Nebraska History’s original 1918 banner (above).
The first known print reference to what is now known as the Nebraska History magazine appeared in The Dakota County Herald, October 19, 1916:
A magazine to be called “Nebraska History and Pioneer Days,” to which thirty Nebraska Pioneers and history writers will contribute and which has been in the course of organization for more than a year, is soon to make its appearance. The editor in chief is A. E. Sheldon, head of the legislative reference bureau. The publication is designed to furnish a means of communication and information on Nebraska history and ethnology.
Vol. 1, Issue 1 of Nebraska History, published in February 1918 (at left).
The announcement was made in 1916 but the new publication did not appear until February 1918. (Read that issue here.) It was initially planned as a publication of the Legislative Reference Bureau, but in 1917 the Historical Society and the Reference Bureau united to work under one head. A. E. (Addison) Sheldon became the Supervisor of the Nebraska State Historical Society. This caused the publication to be delayed until 1918.
Eight issues in newspaper format were distributed that year. They were collectively considered Volume I and were made available to all sustaining members of the NSHS, who received the magazine without further payment. It was intended to be a piece of popular literature, as distinguished from academic. It was printed sporadically throughout the years and was more of a type of reminiscence, sprinkled with bits of poetry written by Sheldon.
The changing face of Nebraska History over the decades. Left to right, issues from 2009, 1936, 1951, 1987, 1986. Back: 1918 (above).
By the 1930s the journal was printed in a magazine format. When Mari Sandoz became the Assistant Editor, the journal became more of a scholarly work. By 1946 when James Olson became the Director of the Nebraska State Historical Society, Nebraska History was being published regularly on a quarterly basis.
Today’s Nebraska History magazine is a beautifully illustrated journal that explores the remarkable stories of Nebraska’s history and culture through original articles and new discoveries, illustrated with rare historical images from the NSHS’s extensive collections. Edited by David Bristow, Associate Director for Publications, the magazine continues to be published on a quarterly basis.
Click here for a comprehensive table of contents, including all of Nebraska History and earlier NSHS publications going back to 1885, including links to hundreds of full-text articles.
Nebraska History magazine is offered as one of many benefits to members of the Nebraska State Historical Society. Our members range from professional historians to those who are curious about Nebraska’s past. If you have a passion for the history of Nebraska and the desire to help preserve that history, or know someone else who does, consider becoming a member of the Nebraska State Historical Society or give a gift membership. Well-crafted historical writing and handsome illustrations will be your guidebook on an amazing journey through Nebraska’s past. To learn more about membership in the NSHS click here or call 402-471-3272.
-Lana Hatcher, Membership Coordinator