Nebraska State Guide
Finding Aids to Collections in the Archive of Folk Culture: Nebraska Collections
The Archive of Folk Culture holds approximately 2700 collections consisting of more than 150,000 sound recordings and 3 million items. At this time only a portion of them have catalog records and finding aids. Contact the Folklife Reading Room for additional information about collections.
Folklife in Your State: Nebraska
The collections of the American Folklife Center include rich and unique recordings of Nebraska's native traditions. Represented in these recordings are Omaha and Ponca songs and flute melodies. The Center collaborated with the Omaha tribe in the production of an LP and a cassette containing samples of the early cylinder recordings of their music. Nebraska's Local Legacies Projects, an exploration of local traditions and celebrations, and a concert of the River Boys Polka Band are available on the Center's Web page.
Selections from Nebraska Collections
The American Folklife Center's holdings of materials from individual states are so extensive that exploration of them can be challenging. To provide an introductory tour for Library of Congress patrons, educators, researchers, and the general public — and to display some of the wonderful audio and visual treasures amassed over the past eight decades — the Center is undertaking the online National Sampler Project.
America's Library is especially designed for elementary and middle school students.
Explore the States: Nebraska
Jump Back in Time: The Homestead Act Went Into Effect, May 20, 1862
This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1836-1922 from more than 20 states and the District of Columbia. Search this collection to find selected newspaper articles that mention events in Nebraska.
American Treasures of the Library of Congress
The Kansas and Nebraska Territories
Focusing on the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska established by Congress in 1854, this commercially published map also reflects U.S. interest in Western expansion and the construction of a transcontinental railroad.
Postal Memory Maps
Frank H. Galbraith developed training maps in the late 1800s to assist company clerks sorting mail on the railroads in learning complex railway mail distribution networks for civil service examinations required by the Post Office Department, including this one of Nebraska.
In 1885, Frank A. Rinehart (1862-1928) opened a photographic studio in Omaha, Nebraska. Adolph Muhr, a Rinehart employee, took studio portraits of the Plains Indians in the firm's fair studio, including the portraits in this section.
Return of Early Cylinder Recordings
During the 1980s, staff members of the American Folklife Center staff documented current Omaha songs at the annual pow-wows in Macy, Nebraska. Shown is a poster from that historic event.
Language of the Land: Journeys Into Literary America
Offers a tour of four sections of the United States through literary maps that focus on geographical areas, individual authors, and particular works. Although the Midwest is often depicted as a flat, prairie region, the area's writers present a mosaic of landscapes in this exhibition.
Rivers, Edens, Empires: Lewis & Clark and the Revealing of America
On April 7, 1805, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left Fort Mandan for points west, beginning the process of "filling in the canvas" of America. This exhibition features the Library's rich collections of exploration material documenting the quest to connect the East and the West by means of a waterway passage, including their exploration of what is modern-day Nebraska.
Bibliographies and Guides
U.S. State Poets Laureate
This site provides the names of all current state poets laureate of the United States, including a history of the laureateship in each state, as well the District of Columbia. Included is information on William Kloefkorn, the State Poet of Nebraska.
The Guide to Law Online
The Guide to Law Online, prepared by the Law Library of Congress Public Services Division, is an annotated guide to sources of information on government and law available online. It provides selected links to useful and reliable sites for legal information, including resources on Nebraska.
Resources for Local History and Genealogy: Nebraska
Compiled by Reference Specialists in the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room, this site identifies key resources for pursuing family history, and state, county and municipal historical research by state.
Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)
Search PPOC using the subject heading Nebraska to find more than 1,300 digital images related to Nebraska, such as prints, photographs, and political cartoons. Search in PPOC using the term Nebraska or names of cities, towns, and sites to locate additional images.
Features & Activities
The Branding of America
Through primary source documents from the American Memory collections, this activity introduces students to a sampling of "famous" American brands originating in communities across the United States and offers insight into their origin and staying power. Click on the mini billboard in Nebraska to find out more about brands originating in this state.
Primary Sources by State
The Library of Congress has rich documents and artifacts from every state, the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Browse some of the best primary sources available for Nebraska.
Creating a Primary Source Archive: All History Is Local
Examine the interplay between national,
state, local, and personal history. Students produce a
digital collection of primary sources from their family
or local community based on the collections in the Digital Collections.
Exploring Community Through Local History: Oral Stories, Landmarks and Traditions
Students explore the local history of the community in which they live through written and spoken stories; through landmarks such as buildings, parks, restaurants, or businesses; and through traditions such as food, festivals and other events of the community or of individual families.
Immigration: Our Changing Voices
Through dialogue, documentation, research, and interviews, students understand their role in society, bringing together all people to create a new sense of community. This unit provides a background to students' family histories, and gives them an opportunity to identify the issues involved with the migration of a community or family into the state of Nebraska.
Local History: Mapping My Spot
Students create their town’s history for coming generations and place themselves on the map in a literal as well as figurative sense, by producing portions of an updated version of an early twentieth century panoramic map from the Digital Collections.
Veterans History Project Home Page
Provides information about this oral history project, as will as links to information about how to participate, a database of participating veterans, and digitized materials from the collection. Browse the database by state of residence to locate veterans from Nebraska.
William Jennings Bryan, gifted orator and three-time presidential candidate was born in Salem, Illinois. Trained as a lawyer, Bryan represented the state of Nebraska in the United States Congress, 1891-95. He was known for his deeply held religious beliefs and his popular touch, which earned him the moniker "the Great Commoner."
Nebraskans planted more than one million trees on this day, in celebration of the first Arbor Day. The occasion fulfilled the dream of J. Sterling Morton, a newspaper editor and former governor of the Nebraska Territory. Morton, an ardent proponent of forestation, lobbied for a holiday to encourage the planting of trees. In 1885, thirteen years after Arbor Day was first celebrated, Nebraskans changed the date to April 22 in honor of Morton's birthday. Arbor Day is now officially celebrated worldwide, usually on the last Friday in April.
Samuel Herman Gottscho snapped this photograph of the north facade of the Nebraska state capitol in Lincoln, Nebraska. Born in 1875, Gottscho acquired his first camera in 1896. Gottscho took pictures part-time until, after twenty-three years as a traveling salesman, he became a professional photographer at the age of fifty. Gottscho believed that he created some of his best work when he was seventy years old.
Progressive Era reformer Grace Abbott was born in Grand Island, Nebraska. Reared in a family of activists, Abbott grappled early on with political and social issues. Her Quaker mother participated in the Underground Railroad and the woman suffrage movement; her father was a leader in state politics.