Wildcat Notes

The first Nebraska banks were created by the territorial legislature in 1855. 

They were authorized to issue bank notes as money without any underlying assets. These “wildcat notes” circulated freely, riding the crest of the boom years of land speculation and investment in town sites, railroads, and industries. By 1857 the financial panic in the East had spread to Nebraska Territory. The wildcat banks failed, making the notes worthless and destroying public confidence in banks. 

Bank of DeSoto  (NSHS 7302-5)

Bank of DeSoto, $1 bank note (Source: Irving B. Lueth, Omaha, NSHS 7302-5)

National Bank of Brownville, $5 (NSHS 7291-39)


National Bank of Brownville, $5 bank note (Source: Rose Carson, Lincoln, NSHS 7291-39)

National Bank of Brownville, $5 (NSHS 7291-39)


National Bank of Brownville, $5 bank note (Source: Rose Carson, Lincoln, NSHS 7291-39)

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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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