December 2017

Flashback Friday: “Definitely Representative of Nebraska”: Jeanine Giller, Miss Nebraska 1972, and the Politics of Beauty Pageants - David C. Turpie and Shannon M. Risk

In 1982, the Lincoln Journal published an article entitled, “Miss Nebraskas rate pageant experience: Great!” For the article, the reporter, Charles Flowerday, had interviewed seven of the previous ten winners of the Miss Nebraska pageant. As the title makes clear, the article put a positive spin on the state beauty pageant.

The Rescue of Oscar Phelps

"Quite an exciting scene was witnessed last evening, on the river bank just opposite Boyd's packing house," said the Omaha Daily Bee on January 23, 1882, "which came near resulting very seriously." An accident victim, rescued from a fall through Missouri River ice in a "Narrow Escape," was a horse. The owner, Omaha businessman Clifton E. Mayne, also slipped into the icy water but managed to extricate himself and summon rescuers for his drowning horse.

Behlen Buildings Survive Atomic Bombs

The steel panels used by Behlen Manufacturing, of Columbus, Nebraska, in the construction of their buildings proved their durability in an atomic bomb test at Yucca Flats, Nevada, on May 5, 1955. Exposed to a thirty-kiloton blast alongside two competitors' metal buildings, two Behlen buildings were the sole survivors still in serviceable condition. Both were returned to Nebraska to be exhibited, one at the state fair and later at the factory, and the other on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln east campus.

Nebraskits: Rations for Nuclear Attack

To stock bomb shelters with food in the event of a nuclear attack, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture developed "Nebraskits," compressed wheat biscuits formulated to satisfy a person's nutritional needs for at least two weeks. The Division of Nebraska Resources newsletter, Nebraska on the March, sang the praises of Nebraskits: "The rations have a long shelf life, are ready to eat and are palatable to all age groups." The shape was later changed to look more like a conventional cracker, and other varieties were produced.

Early 20th Century Letters to Santa from Pleasant Hill School in Keith County

The NSHS Archives holds a collection relating to the Maunder family from Hastings, Nebraska. The bulk of the collection consists of diaries kept by Edith Maunder and two of her daughters, Vera Maunder and Ellen Maunder Ritchey. While the collection includes an impressive run of diaries dating from 1879-1979, we wanted to share a few other interesting items found in the collection. Ellen Maunder Ritchey attended Hastings College and became a school teacher. Here is the souvenir booklet she kept from her first year of teaching at the Pleasant Hill School in Keith County.

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