JOHN GNEISENAU NEIHARDT, 1881-1973
Neihardt was a historian, philosopher, epic poet of the West, and friend of the American Indian. He wrote dozens of volumes of poetry and prose during his lifetime. In 1921 the Nebraska Legislature elected him as the state's poet laureate, a title he held for fifty-two years until his death. His greatest works are Black Elk Speaks (1932), the biography of the visionary Native American holy man, and A Cycle of the West (1949), a five-volume epic poem of America's westward expansion.