Paul Davis Riley, 1936-1981 [RG0949.AM]


RG0949.AM: Paul Davis Riley, 1936-1981

Papers: 1866-1982, mostly 1870-1900
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska: Research Associate, Nebraska State Historical Society
Size: 6.5 cu.ft.; 7 boxes + oversize


Paul Davis Riley was born May 2nd, 1936, in Trenton, Nebraska, to William E. and Grace Davis Riley. After graduating from Trenton High School in 1954, Riley attended the University of Nebraska and began working for the Nebraska State Historical Society. Riley was an active member of such organizations as the Western History Association and the Western Writers’ Guild. Riley died in Lincoln, Nebraska, on August 9, 1981.


The Riley collection contains large amounts of material related to the history of Nebraska and its people. There are four series: 1) Research Materials; 2) Correspondence, 1973-1975; 3) Vertical File Materials; and 4) Miscellaneous Materials.

Series 1, Research Materials, encompasses over half of the entire collection. Included here are mainly transcriptions of newspaper clippings organized by subject. Substantial material can be found specifically relating to Webster County history, Willa Cather, cattle ranching, various forts, the Pawnee tribe, and the genealogy of many pioneering families.

Series 2, Correspondence, 1973-75, is a small series of Riley’s letters to and from individuals regarding research he had helped them with or vice versa. The last folder of the series contains letters written by Riley to friend and former colleague, John Irwin. The letters to Irwin document activities at the Nebraska State Historical Society. A number of the letters also provide a detailed description of gay life in Lincoln. An introduction to the letters and reminiscences about Paul Riley and the Nebraska State Historical Society staff by John Irwin are also included. Paul Riley’s mother wrote the last letter in the folder from 1982 after Paul’s death.

Series 3, Vertical File Materials, contains newspaper clipping transcriptions Riley had kept chronologically organized in binders. The bulk of the articles originate from the 1870s-80s. Riley appears to have cross-referenced these files with an index card collection also included in this series. The index cards are alphabetized by subject. See also Box 7.

Series 4, Miscellaneous Materials, consists of additional materials regarding the Cather family, research papers written by Riley, a copy of his obituary, and scrapbooks of political material from the 1950s.


Series 1 – Research materials
Box 1

  1. Cather Family Materials
  2. Webster County History pt. 1
  3. Webster County History pt. 2
  4. Webster County Pioneer History pt. 1
  5. Webster County Pioneer History pt. 2
  6. Webster County Records pt. 1
  7. Webster County Records pt. 2
  8. Driftwood Creek Flood
  9. Frontiersman Materials
  10. Alaska Wanderers
  11. Anderson, John Foster
  12. Arapahoe, Nebraska
  13. Assault Crimes
  14. Ballantine, David and John
  15. Battle of the Arickaree, 1868
  16. Beauvais Family History
  17. Black Hills
  18. Blizzards
  19. Bookwalter, John Wesley
  20. Boyd, James
  21. Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack
  22. Buffalo and Buffalo hunting
  23. Buffalo Hunters
  24. Buck, Nelson
  25. Buck, Royal
  26. Bridgeport, News-Blade articles
  27. Brouhard Family
  28. Burlington Railroad
  29. Burress Family
  30. Butler, John Paul
  31. Byfield, John and William
  32. Camp Red Willow
  33. Carter Family
  34. Cass County
  35. Cather, Willa
  36. Cattle Ranching pt. 1
  37. Cattle Ranching pt. 2
  38. Cattle Ranching pt. 3

Box 2

  1. Cattle Ranching pt. 4
  2. Census materials, 1860
  3. Cheyenne Indians
  4. Cheyenne, Wyoming
  5. Clifford Family
  6. Coad/Coe Family
  7. Cody, Buffalo Bill
  8. Colorado
  9. Coolidge Manuscript
  10. Corruption
  11. Cotton Wood Springs
  12. Cram Family
  13. Crawford, Captain Jack
  14. Crimes, misc
  15. Dauchy Family
  16. Daugherty, William E.
  17. Didier, John
  18. Dillard, George
  19. Disorderly Conduct
  20. Doc Middleton
  21. Dodge-McGuire case
  22. Dorsey, Stephen
  23. Druery Family
  24. Dundy County
  25. Early Nebraska Towns
  26. Elwood, Nebraska
  27. Estey Family
  28. Executions
  29. Fighters
  30. Forts-General Info
  31. Fort Kearney/Lowell
  32. Fort Laramie
  33. Fort McPherson
  34. Fort Niobrara
  35. Fort Omaha
  36. Franklin County
  37. Freighting
  38. Frontier County
  39. Furnas County
  40. Gammil Family
  41. General Brisbin
  42. Gillett Family
  43. Gold Rush Trails
  44. Grand Island, Nebraska
  45. Grant Family
  46. Green Family
  47. Guerrier, Edward
  48. Harlan County
  49. Harmon, William J.
  50. Harvey Family
  51. Hayes, Edward
  52. Hitchcock County
  53. Hoel, Aaron
  54. Homan, Henry
  55. Horse Thefts
  56. Hunter, Gallant
  57. Ilgenfritz Family
  58. Indians
  59. Indianola, Nebraska
  60. Ireland Family
  61. Jefferson County, Nebraska
  62. Julesburg, Colorado
  63. Kearney, Nebraska
  64. Kennison, David
  65. Lambert, Martha E.
  66. Loomis Family
  67. Lynch Family
  68. Lynchings
  69. McCook, Nebraska
  70. McDonald, Charles
  71. Marshall, Francis
  72. Matlock Family
  73. Massacre Canyon
  74. Meinhold, Charles
  75. Metcalf, George
  76. Miles, Lorena Wellman
  77. Military pt. 1
  78. Military pt. 2
  79. Military pt. 3
  80. Minden Murders
  81. Morris, B.P.
  82. Morrow Family
  83. Murders
  84. Mushroom

Box 3

  1. Nemaha County
  2. Nichols Family
  3. North Platte, Nebraska
  4. Old Settlers
  5. Overland Trails
  6. Pawnee Agency pt. 1
  7. Pawnee Agency Pt. 2
  8. Pawnee Agency Pt. 3
  9. Pawnee Agency Pt. 4
  10. Pawnee Agency Pt. 5
  11. Pawnee Agency Pt. 6
  12. Pawnee Agency Pt. 7
  13. Pawnee Agency Pt. 8
  14. Pawnee Agency Pt. 9
  15. Pawnee Agency Pt. 10
  16. Pawnee Agency Pt. 11
  17. Pawnee Agency Pt. 12
  18. Pawnee Agency Pt. 13
  19. Paxton, William
  20. Phillipsburg, Kansas
  21. Pine Ridge Reservation
  22. Plains
  23. Plattsmouth, Nebraska
  24. Pioneer Stories
  25. Powell Family
  26. Plum Creek Massacre
  27. Prostitution
  28. Rainmaking
  29. Red Cloud Spotted Tail
  30. Red Willow County
  31. Reid, William A.

Box 4

  1. Relief aid for disasters
  2. Republican River pt.1
  3. Republican River pt. 2
  4. Republican Valley
  5. Richardson County
  6. Robberies
  7. Roper Family
  8. Royal Buffalo Hunt
  9. Sanders Family
  10. Schwatka Family
  11. Shelly Family
  12. Sioux Indians
  13. Sidney, Nebraska
  14. Speer, Olive Baldwin
  15. Stearns Family
  16. Suicides
  17. Sun Dance
  18. Surveying pt. 1
  19. Surveying pt. 2
  20. Surveying pt. 3
  21. Suspicious Characters
  22. Sutton, Everette S.
  23. Sweitzer Family
  24. Sydenham, Moses
  25. Taylor, William Z.
  26. Texas Jack
  27. Thayer County
  28. Umland-Wimberly
  29. Vigilantes
  30. Waits Family
  31. Ward, Aaron
  32. Warner Family
  33. Webster County
  34. Whistler Murder
  35. Williams-Castleman Journey Cake
  36. Williams, Robert H.
  37. Wood Family
  38. Yager, James Pressley
  39. Yake, James
  40. Wyoming Territory
  41. Misc. Clippings

Series 2 – Correspondence
Box 4

  1. Correspondence, 1973
  2. Correspondence, 1974
  3. Correspondence, 1975
  4. Correspondence to John Irwin, 1971-1982

Series 3 – Vertical file materials from Riley binders
Box 4

  1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1866-1870
  2. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1870-1871
  3. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1872
  4. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1873

Box 5

  1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1874, pt. 1
  2. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1874, pt. 2
  3. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1875, pt. 1
  4. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1875, pt. 2
  5. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1876, pt. 1
  6. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1876, pt. 2
  7. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1876, pt. 3
  8. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1876, pt. 4
  9. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1878
  10. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1879-1880
  11. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1881-1882
  12. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1883-1885
  13. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1885-1910
  14. Red Willow County Federal Land Office Records
  15. Hitchcock County Court Case Transcriptions
  16. Article Index Note cards by alphabetized subjects (see also Box 7)

Series 4 – Miscellaneous
Box 6

  1. Event Programs
  2. Local Political Material
  3. Miscellaneous Material regarding Willa Cather
  4. Transcriptions of Cather Family Correspondence, 1870s-1890s
  5. Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial Newsletters
  6. Photocopy of My Mother’s Story
  7. Miscellaneous, pt. 1
  8. Miscellaneous, pt. 2

Box 7 Article Index Note cards alphabetized by subjects

Volume 1 – Scrapbook of political materials, 1950s (see oversize)
Volume 2 – Scrapbook of political materials regarding Dwight Griswold (see oversize)
Volume 3 – Scrapbook of political materials regarding Eva Bowring (see oversize)


Subject headings:

Anderson, John Foster
Ballantine, David Coulter, 1876-1959
Ballantine, John
Bookwalter, John Wesley, 1839-1915
Bowring, Eva Kelly, 1892-1985
Boyd, James Edward, 1834-1906
Brisbin, James Sanks, 1837-1892
Buck, Nelson, -1869
Buck, Royal, 1820-1890
Butler, John Paul
Byfield, John
Byfield, William
Cather, Willa Sibert, 1873-1947
Cody, William Frederick “Buffalo Bill,” 1846-1917
Crawford, John Wallace “Captain Jack”
Daugherty, William E.
Didier, John B.
Dillard, George
Dorsey, Stephen
Griswold, Dwight Palmer, 1893-1954
Guerrier, Edmund, 1840-1921
Harmon, William Julius, 1849-1921
Hayes, Edward
Hoel, Aaron
Homan, Henry
Hunter, Gallant V.
Irwin, John
Kennison, David
Lambert, Martha E.
Marshall, Francis
McDonald, Charles
Meinhold, Charles, 1812-1877
Metcalf, George Stephen, 1900-1975
Middleton, David Cherry “Doc”, 185?-1913
Miles, Lorena (Wellman)
Morris, B.P.
Omohundro, John Baker “Texas Jack,” 1846-1880
Paxton, William A., 1837-1907
Reid, William A.
Riley, Paul Davis, 1936-1981
Speer, Olive N. (Baldwin), 1870-1965
Sutton, Everette Samson, 1893-1987
Sydenham, Moses Henry, 1835-1907
Taylor, William Z., 1845-1913
Ward, Aaron
Williams, Robert H.
Yager, James Pressley
Yake, James K., 1845-1902

Arapahoe (Nebraska) — History
Battle of Arikaree, 1868
Beauvais family
Blizzards — Nebraska
Brouhard family
Buffalo hunting
Burlington Railroad
Burress family
Camp Red Willow
Carter family
Cass County (Nebraska) — History
Cather family
Cattle ranching — Nebraska
Cheyenne Indians
Clifford family
Coad family
Coe family
Cottonwood Springs (Nebraska) — History
Cram family
Crime — Nebraska
Dauchy family
Drury family
Dundy County (Nebraska) — History
Elwood (Nebraska) — History
Estey family
Fort Kearny
Fort Laramie
Fort Lowell
Fort McPherson
Fort Niobrara
Fort Omaha
Franklin County (Nebraska) — History
Freighting — Nebraska
Frontier County (Nebraska) — History
Furnas County (Nebraska) — History
Gammil family
Gays — Nebraska — Lincoln
Gillett family
Grand Island (Nebraska) — History
Grant family
Green family
Harlan County (Nebraska) — History
Harvey family
Hitchcock County (Nebraska) — History
Ilgenfritz family
Indianola (Nebraska) — History
Indians of North America — Reservations
Indians of North America — Wars
Ireland family
Julesburg (Kansas) — History
Kearney (Nebraska) — History
Loomis family
Lynch family
Massacre Canyon, Battle of
Matlock family
McCook (Nebraska) — History
Minden (Nebraska) — History
Morrow family
Murders — Nebraska
Nemaha County (Nebraska) — History
Nichols family
North Platte (Nebraska) — History
Overland trails
Pawnee Agency
Phillipsburg (Kansas) — History
Pine Ridge Reservation
Plattsmouth (Nebraska) — History
Plum Creek Massacre
Powell family
Red Willow County (Nebraska) — History
Republican River (Nebraska)
Richardson County (Nebraska) — History
Roper family
Royal Buffalo Hunt
Sanders family
Schwatka family
Sexual minorities — Nebraska — Lincoln
Shelly family
Sidney (Nebraska) — History
Sioux Indians
Stearns family
Sweitzer family
Thayer County (Nebraska) — History
Waits family
Warner family
Webster County (Nebraska) — History
Wood family


Revised TMM 12-26-2006; 12-23-2021

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