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NSHS Volunteer News

January/February 2001

2001 Film Series

This year's film series features eight Civil War films. The series is presented by the Nebraska State Historical Society, with major underwriting from Douglas Theatre Company of Lincoln. Additional support is provided by the Civil War Round Table of Nebraska, and Audio-Visual Video Center, Lincoln. All films will be shown at 2:00 p.m. at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P Streets, Lincoln.

January 21 The Red Badge of Courage (1951)
Stephen Crane's classic story of a soldier's fear under fire stars Audie Murphy.

January 28 Friendly Persuasion (1956)
Quaker parents Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire grapple with their son's intentions to enlist in the Union Army.

February 4 Of Human Hearts (1938)
James Stewart, as an army physician, receives an invitation to the White House after he has stopped writing to his mother.

February 11 Glory (1989)
The heroics of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry highlight the efforts of black soldiers during the Civil War.

February 18 Gettysburg, Part 1 (1993)
The armies collide at Gettysburg, where Jeff Daniels, as Col. Joshua Chamberlain, leads the defense of Little Round Top.

February 25 Gettysburg, Part 2 (1993)
Pickett's Charge is the highlight of this segment.

March 4 The Beguiled (1971)
Wounded Union soldier Clint Eastwood seeks refuge in a girls' school.

March 11 The General (1927)
Buster Keaton infiltrates Union lines to retrieve his train, "The General."

Volunteer Programming for 2001

Volunteer programs are generally scheduled on the second Wednesday of every other month ­ and are free! All volunteers are encouraged to participate in the programs that provide information about Society projects, exhibits, research, and other interesting activities. The programs are held at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P Streets, Lincoln. Free parking is available at downtown parking garages ­ bring your parking stub and request validation.

On Tuesday, January 9, the volunteer program will focus on Society renovation projects. The program will be given by Larry Sommer, Society director. Join us for coffee at 10:00 a.m., with the program following from 10:30-11:30. Please contact Deb McWilliams at 471-4955 regarding your attendance.

Upcoming volunteer program dates for your calendar include:

March 14
May 9
July 11
September 12
November 14

Thanks to Society Board of Trustees

The Society is governed by a fifteen-member board of trustees; twelve elected by the members of the Society (three from each congressional district), and three appointed by the governor.

The Board of Trustees assists in setting policies, provides guidance in strategic planning, and offers overall support to the director, staff, Society members, and volunteers. If you happen to know any of the board members, be sure to let them know how much you appreciate the time and effort they give as trustees. They include:

Margaret Allington, Lincoln
Keith Blackledge, North Platte
Dr. Sara Crook, Peru
James Denney, Omaha
Joyce Hillman, Gering
Dr. Herb Grandbois, Omaha
Janyce Falcon Hunt, Blair
Patrick Kennedy, Omaha
Dr. Dick Loosbrock, Chadron
Dr. Martin Massengale, Lincoln
Jim McKee, Lincoln
Pat Phillips, Omaha
Jack Preston, Lyman
Jeffrey Spencer, Omaha
Dr. Helen Stauffer, Kearney

Thanks is also extended to Martha Ellen Webb of Omaha and E. Jane Graff of Seward, who recently fulfilled their terms on the board. THANKS!

NSHS Historic Sites

The Nebraska State Historical Society was founded in 1878, and first resided in a single room at the University of Nebraska library. It is now responsible for seven historic sites across the state, as well as the headquarters building and Museum of Nebraska History in Lincoln, and the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha.

Chimney Rock National Historic Site, Bayard
Exhibits about the migrations along the Oregon-California and Mormon Trails are housed in the Ethel and Christopher J. Abbott Visitor Center.

Willa Cather State Historic Site, Red Cloud
Six period structures, including the Cather Childhood Home, interpret the Nebraska years of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Thomas P. Kennard House, Nebraska Statehood Memorial, Lincoln
The 1869 Italianate mansion of Nebraska's first secretary of state, restored to the 1870s, tells of the early years of Nebraska statehood.

Fort Robinson Museum, Crawford
Exhibits in the 1905 post headquarters building, along with a dozen historic buildings or sites, trace the history of this military post from the 1870s Indian wars through World War II.

John G. Neihardt State Historic Site, Bancroft
The poet's original study and an interpretive center reveal the inspiration and writings of Nebraska's late Poet Laureate.

Senator George W. Norris State Historic Site, McCook
The home of Nebraska's nationally-recognized U.S. Senator, known as "The Fighting Liberal," who served in Congress from 1902 to 1942.

Neligh Mill State Historic Site, Neligh
Original 1880s milling equipment is still in place. The restored mill office, a reconstructed flume and penstock, and remains of the mill dam are visible reminders of waterpower days when grist mills once dotted Nebraska's landscape.

For further information about these historic sites contact Brent Carmack at 402-471-3447.

Nebraska Soldier's Civil War letters to be published in Nebraska History

By a fortunate coincidence, twenty-two fascinating letters from a Nebraska Civil War soldier will be published at the same time the Society presents its Civil War film series. They will appear in the Winter 2000 issue of the Society's quarterly, Nebraska History. The letters were written by Thomas Edwin Keen, a twenty-two-year-old private in Company H of the First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry. Keen was a Pennsylvania native who came to Nebraska Territory shortly before the Civil War broke out in 1861. He was among the several hundred young Nebraskans who heeded the President's call for volunteers to put down the rebellion.

Keen's letters, written to family members back East, span the period from August 1861 to March 1864 when the First Nebraska served mostly in southern Missouri and eastern Arkansas, garrisoning small outposts or marching through the countryside in pursuit of guerrillas. The regiment's service in the South was punctuated by its participation in major battles at Fort Donelson and Shiloh in Tennessee during late winter and spring of 1862, battles that Keen's letters describe. The letters are also rich with his candid observations on the life of the common soldier, his less than flattering opinions of some officers, and his own patriotic sentiments. They give evidence that Civil War soldiers were among the most literate that had fought a war up to that time. And unlike the situation with twentieth-century armies, the correspondence of Civil War soldiers was not censored.

Because Nebraska Territory furnished only a few thousand troops for the Civil War, surviving letters from Nebraska soldiers are extremely rare. Rarer still is a large collection like this one, which provides a comprehensive look at one soldier's wartime experiences. When the Thomas Keen letters came up for sale, the Society was fortunate to be able to purchase them with funding provided through private donations to the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation.

-- Jim Potter

Brown Bag Lectures

Please join us on the third Thursday of January and February for the Society's free Brown Bag lecture series at the Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P Streets, Lincoln. The lecture begins at noon -- so bring your lunch with you!

On January 18, 2000, NSHS volunteer Don Hogg, will present "Turn-of-the-Century (19th) Photographer on the Rosebud: John L. Anderson." Diane R. Bartels, a retired teacher from Lincoln Public Schools, will present "Sharpie, Nebraska's Queen of the Air," on February 15.

New Faces

Jennifer Bacon, administration

Charles Clark, docent

Sonia Colberg, library/archives

Alex Hahn, library/archives

Deb Hoage, docent

Don Humphrey, docent

Gary Jacobs, docent

Mary Lienemann, docent

Jack Merritt, docent

Sherry Miller Melecki, docent

John Mohr, administration

Carolyn Pirnat, Kennard

Ron Rockenbach, docent

Nila Schuette, museum store

Kyle Schuldt, library/archives

Cindy Story, library/archives

Jerry Tharp, docent

Clifford Wegener, docent

Calendar of Events

December 31/ January 1: New Year's Day (observed)
All offices and museum closed

January 9: Volunteer Program
10:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

January 13, 14, 15: Martin Luther King Day (observed)
In observance of Martin Luther King Day, Society Headquarters offices and the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha will be closed Saturday, January 13, through Monday, January 15. The Library/Archives reference room in the Society Headquarters building will be closed January 14 and 15. The Museum of Nebraska History and the Historic Sites (except Cather and Neihardt) will be closed January 15. Call for holiday hours at the Neihardt Site (402-648-3388) and Cather Site (402-746-2653).

January 18: Brown Bag Lecture "Turn-of-the-Century Photographer on the Rosebud: John L. Anderson," 12:00 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

January 21: Civil War Film SeriesThe Red Badge of Courage
2:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

January 28: Civil War Film Series Friendly Persuasion
2:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

February 4: Civil War Film Series Of Human Hearts
2:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

February 11: Civil War Film Series Glory
2:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

February 15: Brown Bag Lecture "Sharpie, Nebraska's Queen of the Air."
12:00 noon, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

February 18: Civil War Film Series Gettysburg, Part 1
2:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

February 17, 18, 19: Presidents' Day (observed)
In observance of Presidents' Day, Society Headquarters offices and the Ford Center will be closed Saturday, February 17, through Monday, February 19. The Library/Archives reference room will be closed February 18 and 19. The Museum of Nebraska History and the Historic Sites (except Cather and Neihardt) will be closed February 19. For holiday hours at Neihardt and Cather, call as above.

February 25: Civil War Film Series Gettysburg, Part 2
2:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

Volunteer News is published bi-monthly for the world-class volunteers at the Nebraska State Historical Society. For information about volunteering with any of our divisions, or at any location across the state, contact:

Deb McWilliams, Volunteer Services
402-471-4955 or 1-800-833-6747

Apply for Volunteer Service today!

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Last updated 15 February 2001

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