Omaha 1863

To mark the approach of Christmas in 1889 the Omaha Bee published brief recollections by some of the city’s earliest settlers about their first observances of the holiday in Omaha. The Bee’s account, published on December 22, said: “The celebrations were crude. In the absence of homes, churches and social organizations, the male population of the village celebrated the day in a method that made up in vigor what was lacking in decorum.” 

Lithograph of frontier soldier sitting by campfire in snow, with horse nearby

In December 1882, soldier Martin Weber was given a pretty simple task: deliver Christmas packages to Fort Robinson from Fort Sidney. 125 miles over six days. A late shipment and terrible blizzard turned that simple job into a harrowing adventure.

Christmas card with rose from 1880

This Christmas card from 1880 depicted a warm-weather scene similar to one actually experienced by Omahans on December 24 in 1889. NSHS 3832-136 (at left).

The NSHS Archives holds a collection relating to the Maunder family from Hastings, Nebraska. The bulk of the collection consists of diaries kept by Edith Maunder and two of her daughters, Vera Maunder and Ellen Maunder Ritchey. While the collection includes an impressive run of diaries dating from 1879-1979, we wanted to share a few other interesting items found in the collection. Ellen Maunder Ritchey attended Hastings College and became a school teacher. Here is the souvenir booklet she kept from her first year of teaching at the Pleasant Hill School in Keith County.

An expectant crowd outside the Husker Theater on December 24, 1948.
NSHS RG2183-1948-1224


J. Sterling Morton and his newspaper staff in Nebraska City on May 29, 1899. NSHS RG1013-PH30-11 (at left).

Become a History Nebraska Member Today

Learn More