With the Husker football team 0-3 for the first time since 1945, this is a good time to remember when young Tom Osborne thought about hanging it up.
Bugeaters and Cornhuskers:
Years ago University of Nebraska football players were called the Bugeaters, after the state-wide nickname which came from Nebraska's numerous bull bats (caprimulgus europaeus), called bugeaters because they fed on bugs. The name was also apt because of the "poverty-stricken appearance of many parts of the state."
The Anti-Football Bill:
In the Legislature of 1897, J. N. Gaffin, a farmer from Saunders County, introduced a bill to make football illegal. A violation would bring a fine of $20 to $100 and imprisonment in the county jail. The death of a Doane College player at Hastings inspired the measure. Several amendments were offered, extending the ban to baseball, skating, and swimming. Nothing, however, came of the measure.
Even in larger cities like Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska always feels like a small town where everyone knows everyone else. And the mission statement of the Nebraska State Historical Society is:“The Nebraska State Historical Society collects, preserves, and opens to all, the histories we share.” Occasionally, the "histories we share" can be quite serendipitous! I'm Megan Griffiths, a conservation technician at the Ford Center. I had the distinct pleasure of witnessing one such story.
Since 2006, October has been designated American Archives Month to raise awareness about the value and work of archives and archivists. To celebrate, we are sharing information about work we do to help archives in the area. Check back later in the month for resources available to archivists!
Welcome to our weekly series, "Timeline Tuesday." Every Tuesday, we'll post a brief Nebraska history story. The late NSHS historian and Nebraska History Associate Editor Jim Potter authored these columns, which are also printed in newspapers around the state. Cornhusker football kicks off this weekend, so we thought a football-related post was appropriate.
Even before Nebraska had the Husker football team, it had Omaha “foot ball” clubs that played what we now call soccer. The game’s growth in Omaha was similar to its growth in the rest of the United States: introduced by immigrants and spread by word of mouth. In the Spring issue of Nebraska History, author Bruce Gerhardt explores the earliest appearances of this old game in a young state.
The stadium never included all the features that the first war memorial plans called for, such as a museum or friezes. However, the state finally had a usable stadium which, with later additions and improvements, would serve the university's nationally recognized football program. More information on Memorial Stadium and its financing can be found in a 1998 article from Nebraska History magazine.