Keats W. Lorenz, 1889-1966 [RG3755.AM]


RG3755.AM: Keats W. Lorenz, 1889-1966

Papers:  1913-1969
Lancaster County, Neb.:  Sculptor, woodcarver
Size:  3 cu.ft. (including oversize)


Keats Wasey Lorenz was born in Fishkill County, New York on May 22, 1889.  His parents, John Adam and Helen Wasey Lorenz, were both artists.  At age 14, Keats entered the Ehrich Pape School in Boston where he was the youngest pupil to study carving and clay modeling.  He also spent 3 years at the Normal Art Evening School in Boston.  During this time, he also worked in the architectural firm of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson.  From 1916-1921, Lorenz worked as a carver for firms in Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago.  From 1921-1922 Lorenz was employed as an instructor of manual training in Ellis County, Kansas.  He moved to Lincoln, Nebraska in 1922, securing an appointment as teacher of woodworking at Whittier Jr. High.  He also opened a wood carving shop there and married Myrtle Schurk of Lincoln.

While in Lincoln (1922-1929), Lorenz did carving projects for Temple B’Nai Jeshurun, the official Lincoln Milestone, the Speier’s Building, and the state Capitol.  In 1929, Lorenz relocated to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he became well known for his limestone carving over the entrance to the Oklahoma County Courthouse in Oklahoma City and the Skirvin Hotel. From 1938-1952, Lorenz lived and undertook projects in Dallas, Tex.  In 1953 he moved back to Lincoln.  In 1957-58 he worked on the Governor’s Mansion.  Throughout the period of his second residency in Lincoln, he did work for churches private residences, concentrating primarily on pulpits, altars, and mantles.  He died on December 9, 1966.


This collection consists of oversize and other drawings, along with manuscript materials arranged in 12 series:  1) Fireplaces;  2) Mirrors;  3) Doors;  4) Churches;  5) Misc. Drawings;  6) Architectural Decorative Motifs;  7) Lettering;  8) Copied Items;  9) Scrapbooks, Clippings, 1915-1969;  10) Correspondence, 1913-1966;  11) Contracts, 1927-1928;  and 12) Tracings, 1958.

Series 1 through Series 7 contain the original drawings, tracings, and blueprints of work done by Keats W. Lorenz.  Series 8 consists of tracings, drawings, and blueprints copied by NSHS.  Series One-Series Eight make up the bulk of the collection and they are kept in over-size cabinets.

The most valuable portion of the manuscript material is the scrapbooks and the clippings in Series 9.  These provide biographical information about Lorenz and it is an invaluable source of documenting his various carving and architectural projects.  The Correspondence, 1913-1966, of Series 10 contains letters received and written by Keats W. Lorenz.  Letters discussing the disputed location of the William J. Bryan Memorial are included.  A second folder in this series deals exclusively with Lorenz’s book orders and book advertisements sent to him.  The contracts, 1927-1928, of Series 11 pertain to the Nebraska State Capitol.  The tracings, 1958, of Series 12 are for work done on the Governor’s Mansion.  Vouchers and a photocopied clipping pertaining to this project are included.  Plaques and tools have been transferred to the Museum; books have been given to the Library.  Three additional scrapbooks were added to the collection in 2010.


t=tracing; d=drawing; bp=blueprint

Series 1 – Fireplaces

  1. W.E. Butler residence (2); 1 d
  2. Broken Pediment Fireplace, 2 d, 2 t
  3. Chisum residence-2d, 2 t (Amarillo, TX)
  4. Lane residence,-2d, 1 t (Dallas, TX)
  5. J.W. Miller residence-2t, (Dimmit, TX)
  6. Prettyman decor-1t (Amarillo, TX)
  7. Terranella revised / Alexander- 1 d, 2 t
  8. Terranella residence- 2 t
  9. Fireplace- 2 t
  10. Fireplace- 2 t
  11. Edwards residence; Edward Dole residence- 3 d (Beatrice, NE)
  12. Louis XV fireplace- 1 t (Gladewater, Mincola & Amarillo, TX)
  13. Dr. Carroll residence- 1d, 1t
  14. Jackson residence- 2d
  15. Willis residence- 1t (Carnegie, OK)
  16. Weibold residence- 4t (Amarillo,TX)
  17. Omahondra residence- 1d (Wichita Falls, TX)
  18. Snowden residence- 1d (Ft. Worth, TX)
  19. J. Taylor & Drilling Co. Mantles- 1t
  20. Cedric-Burgher residence- 1d, 2t
  21. Houghton residence- 1d (Amarillo, TX)
  22. Phillis residence- 1t (Farmerville, TX)
  23. Kloppe residence- 1d
  24. Boggess residence- 1d, 1t
  25. C.R. Miller residence- 1bp (Dallas, TX)
  26. Assorted fireplace parts- 3d, 9t
  27. Freeman-Buford residence- 1t
  28. C. Smith residence- 3t (Dallas, TX)
  29. Warren residence- 1t (Greenville, TX)
  30. Kritser- 2d (Amarillo, TX)
  31. Unknown- 1t
  32. Hill residence- 3t, 1d
  33. Fireplace “brackets” or anthemion- 6t

Series 2 – Mirrors

  1. Davis residence- 1t, 1d
  2. Hill residence- 3t (Ft. Worth, TX)
  3. Crespi residence- 1d, 1t
  4. Bell residence- 1t
  5. Mirror- 3t
  6. Assorted mirrors- 3t

Series 3 – Doors

  1. Buttram residence- 1t (Oklahoma City, OK)
  2. J.G. Hall residence- 1t (Ft. Worth, TX)
  3. Chamberlain job- 1t
  4. Cedric-Burgher residence- 1t
  5. Hall residence- 1t (Ft. Worth, TX)
  6. Unknown door- 1t
  7. W.E. Butler residence- 3d, 1t

Series 4 – Churches

  1. Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church-1d, 2t (Ft. Dodge, IA)
  2. Grace English Lutheran Church-1d, 1t (Casper, WY)
  3. St. Patrick’s Catholic Church- 2bp, 1t (N. Platte, NE)
  4. St. Paul’s Cathedral-1t (Oklahoma City, OK)
  5. Highland Park M.E. Church-1bp (Dallas, TX)
  6. First Southern Presbyterian Church-1t (Wichita Falls, TX)
  7. First Christian Church-1d, 1t (Wichita Falls, TX)

Series 5 – Miscellaneous drawings

  1. Firescreen- 1d
  2. Coat of Arms- 1d, 1t (O’Neil, NE)
  3. Thompson residence- 2t (Dallas, TX?)
  4. Kreuger residence- 3t (Lubbock, TX)
  5. Hamon residence- 2d, 1t
  6. Mason residence- 1d
  7. Record cabinet- 1t
  8. H.K. Smith residence- 1t
  9. Window treatment- 1t (Oklahoma City, OK)
  10. U.S. Navy (?) Eagle symbol- 1t
  11. W.E. Butler residence- 3t, 1d
  12. King residence- 1t (Ada, OK)
  13. Oklahoma City, County Ocurt House- 4t
  14. 1 Folder, misc. drawings & tracings, unlisted
  15. Unidentified drawing encapsulated

Series 6 – Architectural decorative motifs

  1. Swans- 1d
  2. Corn in basket and steer head- 1t
  3. Women’s heads- 1t
  4. Pilasters- 5t
  5. Rosettes- 15t
  6. Arch. & trim molds- 1t, 1d
  7. Molding- 1d
  8. Broken pediment- 2t
  9. Leaves & flowers trim- 10t
  10. Grape clusters- 17t, 4d
  11. Ornamental consoles- 8t
  12. Anthemion motifs- 7t
  13. Urn motifs- 2t
  14. Acanthus leaves- 12t
  15. Assorted moldings- 26t, 1d
  16. Foliated scrolls- 10t
  17. Ornamental bracket- 5t, 1d
  18. Gothic motifs- 4t
  19. Grilles- 4t, 1d
  20. Patera- 4t, 1d
  21. Quatrefoils- 3t, 1d
  22. Column capitals- 4t, 2d
  23. Chain of husks motifs- 8t, 1d

Series 7 – Lettering

  1. “The Great State of Nebraska…1867″- 1d and 25 misc.
  2. “Official Milestone Marker, 1926″- 1t [lettering]
  3. Seal “Midland High School Midland, TX”- 1t
  4. Seal “Brazos Bottom Club Honor Roll”- 1t

Series 8 – Copied items

  1. Stuart Bldg.- 8t, 1d (Lincoln, NE)
  2. Governor’s Mansion- 3t, 1d
  3. Lainson residence mantlepiece- 1 sepia tone (Hastings, NE)
  4. First Presbyterian Church- 1bp (Lincoln, NE)
  5. Westminster Church- 1bp, 1t, & 2 pictures
  6. Biltmore Hotel- 1bp (Oklahoma City, OK)
  7. Skirvin Hotel- 1t, 1d (Oklahoma City, OK)
  8. Senate doors, Nebraska State Capitol- 1t

Series 9 – Scrapbooks, clippings, 1915-1969
Box 1

  1. 1915-1969 

Series 10 – Correspondence, 1913-1966

  1. General, 1913-1966
  2. Book Orders & Advertisements, 1949-1960

Series 11 – Contracts, 1927-1928

  1. Nebraska State Capitol

Series 12 – Tracings, 1958

  1. Nebraska Governor’s Mansion


Addendum: 2010, May

Three scrapbooks containing magazine, newspaper and catalog clippings showing design elements for furniture, misc. carvings, etc.


Subject headings:

Decoration and ornament, Architectural
Lorenz, Keats W., 1889-1966


Revised KFK    07-22-1996
Revised TMM   05-03-2010

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

She Didn’t Know She Was a Statue

She Didn’t Know She Was a Statue

Neligh Mill at 150

Neligh Mill at 150

1889 New Year’s Day Eclipse

1889 New Year’s Day Eclipse

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.

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.