History Nebraska Blog

Throwback Thursday Photo, Good Old Man

Good Old Man recording the Corn Song, 1905 [RG2039-84]

Today’s Throwback Thursday photo features Ta-ou-ka-han or Good Old Man, a member of the Omaha Tribe, singing the Corn Song into a wax cylinder recording device in 1905. Good Old Man sang his favorite songs in the Omaha language for Nebraska State Historical Society employee Addison E. Sheldon. Good Old Man was estimated to be about 81 years old when Sheldon made the recordings. He died on the reservation near Walthill on January 12, 1923.

In the 1890s, Alice C. Fletcher and Francis La Flesche created similar recordings of Omaha music. The Library of Congress has digitized the 44 wax cylinders made by Fletcher and La Flesche. Those recordings are available on the Library of Congress website

Unfortunately, it is unknown what happened to Good Old Man’s recordings. 

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