We’re Number One!

Over the years, Nebraska has been “number one” in a lot of categories. We’ve had the

nation’s highest-rated football team, we’ve produced more popcorn than anyone else, we’ve

had more school districts, and our state boasts the largest stabilized sand dune formation in

the western hemisphere.

Nebraska also ranks number one in Czech immigration. Between 1856 and World War I,

some 50,000 Czechs chose Nebraska as their new home. By l9l0, first and second generation

Czechs made up about fourteen per cent of Nebraska’s foreign-born population. Per capita,

we had more first and second generation Czechs than any other state in the Union.

Along with clothing, tools, and household goods, Czechs brought their “cultural baggage”

with them to their new home. Czech food, language, literature, art, social organizations and

institutions found fertile fields on the Nebraska prairie. Some of the old country ways of

Bohemia and Moravia faded as immigrants became “American.” But many legacies of Czech

heritage remain.

Today the most obvious place to see Czech ethnic culture presented is at the numerous

festivals in Czech communities across the state. But Czech culture is much more than polka

bands and prune kolaches. Czechs have made many contributions to the history and culture

of Nebraska. These “immigrant gifts” to Nebraska life are the focus of a new traveling

exhibition planned by the Nebraska State Historical Society. Scheduled to open in l993, the

exhibit will include photographs, documents, and depictions of artifacts.

Nebraska Czechs are invited to participate in the creation of the exhibit by sharing

photographs, documents, and reminiscences with Historical Society researchers. Project

Coordinator David Murphy is conducting a statewide survey of museums, historical societies

and Czech communities to find “the best.” Artifacts, photographs, manuscripts, or

documents will be borrowed by the Society, and photographed or copied for use in the


Specifically, the Society is searching for items brought from the Old Country, items made by

Czechs in Nebraska after their arrival, and documents and/or manuscripts on emigration and

settlement. Photographs of notable individuals, families, groups, or events, of Czech-

American community occasions and Czech homes, farmsteads, and buildings are also sought.

Individuals or groups with information or items to share should contact David Murphy,

Nebraska State Historical Society, P.O. Box 82554, Lincoln, NE, 68501.

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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   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.
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