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

    1. Webster County History pt. 1

    1. Webster County History pt. 2

    1. Webster County Pioneer History pt. 1

    1. Webster County Pioneer History pt. 2

    1. Webster County Records pt. 1

    1. Webster County Records pt. 2

    1. Driftwood Creek Flood

    1. Frontiersman Materials

    1. Alaska Wanderers

    1. Anderson, John Foster

    1. Arapahoe, Nebraska

    1. Assault Crimes

    1. Ballantine, David and John

    1. Battle of the Arickaree, 1868

    1. Beauvais Family History

    1. Black Hills

    1. Blizzards

    1. Bookwalter, John Wesley

    1. Boyd, James

    1. Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack

    1. Buffalo and Buffalo hunting

    1. Buffalo Hunters

    1. Buck, Nelson

    1. Buck, Royal

    1. Bridgeport, News-Blade articles

    1. Brouhard Family

    1. Burlington Railroad

    1. Burress Family

    1. Butler, John Paul

    1. Byfield, John and William

    1. Camp Red Willow

    1. Carter Family

    1. Cass County

    1. Cather, Willa

    1. Cattle Ranching pt. 1

    1. Cattle Ranching pt. 2

    1. Cattle Ranching pt. 3

Box 2


    1. Cattle Ranching pt. 4

    1. Census materials, 1860

    1. Cheyenne Indians

    1. Cheyenne, Wyoming

    1. Clifford Family

    1. Coad/Coe Family

    1. Cody, Buffalo Bill

    1. Colorado

    1. Coolidge Manuscript

    1. Corruption

    1. Cotton Wood Springs

    1. Cram Family

    1. Crawford, Captain Jack

    1. Crimes, misc

    1. Dauchy Family

    1. Daugherty, William E.

    1. Didier, John

    1. Dillard, George

    1. Disorderly Conduct

    1. Doc Middleton

    1. Dodge-McGuire case

    1. Dorsey, Stephen

    1. Druery Family

    1. Dundy County

    1. Early Nebraska Towns

    1. Elwood, Nebraska

    1. Estey Family

    1. Executions

    1. Fighters

    1. Forts-General Info

    1. Fort Kearney/Lowell

    1. Fort Laramie

    1. Fort McPherson

    1. Fort Niobrara

    1. Fort Omaha

    1. Franklin County

    1. Freighting

    1. Frontier County

    1. Furnas County

    1. Gammil Family

    1. General Brisbin

    1. Gillett Family

    1. Gold Rush Trails

    1. Grand Island, Nebraska

    1. Grant Family

    1. Green Family

    1. Guerrier, Edward

    1. Harlan County

    1. Harmon, William J.

    1. Harvey Family

    1. Hayes, Edward

    1. Hitchcock County

    1. Hoel, Aaron

    1. Homan, Henry

    1. Horse Thefts

    1. Hunter, Gallant

    1. Ilgenfritz Family

    1. Indians

    1. Indianola, Nebraska

    1. Ireland Family

    1. Jefferson Territory

    1. Julesburg, Kansas

    1. Kearney, Nebraska

    1. Kennison, David

    1. Lambert, Martha E.

    1. Loomis Family

    1. Lynch Family

    1. Lynchings

    1. McCook, Nebraska

    1. McDonald, Charles

    1. Marshall, Francis

    1. Matlock Family

    1. Massacre Canyon

    1. Meinhold, Charles

    1. Metcalf, George

    1. Miles, Lorena Wellman

    1. Military pt. 1

    1. Military pt. 2

    1. Military pt. 3

    1. Minden Murders

    1. Morris, B.P.

    1. Morrow Family

    1. Murders

    1. Mushroom

Box 3


    1. Nemaha County

    1. Nichols Family

    1. North Platte, Nebraska

    1. Old Settlers

    1. Overland Trails

    1. Pawnee Agency pt. 1

    1. Pawnee Agency Pt. 2

    1. Pawnee Agency Pt. 3

    1. Pawnee Agency Pt. 4

    1. Pawnee Agency Pt. 5

    1. Pawnee Agency Pt. 6

    1. Pawnee Agency Pt. 7

    1. Pawnee Agency Pt. 8

    1. Pawnee Agency Pt. 9

    1. Pawnee Agency Pt. 10

    1. Pawnee Agency Pt. 11

    1. Pawnee Agency Pt. 12

    1. Pawnee Agency Pt. 13

    1. Paxton, William

    1. Phillipsburg, Kansas

    1. Pine Ridge Reservation

    1. Plains

    1. Plattsmouth, Nebraska

    1. Pioneer Stories

    1. Powell Family

    1. Plum Creek Massacre

    1. Prostitution

    1. Rainmaking

    1. Red Cloud Spotted Tail

    1. Red Willow County

    1. Reid, William A.

Box 4


    1. Relief aid for disasters

    1. Republican River pt.1

    1. Republican River pt. 2

    1. Republican Valley

    1. Richardson County

    1. Robberies

    1. Roper Family

    1. Royal Buffalo Hunt

    1. Sanders Family

    1. Schwatka Family

    1. Shelly Family

    1. Sioux Indians

    1. Sidney, Nebraska

    1. Speer, Olive Baldwin

    1. Stearns Family

    1. Suicides

    1. Sun Dance

    1. Surveying pt. 1

    1. Surveying pt. 2

    1. Surveying pt. 3

    1. Suspicious Characters

    1. Sutton, Everette S.

    1. Sweitzer Family

    1. Sydenham, Moses

    1. Taylor, William Z.

    1. Texas Jack

    1. Thayer County

    1. Umland-Wimberly

    1. Vigilantes

    1. Waits Family

    1. Ward, Aaron

    1. Warner Family

    1. Webster County

    1. Whistler Murder

    1. Williams-Castleman Journey Cake

    1. Williams, Robert H.

    1. Wood Family

    1. Yager, James Pressley

    1. Yake, James

    1. Wyoming Territory

    1. Misc. Clippings

Series 2 – Correspondence

Box 4


    1. Correspondence, 1973

    1. Correspondence, 1974

    1. Correspondence, 1975

    1. Correspondence to John Irwin, 1971-1982

Series 3 – Vertical file materials from Riley binders

Box 4


    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1866-1870

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1870-1871

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1872

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1873

Box 5


    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1874, pt. 1

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1874, pt. 2

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1875, pt. 1

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1875, pt. 2

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1876, pt. 1

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1876, pt. 2

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1876, pt. 3

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1876, pt. 4

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1878

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1879-1880

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1881-1882

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1883-1885

    1. Newspaper Article Transcriptions, 1885-1910

    1. Red Willow County Federal Land Office Records

    1. Hitchcock County Court Case Transcriptions

    1. Article Index Note cards by alphabetized subjects (see also Box 7)

Series 4 – Miscellaneous

Box 6


    1. Event Programs

    1. Local Political Material

    1. Miscellaneous Material regarding Willa Cather

    1. Transcriptions of Cather Family Correspondence, 1870s-1890s

    1. Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial Newsletters

    1. Photocopy of My Mother’s Story

    1. Miscellaneous, pt. 1

    1. 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

Webster County (Nebraska) — History

Wood family


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

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Lest We Forget:  The Lynching of Will Brown, Omaha’s 1919 Race Riot

Lest We Forget: The Lynching of Will Brown, Omaha’s 1919 Race Riot

Portraits of Omaha’s 1898 Indian Congress

Portraits of Omaha’s 1898 Indian Congress

Marker Monday: Shell Creek Pawnee Settlements

Marker Monday: Shell Creek Pawnee Settlements

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.

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.
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.