Books Published by History Nebraska

All titles published by History Nebraska (formerly the Nebraska State Historical Society) are available at our museum stores. To order, call 402-471-3447. For other questions, contact the editor at, 402-471-4748.

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A Brief History of Nebraska

By Ronald C. Naugle

2018. Paperback, 144 pages; $14.95 / History Nebraska members $13.46 (plus tax and shipping); 14 photographs, index. ISBN: 978-933307-39-1.

This book is a short treatment of a long history. Nebraska has been inundated by ancient seas, carved by glaciers, and settled by ancient cultures who learned to survive in a land prone to extremes of climate. As a state, Nebraska was born out of the Civil War, shaped by railroads, and built by immigrants. Settlers were drawn by promises of free land and abundant rain. They endured droughts and economic depressions. They fought for political reforms, fought world wars, and sometimes fought each other. Along the way Nebraskans chose a unique form of government and re-invented their communities under new conditions. A Brief History of Nebraska is a story of continual change, the back story of the place and people we know today.

Ronald C. Naugle is a professor emeritus of history at Nebraska Wesleyan University and chair of the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission. He is the co-author, with John J. Montag and James C. Olson, of History of Nebraska, Fourth Edition (University of Nebraska Press), winner of the Nebraska Book Award; co-author, with Patricia Cox Crews, of Nebraska Quilts and Quiltmakers (Nebraska), winner of the Smithsonian’s Frost Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in American Crafts; and editor of other books including Ham, Eggs, and Corncake: A Nebraska Territorial Diary (Nebraska). Read an excerpt (PDF)

Last Days of Red Cloud Agency: Peter T. Buckley's Photograph Collection, 1876-77 

By Thomas R. Buecker​​

2016. Hardcover, 253 pages; $29.95 / NSHS members $26.95 (plus tax and shipping); Foreword by R. Eli Paul, editorial notes, map, 92 photographs, references, bibliography, index. ISBN: 978-0-933307-38-4.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a cache of previously unknown photographs are surely worth a book. Especially when those images are from a period of traumatic change for Native peoples in the 1870s on the Northern Plains. This book reproduces for the first time images captured at the "Indian Agency" that marked the end of tribal traditional lifestyles and the beginning of restriction to reservations after the so-called "Great Sioux War."

The book, completed by well-known Ft. Robinson historian Thomas R. Buecker just before his untimely death in 2015, presents a collection of stereo card photographs of the Oglala Lakota and Arapaho Indians at northwestern Nebraska's Red Cloud Agency, of the agency itself, and of other sites and landmarks in the vicinity. Peter T. Buckley, who worked at Camp (later Fort) Robinson, Nebraska, during those crucial years collected the work of multiple photographers. Many views are published here for the first time, and with those already familiar to historians, they tell a story of a land and culture in transition.

Decoding these complex stories takes work. But readers are fortunate to have Thomas R. Buecker to guide their exploration. A longtime curator at Fort Robinson Museum and author of the fort's definitive two-volume history, Buecker (1948-2015) was equally comfortable talking with other historians and with the general public. Here he unravels the events and personalities behind the photographs, and shows how they illustrate the historical moment Buckley lived and wanted to preserve.

"The newly discovered Peter T. Buckley stereograph collection provides a gold mine of information about Red Cloud Agency and Camp Robinson, Nebraska, and associated sites and events during the turbulent 1870s.  Enriched by insightful context and commentary from Thomas R. Buecker, Last Days of Red Cloud Agency constitutes a volume of outstanding historical importance."

--Jerome A. Greene, editor of Soldiering in the Shadow of Wounded Knee: The 1891 Diary of Private Hartford G. Clark, Sixth U.S. Cavalry 

"Nebraskan Tom Buecker was a master story-teller whose unique focus was the Pine Ridge Country and Fort Robinson. He had a sharp eye for detail and especially reveled in the minute dimensions of that grand old fort, in the sagas of Crazy Horse, Red Cloud, and Spotted Tail, or here in the remarkable tale of Camp Robinson and Red Cloud Agency in their glory days. The diverse array of images associated with this particular narrative are themselves a treasure. Piecing the story of collectors and this striking group of photographs, many of them unpublished, was Tom's forte. Last Days of Red Cloud Agency is both a unique contribution to Nebraska history and a fitting final tribute to a sorely missed historian and friend."

--Paul L. Hedren, author of After Custer, Powder River, and other tales of the Great Sioux War.


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"From Our Special Correspondent": Dispatches from the 1875 Black Hills Council at Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska

Edited by James E. Potter​

2016. Paperback, 334 pages; $29.95 / NSHS members $26.95 (plus tax and shipping); Introduction, editorial notes, map, fourteen photographs, references, three appendixes, bibliography, index. ISBN: 978-0-933307-37-7.

For a month in late summer 1875 the nation's gaze was drawn to proceedings at the remote Red Cloud Agency in northwestern Nebraska, where the federal government sought unsuccessfully to convince Lakota leaders to cede ownership of the Black Hills. The council was noteworthy for the issues involved, its effect on the future of Indian-white relations, and because it was among the largest such gatherings in American history. Gathered in this volume, the correspondents' reports provide a fascinating glimpse of the personalities, interactions, and cultures of the Indian, mixed-blood, and white participants in the negotiations

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Rodeo Nebraska

By Mark Harris, with foreword by Candy Moulton​

2015. Hardcover (12" x 9.5"), 240 pages; $34.95 / NSHS members $31.46 (plus tax and shipping) ISBN 978-0-933307-36-0. Preview selected photos at the author's website,

Eight years ago Mark Harris set out on a mission: to portray Nebraska's contemporary rodeo culture more artistically and comprehensively in photographs than anyone ever has--and then write a book worthy of the photos. At eighty-two events in sixty-two separate locations he photographed the competition, the rural crowds, and all things connected with them. He visited ranches that breed broncs, bulls, and speed horses, and spoke to hundreds of competitors. National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore calls the book "a captivating tribute to rodeo like no other."

Harris, a native of McCook, Nebraska, is associate director of the University of Nebraska State Museum at Morrill Hall in Lincoln. His photography has been featured in NEBRASKAland magazine and in the Nebraska History Museum's Nebraska Cowboys exhibit.

Harris's book isn't about big-time rodeo. In its pages you won't find professional circuit events or national rodeo stars. The people of Rodeo Nebraska work all week on ranches and farms and compete on weekends. For them, rodeo isn't a way to make a living. It's simply part of living.

"Mark Harris's rodeo photographs are simply stunning, particularly because they reveal aspects of this remarkably popular phenomenon that a casual observer never sees, and certainly doesn't understand. The pictures are art, for sure, but they are more than art in the sense that they clearly show us how involved are entire families. We understand, of course, that modern rodeo is quintessentially western American. Not only are Mark's photographs truly beautiful, technical masterpieces, but they also reveal everything from the violence to family engagement associated with that beauty. This book is truly collectible!"

--John Janovy Jr., Paula and D. B. Varner Distinguished Professor in Biological Sciences, Emeritus, University of Nebraska at Lincoln; author, Keith County Journal

"Mark Harris forces the reader to do something very unusual in a book of photography: read the words. While his images are icing, his memories and observations are where Rodeo Nebraska's most pleasing treasures lie."

--Jeff Kurrus, author and editor of NEBRASKAland Magazine

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Fort Robinson: Self-Guided Driving Tours

By ​Thomas R. Buecker 

2015, rev. ed. Paperback, 48 pages; $4.95 / NSHS Members $4.46 (plus tax and shipping); ISBN 978-0-933307-35-3

A self-guided tour booklet with a detailed description of Fort Robinson's many functions over the years. The guide opens with a map numbered with "stops" for two different tours. A description of each stop follows with photographs and background on the use and history of the buildings and sites. The guide also features a map of the larger area surrounding Fort Robinson, a map noting buildings and sites on the grounds from 1874 to 1948, and a glossary of terms

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A Brave Soldier & Honest Gentleman: Lt. James E. H. Foster in the West, 1873-1881

By ​Thomas R. Buecker 

2013. Hardcover (8.5" x 11"), 210 pages; $29.95 / NSHS Members $26.95 (plus tax and shipping); ISBN 978-0-933307-34-6

2014 Award of Merit - American Association for State and Local History 

Lt. James E. H. Foster (1848-1883) lived a short but eventful life as a junior officer on the Northern Plains. His story--and his illustrated journal--provide a rich portrait of the frontier army at the time of the Great Sioux War. Stationed at Fort McPherson, Nebraska, Foster traveled with the Jenney Expedition of 1875, filling in the large blank area on the map of the Black Hills, and making some of the earliest surviving artistic renditions of the area.

The Black Hills, of course, were not unknown to the Lakotas, who resented the invasion of gold miners and resisted the U.S. government's attempts to buy the Hills. When war erupted in 1876, Foster rode with General Crook's forces, fighting at the Battle of the Rosebud and enduring the infamous Starvation March.

Relying on correspondence, army records, and other documents from the time, historian Thomas R. Buecker reconstructs Foster's life, interweaving his narrative with Foster's own words. Now published for the first time, all illustrations from the journal (plus several more published by Foster elsewhere) are reproduced here, along with the journal's complete transcribed text. For his own part, Foster was a gifted writer and an astute and witty observer of military life. His story increases our knowledge of the American West and the important role played in it by the frontier army.


"Lieutenant Foster's story is chock full of fresh data on the Great Sioux War and the Battle of Rosebud Creek, as well as other period Army-Indian activities. Illuminated with Tom Buecker's astute narration, commentary, and editorial finesse, it comprises a stellar work of profound historical value."

-- Jerome A. Greene, author of American Carnage: Wounded Knee 1890

"A Brave Soldier & Honest Gentleman offers a fascinating look at the rigors of military service on the American frontier during the first decades after the Civil War. The author has done a commendable job of piecing together Lieutenant Foster's career, and the color reproductions of the illustrations and maps from his journal greatly enhance the text. This oversized volume is very fairly priced and would make an excellent addition to any library covering the Indian-fighting Army."

--Army History

Publication of this book was made possible by Ron and Judy Parks of Papillion, Nebraska

Nebraska's Post Office Murals: Born of the Depression, Fostered by the New Deal

By L. Robert Puschendorf

2012. Hardcover (10" x 8"), 120 pages; $29.95 / NSHS Members $26.95
(plus tax and shipping); ISBN 978-0-9333-0733-9

2013 Nebraska Book Award: Nonfiction - Nebraska as Place

2013 Nebraska Book Award: Cover/Design/Illustration

2013 Award of Merit - American Association for State and Local History 

As a part of the New Deal that offered hope during the Great Depression, scores of public art projects were commissioned around the country. Now they are among the most enduring visual legacies of that era. Twelve Nebraska post offices were chosen to receive individualized murals from the program. Nebraska's Post Office Murals presents the story of these valuable historical pieces.

Richly illustrated with color fold-outs and never-before-published artists' sketches, the book reveals the personalities, conflicts, and spirit of the times from which the art emerged. Each of the artists commissioned to paint the murals had a background story. Author Robert PuschendorfNSHS associate director and the deputy state historic preservation officer, follows the journey of each mural to its completion.

Read an excerpt here (10MB PDF).

"Across Nebraska, small town post offices still house gems of regional art. This book brings these murals to a larger audience. This is a fascinating and enlightening exploration of a beauty in the midst of hard times."  

--Bill Ganzel, author of Dust Bowl Descent

"Robert Puschendorf digs deeply into the layers of this nation's first government art patronage program, exploring its origins and its evolution during the Great Depression. Through the political and bureaucratic morass, he diligently uncovers within the state's WPA-built post offices, a rich Nebraska legacy of regional art murals."  

--Sharon Kennedy, Curator of Cultural and Civic Engagement, Sheldon Museum of Art

Publication of this book was made possible by James C. and Rhonda Seacrest, Lincoln, Nebraska

First Telegraph Line across the Continent: Charles Brown's 1861 Diary

Edited by Dennis N. Mihelich and James E. Potter

2011. Paperback, 133 pages; $14.95 / NSHS Members $13.46
(plus tax and shipping); ISBN 978-0-933307-32-2

2012 Nebraska Book Award: Cover/Design/Illustration

The transcontinental telegraph was a remarkable technological feat that had major consequences for the West and the nation as a whole. Yet relatively little has been written about it.

Recently re-discovered in the Smithsonian Institution collections, this previously unpublished diary is the only known extensive source written about the day-to-day construction of one segment of the first transcontinental telegraph line.

Brown's lively narrative is filled with period detail about individuals, road ranches, attitudes toward Indians, public promotion of the spirit of Manifest Destiny, difficulties facing construction crews, the nature of frontier law enforcement, and even the issues of secession and Civil War.

"Brown's perception, insights and lively style make this a great narrative."
--John D. McDermott, author of Guardians of the Pacific Telegraph and many books on the western experience

Read the book's prologue here.

Wings Over Nebraska: Historic Aviation Photographs

By Vince Goeres, with Kylie Kinley, and Introduction by Roger Welsch

2010. Softcover (8 1/2" x 11"), 176 pages; $19.95/ NSHS members $17.95 (plus tax and shipping); ISBN 978-0-933307-31-5

Written by NSHS volunteer (and longtime aviation enthusiast) Vince GoeresWings Over Nebraska showcases more than 200 aviation photos from the NSHS collections.

The book includes chapters on Nebraska's early pilots (who were often farm boys with a daredevil streak); Nebraska's only World War I flying ace, Orville Ralston; the nationally known Lincoln Aviation and Flying School (where Charles Lindbergh learned to fly); air shows and stunt flying; Nebraska's World War II air bases; and many other stories of Nebraska's role in the development of aviation.

On the cover: Gary Petersen of Walton, Nebraska, flies past Chimney Rock in his 1942 Waco UPF-7 in September 2009. Photograph by Tom Downey, Downey Studio.

Read the Lincoln Journal Star's article about Vince Goeres and Wings.

Read an excerpt of Wings Over Nebraska

First Scalp for Custer: The Skirmish at Warbonnet Creek, Nebraska, July 17, 1876

By Paul L. Hedren

2005, rev. ed. Paperback, 62 pages; $9.95 / NSHS members $8.96 (plus tax and shipping); ISBN: 0-933307-30-6

"Interest in the 'Days of '76' shows now sign of abating, and why should it? The skirmish at Warbonnet Creek pitted the Indian-fighting U.S Army against Cheyenne warriors intent on joining the victors of the Little Big Horn. With the renowned Buffalo Bill Cody as its central figure, the action of July 17, 1876, almost inevitably passed into legend. Now back in print in this revised and updated edition, Paul Hedren's First Scalp for Custer remains the definitive work on this small, yet memorable episode. Hedren places the fight in its proper context, the 'end of the beginning' of the Great Sioux War."

--Eli Paul, author of Blue Water Creek and the First Sioux War, 1854-1856.

Fort Robinson and the American Century, 1900-1948

By Thomas R. Buecker

2002. Hardcover, 242 pages; $40.00 / NSHS members $36.00 (plus tax and shipping); ISBN: 0-933307-29-2.

This book recounts the last half century of this famous northwestern Nebraska army post as it assumed new roles. In the early twentieth century, Fort Robinson hosted the last of the African American "buffalo soldiers" to serve in Nebraska. In the 1930s the fort was the world's largest U.S. Army Quartermaster Remount Depot, procuring and issuing horses for the military mounted services. Because of its focus on equestrian activities, Fort Robinson earned popular designation as "The Country Club of the Army." During World War II, the fort was the site of the army's primary war dog training center, and a major internment camp for German prisoners of war. Today it is Nebraska's premier state park.

The book is based on more than twenty years of research in archival records, supplemented by the personal recollections of men and women who served at Fort Robinson. More than ninety photographs and five maps supplement the narrative

Fort Robinson and the American West, 1874-1899

By Thomas R. Buecker

2003. Paperback, 265 pages; $19.95 / NSHS members $17.96 (plus tax and shipping; ISBN 978-0806135342 (Reprint from University of Oklahoma Press)

Fort Robinson and the American West, 1874-1899, is the first of a two-volume history of Fort Robinson, Nebraska. Drawing from official government records, reports, correspondence, and historical reminiscences and accounts, the book details the fort's history from the establishment of the Red Cloud Agency in 1873 and the fort's founding as Camp Robinson in 1874, to its designation as Fort Robinson in 1878, and beyond.

Volume I ends with the Spanish-American War and the dawn of the Twentieth Century. A forthcoming second volume will cover Fort Robinson's story from 1900 through World War II and its abandonment as a military post in 1948

A Frontier Army Christmas

Edited by Lori A. Cox-Paul and Dr. James Wengert​

1996. Paperback, 136 pages; $12.95 / NSHS members $11.66 (plus tax and shipping)

For residents of frontier army posts, the celebration of Christmas was an exercise in imagination. An important break in the routine of army life, the rich traditions of this holiday came alive in the Old West. Divided into ten chapters, the book offers a series of contrasting images of this favorite holiday: war and peace, officers and enlisted soldiers, men and women, adults and children. Preface, introduction, epilogue, bibliography, and index

The Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger

Edited by Thomas R. Buecker and R. Eli Paul​

1994. Hardcover (8.5" x 11"), 186 pages; $44.95 / NSHS members $40.46 (plus tax and shipping)

This book reproduces an old ledger book from the Society's collections, recording a census of Native Americans detained at Red Cloud Agency, near Camp Robinson (later, Fort Robinson, Nebraska in 1877. The ledger contains the army's administrative and statistical record of the detained Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians, including Crazy Horse's band of Oglala. The listing is the most expansive seen to date of Indian veterans of the Battle at Little Bighorn and the Sioux War of 1876-77. Foreword, appendix, and illustrations

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