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RG5747.AM:  Donald Hickson Abbott, 1912-1936

Scrapbook, etc.:  ca. 1924-1931

Beatrice, Gage County and Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.:  Musician

Size:  0.5 cu.ft.; 1 box


Born at Moline, Illinois on October 6, 1912, Donald Hickson Abbott moved to Beatrice, Nebraska with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.B. Abbott. He attended school in Beatrice and played cornet in the band. In 1925 he took second place in the cornet solo contest at the state high school music competition. The Abbotts moved to Lincoln in 1926 where Donald attended the 26th and O Street Junior High School and then Lincoln High. He graduated from Lincoln High School on June 6, 1930.

Immediately following graduation from Lincoln High, Abbott joined a group of musicians and played on an ocean liner to Europe. They played various concerts in France and Belgium before returning to the United States at the end of the summer. Abbott then moved to Santa Ana, California, where he joined his mother and grandmother, Mrs. Marietta Philleo. Abbott’s mother had recently moved there and opened a tea room and restaurant. Once there, Donald Abbott attended Santa Ana Junior College. As of 1931 he was playing with Everett Hoagland and his Troubadours (“direct from Hollywood, California”).

Donald Hickson Abbott died on July 21, 1936 and was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.


The collection consists of a scrapbook, several folders of misc. loose items removed from the scrapbook, and a 1928 Lincoln High School yearbook. The materials document Donald Abbott’s early education and musical career, mostly dating from 1925-1930. The scrapbook and folders of loose items contain various event programs, newspaper clippings, photographs, correspondence, etc. One item of particular note is a photograph of Donald Abbott ca. 1925 with two other students from the Beatrice school band. One of the other students in the photo is Spangler Arlington Brugh, who would become known as the film star Robert Taylor. The photo is located on page 14 of the scrapbook. In the folder of loose photographs there is a snapshot of Donald Abbott with John Philip Sousa. Researchers must use gloves when handling photographs.

Note:  Another photograph of Donald Abbott and Spangler Arlington Brugh is available in RG0813.PH. That photograph was used in the Nebraska History article, “Robert Taylor of Beatrice: The Nebraska Roots of a Hollywood Star,” Winter 1994. Two of Donald Abbott’s high school band contest pins are held in the collections of the Nebraska History Museum.


Box 1


  1. Scrapbook, ca. 1925-1930

  2. Correspondence, 1924, 1930

  3. Concert programs, etc., 1927-1931

  4. Certificates

  5. Newspaper clippings, ca. 1928-1931

  6. Miscellaneous

  7. Photographs, including:

    Snapshot of Abbott with John Philip Sousa

    Portrait of young, unidentified woman

    Snapshot of two boys holding a baritone and a cornet. Message on back of photo is from a “Mrs. Cole.” Appears to be from a former music instructor.

    Studio portrait of Roy Wall with inscription, “For “Son” – A real Boy. Here’s to a great future – your friend Roy Wall, 1926″

  8. Lincoln High School yearbook, 1928


Subject headings:

Abbott, Donald Hickson, 1912-1936

Beatrice (Neb.) — History

Brugh, Spangler Arlington, 1911-1969

Lincoln (Neb.) — History

Lincoln High School (Lincoln, Neb.)

Musicians — Nebraska

Taylor, Robert, 1911-1969


TMM   04-18-2011

Encoded TMM   04-22-2011