at Camp Atlanta and the 1906 Nebraska State Normal School at Kearney football team also chose to include dogs in their group photos.

Man on horse with dogsAs you can see, some dogs were put to work. This man on a horse has a group of five dogs with him.

Have you ever seen a Dog walking on a tight rope? That was one well-trained dog.

Dog walking on tight rope

Denver Chop House Restaurant doggieI don’t know what to say about this poor dog who was dressed up to advertise the Denver Chop House Restaurant in Omaha. To me the banner looks like it was designed for the dog to wear so he/she might have be used to that. Was the dog also trained to stand still wearing the wig, hat, and glasses? Do you think the dog actually had the cigarette in his mouth, or was it “photoshopped” in later? I asked a coworker this question, and she assumed it was really in the dog’s mouth because she didn’t realize people have been manipulating images since the 1800’s. You can see a few examples of manipulated photos in the, “What did it really look like?” blog post.

I’ve saved the cutest photos until the end. The Butler County Gallery collection in Nebraska Memories contains photos taken by the professional photographer Harvey Boston. As you can see, many people had pictures taken with their dog.

Edwin Lyndon Ned May Jr

Edwin Lyndon “Ned” May, Jr.

Unknown child and dog

Unknown child and dog

Boy and dog

Boy and dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minnie Liebrecht and dog

Minnie Liebrecht and dog

Agnes Birkel

Agnes Birkel

Louis Fuller and dog

Louis Fuller and dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Trees, Trees and More Trees!

Hanscom ParkSince moving to Nebraska I have discovered many new and interesting facts. For example, Nebraska was the first state admitted to the United States after the Civil War. Nebraska is also home to both the National Museum of Roller Skating and the International Quilt Center and Museum. It’s also the site of the first American commemoration of Arbor Day. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1872, in Nebraska City.

While J. Sterling Morton, who the Arbor Day Foundation credits with organizing that first Arbor Day, is not included in Nebraska Memories, there are many tree-filled photographs and postcards. Browsing through the collection, it seems as though trees pop up everywhere – in front of churches, libraries, schools, government buildings, and private homes. Trees even stand adjacent to Nebraska’s legendary cornfields!

Country road and fields near Bennington

In many of the images, the trees appear to have been deliberately planted. That is, I didn’t see a lot of pictures of broad forests, similar to those found in western Montana. For Green Terrace Hall, elevated viewexample, the trees surrounding Green Terrace Hall, on the campus of the Nebraska State Normal School in Kearney, grow in neat rows. This does not hold true for all the photographs and postcards I found. A postcard featuring two young women in Omaha’s Hanscom Park, depicts a meadow crowded with trees; while a postcard of Big Saddle Butte, near Crawford, shows trees scattered around a butte.

I’m sure in the coming months and years, I’ll learn many more fascinating bits of trivia. Here’s one more: Arbor Day is the last Friday of April. You don’t need to plant a tree to celebrate, but take a moment to enjoy the beauty of a tree.  Big Saddle Butte Lone Butte to right Crawford Neb.

Scene Hanscom Park Omaha Neb

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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

 

 

 

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Cats Rule and Dogs Drool

Henrietta Nelson holding a catEda Nelson holding a catAccording to my coworker, cats rule and dogs drool. I’m not sure I agree with him but don’t tell him that. He is one of many cat lovers who work at the Library Commission. If you work with a cat lover, are friends with a cat lover or are a cat lover yourself you probably see or are sent cute cat pictures and videos on a regular basis. The internet is full of cat related pictures and videos and social media has made it easy for folks to share their favorites.

Alice Nelson and Mildred Nelson outside with two kittensPeople taking pictures of their cats is nothing new. In Nebraska Memories, I found 11 photos that included at least one cat. Photographer John Nelson took pictures of his nieces Alice, Mildred, Eda and Henrietta all holding cats or kittens. You can’t go wrong with pictures of kids with cats.

Interior of hardware storeJohn Nelson also took a picture of a cat in a hardware store. I find it amusing to see the cat sitting on top of the glass display case. I’m not sure if he intended for the cat to be the focus of the picture but the cat is more visible then the humans in the picture.

Cat on the kitchen table at the Wallace residenceThe other photos in Nebraska Memories that included cats were taken by William Wallace. William Wallace served as a vice president for the Omaha National Bank for many years, and it appears he was also an avid photographer.

Cats on a bed at Wallace residenceIt’s obvious that William meant for the cats to be the focus of his pictures. I’m guessing that the cats might have ruled the house. The cat looks content lying on the family’s kitchen table. Because the photos are black and white, it’s hard to tell if the cat on the table is also one of the cats sleeping on the bed. Do you think the cat on the bed Cat on a banister at the Wallace residencewith the white fur on his face and neck is the same cat playing on the banister? Are they the same cats that are providing entertainment in these three pictures taken in the Wallace’s library?Cats and a woman in the library at the Wallace residence

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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Windmills of Nebraska

Girl looking across fieldIn early January, I moved from Montana to Nebraska. This is not necessarily the best time of the year for a road trip. It’s cold. It’s bleak. Fortunately, my mom decided to make the trip with me.  We entertained ourselves by talking about the landmarks, odd formations, and abandoned structures we glimpsed along the freeway. For example, as we drove from Scottsbluff to Lincoln, we saw a lot of windmills. It seemed like there were windmills popping up all over the place. Looking for windmills helps make that last leg go a little faster!

Now, we have windmills in Montana. We even have a few wind farms, but you do not see a lot of windmills standing alone in a field. Most are adjacent to a farmhouse or a barn, and may still be operational. For those living off the grid, windmills serve as an excellent power source.  Wanting to see Family in front of wooden housemore of Nebraska’s windmill heritage, I searched Nebraska Memories for images and publications.

As you may know, homesteaders used windmills to convert wind into energy that could be used to pump water wells.  In areas where there are few rivers, it makes sense that farmers and ranchers used the energy generated by windmills to bring water to the surface.  Looking through Nebraska Memories, I found a few photographs of windmills. However, rather than featuring a solitary windmill in a field, most of the images depicted windmills standing adjacent to a homestead or lurking in the background.  This makes sense. After all, the windmills my mom and I glimpsed as we sped across the Nebraska plains were the remains of abandoned homesteads.

Man performing with lassoIf you would like to see more photographs of windmills, 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, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx For more information, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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Dressed to the Nines

The origin of the phrase “to the nines” is debatable; however, the meaning or intent seems to be consistent, as in to perfection or to the highest degree. When combined with the word dress, it can mean smartly or flamboyantly.

Florence Martin StevensMargaret MeisterFormal dress was de rigueur for photographs taken in a photographer’s studio, even in small town Nebraska. Florence Martin Stevens, dressed in a trim two-piece fitted top and matching skirt, posed for the photograph, at left, taken by A. C. Strauss in Osceola, Nebraska, probably in the 1890s. The only embellishment on her tidy costume appears to be a bow at the collar. Margaret Meister’s costume,  on the other hand, is a bit looser fitting, embellished with flowers, and topped by a very large frilly hat. Mrs. Meister’s photographer, Harvey Boston of David City, perhaps contributed the flowers as some of the women in other photographs taken by him are also decked out in a similar manner (Butler County Gallery Collection).

Dora LaneIn the following decade, Dora Lane dressed just as fine but her costume is a two-piece suit made of a lighter colored pinstripe material and worn over a white blouse with lace at its collar. The jacket, while fitted around the body, has puffed sleeves and insets of darker cloth at the cuffs which match the attachment on her collar. Her large hat of a dark color isn’t quite as frilly as Mrs. Meister’s; it has a bit of frill at the back and some type of ornamentation on the front brim. Harvey Boston also took this photograph.

Mr. and Mrs. Victor BartaA few decades later, during the Great Depression, hemlines had risen and clothing tended to be less bulky. However, in Mr. and Mrs. Victor Barta’s wedding picture, the bride, Helen, wears a dark dress lightened by a wide, white lace over-collar and calla lilies pinned at the center of her neckline. Her soft hat is much smaller than the other two, more like a cap, but it has a wide woven ribbon around the edge and a short piece of netting attached to the back edge. This photograph was taken by Harvey’s daughter, Edith Boston Proskovec in 1936.

Section of sewing room in Industrial Building, Nebraska Hospital for the Insane, LincolnSo where would these ladies have gotten their fine outfits? The first three were most likely made at home or by a dressmaker specifically for the wearers. Into the beginning of the twentieth century, even in institutions, like the Nebraska Hospital for the Insane, clothing had to be sewn (Section of sewing room in Industrial Building, Nebraska Hospital for the Insane. Lincoln, Nebraska Library Commission Collection).

Virginia Dare Women's Apparel display windowsWoman modeling print dressMrs. Barta, Helen, may have had her dress specially made, too. Or it’s possible she made the trip to one of the larger towns in Nebraska to shop at a store such as Virginia Dare Women’s Apparel in Omaha. William Wentworth’s night time photograph from the late 1930s or early 1940s shows lots of wonderful costumes and accoutrements. The Brandeis Store was another popular department store in Omaha, and Wentworth’s photograph at right shows one of their models wearing a ready-to-wear print dress in 1939. (The Durham Museum Collection)

It is also possible that Helen shopped in her local dress store the A to Z Dress Shop in David City, shown below. Small to be sure, but customers were certain to receive personal service.

A to Z Dress Shop

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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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It’s High School State Basketball Time

The Nebraska High School State Basketball tournaments are well under way in Lincoln. Last week the girl’s teams were in town for the championship games and this week the boy’s teams are here. Last night, as I watched the news coverage of the games, I wondered if there were any historical photos of high school basketball teams in Nebraska Memories. I was happy to find a few photos of basketball teams although I’m not sure they were all high school teams.Basketball team Nebraska School for the Deaf

Two of the photos I located are of girls’ basketball teams. The first photo is of the 1909 Nebraska School for the Deaf (NSD) basketball team. Most the girls have a smile on their face and look happy to be having their picture taken. NSD was a school for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. It was located in Omaha from 1869 to 1998 when it closed.

Sacramento basketball teamThe second photo is of the Sacramento basketball team. I must admit that the first time I saw this photo I had to consult a map. I had no idea there was a town named Sacramento in Nebraska.

Today I think Sacramento it what some folks may refer to as a wide spot in the road. It is located about six miles southeast of Holdrege. According to the Nebraska State Historical Society, the town was established sometime between 1876 and 1878 with a population of around 200. School District No. 8 was located there from 1876-1952. While there was a school in town at the time this photo was taken in 1913, we don’t know if it was a school team.Sacramento basketball team

I do have to admire the caps that the girls have on. Can you imagine all of the girls who played in the games last week wearing caps like that?

 Loomis basketball team, 1916 In the Nebraska Memories collection, there are two photos of basketball teams from Loomis. One photo is from 1916 and the other is from 1918. According to the description of the photos Roland Bragg, Frank Johnston, and Gordon Linder appear in both photos. Again, I’m not sure if these are the high school basketball teams.

Loomis basketball teamI thought some of the boys looked young so I did a quick search the 1910 US Federal Census for the boys. (Nebraskans can search this census and many other genealogy resources through the MyHeritage database, which is available through NebraskAccess.) I was easily able to locate Ronald and Reuben who were both 9 in 1910. I was also easily able to find Phil who was 10 and Gordon who was 11. That would make them 15, 16 and 17 in the 1916 photo.

The last photo I want to highlight is that of the 1924 Bertrand High School basketball team. Unlike the girls from NSD these guys aren’t smiling. As you can see, they all have their arms crossed and most of them are trying to look tough.

Bertrand High School basketball teamI was curious to see if this group of boys from Bertrand played in the Nebraska High School State Basketball tournament in 1924. I looked on the Nebraska School Activities Association’s (NSAA) website and found some historical information about the basketball championships. They have information for the boy’s teams going back to 1911 however; the information about the girl’s teams only goes back to 1977.

Here’s what I learned after reading the information on the NSAA’s site. In 1924 the boys state tourney was made up of 248 teams and they were divided into 16 classes. That year Bertand was in Class L. Assuming I’m reading the information correctly, Bertrand played in only one game against Papillion. They lost 11-12. Papillion then played Stockville and lost. Stockville then lost to Valley. In the last game Valley lost to Henderson. That made Henderson the 1924 Class L champions.

Do want to see more? 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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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President’s Day

On the third Monday in February, the state of Nebraska celebrates President’s Day. The name of this holiday varies across the United States. While we call it President’s Day the federal government officially calls it Washington’s Birthday. It wasn’t until I read the Wikipedia article about Washington’s Birthday that I realized how many different names this holiday has been given. Some states celebrate both Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays and have named the holiday to include both of their names. Even those states that call it President’s Day disagree on the spelling. It is spelled Presidents’ Day, President’s Day, or Presidents Day depending on the state. No matter how you spell it I thought this would be a perfect time to highlight the images of three US Presidents that are included in Nebraska Memories.

Visit of President Benjamin Harrison

President Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President. He was in office from 1889-1893. If you would like to read more about President Harrison the White House website provides a nice biography on all of the Presidents. As you can see in the photo to the right, a large crowd of people turned out to see President Harrison on May 13, 1891 in downtown Omaha. If you would like to know more about this event, I suggest you do what I’m guessing many people did at that time and read about it in the newspaper. The Library of Congress’s project Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers provides access to many digitized newspapers from across the country. In the May 14, 1891 issue of the Omaha daily bee there are multiple articles telling about the six hours President Harrison spent in Omaha. You can read all about his visit on the Chronicling America website.

President Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President. Theodore Roosevelt rallyHe was in office from 1901-1909. The picture at the left shows Roosevelt on October 1, 1900 in Holdrege. At this time, he was campaigning for the Vice Presidency. Roosevelt returned to Nebraska in 1912. The photos from Holdrege and Fremont both show Roosevelt standing on the back of a train car. I’m assuming these appearances were part of his campaign for the 1912 presidential election.

 

Theodore Roosevelt visiting Holdrege, Nebraska   Union Depot, Fremont, Nebraska

President William Howard Taft was the 27th President. He was in office from 1909-1913. Visit of President William Howard TaftWe have two photos of President Taft in Nebraska Memories. In this picture, he is standing with a number of prominent Omaha gentleman. Unfortunately, the exact date and location of this picture was never documented so we don’t know it was taken. The other picture shows the President riding in a car as part of a parade. We know that this picture was taken on September 21, 1909 at the intersPresident Taft in carection of 20th and Davenport Streets in Omaha. If you would like to read more about Taft’s visit the Omaha daily bee covered his visit.

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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director

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Looking Sharp

So fellas, did you think about your clothes when you put them on this morning? Dress up with a suit and tie or down with torn jeans and a baseball cap? Coordinate the colors or fabrics of top and bottoms? And where did you buy your fine fashions–a fine men’s store, a shop at the mall, or the local convenience store?

Where do you suppose a man-about-town or a hard-working farmer would have gone to get advice and purchase the latest fashions in the early part of the last century?

Men looking at clothingIn a small northeastern Nebraska town, they may have gone to a store like the one in the photographic postcard above. The store had the simple name of “Clothing and Shoes” and had an equally simple method of displaying the merchandise by stacking it on a long counter. Notice that the clerk behind the counter is the most formally attired, but  all three men wear hats and two wear suit coats. (Men looking at clothing, Nebraska State Historical Society Collection, circa 1907)

Clothing store and employees, Neligh, Nebraska In Neligh, another northeastern Nebraska town, the men’s store at left has more merchandise displayed in a more formal layout. While much of the merchandise is stored in boxes which are stacked and organized on shelves behind the counter, pants in a variety of colors are laid out along the curved counter so that customers can get a better view. With the pants display is an order book for “Custom Made Trousers,” which it appears could be ordered in from another company. The two clerks, formally dressed in dress pants, shirts, vests, and bow ties, appear ready to advise their customers in the latest sartorial fashions. (Clothing store and employees, Neligh, Nebraska; Antelope County Historical Society Collection, circa 1910)

Herman Petersen TailoringIf you wanted to order clothing fitted specifically for yourself directly from the source, you may have visited your local tailor such as Herman Petersen of Fremont, who displayed examples of his clothing in the windows of his establishment as shown in the photograph at right. (Herman Petersen Tailoring, Keene Memorial Library Collection, 1925)

Tillma-Anderl StorefrontResidents of David City and the surrounding area may have shopped at Tillma-Anderl Cash Toggery, left, whose signs above the display windows advertise clothing, shoes, hats and furnishings. The displays on either side of the door include a variety of clothing and a couple of suitcases. Notice that formal clothing, including suit jackets are still the main parts of the display(Tillma-Anderl Storefront, Butler County Gallery Collection, 1938)

Interior view of men's department of Nebraska Clothing StoreOr, if you visited the big city of Omaha, you may have shopped at the Nebraska Clothing Store, right. Shelves line the walls of the large room, and additional items are stored beneath the display tables in the center. Several suggested combinations of jackets, shirts and ties grace the top of one table. A fan helps customers keep their cool while making the right choice. (Interior view of men’s department of Nebraska Clothing Store, The Durham Museum Collection, circa 1940)

Visit Nebraska Memories to search or browse for 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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Nebraska Memories: The Paxton & Gallagher Legacy

P&G CookbookThis week we received, as a gift, a copy of the Paxton & Gallagher 75th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee Cookbook, 1864-1939.  It has been wonderful to leaf through the recipes and handwritten notes, and wonder about the company who produced them, as well as the many cooks who used them.

As it turns out, there are several pictures related to Paxton & Gallagher in Nebraska Memories, so here is a brief history of the company and its’ founders:

Paxton & Gallagher Wholesale Grocery was founded in 1879 by two Omaha businessmen: Ben Gallagher and William A. Paxton, and in a few short years became one of the largest grocery companies in the West.   Paxton started out as a cattleman, then became a banker who had his hand in many different businesses in Omaha and Nebraska.  Examples of Nebraska Memories pictures of some of his ventures are, from left to right: The Paxton Hotel, the Paxton & Vierling Iron Works, and the Nebraska Telephone Company (in which Paxton was a principal stockholder).

Paxton HotelP&VNETelephone

 

 

 

 

Gallagher, on the other hand, was a grocery man only, and previously operated a series of general stores all along the Union Pacific railroad route.

The original Paxton & Gallagher store was located at 15th and P&GFarnam Street in downtown Omaha, but later moved to a four story complex at 701-711 S. 10th Street.

Paxton & Gallagher hit it big when they launched their Butter-Nut line of foods, and especially after 1913 when they began selling Butter-Nut brand coffee, a name that many people remember, and is still around today.

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 Participating in Nebraska Memories for more information, or contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

 

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“Nee-bras-ki is where we dwell”

McNair HardwareNebraska Memories contains 5,500+ digitized items from institutions across Nebraska. I’ve been working with the project since it began and I think I’ve seen every item in the collection at least once or twice. Not surprisingly, I’m drawn to some items more than other items. I wanted to share with you a few of the items that I like.

I’ll start with the picture of McNair Hardware that was taken in Crawford. The quality of the picture isn’t that great but I love the rows of rocking chairs. My parents own a rocking chair very similar to the padded chair on the bottom shelf. When I look at this photo, I always see it as an antique store until I remember that this photo was taken in 1909 and these are probably new chairs for sale.

NebraskaIncluded in Nebraska Memories is a collection of 256 musical scores from the Polley Music Library. I haven’t made the time to read the lyrics of every song in the collection but I’ve read a few. The lyrics of the song Nebraska, written by B. A. Rosencrans of Plattsmouth, Nebraska, always makes me laugh, especially the chorus. This song was written in 1927 and was dedicated to the American Legion Posts of Nebraska. I’ll tease you by just including the chorus below. You can view the complete score on the Nebraska Memories website. I’m assuming the name Volstead in the third verse is referring to the Volstead Act, which is actually a nickname for the National Prohibition Act.

NebraskaNebraska chorus:
“Nee-bras-ki,” That’s its name;
Cows and corn have won it fame.
Nee-bras-ki is where we dwell,
Its the best old state this side of.

On the last page of the score, they included the text that you see in the image on the right. One line states that this “It will be to Nebraska what the “Corn Song” is to Iowa.” I’ve never heard of the Corn Song before so I did a quick search and found the score on the Iowa Digital Library website. I wonder if Mr. Rosencrans wrote Nebraska as Nee-bras-ki because Iowa was written and I-O-Way in the Corn Song.

POW entertainersAnother set of photos that intrigues me are those of the clowns and actors at Camp Atlanta. If you are not familiar with Camp Atlanta, it was a German P.O.W camp located about 10 miles southwest Holdrege. It was in use from 1943 to 1946.

Food display in a grocery storeI’m sure we have all seen a TV show or movie where they are in a grocery store and the cans are stacked high in some pyramid type shape until someone either runs into the stack or pulls out the wrong can. While it makes for great entertainment, I don’t remember ever seeing stacks like this in any of the stores I frequent. Maybe that’s why I like this food display in the California Grocery. If you wanted to take advantage of the sale on apricots and buy three cans for 59 cents, which three cans would you pick up?

Children looking at picture books A list of favorites wouldn’t be complete unless it included pictures of children reading, a cat, and a baby playing with a dog.Cat on the kitchen table at the Wallace residence

These are just a few my favorite items in Nebraska Memories. Do you have any favorites? 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.

Edwin Lyndon "Ned" May, Jr. 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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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We Were Sailing Along

Although the central part of the country is some distance from an ocean, Stands and Looks Back and Hollow Horn Bear in a canoepeople still enjoy access to water by boat. Rivers and lakes offer a means of travel and transportation, acquiring food, recreation, and maybe a little canoodling.

Canoes were developed by Native Americans and used for thousands of years. Although the first ones were dugout of tree trunks, later ones featured tree bark over frames. The framed variety worked best for the rivers, streams and lakes in North America, as in the John Anderson photograph at left from the late 1800s of two Brule Sioux, Hollow Horn Bear and Stands and Looks Back, paddling on a river (Nebraska State Historical Society Collection).

U.S.E boat Leuit. Lewis 6-18-13Lewis and Clark’s Expedition of 1804-1806 to explore the territory acquired with the Louisiana Purchase began on keelboat up the Missouri River which also forms the eastern border of Nebraska. A little over one hundred years later, the United States Army Corps of Engineers steamboat, Lieutenant Lewis, (right) plied the same river (Omaha Public Library Collection). In addition to surveying and exploration, boats moved people and goods more quickly than horse or oxen and wagon for many decades.

Omaha, Nebraska, sene at Rod and Gun Club, Lake NakomaThe shifting of the Missouri River after the flood of 1877 created a curved lake and the opportunity of additional recreation for the locals. The Rod and Gun Club of Omaha used the lake, known as Lake Nakoma at the time the postcard at left was created. As shown in the postcard, members were not limited to men–women are ready at the oars of the rowboats on the water. The lake, later renamed Carter Lake for the family donating funds to establish a city park on the lake, also saw craft such as canoes and sailboats like the ones below sailing in the moonlight (both postcards from the Omaha Public Library Collection).

Carter Lake by moonlight, Omaha, Nebr.

Flood in Ericson, NebraskaBoats are at times required for more serious duty. Many of the rivers in Nebraska are not very deep, so heavy rains or run-off from an extra deep snowpack melting in mountains to the west can cause flooding across the plains. In such cases, like the flood in Erickson, Nebraska at right, required boats to navigate the streets (Nebraska State Historical Society Collection). Other images of canoes, rowboats, and sailboats can be found in Nebraska Memories.

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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Music in the Air

August Molzer, violinist

As mentioned in Beat of a Different Drummer, Lincoln had a thriving music scene at the turn of the twentieth century, and opera houses could be found in many small towns across Nebraska. How did they find performers before mass media or social media? Not all performers made their livings solely from performing. For an example, take a look at the career of August Molzer, violinist, pictured above (from a promotional pamphlet in the Donated Materials Collection).

Molzer was something of a local celebrity. Some years after moving to Wilber, Nebraska, from Bohemia as a boy of seven with his family, Molzer was sent back to Bohemia for musical schooling due to his aptitude for playing the violin. As noted in the promotional pamphlet, he studied under well-known musicians in the Prague Conservatory and performed well-received concerts in Europe. Upon his return to Nebraska, he taught music at both Nebraska Wesleyan University and the University of Nebraska School of Music in Lincoln. The pamphlet was printed and distributed by Nebraska Wesleyan University circa 1907.

Grand concert by August Molzer and Mrs. H. Finley HelmsKerr Opera House concertTwo concert programs from the Polley Music Library Collection detail performances Molzer gave in Nebraska after the promotional pamphlet was produced. The program at left was for a concert at the Shelby Opera House given January 18, 1908, and the one at the right was for a concert at the Kerr Operal House in Hastings given October 26, 1909. Note in the Kerr Opera House program the other performers are also faculty of the Nebraska Wesleyan Conservatory of Music.

Menuet BohemienneIn addition to teaching and performing, Molzer also composed music. The Polley Music Collection also contains two Rondomanuscripts of Molzer’s pieces for violin and piano: the “Menuet Bohemian” at left and “Rondo” at right, both circa 1910.

Molzer Music Store employeesAfter teaching in Lincoln for nearly three decades, Molzer, his wife and their two youngest children moved to Laramie where he taught music at the University of Wyoming. However, it seems there was also music in the “heir”, as Molzer’s oldest son, Robert, remained in Lincoln where he later owned the Molzer Music Store. In the 1946 photograph at the right, Robert is most likely the man dressed in a suit, standing with his employees (Townsend Studio Collection). In addition to selling music and musical instruments, employees repaired instruments as can be seen in other store photographs.

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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The Modern Farm Horse

Unloading tractors at Sidney Nebraska Union Pacific freight yards As the harvest season is ending, I thought it would be a great time to look at some of the first tractors Nebraskans used to work the fields. Looking at the photos in Nebraska Memories makes me wonder what people thought of these large metal machines as they started to be delivered to farms across the state. Someone in Sidney cared enough to have a photo taken of a railroad flat car loaded with three International Harvester Mogul steam tractors. You can see how large the tractors are compared to the men standing in front of them.

Man posing on tractorPhotographer John Nelson took a picture of man who I consider to be brave. The man is standing on the back of a tractor that appears to be part way up a ramp with a sharp incline. The tractor must have great breaks since it is not rolling down the incline.

John Nelson also took a picture of a group of six men standing next to a tractor in what appears to be the middle of a field. While we may never know what was really going on at the time of this picture it appears to me that they gotMen with tractor the tractor and the cart they were pulling stuck in the mud. As you can see, the back wheels of the tractor and the wagon wheels are almost axel deep in mud. You have to wonder if the tractor made it out on its own steam or if the men and/or horses in the picture had to help.

If you haven’t noticed, I don’t know much about tractors. When I saw the photo of the Hart-Parr Company, I just assumed it was a local company in Lincoln. I love the sign next to the garage door. It states “The modern farm horse. Does plowing for 40 to 60 cents per acre. eats nothing when idle”. Hart-Parr Company, gas tractors

I originally planned to do a bit of research to see if I could learn something about this local company. I was surprised to learn however that the Hart-Parr Company was actually a tractor company based out of Charles City Iowa. I can only assume that the location in Lincoln was the local dealership. If you are a tractor enthusiast, you may be interested to know that Hart-Parr merged with three other companies in 1929 to form the Oliver Farm Equipment Company. The Oliver Company went through some changes and finally ended up being White Farm Equipment.

The commoner., October 04, 1912, Page 12One of the place I looked for information about the Hart-Parr Company was in the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers collection. While I The commoner., November 15, 1912didn’t find the type of information I was hoping to find I did run across a couple of fun ads that appeared in The Commoner. In 1912 the Hart-Parr Company offered a correspondence course that would teach you how to run a tractor. Participants in the course also got to attend the practice schools where they could “actually run a tractor”. One of these schools was located in Lincoln.

I hoped you enjoyed seeing some of these “Modern Farm Horse”. 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, contact Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.

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