University of Nebraska

Throughout Nebraska’s history, many figures were credited for shaping the state. Often they are recognized most for their positive influence, but this was not the case for Nebraska’s first governor. David Butler, elected in 1867, served two terms before getting impeached, convicted, and removed from office as a result of fraudulent financial matters. While the public praised him for his accomplishments in office, there were shady dealings behind his success.

Four-story building with tower sitting on edge of sparse town on prairie

The University of Nebraska marks its 150th birthday on February 15. The legislature chartered the university on that day in 1869 (though classes didn’t begin until 1871). What was it like at the early university? We’ll put it this way: if you like leaky roofs, chilly classrooms, and traditional memorize-and-recite pedagogy, you’d love early NU classes. It took time for the university to live up to its name.

UNL Class of 1953 processional (RG2758.PH000054-000005)

Congrats to all recent University of Nebraska graduates from us here at History Nebraska!

McRib Button Source: Laura Mooney, Lincoln

Rumor has it that McDonalds' McRib® Sandwich was invented in Nebraska. That rumor is not exactly true.

In 1972 Professor Roger Mandingo of the University of Nebraska received a grant from the National Pork Producers Council to work on a process to create restructured meats. He developed a technology to bind small pieces of meat together in different shapes using salt and mechanical action. The results of his work can be seen today in such items as dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and the famous McRib" Sandwich.

History Nebraska General Collection, 7294-7017

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 (Chordeiles minor), called bugeaters because they fed on bugs. The name was also apt because of the "poverty-stricken appearance of many parts of the state."

Young woman reading Daily Nebraskan, 1966

Pre-Title IX University of Nebraska had some pretty ridiculous rules for women students. In this blog post, History Nebraska Board Member Elieen Wirth explores her experience at NU in the 1960s.

Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE, 15 March 1934

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.

Erwin Barbour’s family was very interested in old bones! From discovery to display, the family was a central part of Nebraska paleontology, expanding knowledge of the state’s fossils and making possible the University of Nebraska State Museum at Morrill Hall. In the Winter 2013 issue of Nebraska History, author Lois B. Arnold explores the family that had such a large impact on Nebraska paleontology as we know it.

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