Piper Family (Lincoln, Neb.) [RG1120.AM]


RG1120.AM:  Piper Family (Lincoln, Nebraska)

Papers:  1856-1968; mostly 1890-1965
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska
Size:  2.25 cu.ft.; 5 boxes


Joel A. Piper was born to Joseph Benson and Lucinda (Ford) Piper in Piper’s Corner, Ontario, on June 3, 1851. He received his early education in Ingersill, Ontario. In April of 1868, the Piper family moved to Nemaha County, Nebraska. Joel remained with his family until 1872, when he filed on a homestead in Harlan County, Nebraska. Piper soon became active in community affairs, helping move the county records under cover of darkness from Melrose to Alma in 1874, a major event in the dispute over placement of the Harlan County seat, which was not settled until 1881. He was elected Sheriff of Alma in 1875 and as Superintendent of Schools two years later. Piper organized many school districts in Harlan County and established the first library in western Nebraska at Alma. After serving as County Clerk from 1881 to 1891, he was elected to a two-year term as Secretary of State in 1894. In 1898 President McKinley appointed him Receiver of Public Funds at the U.S. Land Office in McCook, Nebraska, a post he held for four years. In 1905, he became Secretary of the State Board of Charities and Corrections, retaining this office through 1913. During this time he was instrumental in the passage of an intermediate sentence and parole law in 1909, and was Ex-officio Secretary of the State Prison Board.

Piper was an active businessman during much of his life. He was associated with the Deering Harvester Company, 1897-1898; New York Life Insurance Company, 1905-1913; and Nebraska Central Building and Loan Association, 1913-1935. He served on the board of directors for the latter company from 1935 to 1940. Piper was a member of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, 1920-1939, and attended the St. Paul Methodist Church in Lincoln. Piper was Secretary for both local and state chapters of the Sons of the American Revolutions. He received national recognition through the S.A.R. as a historian and “Nebraska’s number one citizen.” The Nebraska State Journal printed a feature about Piper’s life of service to Nebraska and to Harlan County on August 4, 1940. He died at his home in Lincoln on July 22, 1942.

Piper married Jennie E. Proctor in 1877 and to this union were born Jennie Lou, Helen, and Elsie Ford Piper. His youngest daughter, Elsie, was later to become noted as Assistant Dean of Women at the University of Nebraska. Jennie Lou was a Lincoln High teacher for 35 years. Also, two of the three daughters, Jennie Lou and Elsie, were instrumental in founding the Zeta Chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi while attending the University of Nebraska (ca. 1900-1904). Jennie Lou and Elsie never married but Helen married Dr. Clark Hagenbuch on June 3, 1914 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Elsie died on December 20, 1958 and Jennie Lou on January 19, 1972. Jennie Proctor Piper died in 1937.


This collection consists of Piper family material arranged in seven series: 1) Joel A. Piper; 2) Jennie E. Proctor Piper; 3) Elsie Ford Piper; 4) Jennie Lou Piper; 5) Helen Piper Hagenbuch; 6) Edwin Ford Piper; and 7) Miscellaneous. Each series contains mainly correspondence. Writings, clippings, family history items, some identified and unidentified photographs, etc. are also present.

Series 1, Joel A. Piper, includes correspondence, prose and speeches, land records, biographical materials, and information about the history of Harlan County.

Series 2, Jennie Proctor Piper, contains mostly correspondence.

Series 3, Elsie Ford Piper, contains correspondence, some of her writings such as poems and songs, awards, programs, and items relating to her death and memorial service.

Series 4, Jennie Lou Piper, contains mostly correspondence. Also included are her master’s thesis and other school materials.

Series 5 is comprised entirely of the correspondence of Helen Piper Hagenbuch.

Materials relating to Edwin Ford Piper may be found in Series 6. Highlights include writings by and about him.

The Miscellany of Series 7 contains unidentified correspondence, Piper and Proctor family history materials, clippings, etc. Also present are items relating to family friend Donald Shurtleff. An interesting letter written either by Elsie or Jennie L. Piper using block letters cut from publications is housed in folder 1 of this series. Also in Series 7 (folder two), is an 1856 letter from England to Joel Piper’s parents.

Note: The photo component (RG1120.PH) contains six boxes of Piper Family photographs. One audio recording of a reminiscence of Mrs. Ella Piper Dobbs that concerns Harlan County, and the Dobbs and Weaverling families is contained in the audio component (RG1120.AU). Please ask a Library Staff member for assistance with the photographs and audio recording.


Series 1 – Joel A. Piper
Box 1

    1. Correspondence, 1912-1938
    1. Prose, 1912 (on Harlan County)
    1. Speeches, 1911-1928
    1. Research and Printed Matter on Harlan County (history and records)
    1. Research and Printed Matter on Harlan County (land records)
    1. “History of Joel Piper”, ca. 1960ís (by Jennie L. Piper)
    1. Joel Piper certificates and documents
    1. Clippings about Joel A. Piper
    1. Miscellaneous invitations and certificates (see also OB124, F10)

Series 2 – Jennie E. (Proctor) Piper

    1. Correspondence, June 7, 1875 – Feb. 24, 1905
    1. Correspondence, Nov. 20, 1912 – Aug. 3, 1914
    1. Correspondence, Mar. 3, 1915 – Aug. 21, 1916
    1. Correspondence, Nov. 30, 1916 – ca. Nov. 1917

Box 2

    1. Correspondence, Aug. 4, 1919 – Apr. 1921
    1. Correspondence, Feb. 11, 1924 – Aug. 16, 1937
    1. Obituaries, Oct. 29, 1937

Series 3 – Elsie Ford Piper

    1. Correspondence, 1904 – Feb. 20, 1942
    1. Postcards
    1. Writings (poems and songs)
    1. Awards/Programs (school and special events)
    1. Printed material by and about Elsie
    1. Obituary notices, ca. 1958; tribute by Phyl Bonner
    1. Memorial book (see oversize vol. 1)

Series 4 – Jennie Louise Piper

    1. Correspondence, 1892 – ca. Dec. 1900
    1. Correspondence, Jan. 28, 1901 – Dec. 18, 1902
    1. Correspondence, Mar. 5, 1903 – Sept. 16, 1904
    1. Correspondence, Oct. 4, 1904 – Nov. 5, 1905

Box 3

    1. Correspondence, Jan. 29, 1906 – Oct. 31, 1911
    1. Correspondence, Apr. 14, 1912 – Dec. 28, 1912
    1. Correspondence, ca. 1913 – Sept. 19, 1913
    1. Correspondence, Apr. 14, 1914 – Oct. 2, 1914
    1. Correspondence, 1915 – Dec. 28, 1916
    1. Correspondence, Jan. 4, 1917 – Sept. 12, 1917
    1. Correspondence, May 17, 1918 – Aug. 17, 1929
    1. Correspondence, May 19, 1930 – Aug. 28, 1949

Box 4

    1. Correspondence, May 10, 1950 – Dec. 27, 1958
    1. Correspondence, Dec. 30, 1958 – Jan. 26, 1960
    1. Correspondence, Feb. 3, 1962 – Aug. 9, 1963
    1. Correspondence, Oct. 6, 1963 – May 19, 1968
    1. School materials (programs and report cards)
    1. School materials (diplomas and certificates)
    1. Floral tribute (for Jennie E. Proctor Piper)
    1. Miscellaneous
    1. Diplomas, University of Nebraska (see OB124)
    1. Thesis, “The First Appearance of the Missouri Compromise,” 1911 (see oversize)

Series 5 – Helen Piper Hagenbuch

    1. Correspondence, 1917-1919
    1. Correspondence, Jan. 8, 1920 – 1968

Series 6 – Edwin Ford Piper
Box 5

    1. Writings by and about Edwin F. Piper
    1. Clippings about Edwin F. Piper, ca. 1925-1963

Series 7 – Miscellaneous

    1. Unidentified correspondence, ca. 1916 – June 20, 1927
    1. Unidentified correspondence, ca. Aug. 28, 1928 – Mar. 1969
    1. Piper and Proctor family history materials and will
    1. Invitations, programs, calling cards
    1. Unidentified clippings
    1. Donald Shurttleff correspondence and clippings, ca. 1933-1956

Subject headings:

Education — Nebraska
Hagenbuch, Helen (Piper), 1881?-1971
Harlan County (Nebraska) — History
Omicron Pi (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Parole — Nebraska
Piper Family
Piper, Edwin Ford, 1871-1938
Piper, Elsie Ford, 1883-1958
Piper, Joel Alfred, 1851-1942
Piper, Jennie E. Proctor, -1937
Piper, Jennie Louise, 1880?-1972
Shurtleff, Donald
Teachers — Nebraska — Lincoln

Revised TMM        04-30-2007

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