Elmer Ellsworth Blackman [RG2948.AM]

HISTORY NEBRASKA MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID



RG2948.AM:  E. E. (Elmer Ellsworth) Blackman, 1863-1942



Papers:  1880-1938

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska:  Archeologist; businessman

Size:  2.5 cu.ft.; 5 boxes



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE



Born in 1863 at Davenport, Iowa, Elmer Ellsworth Blackman attended the Davenport Academy of Sciences and later became a teacher. He came to Nebraska in 1892 where he taught in Raymond and then became principal of the school in Roca. During his first year in Nebraska, Blackman attended a lecture on the state’s history and archeology given by Rev. William Murphy of Ulysses, Nebraska. The lecture reinforced his interested in the history and archaeology of Nebraska, and led him to conduct an informal archeological “reconnaissance” of the area around Roca.



Blackman contributed several articles based on his research to area newspapers and other periodicals including J. Sterling Morton’s, Conservative. Their mutual interest in history and archeology developed into a friendship between Blackman and Morton. In 1899 Blackman decided to give up teaching and devote himself full-time to research and writing. In 1901, with the help of J. Sterling Morton, Blackman became the first archeologist at the Nebraska State Historical Society. Under his leadership, interest in archeology grew in Nebraska as, correspondingly, did the number of artifacts that the Society received. In 1902, Blackman took charge of building the Museum collections and installing rudimentary exhibits. Blackman also did research on the Native American tribes of Nebraska, becoming recognized as an authority in the field.



E. E. Blackman married Margaret E. Woods on August 19, 1903 in Tekamah, Nebraska. They lived in Roca for several years before moving to Lincoln. They had two children, a daughter and a son. In 1911 Blackman left the Nebraska State Historical Society to try his luck in the business world. His invention of a waterproof paint, called Hydrozo, led to its manufacturing by the Iowa Paint Company in Waterloo, Iowa. In 1912 Blackman set up his own company, Hydrozo Waterproofing Company, in Kansas City, Missouri where they continued to produce Hydrozo until 1917. The company shut down in 1917, and Blackman returned to the Nebraska State Historical Society as Curator of the Museum. In 1922, while still holding his position as museum curator, he set up the Hydrozo Company in Lincoln and began manufacturing Hydrozo again. He continued his work with the Historical Society until his retirement in 1934.



Note: Hydrozo Company continued production in Lincoln until 1994 when they consolidated with Thoro System Products of Bristol, Pennsylvania. “Hydrozo” is still produced today by BASF: The Chemical Company.



In addition to his archeological work and curatorial duties at the museum, Blackman worked on several research projects including a project to locate the Lewis and Clark campsites in Nebraska and establish their legal descriptions. Another topic of personal interest to Blackman was that of Coronadoís expedition. His interest in the location of Coronado’s “Quivira” resulted in his co-founding of the Quivira Historical Society in Alma, Kansas in 1901.



Blackman continued his research until his death on September 13, 1942.



SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE



This collection consists of manuscript material arranged in three series: (1) Professional and academic; (2) Business; and (3) Personal.



The materials in series one relate to Blackman’s professional work as an archeologist and museum curator at the Nebraska State Historical Society (NSHS) as well as his work for the Quivira Historical Society. The papers in this series include correspondence, reports, manuscripts, and newspaper clippings. They cover such subjects as NSHS Museum acquisitions and exhibits, archeological excavations in Nebraska, the Pawnee in Nebraska, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the Quivira Historical Society. Note: Box 2 contains a list of materials transferred to the Nebraska State Historical Society’s Archeology Division. These manuscripts and reports contained detailed archeological site location information. Interested researchers must contact the Archeology Division for permission to view these materials.



Series two relates to Blackman’s business dealings, most notably his activities in the paint and waterproofing business. Blackman invented and merchandized a waterproof paint called Hydrozo. His product was sold by the Iowa Paint Company initially (1911-1912), but was eventually produced by Blackman’s own firms known as the Hydrozo Waterproofing Company while located in Kansas City, Missouri (1912-1917) and as the Hydrozo Company in Lincoln, Nebraska (1922-1924). The series contains correspondence, bills and receipts, patent information, and misc. trade literature.



Series three consists of personal materials relating to E. E. Blackman and the Blackman family. Included in this series are daily diaries, correspondence, biographical information, reminiscences by E. E. Blackman, and Blackman Family genealogical information.



DESCRIPTION



Series 1 – Professional and academic



Box 1

Folder




    1. Correspondence, 1898-1933, n.d.

    1. Correspondence, 1902-1908 (letterpress book)

    1. Museum report, 1908

    1. Museum report, 1917

    1. Museum reports, 1918-1920

    1. Museum reports, 1921-1923

    1. Museum report, 1925

    1. Museum report, 1926 (State Fair exhibit)

    1. Museum reports, 1927-1929

    1. Museum reports, 1930-1932

    1. Museum reports, misc. drafts and fragments

    1. Museum reports, misc. drafts and fragments

    1. “Archeology of Fort Atkinson – 1819-1827,” 1938, Feb. 12

    1. “The Art of Chipping Flint, as Practiced by the Aborigines”

    1. “The Atlantis type of chipped flint”

    1. Biographical sketch of “Omaha Charley” Bristol, 1920



Box 2

Folder




    1. “Evidences of Man in the Western Hemisphere, 60,000 years ago”

    1. “Imitation Sod House”

    1. “Indian Domestic Life”

    1. “Indian Stories by Nemaha the story teller”

    1. Indians of Nebraska (History Sources)

    1. “The Iowa Indians”

    1. “The Last Hunt of the Pawnee”

    1. “The Legend of Arbor Lodge” (poem)

    1. “The Lewis-Clark Expedition of 1804”

    1. “Map of Council Bluffs area”

    1. “Map of Land Cessions to the Indians in Nebraska”

    1. “Missionary work among Nebraska Indians”

    1. Nebraska animals (untitled)

    1. Nebraska History (slide lecture)

    1. “Newton stories,” (Indians in Burt County), 1904, Mar. 1

    1. “Pawnee Pottery”

    1. “Petroglyphs,” (on UNL boulder)

    1. “Quivera: The History and Legends of an Ancient American Kingdom”

    1. Quivira Historical Society

    1. “Remains and Relics of Old Indian Townsites in this Section of Nebraska,” 1906, June 5

    1. “Removal of Pawnees to Oklahoma in 1874”

    1. “The Rhune Stone Supplement”

    1. “Spotted Tail”

    1. “Taylor’s account,” (of horse thieves)

    1. Translations of Native American names

    1. Manuscripts and research notes, fragments

    1. List of materials transferred to the NSHS Archeology Division



Box 3

Folder




    1. Index to newspaper clippings

    1. Newspaper clippings, 1-31

    1. Newspaper clippings, 32-45

    1. Newspaper clippings, 46-74

    1. Newspaper clippings, 75-101

    1. Newspaper clippings, 102-146

    1. Newspaper clippings, Spanish Caravan of 1720

    1. Newspaper clippings, misc.



Series 2 – Business



Box 4

Folder




    1. Correspondence, 1909-1911

    1. Correspondence, 1912

    1. Correspondence, 1913-1914

    1. Correspondence, 1915

    1. Correspondence, 1916-1923, July

    1. Correspondence, 1923, Aug.-Dec.

    1. Correspondence, 1924, n.d.



Box 5

Folder




    1. Patent documents

    1. Bills and receipts, misc.

    1. “Waterproofing Cement Blocks,” by E. E. Blackman

    1. Concrete and cement, reference materials

    1. Furnace and stove trade literature

    1. Trade literature, misc.

    1. Inventions and patents, misc.



Series 3 – Personal




    1. Daily diaries, 1880, 1881, 1884

    1. Correspondence, 1901, 1910-1926

    1. Correspondence, 1927-1929, n.d.

    1. Reminiscences by E. E. Blackman, 1934

    1. Biographical information

    1. Blackman family genealogy



 



Subject headings:



Archaeology — Nebraska

Blackman, E. E. (Elmer Ellsworth), 1863-1942

Blackman Family

Hydrozo Company

Hydrozo Waterproofing Company

Indians of North America — Nebraska — Antiquities

Nebraska — Antiquities

Nebraska State Historical Society

Quivira Historical Society

Quivira (Legendary place)



 



03-13-1973   JEP/ht

07-13-2006   TMM

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Robert Ball Anderson’s journey “from slavery to affluence”

Robert Ball Anderson’s journey “from slavery to affluence”

Marker Monday: The Savidge Brothers, Aviation Pioneers

Marker Monday: The Savidge Brothers, Aviation Pioneers

No Father’s Day for Nebraska in 1915

No Father’s Day for Nebraska in 1915

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.