publications

State Flag

The present Nebraska state flag with the reproduction of the state seal on a blue background was not officially adopted by the Nebraska Legislature until 1925. In that year Representative J. Lloyd McMaster of Lancaster County introduced a bill into the Nebraska House of Representatives. It was passed, 92 to 4, and referred to the Senate. That body’s judiciary committee reported out the bill with an amendment providing for a new state seal designed by Bertram G. Goodhue, architect of the Nebraska State Capitol building. The amendment was rejected, and the original proposition adopted unanimously by the upper house.



On April 2, 1925, Governor Adam McMullen approved the bill and Nebraska was provided with a state banner, described officially: “There is hereby designated a banner for the State of Nebraska which shall consist of a reproduction of the great seal of the state, charged on the center in gold and silver on a field of national blue.” The bill also provided that the state banner shall never be used as a business advertisement or trademark and established penalties for insult to the banner or violation of the provisions of the bill. The 1925 law resulted from the efforts of many organizations and individuals.



The seal, which is the banner’s sole insignia, was provided for by Nebraska’s first constitution, adopted in 1866. The seal itself was adopted by the legislature of 1867 and approved by Governor David Butler. Embodied in the seal: a steamboat ascending the Missouri River; the mechanic arts represented by a smith with hammer and anvil; agriculture represented by a settler’s cabin, sheaves of wheat and stalks of growing corn; and a train of railroad cars heading toward the Rocky Mountains. At the top of the circle is Nebraska’s motto: “Equality Before the Law.”



Some confusion exists over the use of unofficial state banners prior to 1925. For example, the 1915 Nebraska Blue Book described a state flag with the state seal imposed on a field of yellow. National Geographic magazine reprinted this description in its special flags issue of October 1917, lending credence to the idea of a yellow state flag. The official state flag with the seal on a blue background was first displayed January 1, 1926, at a New Year’s celebration at the Nebraska State Capitol.

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

Other Publications

The Bachelors’ Protective Union of Kearney

When the Bachelors' Protective Union gave a gala reception for two of its newly married, former members and their brides in March of 1890, the social club for young, ...

U.S. Weather Bureau in 1890s Nebraska

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress on October 1, 1890. It took over the weather service that had been established in the office of the Chief ...

Canning the Way to Victory

During American participation in World War I the U.S. Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, launched a massive campaign to persuade Americans to ...

The Shoemaker’s Ashes

"Edward Kuehl, one of the most peculiar characters that ever lived in Omaha, or anywhere else, was found dead in his bed last night in the back room of his place of ...

Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger Foreward

Red Dog, an Oglala Lakota who lived at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, 1876-77 (Nebraska State Historical Society RG2955.ph).   In the summer of 1876, following the ...

Darryl F. Zanuck

Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), a native Nebraskan, produced some of Hollywood's most important and controversial films. He helped found 20th Century Fox ...

The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the ...

Bungalow Filling Stations

After the giant Standard Oil Company was broken into thirty-four separate companies in 1911, the newly independent Standard Oil of Nebraska dominated the state's market ...

The Bull Fight

This is the perfect time of year for a visit to the old fishin' hole. But a group of fisherfolk from Plainview discovered that this bucolic pastime sometimes has ...

Buffalo Soldiers West

African-American soldiers on the western frontier are the focus of an exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. Buffalo Soldiers West, on loan from the Colorado ...

Protection for Buffalo

The extermination of the buffalo on the Plains occurred largely between 1870 and 1885. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on February 1, 1874, editorialized in vain ...

Buffalo Hunting

In late October 1877 young Rolf Johnson and three friends left their homes in Phelps County, Nebraska, for a buffalo hunt in northeastern Colorado. The hunt was not very ...
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.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast.

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.