October 29, 2022

Nebraska Farmer [RG0721.AM]


RG0721.AM: Nebraska Farmer

Sod House letters, 1957-1958
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska: Agricultural periodical
Size: 0.25 cu.ft.; 1 box


The Nebraska Farmer was founded in October 1859, by Robert W. Furnas in Brownville, Nebraska, to record “the experiences of those who have been cultivating our own soil.” It was published for several years as a monthly, then discontinued because of a change in ownership of the printing plant. In 1872 the Farmer was revived in Lincoln and was issued weekly, with Abraham Deyo as editor. Personnel difficulties in 1874 led to the closing of the paper, which did not reappear until January, 1877, issued as a monthly and edited by J.C. McBride. In spite of difficulties in obtaining subscribers and in procuring advertisers, the periodical continued and in January 1898, moved to Omaha where it was consolidated with The Cultivator.

In 1905 publisher Frank O. Edgecomb of Geneva, Nebraska, offered the editorship to Samuel Roy McKelvie, who had been a field man with the Century Farmer. The plant was moved to Lincoln, largely to accommodate the new editor, and three years later McKelvie purchased the periodical’s offices. He immediately undertook an energetic campaign to improve the paper, hired L.S. Herron as editor and increased the number of paid subscriptions by selling stock. Throughout the rest of his life until he died in January 1956, McKelvie was closely involved with the fortunes of the Nebraska Farmer.

McKelvie successfully expanded the newspaper by enlarging the staff with people familiar with Nebraska agriculture, and by consolidating the Farmer with other farm periodicals such as the Twentieth Century Farmer, which he acquired for $93,500 in January 1918, and the Nebraska Farm Journal, acquired in 1924 from Capper’s. Other expansion projects included the launching Colorado Rancher and Farmer in 1947, the hiring of several hundred employees, and the remodeling of the printing plant to accommodate commercial printing contracts. For additional information see “A Century of History of the Nebraska Farmer, 1859-1959” by Homer Fine, Nebraska Farmer, January 17, 1959.


This material is arranged in one series: 1) Sod House letters, 1957-1958. It consists of letters to the Nebraska Farmer written by pioneers in 1957 and 1958, relating their experiences in the late 19th and early 20th Century. The letters were printed in a series titled, “I Lived In A Soddy,” and relate primarily to building and living in sod houses. Correspondents also wrote about contemporary social and religious life; discussed farming experiences, including crops raised and yields obtained for different years; and other related aspects of agricultural life. For copies of the letters consult the “Sod House Letters” volume in the Library Collections.


Series 1 – Sod House letters, 1957-1958

Folder 1 (Digital surrogates)

Mrs. Fred Racek (Mabel McDermott), Lexington, Nebraska
Mrs. Thane Bever McCain, Hershey, Nebraska — relating to the Sand Hills
Evva Walker Denison, Tuthill, South Dakota — relating to Sheridan County
Mrs. Goldie L. Kindle, Brocksburg, Nebraska — relating to South Dakota
Mr. Albert Bongers, David City, Nebraska — relating to Butler County
Mr. Marvel B. Berry, Bakersfield, South Dakota — relating to Western, Nebraska
Mrs. W. O. Bishop, Beaver City, Nebraska — relating to Furnas County
Isaac N. Meyers, Denton, Nebraska — relating to Furnas County
Mrs. Carrie W. Baker, Trenton, Nebraska — relating to Harlan County
Mr. Charles W. Baker, Trenton, Nebraska — relating to Hitchcock County

Folder 2 (Digital surrogates)

Mrs. Fred Bartz (Winnie Baker), North Loup, Nebraska — relating to Greeley County
Mr. E. E. Bowers, Stromsburg, Nebraska — relating to York County
Mrs. A. E. Bures, Edgar, Nebraska — relating to Arthur County
Mr. R. R. Campbell, Parks, Nebraska — relating to Seward County
Mrs. Belle Lovenburg, Madrid, Nebraska
Mrs. Jennie Rose Cook, Napa, California — relating to Lyle, Kansas
Grace A. Schmidt, Cambridge, Nebraska — relating to Frontier County
Mrs. Eliz Sanders, Hastings, Nebraska — relating to Rock County
“A Reader, Kenesaw”
Mr. John F. Keller, Valentine, Nebraska — relating to Cherry County

Folder 3 (Digital surrogates)

Mr. J. C. Bone, Arnold, Nebraska — relating to Sherman County
Leah Owen White, Burwell, Nebraska — relating to Garfield County
Mrs. Edna S. Rapp, Brownville, Nebraska — relating to Kansas and Colorado
Mrs. Orval Lookhart, Holyoke, Colorado — relating to Franklin County, McPherson County, Arthur County; detailed narrative on life in soddy
Mrs. Arthur Babcock, Ansley, Nebraska — relating to Thomas County
Mrs. Ernest Hipsher, Broken Bow, Nebraska — relating to Custer County
Mrs. H. B. McPherson, Craig, Nebraska — relating to Custer County
Mr. Lee Chrisman, Ansley, Nebraska — relating to Custer County
Mrs. Lenno Wolf, Sumner, Nebraska — relating to Lincoln County
Mrs. Roy Ready, Gandy, Nebraska — relating to Dawson, McPherson and Thomas Counties

Folder 4 (Digital surrogates)

G. Berstrom, Brady, Nebraska
Mrs. Herman Hansen, Holstein, Nebraska
Mrs. Fred Sydow, Rushville, Nebraska — relating to Sheridan County
Mrs. Lydia Wiley, Bassett, Nebraska — relating to Burton Creek
Mrs. W. L. Downing, Bayard, Nebraska — relating to Custer and Logan Counties
Mrs. Floyd Burkinshaw, Herrick, South Dakota — relating to Arthur County
Mr. A. D. Herndon, Kansas City — relating to Saline County; farming, life in early Nebraska
Mrs. Harry Bickner, Chadron, Nebraska — relating to Sheridan County
Alice E. Lee, Valentine, Nebraska — relating to Gosper County
Mr. Charles D. Haseloh, Harvard, Nebraska — relating to Clay County

Folder 5 (Digital surrogates)

Mrs. Ed. Reynolds, Thedford, Nebraska — relating to Blaine County
Mrs. Cora Lee Goding, Potter, Nebraska
Cora Le Wooters, Dallas, Texas — relating to Saline and Custer Counties
Mrs. Lester Miles, Chambers, Nebraska — relating to Thomas County
Mrs. M. L. Rowon, Mills, Nebraska
Mrs. R. S. Teaford, Purdum, Nebraska
Mrs. Cora Austin, Broken Bow, Nebraska — relating to Loup County


Subject headings:

Frontier and pioneer life — Nebraska
Nebraska — History
Pioneers — Nebraska
Sod houses


Revised TMM 12-27-2006

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