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NSHS Volunteer News

September/October 2001

Society History Conference Set for November 2-3

North Platte will be the site of the November 2-3 Society history conference and annual meeting. The theme, "American Bounty: The Story of Food," is drawn from the project, funded by the Institute of Library and Museum Services, to digitize Society library and archives resources telling the story of Nebraska's role in feeding the nation. These resources will be made available on a website maintained by the Society and NETV.

History conference sessions will include, "Cup of Coffee on Main Street," "Where's the Beef," "Teaching with Historical Objects," "Digital Imaging," and "Teaching with Historical Documents." The Lincoln County Historical Society and the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park will be available for tours. Dr. R. Douglas Hurt, director of the graduate program in agricultural and rural studies at Iowa State University and a leading agricultural historian, will provide the keynote address, " A Historian's View of the Future of Agriculture."

Following the luncheon, Quinn Johnson of Crawford, who recently took second place in the junior documentary division of the National History Day contest, will share his video documentary, "Solomon Butcher: Photographing a Heartbeat in Time." The Society's annual awards for writing, historic preservation, and outstanding contributions to Nebraska history, will also be presented.

Conference registrations are being mailed. For further information about the conference, or to register contact the Historical Society at 471-4955.

Fall Tour Scheduled

Plan to join Society volunteers, members, and friends on this one-day motor coach tour on Friday, September 21. Tour highlights include visits to Homestead National Monument near Beatrice, to Forty-Niner George Winslow's grave and Rock Creek Station near Fairbury, the Steele City Historic District, Hollenberg Pony Express Station near Hanover, Kansas, and markers for the Oketo Cutoff of the overland stage route and the site of the Oto Indian Agency.

For further information or a registration form please contact Deb McWilliams at 471-4955.

 Volunteer Spotlight on Vince Goeres

Vince Goeres photoVince is the first volunteer to be featured in a new and continuing spotlight on NSHS volunteers. NSHS volunteers do so much to assist the work of the staff that we want to focus on their accomplishments and give them special recognition. Volunteers are one of our greatest assets in helping the Society achieve its mission of safeguarding and interpreting the past.

Vince began volunteering at NSHS in November of 1990 in the Library/Archives division. When Vince was nearing retirement from his banking career, he started thinking about where he would like to volunteer. He made a list of eight to ten places that appealed to him. During that time the Society was looking for assistance processing a new photographic collection ­ the Macdonald collection. Vince contacted staff about the project, and we have benefited from his interest and talents ever since.

Vince has developed keen instincts as a researcher, and regularly tackles some fascinating and illusive assignments. Among his projects is the Nebraska aviation photo collection. According to staff, Vince has looked at more than two thousand photos relating to Nebraska aviation, and has compiled research specific to the subject. The photographs of Nathaniel Dewell, who was a commercial photographer working for the Omaha Chamber of Commerce in the 1920s and 1930s, is another collection that Vince has worked on. More recently Vince has been using city directories and other research materials to enhance the cataloging of the McWilliams photo collection. He has also researched the grasshopper plagues of the 1870s, the Omaha Stockyards, and labor and streetcar strikes in Omaha. Currently Vince is working with Society staff on researching Nebraska's agricultural history for a Society project known as "American Bounty: The Story of Food."

Vince generally volunteers four mornings a week; on the fifth morning he plays bridge with friends. When he is not at NSHS you can find him sailing on Branched Oak Lake in the summer or riding his bike. During the winter he builds furniture and weaves on his loom. Every other year Vince and his wife Mary lead tours to London for the Lincoln Community Playhouse.

Vince's philosophy about volunteering is that "you get more out of it than you give." Staff have this to say about Vince: "Everything Vince does helps to contribute to our understanding of Nebraska history." "He is an all around great guy." To Vince, we say thank you for your contributions. Your assistance, dedication, and talents mean a great deal to everyone!

Sneak Peek Exhibit Preview is focus of Volunteer Program

All volunteers are invited to attend the upcoming volunteer program on Wednesday, September 12, at the Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P Streets, Lincoln. Paula Doe, exhibition coordinator at the Nebraska State Historical Society, will provide a sneak peek at the new exhibit, "Building the State: Nebraska 1867-1916."

The program with start with coffee at 10:00 a.m. in the Gilmore room at the museum, and the program will follow at 10:30. Please RSVP to Deb McWilliams at 471-4955 regarding your attendance, or if you have any questions.

Nebraska Farmer Day Exhibit Opens

Just in time for this year's state fair, the Nebraska State Historical Society opens a new exhibit, Typical-Looking Nebraska Farmer Day: Portraits from the 1943 State Fair, in the rotunda of the headquarters building at Fifteenth and R streets. The exhibit features about thirty portraits taken at the 1943 Nebraska State Fair for a "Typical-Looking Nebraska Farmer" contest sponsored by Omaha radio station KFAB. The station teamed up with the Macdonald photo studio of Lincoln to offer a free photograph of each contestant. The portraits provide a fascinating look at Nebraska farmers of all ages, dressed in everything from double-breasted suits to overalls. Nearly one hundred farmers participated in the contest, but unfortunately, we don't know who won. If you or someone you know took part in the contest, please contact Paula Doe at 402-471-4761. The exhibit opens August 15, 2001, and continues through July 31, 2002.

Quilt Exhibit at Norris House

The Senator George W. Norris State Historic Site will host its annual Pre-World War II Quilt Exhibit September 1-29. The exhibit will feature several quilts from the Society's collections, as well as quilts made by local residents.

Hours at the Norris site are Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 to noon and 1:00 until 5:00. Special tours can be arranged by calling Linda Hein at 308-345-8484.

Volunteers Provide Gift

Please accept the staff's sincerest thanks to the many volunteers who provide the Nebraska State Historical Society with such a beautiful gift - the gift of your time. During fiscal year 2000-2001 volunteers assisted Society staff in carrying out its mission to "safeguard and interpret Nebraska's past."

Contributions include:

The above listing is only a small portion of the commitment made by NSHS volunteers. A big hearty thank you from the staff!

Did you know. . .

That of the hundreds of emigrants who died crossing Nebraska during the great overland migrations of the mid-nineteenth century, only a handful lie today in marked graves? Historian Merrill Mattes estimated that as many as 20,000 died along the entire trail, an average of ten graves per mile. While many graves were recorded in the diaries of other emigrants, the often crude markers soon disintegrated, leaving no trace of the graves or their occupants. Six identified emigrant graves are all that remain in Nebraska : George Winslow near Fairbury; Susan Hail near Kenesaw; Rachel Pattison and A. Kelly at Ash Hollow; John Holman near Oshkosh, and Rebecca Winters near Scottsbluff. Several unknown overlanders are believed to be buried near a modern-day marker in Robidoux Pass.

Diseases such as cholera were the great killers during the migrations, but travelers also succumbed to accidental gunshots, drowning, and being run over by wagons. One should remember, however, that these risks were not unique to the trail experience and were endured as well by people in settled regions. The main difference was that death along the trail brought with it the prospect of being left alone and forgotten, except as a statistic from one of history's great migrations. Forty-Niner George Winslow avoided that fate, and we will learn more of his life and death when we visit his grave during the September 21 bus tour.

Jim Potter

Another Successful Year at the State Fair

Annually, volunteers assist at the Cunningham Schoolhouse and Hudson Log Cabin in the Heritage Village area during the State Fair. Each year the Society's faithful volunteers provide educational information about Nebraska and the Historical Society during the event. Please accept our sincerest thanks for your time. We couldn't take on this project without you!

Brown Bag Lectures

Please join us on September 20 and October 18, for the Society's free Brown Bag lecture series at the Museum of Nebraska History, Fifteenth and P Streets, Lincoln. The lectures begin at noon - so bring your lunch with you!

On September 20, Cynthia Monroe, NSHS volunteer, will present "Nebraska Cattle Brands." Dale Bacon, NSHS library technician will speak about "Haunted Lincoln" on October 28.

Lincoln Westerners

The Lincoln Corral of Westerners invites you to become a member and attend their programs. Westerners International was founded in Chicago in 1944. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the history of the American West.

The Lincoln Westerners meet monthly at the Holiday Inn, Ninth and P streets, Lincoln, beginning with a social period at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7:00, followed by a program at 8:00.

Upcoming programs include:

September 13, "Some Early Omaha History," by Jeffrey Spencer.

October 11, " A Day in the Life of a Victorian Lady," by Pat Pixley.

For information about the Lincoln Corral of Westerners and reservations (required), call Margaret Allington at 488-5698.

New Volunteers

Mark Nelson, administration

Coty Ortega, exhibits

Calendar of Events

September 1-3: State Fair ends

September 3: Labor Day
Note: In observance of Labor Day,
Society Headquarters offices and the Ford Center will be closed Monday, September 3. The Museum of Nebraska History and the Historic Sites (except Cather and Neihardt) will be open September 3. Call for holiday hours at the Cather Site (402-746-2653) and Neihardt Site (402-648-3388).

September 12: Volunteer Program
10:30, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

September 13: Lincoln Corral of Westerners
6:30 p.m., Holiday Inn, Ninth and P streets, Lincoln, Nebraska

September 20: Brown Bag Lecture
12:00, Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

September 21: Volunteer Bus Trip

October 8: Columbus Day Observed
In observance of Columbus Day, Society Headquarters offices and the Ford Center will be closed Monday, October 8. The Museum of Nebraska History and the Historic Sites (except Cather and Neihardt) will be closed October 8. Call for holiday hours at the Cather Site (402-746-2653) and Neihardt Site (402-648-3388).

October 11: Lincoln Corral of Westerners

6:30 p.m., Holiday Inn, Ninth and P streets, Lincoln, Nebraska

October 18: Brown Bag Lecture
12:00 , Museum of Nebraska History, Lincoln, Nebraska

Membership Makes A Great Gift

Looking for that special gift that keeps on giving all year long? How about a Nebraska State Historical Society membership? Recipients of the gift will receive Nebraska History, a quarterly magazine devoted to the story of Nebraska's past; bimonthly newsletters; information about upcoming events; and discounts on publications and items purchased at Society museum stores.

The cost for a membership is outlined here. Membership makes a great gift, and helps the Society fulfill its mission to safeguard and interpret Nebraska's past. Thank you for joining!

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 October 2001

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