William Stolley, 1831-1911 [RG2617.AM]


RG2617.AM: William Stolley, 1831-1911

Papers:  1852-1942
Hall County, Neb.:  Pioneer
Size:  2.5 cu.ft.; 5 boxes


William Stolley was born in Wardner, Germany, in the Duchy of Holstein.  In 1848, he took part in the War of Schleswig-Holstein, and when his term of service expired in 1849, he joined a group of his countrymen in immigrating to America.  After a business failure with a fellow immigrant, Wilhelm Hagge, he became interested in a proposed settlement to be established on land near where the transcontinental railroad was expected to pass.  Stolley was chosen by the project backers to be the leader of the settlement.  The Davenport Company located at what was to become the present city of Grand Island, in Hall County.  Stolley remained there throughout his life, engaged in the nursery business, farming, and raising bees.


This collection of five boxes contains correspondence, 1852-1942; business records, 1821-1889; writings; miscellany; Olga Palmer Stolley Diaries; and Olga Palmer Stolley reminiscences.

The bulk of this collection consists of correspondence dated between 1852 and 1894.  Much of this material is written in German script and is very difficult to translate.  The correspondence of series 1 is from and to family and friends concerning personal and business affairs–specifically to business and living conditions in Nebraska during this period.  The business papers in series 2 relate mostly to Stolley’s nursery business.  Series 3 consists of various writings by William Stolley.  Included are three folders of typescript drafts of William Stolley’s History of Hall County.  See the library for published versions.  Additional writings mainly relate to Iowa and U.S. history.

Series 4 contains four folders of miscellaneous materials, including U.S.D.A. circulars, nursery trade catalogs and advertisements and Hall County Agricultural Society “diplomas” or certificates awarded to William Stolley.  Series 5 consists of materials relating to Olga Stolley Palmer.  Included are twenty-five daily diaries dating from 1920 to 1974, and a folder of reminiscences.

Acc.1940; 2002


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1852-1942, n.d.
Box 1

  1. Correspondence, 1852, 1858-1865
  2. Correspondence, 1866-1870
  3. Correspondence, 1871-1873
  4. Correspondence, 1874-1875
  5. Correspondence, 1876
  6. Correspondence, 1877
  7. Correspondence, 1878

Box 2

  1. Correspondence, 1879
  2. Correspondence, 1880
  3. Correspondence, 1881
  4. Correspondence, 1882
  5. Correspondence, 1883
  6. Correspondence, 1884
  7. Correspondence, 1885 [see also oversize]
  8. Correspondence, 1886 [see also oversize]
  9. Correspondence, 1887
  10. Correspondence, 1888
  11. Correspondence, 1889
  12. Correspondence, 1890
  13. Correspondence, 1891
  14. Correspondence, 1892
  15. Correspondence, 1894
  16. Correspondence, 1937-1942
  17. Correspondence, fragments and undated

Series 2 – Business records, 1821-1889
Box 3

  1. Miscellaneous business records including receipts, vouchers, and contracts
  2. Miscellaneous business records including receipts, vouchers, and contracts
  3. Miscellaneous business records including receipts, vouchers, and contracts
  4. Miscellaneous business records including receipts, vouchers, and contracts
  5. Miscellaneous business records including receipts, vouchers, and contracts

Series 3 – Writings by William Stolley

  1. History of Hall County, draft 1
  2. History of Hall County, draft 2
  3. History of Hall County, draft 3

Box 4

  1. Miscellaneous manuscript drafts
  2. Miscellaneous manuscript drafts

Series 4 – Miscellaneous

  1. U.S.D.A. circulars, 1866-1879
  2. Nursery trade catalogs and advertisements
  3. Hall County Agricultural Society diplomas [see oversize]
  4. Miscellaneous materials

Series 5 – Olga Palmer Stolley
Box 5

  1. Diary, 1920-1949
  2. Diary, 1948-1951
  3. Diary, 1952
  4. Diary, 1953
  5. Diary, 1954
  6. Diary, 1955
  7. Diary, 1956
  8. Diary, 1957
  9. Diary, 1958
  10. Diary, 1959
  11. Diary, 1960
  12. Diary, 1961
  13. Diary, 1962
  14. Diary, 1963
  15. Diary, 1964
  16. Diary, 1965
  17. Diary, 1966
  18. Diary, 1967
  19. Diary, 1968
  20. Diary, 1969
  21. Diary, 1970
  22. Diary, 1971
  23. Diary, 1972
  24. Diary, 1973
  25. Diary, 1974
  26. Olga Stolley Palmer reminiscences


Subject headings

Bee culture
German Americans
Grand Island (Neb.)
Hagge, Wilhelm Henry, 1898-1982
Hall County (Neb.)
Nurseries (Horticulture)
Nursery stock
Palmer, Olga (Stolley), 1882-1977
Stolley, William, 1831-1911


HEK/jc 02-02-1966
Revised KFK 11-14-2002
Revised TMM 01-17-2022

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