Browse Exhibits (104 total)

1920-1929: A Decade of Change

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This exhibit focuses on the 1920s in the University's history.  The '20s were a time of identity crisis for the country and the University. WWI had just ended in 1918 and the United States was recovering and rediscovering themselves.  As for the University, there was no post-war recuperating, but there was plenty of soul-searching as to what type of school the University would be.  With the construction of Memorial Stadium, athletics were becoming just as important as academics.  And much like the U.S. presidents of the 1920s, the administration during the 1920s at the University did not exhibit strong leadership.  Decisions regarding new colleges were plentiful during this era; decisions that would ultimately define the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as what it is today.

1900-1909: Legacies, Football, and Dirty Oil Money


At the turn of the century the University of Nebraska was transforming from a small prairie school to a prestigious center for higher education in a growing community. This exhibit aims to outline the legacies, controversies, and the indentity of the University of Nebraska in the 1900s.

1910-1919: War, Suspicion, and a New Beginning


This exhibit examines college life in the 1910s at the young University of Nebraska dealing with the shock of World War I, the changes that came with it, and how dark times led to hope for a brighter future.

1890-1899: A Golden Era


Drawing from the picture of the University as a booming, spirited community, this project will delve into the University's situation in the fabulous 1890s. By researching the Administration, Faculty, Students, and Community at that time, this project seeks to portray an unbiased and accurate picture of the University in the 1890s.

1960-1969: The University Expands


This exhibit is about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln during the 1960s and its growth during this time.

1980-1989: Perseverance Through Tribulation

The eighties was a decade of seemingly certain war with the Soviet Union and in a time when the President of the United States implemented his own economic system, Reaganomics, which not only reduced income taxes and regulation, but also significantly reduced federal aid to state governments. This exhibit shows how amidst these changes that had a substantial effect on state funding of higher educational institutions, UNL took the changes in stride in this steadfast decade committed to growth, advancement towards the future, and excellence.

1940-1949: War and Peace on the University of Nebraska Campus

The decade of the 1940s was one that was clearly divided into two parts: wartime and peacetime. The outbreak of World War II had a profound effect on the entire country, including the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. When the dust settled, a new culture developed on campus. This project traces the history of UNL during the1940s.

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

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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

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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.

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

Read "In Memoriam" to learn more about Rachel Lloyd, who taught at the University of Nebraska, Department of Chemistry, from 1887 to 1894.

Mark Griep's "Introduction" shares the details on how he located Rachel Lloyd's photograph in a time capsul.

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