History Nebraska Blog

A New Calendar for the New Year

It seems appropriate to start the New Year by putting up new calendars. Digital versions are gradually replacing the traditional paper variety, but many people still seek out and use the “real thing,” especially if it’s obtained free from a local merchant. “A New Leaf for the New Year” was recommended on January 1, 1900,  by the Omaha Bee for business and personal life. 

From the earliest days of Nebraska statehood calendars have been circulated without charge to favored business customers as a way of thanking them for patronage. One of the most elaborate of such calendars was produced for 1901 by the Bemis Bag Company of Omaha, as a welcome to the new century. The company was a national leader in the manufacture and sale of bags and sacks for flour, grain, and other commodities. A description of its calendar was published by the Bee on December 16, 1900:

“There are twelve cotton sheets, each one worked up in handsome design and back-ground, and each sheet bearing a certain number of flags—the entire calendar carrying the authentic flags of the world. Like their 1900 calendar, the one for the new century is entirely the work of the Bemis Omaha Bag company, the goods having been spun in their cotton mill, treated in their bleachery especially for the purpose intended, the designing and engraving was originated in their Omaha factory and the calendar will be put together and completed in mailing shape by their own employees. There is, of course, a limited issue and there will be but one each for their trade. The calendars cannot be bought at any price, so that those who are customers of the Bemis Omaha Bag company may consider themselves truly fortunate.”

Of course, then as now, paper calendars were widely available for sale if Nebraskans couldn’t obtain a free one. - Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor / Publications.

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