History Nebraska Blog

Discover the Photograph Collection

Solomon Butcher's corn maiden

Corn maiden by photographer Solomon D. Butcher [RG2608.PH0-002934]

A dust storm at Naponee, NE [RG3349.PH0-000013]

A dust storm at Naponee, Nebraska on March 26, 1935 [RG3349.PH0-000013]

Chief American Horse (Wasicu Tasunke) by photographer John A. Anderson [RG2969.PH000001-000043]

Chief American Horse (Wasicu Tasunke) by photographer John A. Anderson [RG2969.PH000001-000043]

American Archives Month, October 2017

October is American Archives Month. To celebrate we are highlighting the many ways you can access the Nebraska State Historical Society archives and collections. Today, we are shining the spotlight on the Photograph Collection.

NSHS holds nearly a million photographs representing all aspects of Nebraska and Great Plains life from the later 1800s to the present. We care for nearly every photographic format, including daguerreotypes, tintypes, studio portraits, glass plate negatives, slides, "circuit" panorama photos, snapshots and albums. While countless people, places and subjects are captured in these images, the collections are particularly rich in portraits, town scenes, buildings, and images of Native American and Prairie life.

 With all these great photographs, NSHS has worked hard to provide access. Here are a few ways you can explore the NSHS Photograph Collection.

Exhibits

Images from the NSHS Photograph Collections help tell the story of Nebraska history in exhibits at our historic sites all across Nebraska and at the Nebraska History Museum. If you are in Lincoln, be sure to check out Nebraska Unwrapped: Selections from the Collections exhibit. Nebraska Unwrapped features NSHS’s one-of-a-kind ambrotype of Abraham Lincoln taken in May 1860 at the time of his nomination as the Republican candidate for President of the United States. Also on display is the earliest known photograph of Nebraska, a stereograph by Albert Beirshtadt of an Ogallala Sioux Village at the North Folk of the Platte River taken in 1859.

Online 

Many of our most popular historic photographs are available online.

  • NSHS Collections Database: Search images from our Native American collections, the Macdonald Studio Collection (Lincoln, NE), and historical events from all over Nebraska. We are working hard to build this new database and will be adding new images often.
  • Photograph Collections Search page: NSHS has partnered with many great institutions to expand and enrich online content. From the Solomon Butcher photographs to the Willa Cather Archives, we work with our partners to showcase the diversity and depth of the NSHS Photograph Collection. This page provides brief explanations and suggested searches for our digitization projects.
Reference Services

While we continue to expand our online content, many more images await digitization. Our phenomenal Reference Services team is happy to help you find the perfect image. After you search online, contact nshs.reference@nebraska.gov or fill out our online Photo Request Form.

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