Historical Material from UNO Libraries' Archives & Special Collections
UNO Libraries' Archives & Special Collections ensures UNO’s unique, rare, and specialized collections of institutional archives, personal papers, organizational records, rare books, and other material is available for public use.
Omaha and UNO Materials in Criss Library Archives & Special Collections
Material related to the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the University Archives and the greater Omaha area is not listed here individually due to the large number of collections. In addition to the selected collections listed here to get your research started, search the Archives & Special Collections database for more material.
Midwestern Studies Materials in Special Collections & Rare Books
The diary of A.J. Van Nuys recounts the trip of A.J. and Lizzie Van Nuys to Benson, Nebraska. The diary contains brief daily entries along with some accounting of expenses. The diary includes entries from May 4-July 11 of an unidentified year in the late 19th or early 20th century. The names written inside the front cover are Mr. & Mrs. A.J. Van Nuys of Belle Mead, New Jersey and 831 Main St., Benson, Nebraska. Written inside the back cover in the same handwriting is the name Miss Della Mankwood, 2520 Downing Ave., Denver, Colorado.
The diaries of Alexander Cornell document his daily life as a twenty-something young man in Illinois in 1882 and 1884, as well as daily life when he is in his 60s living in University Place, Nebraska (part of present-day Lincoln, Nebraska) in 1918-1920. Cornell's diaries routine activities including work, visiting with friends and family, weather, and other daily activities. Selected names mentioned in the diaries include: Henry Taylor, Lewis, Mary Chapman, Bartlette, Chipman, Cole, Cookingham, Herman, Dr. Underhill, Kate Stockdale, Zartman, H. Kinney, Albert Foster, Kenny, Newcomb, John Stanton, George Wheeler, John Graham, and others.
Travel diary of a woman believed to be Anna Perainen from the Midwest visiting the West Coast of the United States. She visited Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Canada.
A partial transcription of the journal entries was provided by the seller.
The papers of Reverend Asa Farwell include correspondence and two unidentified tintypes. The four 1866 letters to Mary Ann (Sexton) Farwell, his wife, are from Bentonsport and Dubuque, Iowa; Albion, New York (while travelling); and Middlebury, Vermont. Topics discussed include church matters, travel, and family (11 pages). The collection also includes two 1879 letters from son Ed Farwell in Milton, Nebraska. He appears to be a young man or teenager at the time of the writing and discussing loneliness, chores, and someone named George grinding corn.
The autograph album of Bethel Vaughn of Fullerton, Nebraska, includes entries to the young girl from family, friends, and a teacher. All rhymes and notes to the child are dated 1911-1913. The decorative cover of the autograph album is green with gold detail and a rural image of two cows near a small body of water.
The Carl Jonas Papers hold the works of Omaha, Nebraska, novelist Carl S. Jonas. The manuscript portion of the collection includes typed novels and works-in-progress with hand-written corrections, including two versions of a novel entitled The X Family, an incomplete draft of The Deer and the Antelope Play, and three incomplete, untitled novels.
New material added 2015-10-29: The papers of Carl Jonas include manuscripts of his work, correspondence, diaries, ledgers, news clippings, an audio recording, and other material related to his life and work as an author. The correspondence includes routine submission and acceptance or rejection letters with publishers as well as personal correspondence. The manuscripts include novels, short stories, a juvenile book, a play or musical, and a radio play. Some of the works have not been identified and include manuscripts, typescripts, changes from editors, and similar. The diaries or journals of Carl Jonas cover a wide range of topics including notes on trigonometry, bacterial experiment notes, ideas for novels and other writing projects, budget and expenses, accounts of dreams, reflections on possibly divorcing his wife, new office ideas, and other matters. The collection also includes a hand drawn map of Gateway City (1950) created for Jefferson Selleck.
A scrapbook kept by white husband and wife Horace and Edith Hager on a road trip across the United States and briefly Canada in the mobile home trailer in 1948. The couple departed their New Jersey home pulling their new trailer they named "Ched." Edith or "Ede" and Horace or "Chap" along with their dog Candy are shown posing around the trailer in May 1948 before their departure. Photographs on their trip depict sites, people, animals, scenery, and other aspects of their trip. Included are photos of: bison ("buffalo") grazing east of Grand Island, Nebraska; Lookout Mountain and Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado; New Mexico; Horse Head on Blue Mountain and ranch hands in Monticello, Utah; Yellowstone National Park; and others. After Yellowstone the couple began their trip back to the east visiting Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Ontario, and New York. The final page of the album includes the notes "March – 1948 Yellowstone (indecipherable) / Omaha Neb. / Sept 30th 1948 / June".
The Edna Cole Postcards consist of nine file boxes of photographic travel postcards from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, representing more than thirty different countries. The postcards are organized alphabetically by country, and United States postcards are sub-organized by state. One German postcard includes a monument or sign related to the Third Reich.
The diaries of Edna Earl Martin McGuire span 1900 through 1905. McGuire wrote her name in the front of each of the two diaries, which are labeled book 3 and book 4. There is no documentation about books 1 and 2. The diaries document McGuire's daily life in Missouri including farm tasks, travel to neighboring communities and states, life with her husband Uncas McGuire as well as medical procedures she underwent. Also included is a photograph of McGuire.
The eighteen letters of brother Elmer and Charles (last name unknown) to their sister Mrs. Roy Hanson in Lynchburg, Ohio are dated 1910-1911. Among the topics covered are Charles' interest in spiritualism.
The diary of Emma Frost, a 24 year old woman from Detroit, Michigan, documents her social activities, amusements, and household activities in 1914. She mentions spending time at a yacht club, her maid, attending dances and movies, painting, trips to River Side Park, dates with men, a summer trip to Georgian Bay and Mackinac Island, and other activities. Frost used several pages in the back of the diary for expenses and as an address book.
Travel album or scrapbook documenting the trip of Gertrude Ball, Ridgway Ball, and Della Clapper from Omaha, Nebraska to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Their trip is narrated with extensive handwritten text in the album and includes photographs, postcards, and ephemera.
The handwritten daily diary of Gladys I. Baldwin includes a few gelatin silver prints and some images, probably harvested from a high school yearbook. The diary covers the period when Gladys Baldwin of Kansas City, Missouri was in high school and it contains "details of her daily life, schooling, and social functions, and which includes among other things, an account of her consultation with a faith healer. In the opening pages of the diary, her mother is ill and Gladys is forced to stay home from school to keep house. On Thursday, Nov. 5, 1908, she writes about going to see a healer: "This morning Mama and I went to see the Rev. Dr. E.J. Osborn, pastor of Bennington Church at 923 Newton Ave. He is a healer and has done wonderful in the way of curing sick people. He gave me a treatment for my head, using these methods, osteopath, hypnotism and Christian Science. Although he did not say so I can see it. He rubbed my neck and soothed my nerves and said 'Now you are calm and composed and have no head ache and etc.' He is very much like science." A variety of small photographs of people she interacted with are pasted into the diary, among them Lenora Stubbs, the daughter of W.R. Stubbs, the 18th Governor of the State of Kansas. She appears to have had a close relationship with the Stubbs family, mentioning she wrote to Stella Stubbs, and that she and her father both received a letter on November 15, 1908 from Governor Stubbs: "He signed himself as uncle to me," she wrote."
The diaries of Hallie Miles document her life in Danville, Indiana from 1940-1945, including activities at her church, sewing, visiting with friends and family, choir rehearsal, and similar activities. She mentions giving lessons to children in her home. She comments on world events such as the death of President Franklin Roosevelt and the end of World War II. Her diaries also contain many news clippings, notes, and other bits of ephemera such as a WWII ration stamps envelope. Miles used a variety of types of diaries including desk calendar style, a diary provided by an insurance company, and embossed covers.
The Harold Chenoweth Film Collection holds the digitized copies of the original films shot by Nebraskan Harold Chenoweth during the first half of the twentieth century. Most films document activities and events in Midwestern states including Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota along with some locations in the Western U.S. The subject matter of the films include: rodeos; commercials; state fairs; highlights from Aksarben including the racetack, parade, stock animals, and factory; Delco Farm Lighting; highlights from the 1941 Rose Bowl football game between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Stanford University; a 1933 California trip of Herbert Hoover; Bison to Barley; and other topics.
The papers of Hattie Lynde of Parkers Prairie and Waubun, Minnesota include a diary she kept in 1918, two postcards mailed to her husband Cornelisu V. Lynde while she was traveling with their son Kenneth in the western U.S., and an application to join the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1905. Lynde's diary shares her daily life including moving to a new town as well as life in a doctor's household during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic (referred to as the Spanish Influenza) and her take on events during the final months of World War I.
The memories of J.K. Marlay of Lincoln, Nebraska of his service in the U.S. Civil War as a Major in the 60th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry are captured in a journal written in 1896-1897. The collection also includes letters addressed to Marlay's granddaughter Marjorie Noble of Portland, Oregon. The letters were written in 1892 and most were pasted into the journal. Marjorie Noble's name is written inside the journal.
The ledger of Joseph A. Thrasher contains general accounting information, records of monies received while serving as the steward of different organizations, personal expenses and receipts, and notes on work performed on the farm and for others. Also, there are several loose leaves in the front with poems, some written by family members including one written by Martha "Belle" Bunney Thrasher, wife of Joseph Thrasher. Individuals mentioned within the ledger include D[emas] S. Booze (born 1837), H[enry] E. Brown (born 1856), L[ousia] E. Baker (born 1835), and Charles F. Bensel (born around 1860).
The scrapbook of Joyce Storm is from the period in 1943 when she was hospitalized at the St. Joseph’s hospital in Omaha, Nebraska where she was given the Sister Kenny treatment for her polio. Storm’s scrapbook is largely composed of greeting cards sent to her while she was away from her home in Royal, Nebraska along with a few letters and news clippings about her hospitalization. The greeting cards are typical of the period and include contemporary topics such as references to World War II rationing.
Scrapbook created by an anonymous woman caught in a flood while traveling via train from Topeka to Wichita, Kansas with friends on a visit to friends. Their trip may have originated in Salina, Kansas. The scrapbooks opens with a typed account of their journey including being stranded in a Kansas town before reaching Wichita. The scrapbook also includes photographs and news clippings. The creator’s traveling companions were Iona Faulk and Eva Waite.
The autograph book of Marie Engelkew includes brief personal messages and quotations from friends in family. Most of the messages date from 1894 with others dated 1895, 1900, and 1901. The messages are predominantly from Grand Island, Nebraska and the Academy of the Visitation in Dubuque, Iowa. A cutout of a dog is pasted on the first page of the autograph book. The autograph book is in the shape of a rhombus with a wooden cover (perhaps walnut) and teal velvet binding and back cover.
The collection is composed of the letters of Mrs. R.E. Moreland from her home in San Diego, California, to her mother Mrs. W.H.H. Leck in Linn, Kansas, from 1924-1925. The collection also includes a single letter from 1930 to Mrs. Byron Leck. The letters cover homelife and other matters such as the activities of the baby in the Moreland home. Additional description and research is required to determine the names of the correspondents and more details shared in the letters.
The diary of Nancy Pettit McLaughlin documents her daily life after her marriage in Shiloh, Ohio. The entries reveal the activities of McLaughlin's daily life including what appears to be marital problems as she refers to "separating" from her husband in at least one instance. She also references her sister Amelia applying for a divorce. The diary's entries are regular for January-June 1898 and then cease until entries resume in 1903. The ledger also includes pages of expense at the back of the volume. Names mentioned in the diary include : William Henry, Aunt Jane Rockman, Andrew and Gart Snyder, Uncle G. T. Nelson, S. Ferrel, Eli and Frank Swanger, Elmer Hammond, John Wolf, Ezra Cleland, Willard Grub, Dan Carl, Hank McCasky, Edith Shoemaker, Bloom, Murry, Milt Canton, Hollenbaugh, Charlie Champion, Samuel Bray, Reverend Rhodes and others. Also part of the collection is a carte de visite identified in later handwriting as Nancy Pettit McLaughlin and printouts of two photographs of Shiloh found online by the previous owner.
A photo album of a white family in Omaha, Nebraska includes photographs of adults in children around the home and in a rural setting. Notable photos include a series from the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition in Omaha including a see-saw ride, "The Old Plantation" stage, Arch of States, streets of all nations featuring a camel, the lagoon, the administration building, and others. A photograph of a tree is identified as "the surrender tree - San Juan Hill - Santiago" in Cuba, which along with another caption referencing "Remember the Maine!" and a photo of a young man in a presumably military are references to the Spanish American War in Omaha.
The diary of Otis W. Smith documents his life beginning with his enrollment in the College of Pharmacy in St. Louis, Missouri through his working life, marriage, and family life. The diary mentions attending his first masquerade ball, taking the first woman he was not related to out, meeting his wife Mattie Dowdall and their courtship, the birth of their son, information about their home, people he meets, purchases he makes including two 'Indian clubs' and a pistol.
Transcriptions provided by the seller.
The papers of Robert McIntyre and Romaine Packard McIntyre include correspondence, diaries, calling cards, and other material created both by the couple and members of their extended family. Many of the letters are from Robert to Romaine or Roma while they were courting. The couple lived in Chicago, but also had connections in other parts of the country including Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Colorado, and elsewhere.
The Kansan Schesser family papers include a diary kept by patriarch Socrates Schesser in 1915 and an autograph book belonging to son Roy Schesser from 1907. The autograph book was made in Germany and features a child on the colorful front.
A pocket diary provided “Compliments of Storz Brewing Co. Omaha, Neb.” The journal includes blank pages for the owner to use as well as informational pages at the front and back of the volume providing information about the Storz Brewing Co. brewery including color illustrations of a beer bottle and a malt extract bottle, ideal serving conditions for beer, Omaha streets, populations of U.S. and world cities, U.S. presidents, shipping, and other information.
The diary of Susan Haney documents the daily activities of this young girl and teenager. She is presumed to live in western Nebraska as she mentions visiting North Platte, Nebraska. Haney’s entries in her diary reference typical childhood and youth activities such as attending piano lessons, Girl Scouts, choir practice, and hunting along with family events such as the wedding of her brother Bill, the death of her grandfather, and visiting family and friends. The diary is a five year diary, but most entries are for 1955-1957 with minimal entries for later.
A travel journal of a family’s move from near Ashland, Nebraska to near Arcata, California via train recorded in an incomplete copy of an unidentified almanac for 1874. The almanac begins with April 1874 and includes 89 pages of printed material including engravings. The journal or diary section at the end of almanac includes notes for all but seven days for 1874.
Some of the engravings include: German draught oxen, walls of Bologne, France, royal tiger, kangaroos, American elk, a fox raiding a roost, musk oxen, balloon travel, zebras, lobsters fighting, dragon fly, grand geyser of Iceland, falls of Zambesi, gathering grain, and others.
The following description and partial transcription of diary entries and an enclosed letter were provided by the seller:
"Wanda is about 20 years old and a young working girl although I'm not sure just where she is working. One entry she says she's been making 'auto veils.' She seems to be staying at a boarding house because during the fair she has to sleep on the floor and I'm assuming it's because they have other people staying there. I also found a photo postcard between the pages of the diary and the woman in it is holding a cat on her lap. There are no identification marks on this photo so I don't know if it is Wanda or not.
"The charming thing about her diary is that at the end of each of her entries (at least most of them) she writes "Goodnight Wanda." She's also dating a man by the name of Walter and he's not only dating her but another girl by the name of Grace, which makes her a bit emotional at times. However, Walter and Wanda do stay together because with this diary comes a letter written (or I should say typed) in 1917 by Walter to Wanda."
The WPA Records are drafts and research notes used for the books and pamphlets produced by the Omaha office of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Writers' Project (FWP) (1935-1943). The bulk of the papers are typescript, with a few handwritten notes. The collection includes reports about architectural works (primarily buildings), businesses and industry, cemeteries, charities, collections, crime and criminals, defense trainee interviews, education, ethnicity (race and national origin), fine arts (artists, authors, music, and theater), folklore, hospitals, interviews and biographies, the Missouri River, the State of Nebraska, newspaper clippings on a variety of topics, information about the newspapers themselves (rivalries, strikes, unions, newspapermen, and individual Nebraska newspapers), the City of Omaha, organizations and clubs, parks, politics, printing, "Prophets of Armageddon" (including information about George F. Train), radio scripts ("Pageant of Nebraska," "Pageant of Omaha," and "Pageant of Wakefield"), religion, residences, sports and recreation, the W.P.A. (American Guide Manual, bibliographies, correspondence, indexes, projects, publications, tours, and writer's production reports), and miscellaneous information. The Nebraska category is further broken down into archaeology, Civilian Conservation Corps, Douglas County, early explorers and explorations, farming, history (the most extensive portion), military information, plants and wildlife, Sarpy County, topography, villages and towns outside of Omaha, Washington County, and miscellaneous information. The Nebraska portion of the collection also includes the Nebraska Almanac, the Nebraska Atlas, and the Nebraska Encyclopedia (biographies and county information).
During Professor Lourdes Gouveia’s decades of research, she acquired and organized in file folders a considerable amount of information about Latino immigrants in the Nebraska meat packing industry, particularly in Lexington, Nebraska. The collection includes census materials, periodical articles, and interviews. The collection also contains audio cassettes of interviews, three atlases, and grant reports and other material about OLLAS (the Office of Latino and Latin American Studies) at the University of Nebraska of Omaha of which Gouveia was the director.