Browse Exhibits (77 total)

1869-1889: The Beginnings

The beginning of the University was a turbulent time, with plenty of criticism from the community, and a constant fight to prove its own worth. The school grew in many ways in the first twenty years, and made changes that ultimately started the transformation into what we see today. The Morrill act set the stage, giving Lincoln the land to build their own college. It started out small with only twenty students taking college courses; choosing from three course paths. As the years progressed, new chancellors brought new ideas, and the University evolved. Eventually the position of the community shifted from hostile to accepting as the University of Nebraska set the foundation for years to come.

1950-1959: Success Through Troubled Times

A quick summary of important happenings during the Korean War era of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

1970-1979: A Decade of Conflict

The decade of the 1970s was a very unstable time in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's history. The addition of UNO to the University system created conflicts in how power would be separated between the Chancellor, the Board of Regents, and the State Legislature. Ultimately, this project demonstrates how UNL handled this problem-filed decade.

1930-1939: The Dirty University Thirties


An overview of the University of Nebraska during the 1930s. The 1930s delivered hard times for all, including the University, but as did most, the University found a way to succeed.

Past People: The UNL Anthropology Department


The Anthropology department has been at the University for many years in one way or another. The idea of Anthropology has been at the University since it was opened by the means of Ancient History which undoubtedly had some Anthropology in it. As the years went by the University eventually recognized Anthropology of being its own school of thought, however this didn’t mean it warranted its own department yet. In the Buttein of 1925 - 1926 the word Anthropology first showed up in the Political science and Sociology section of the Arts and Science department. It continued being part of that department till the school year of 1945 - 1946 where it was given its own department in the Arts and Science College under the supervision of J.O. Hertzler a sociologist.

The Anthropology Department at UNL was created in the academic year 1945 - 1946, however this was not the first time Anthropology was at the University. The study of Anthropology has been at the University ever since it was created. In the first years of the University Anthropology was done under the name of Ancient History on the Greek, Roman and the like. As the years went on the College grew and added more departments and sub departments. In the academic year of 1925 - 1926 Anthropology was first instated in the College of Arts and Sciences under the department of Sociology as a sub-department. This habit of keeping Anthropology with Sociology continued until just after the formation of the department by having the first Chairman is a Sociologist. In 1954 a man named John Champe assumes Chair and is the first head to be an Anthropologist. With Champe in the Chair the department gained more and more staff and funded more and more digs and trips like the one at Ash Hollow Cave.

While the Anthropology Department at UNL was created in 1945 there were a few colleges that created theirs earlier. The University of Kansas' Anthropology department has been around since the 19th century. However we were not the last College around to develop an Anthropology department. Iowa State University started theirs just 20 years ago in 1990. Still there are some Universities around that don’t have an Anthropology department.

The Centennial Education Program: An Overview of New UNL Learning Strategies from 1969 to 1972


This archive provides general information and key documents about the Centennial Education Program, its courses, housing, and professors.

"No Men Allowed" The Associated Women Students at The University of Nebraska, 1911-1970


This collection is designed to show the history of the Associated Women Students (AWS), one of the largest and most prominent student organizations at the University of Nebraska from 1911 to 1970. It was the AWS that supported and governed the women of the University of Nebraska. 

A Century of Womanhood: Delta Delta Delta Sorority at UNL

Delta Delta Delta was begun by Sarah Ida Shaw and her two friends in November of 1888 at Boston College. The bold idea of a fraternal organization for women was unheard of, so the three women organized their own. Over the years, the women of Delta Delta Delta have progressed and spread relations throughout their community with philanthropy and other events. St. Judes became their official philanthropic outlet in the 1970's and since have raised money for the cause. 

The Tri-Delta sorority founder, Sarah Shaw, had originally declined bids from other sororities because of her religion, until she decided that she could create a sorority based with Christian values. Her friends agreed to help her begin it and soon enough the founding sisters had a group of women with Christian values for the sorority. 

All That Jazz: the UNL Jazz Bands

080472-00001  Vaughn Jaenike.jpg

This purpose of this collection is to explain the progression and acceptance of jazz studies into the University of Nebraska education and higher education in general. This collection is also meant to be a history of the University's jazz bands and their activities. 


The Evolution of College Sports: The UNL Men's Swim Team 1922-2001

Ed Higginbothom.jpg

This archive presents a comprehensive history of the former UNL Men’s Swim Team. The project begins with the founding of the team in 1922 and ends in 2001 when the program was abruptly cancelled due to financial reasons as well as accusations that the team violated NCAA rules.

UNL Campus Security: 1983-1992




The purpose of this project is to document the fact that UNL has not always been the safe learning environment we know it as today.  There was a time when women could not even visit the library to do their homework without feeling they could possibly be in danger.  It has only been within the last 30 years the campus security has increased, making UNL one of the safest campuses in the United States.  

Love Memorial Library: A New Library for a New World (1941 - 1968)


This exhibit covers the most important areas of the history of the Don L. Love Memorial Library at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Information and documentation surrounding the orginal library, the construction of Love Library, the stationing of troops at Love during WWII, and the opening of the library to students and faculty can be found here. 

Notably, and of seminal importance to University history, the Library was and continues to be a factor and sign in the process of transforming what was once just a "Prairie University" into a first-class research institute.

Louise Pound Publications

Louise Pound published an impressive amount of scholarly work during her time at the University of Nebraska. When her contemporaries were concentrating on English and Greek literature, Pound was focused on American authors and Nebraska folk-ways.


Morrill Hall: A History of Nebraska's State Museum


Nebraska is a state blessed to have a rich archeological and paleological record as well as a strong public university. The combination of these factors led to the creation of the Nebraska State Museum, known on the university of Nebraska-Lincoln campus as Morrill Hall. This project traces the history of Morrill Hall: the building, the people, and the collections that have made it extraordinary as an institution.

                Morrill Hall has been a groundbreaking institution for the state in terms of wealth of its collections, the depth of its research, and the pride it has generated among the populace of Nebraska. The collection of mammoths displayed in “Elephant Hall” has been a landmark for Nebraska since the museum’s doors first opened. However, few know the story of how this institution came to be.

The museum itself would be all for naught if it was not for the fearless directors who led the way to construction and administration of one of Nebraska’s first natural history institution. The museum provided a home for the treasure trove of artifacts that director E.H. Barbour excavated and brought back for the university. The famed “Elephant Hall” has been one of the largest collections of mammoth bones in the United States, and continues to draw visitors from around the country. Both the university and the state have gained from the museum.

                This collection will serve to illustrate the breadth of Morrill Hall’s collections, the hard work and collaboration required to establish a museum of natural history in Nebraska, the history of the institution, and the current work of the museum today.

Items include photographs, documents, glass plate negatives, correspondence, and interviews with current staff and director.

English Theatre Portraits

This exhibit features 20 of these images from about 138 found in the English Theatre Portraits collection. It is divided in to two categories: portraits of actors and scenes from theatrical productions.  Information about the actors, actresses, and theatrical productions is provided with the images.

University Charter: An Act To Establish the University of Nebraska

View the University Charter, dated February 15th, 1869, which established the University of Nebraska.

According to Robert Manley's Centennial History of the University of Nebraska, Augustus F. Harvey wrote the charter in 1869 for the Nebraska State Legislature. In an 1889 letter, Harvey wrote: "I began it while a member of the first State Legislature, modifying and rewriting it as far as possible to suit the then [existing] conditions." (Beihn, 6)  

According to Harvey's letter, he asked State Senator Benjamin F. Cunningham to introduce it through a bill in the state senate on February 11, 1869. The charter went for review to the Committee on Education under the supervision of Charles H. Gere.

At the time the Nebraska legislature consisted of both a House and a Senate, which both passed the bill that included the charter. Harvey noted: "There was practically no struggle to get the charter through. Some objection was made by some who did not realize the word University should be construed to mean an aggregation of schools; some objected who thought the charter embraced too much. A little fight developed in some quarters under an idea that some other town than Lincoln out to have it, although the constitution provision located it at Lincoln." (Beihn, 8)

On February 15, 1869, Nebraska Governor David C. Butler signed the bill that initiated the work of creating a university in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The charter included the creation of a Board of Regents, with 12 members, to oversee the development of the university. The first meeting of the Board of Regents took place on June 3, 1869, when plans for a building and elections for the office of president, secretary, and treasurer took place. (Regents' Report, 1871, 4) The second BOR meeting included laying the cornerstone for University Hall. Classes at the University began on September 7, 1871.


In Memoriam: Rachel Lloyd, Ph.D

Learn more about Rachel Lloyd, who taught at the University of Nebraska, Department of Chemistry, from 1887 to 1894.

The Beginnings of the UNL Classics Department: An Inquiry into Influence


This project makes use of school curriculum bulletins, professor biography files, student organization minutes, Board of Regents’ minutes, and other primary sources found in the Archives & Special Collections to interpret how the early Classics Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln influenced the university as a whole.  It also looks at how the department changed from the time before its inception (1869-1924) until 10 years after it was officially established (1925-1935). 


The materials for this project were acquired over more than 150 hours of research by Kourtney Meysenburg in the Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries.   

Clifford M. Hardin, Chancellor and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Clifford M. Hardin was the University of Nebraska Chancellor from 1954-1968, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Richard Nixon from 1969-1971, and Vice Chairman of Ralston-Purina from 1971-1980.  This exhibit contains details of his life and accomplishments.

William Jennings Bryan Political Cartoons


William Jennings Bryan actively participated in the Democratic Party throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.  He served as a Nebraska congressman and the 41st US Secretary of State; he unsuccessfully ran for United States presidency three times and for United States Senate once.  He is better remembered for his failed political bids and populist rhetoric, than for the offices he held.  His continual presence in national politics along with his ever-evolving political positions and changing political allies made him a frequent subject of political cartoons. 

This exhibit features cartoons from Jay N. "Ding" Darling, Homer Davenport, John T. McCutcheon, and William F. Hanny. Political cartoons reveal just as much about their subjects as they do about the time and culture in which they were created.  These cartoons are grouped by the general sentiment they represent about William Jennings Bryan, his political campaigns, and his ambitions.  The majority of cartoons in the exhibit are from the 1908 and 1920 election cycles. 

Co-Ed Visitation: A Student Effort

A description of student efforts to establish co-ed visitation, and eventally co-ed living in the University's Residence Halls

Among the Most Loved Women in China


This exhibit features the life and work of University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate, Grace Coppock.

Why Grace?

Grace Coppock not only shares my given name, but also my ideals of communication, beauty, and kindness. When Mary Ellen Ducey, University Archivist, suggested this project for my special collections internship, I did not expect to discover such an influential alumna of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Beginning only with newspaper articles from the Daily Nebraskan, I branched out researching within UNL Archives to form her story, which you see in this exhibit. As a senior, Grace Coppock has inspired me to think large scale by cultivating relationships with the individual people I encounter, even after graduation.

University of Nebraska Chancellors


List and portraits of the University of Nebraska chancellors.

"University Archives, More Than 50"


The exhibit highlights the beginnings of the Archives & Special Collections at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the first archival materials gathered together by Clara L. Craig, and the official designation of the University Archives under the direction of Joseph Svoboda.

Library Director Frank A. Lundy wrote about the idea of a University archive in a 1944 letter: "The material put there might consist of a file of faculty writings, student publications, and official papers of various administrative offices." (Lundy, 1944). Both Craig and Lundy wrote to other academic libraries to seek ideas and recommendations.

As the Archives & Special Collections celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018, it is significant to note that the goals set forth in the early conversations and letters on the archives were met. Since 1968 the Archives & Special Collections provides a wealth of primary resources and collections that contribute to University history, research, and scholarship.

Visit the pages on Frank A. Lundy, Clara L. Craig, and Joe Svoboda, who were pivotal in the creation of the archival repository at the University of Nebraska.

Find out more about Archives & Special Collections and the resources it provides today.



Charter Day Celebrations

Charter Day celebrates the creation of the University of Nebraska. On February 15, 1869, Nebraska Governor David C. Butler signed the legislation that included a charter for the university. In 2019, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Charter Day will celebrate 150 years of providing educational opportunities to the state of Nebraska and beyond.

According to one of the earliest student newspapers, The Hesperian, the first Charter Day celebration took place in 1877.  "The Students were made glad, upon Friday, February 16th [1877], by the Chancellor declaring the day to be a holiday. It was a surprise to the students, for Charter Day has been only in name, never before being celebrated." [1] Classes were cancelled on that day, which perhaps caused the day to "ever be remembered for its pleasant reminiscences."[2]

An editorial from 1886, possibly written by Will Owen Jones, editor-in-chief of The Hesperian, states the following about the purpose of Charter Day:

It is appropriate that we turn aside from the regular routine of college work on the fifteenth of February each year to go over with each other the scenes of our early history; to acknowledge our debt of gratitude to those who were instrumental in securing our charter; and to consider our individual duties and responsibilities in the matter of assisting In the upbuilding of this, our cherished institution. [3]

Charter Day celebrations included speeches or remarks by professors, music and recitals by students, and readings, poetry, or skits by members of the literary societies on campus. The activities from the event program were often detailed in the student newspaper or yearbook. Occasionally, entire speeches were published. The March 1884 Hesperian included "Address of Welcome" by J.H. Holmes, "Charter Day Poem," by Awanna H. K. Painter, and "The University From a Student's Standpoint," by A.G. Warner. [4] Some programs from Charter Day celebrations show that events took place on both city and east campus. Events included music by groups such as the Cadet Band, the University Mandolin Club, or the University Glee Club. [5] During the early years events would also include Board of Regents meetings and as the need arose, the induction of a new chancellor or memorials. For instance, the 1906 Charter Day event included a memorial for DeWitt B. Brace, chair of the Department of Physics, after his death on October 2, 1905.

As with many long-term events, the program and entertainment shifted over the years. In 1890, an article in The Nebraskan, a student newspaper, provided some editorial commentary and lamented changes in the program that resulted in "sleepy" audiences.

The old way was to have alumni and prominent educators in the state take part in the program. This made the celebration of charter day something which it ought to be a kind of birthday party for the university. Then the alumni took an interest in charter day.... If on the other hand charter day should be made as of old, a birthday in reality and an endeavor made to secure the attendance of all the alumni great results toward advancing the interests of the university might be accomplished. [6]

In the 1890s, Charter Day events began to include a tour of campus, where buildings and rooms were open to visitors. Students and faculty showcased the educational work of the university. In 1893, The Nebraskan, published an overview of the "red-letter" day and outlined changes to the event, the students and faculty involved in the activies, and the efforts made by everyone on campus for day. [7]

The Silver Anniversary, 25 years, for the University took place in 1894, with plans "to render this celebration worthy of the high standing of the institution..." [8] The program for the two day event included reunions, department and faculty receptions, plays, music by the University Chorus, Orchestra and Banjo clubs, a battalion drill, and a banquet.

Charter Day activities for the semi-centennial anniversary, in 1919, did not take place in February but students at the time were encouraged to "pause a moment today, and consider what the laying of the corner stone of University Hall, has meant to us all. It has meant free education, greater opportunities, a better life." [9] The celebrations were postponed until May 1919 due to the residual effects of World War I. [10] Celebrations were limited during World War II as well.

The first program to that introduces "Charter Day and Midwinter Commencement" on the front page is Feb. 14-15, 1901. Charter remained connected to a midwinter commencement, a connection with lasted until about 1920. [11]

Among the last records related to the early history of Charter Day, in 1949, is a letter canceling classes and outlining activities for the day.  Gene Robb, who provided the address for the 80th Charter Day, began with the following: "We are here tonight as the representatives of the 40,000 men and women graduates of the University of Nebraska at this 80th birthday festival of our school. How pleasant it would be if only all of us, at the age of 80, might have the vitality and spirit of this our common ancestor." [12] The celebration of the University, the educational opportunities provided, and the support to citizens of Nebraska were frequently the topic of addresses given at Charter Day events.

In the mid-1950s, specific Charter Day celebrations tapered off, with only an occasional banquet marking the event. The concept of Charter Day revolved around alumni activities. In 1956, the Chancellor spent the day traveling to visit alumni, according to the Cornhusker annual. [13] This is one of the last mentions specifically referencing Charter Day to appear in the annual.


  1. Hesperian Student [microform] (Lincoln [Neb.]), 01 Feb. 1877. Nebraska Newspapers. Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. <>
  2. Hesperian Student [microform] (Lincoln [Neb.]), 01 Feb. 1877. Nebraska Newspapers. Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. <>
  3. Hesperian Student [microform] (Lincoln [Neb.]), 03 March 1884. Nebraska Newspapers. Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. <>
  4. Hesperian Student [microform] (Lincoln [Neb.]), 15 Feb. 1886. Nebraska Newspapers. Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. <>
  5. Charter Day Program, 1899. Charter Day, Records (RG 00-14-00). University Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  6. Hesperian Student [microform] (Lincoln [Neb.]), 01 March 1890. Nebraska Newspapers. Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. <>
  7. The Nebraskan [microform]. (Lincoln, Neb.), 01 Feb. 1893. Nebraska Newspapers. Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. <>
  8. Memo, Executive Office, University of Nebraska, (1894), RG 00-14-00, Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  9. The Daily Nebraskan (Lincoln, Neb.), 14 Feb. 1919. Nebraska Newspapers. Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. <>
  10. Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha [Neb.]), 16 Feb. 1919. Nebraska Newspapers. Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. <>
  11. Charter Day Program, 1901. RG 00-14-00, Commencement records list mid-winter commencement up until 1920. Beginning in 1948, the records that the term for the commencement became mid-year and last up until approximately 1998.
  12. Robb, Gene "Meeting Competition at the University," 80th Charter Day Address, Feb. 15, 1949, RG 00-14-00, Box 1)
  13. Cornhusker 1956,,486#page/62/mode/transcription

Ed Weir & Nebraska Athletics


On Mar. 16, 1974, the Board of Regents approved naming the outdoor track the "Edwin F. Weir Memorial Track Facility."

First Masters and PhDs in University Departments

The University of Nebraska first Masters of Arts, Masters of Science, and PhD's awarded at Departments, Schools, or Colleges since its beginning in 1871.


  • M.A. Leroy F. Snipes, 1930
  • PhD. Alfred E. Adams, 1934

Animal Husbandry

  • M.A. Frank Alfred Hays, 1912


  • M.A. Roscoe Pound, 1889
  • PhD. Roscoe Pound, 1897


  • M.A. Samuel Avery, 1894
  • M.A. Henry Duncanson, 1894
  • PhD. Garland E. Lewis, 1917


  • M.A. W.L. Westermann, 1896


  • M.A. Charles McIntosh, 1951
  • PhD. Charles McIntosh, 1955


  • M.A. Charles E. Tingley, 1891
  • PhD. William H. England, 1906


  • M.A. Christine Fossler, 1904
  • PhD. Frank W. Smith, 1904


  • M.S. John C. Hoge, 1912
  • PhD. Ea-Shy Yang, 1970


  • M.A. Jospehine Tremain, 1894
  • PhD. Benjamin Botkin, 1931


  • M.A. John T. Zimmer, 1911
  • PhD. Kenneth Orwig, 1967


  • M.F. John Boyce, 1912
  • M.F. Otto Swenson, 1912


  • M.A. Marie Sougey, 1926


  • M.A. Nels Bengston, 1908
  • Phd. Rose Clark, 1933


  • M.A. Wilbur Knight, 1893
  • Phd. Wilbur Knight, 1901


  • M.A. Zora Shields, 1904


  • M.A. Charles S. Lobinger, 1894
  • Phd. Charles S. Lobinger, 1903


  • Phd. Veron Westgate, 1910


  • M.A. Eva McCune, 1903


  • M.A. Carl C. Engberg, 1897
  • Phd. Albert L. Candy, 1898


  • M.A. Oran Bowen, 1904
  • Phd. Bertha Luckey, 1916


  • M.A. John E. Almy, 1897
  • Phd. Harold N. Allen, 1896


  • M.A. Billings Almy, 1898
  • Phd. William E. Walton, 1932


  • M.A. Hazel Snell, 1917
  • Phd. Anderson Clark, 1905


  • M.A. Michael Gayer, 1897
  • Phd. Claude Mitchell, 1913

Cornhusker Football Coaches

Football coaches at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, for the original team known as the "Bugeaters" and the Cornhuskers.

Frank Crawford, 1893-1894

Charles Thomas, 1895

Edward N. Robinson, 1896-1897

Fielding Yost, 1898

Edwin A. Branch, 1899

Walter Cowles “Bummy” Booth, 1900-1905

W.G. "King" Cole, 1907-1910

E.O. “Jumbo” Stiehm, 1911-1916

E.J. “Doc” Stewart, 1916-1917

William G. Kline, 1918

Henry F. Schulte, 1919-1920

Fred T. Dawson, 1921-1924

Ernest, E. Bearg, 1925-1929

Dana X. Bible, 1929-1936

Major Lawrence M. “Biff” Jones, 1937-1941

Glenn Presnell, 1942

Adolph Lewandowski, 1943-1944

George "Potsy" Clark, 1945-1946

Bernie Masterson, 1946-1948

Bill Glassford, 1949-1955

Pete Elliot, 1956-1957

Bill Jennings, 1957-1961

Robert "Bob" Devaney, 1961-1972

Thomas "Tom" Osborne, 1972-1997

Frank Solich, 1998-2003

Bo Pelini, 2003 (Alamo Bowl interim)

Bill Callahan, 2004-2007

Bo Pelini, 2008-2014

Mike Riley, 2015-2017

Scott Frost, 2018-