The Pride of All Nebraska: A Band's Growth from the Military Tradition

"Shout, sound out, sound out loud and clear! 

Let the team all know the Band is here. 

Sons of old Nebraska if someone should ask ya

We're the Scarlet and the Cream!"
-- Nebraska Band Song

In 1879 at the University of Nebraska Lt. Webster founded an inexperienced twelve member band with the intention of provoking interest in military drill.1  One hundred and thirty years later, the Cornhusker Marching Band is a 290 strong group of highly trained musicians whose most contact with the military is a once a year armed forces tribute.

Though it was created under the wing of the military department, the band soon asserted itself on the campus as a spirit rallying force, a concert band, and a beloved university icon.  It would take decades before the band’s journey from a military to a primarily musical and athletic organization would be completed.  Financial support, changing societal standards, and community pressure would define the struggle waged over the type of group that the “University of Nebraska Military Cadet Band” would eventually become.

The Pride of All Nebraska project is a collection of documents, photographs, and letters from this transitional time in the band's history.  Begin by reading more about the project, starting at the beginning, or directly browsing the sources.

How to Use This Site

This site is a project for History 470: Digital History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Digital history is a method, a tool, or perhaps even a sub-field within history.  The concept of digital history is relatively new and its direction and potential have not been completely realized at this time.  The projects for Hist 470 were created within the Omeka publishing platform and seek to test the abilities and boundaries of this building tool.  Omeka enables viewers to click on an "item" (for example the scan of a book cover to the left) and be directed to a page displaying information about the item and keywords linking the item to other similar items.  Viewers can display the item at its full size by clicking a second time upon the image.  Most of the images scanned for this collection are displayed within the pages as thumbnails, but can be viewed at their actual size.

The Pride of All Nebraska project uses the techniques of digital history to the advantage of those interested in the Nebraska band's history who do not have access or time to dig around in the archives for themselves.  For these individuals the Sources section of the collection was intentionally created in the hopes that browsing would be made easier.

But what separates a digital archival collection from a digital history collection is the analysis.  The Military Foundation and Growing Identity sections of the collection seek to sort out and explain what happened and why the band grew away from its military roots.  These sections are largely chronological.


Editor: Jessica Dussault, History 470: Digital History, Fall 2009