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RG5107.AM:  Ida Rebecca Brockman Cornelius, 1869-1960

Papers:  1886-1979, mostly 1886-1919

Humboldt and Stella, Richardson County, Neb.:  Farm wife, teacher

Size:  1.0 cu.ft.; 2 boxes


John M. Brockman came to Nebraska from Illinois in 1859 and taught school. When the Civil War began he enlisted in the First Nebraska Cavalry, later merged with the Fifth Iowa Cavalry. He served three years and three months. In 1867 he married Addie Mitchell of Illinois and brought her back to Nebraska where he had a farm four miles northwest of Stella. The couple had five children, two of whom survived. Brockman was a State Legislator from 1893-1895.

Ida Rebecca Brockman was born September 10, 1869, and lived most of her life in Richardson County. She was a member of the first four-year class to graduate from Humboldt High School, in 1886. Following graduation, she taught school to earn money for a higher education. She attended the University of Nebraska then returned to Richardson County to teach for twelve years.

Ida married Alpheus B. Cornelius on February 24, 1889 and bore him three daughters: Amy, Carol, and Floy. The couple lived on a farm northeast of Humboldt until 1937, when they retired and moved into the town of Humboldt. Alpheus Cornelius died on March 16, 1956 at the age of 88 years. Ida survived him for four years, and passed away on March 3, 1960.


This collection relates to the life and family of Ida Rebecca Brockman Cornelius, and is arranged in five Series: 1) Diary, 1887-c.1910; 2) Ida Brockman Cornelius Writings; 3) Family History Materials; 4) World War I Home Front Materials, 1918-1919; and 5) Miscellaneous.

The bulk of the collection consists of a diary [available only as a transcript with general index] that Ida kept for over twenty years. People appearing in the diary are indexed both by first name and last name. Entries concern daily life, family and friends, weather in Richardson County, education, farming, church activities, Chautauquas, etc.

Other notable items in the collection include Ida’s writings (Series 2). A short travel journal, “The Voyage of the Ark,” describes a trip the Cornelius Family made by wagon along the banks of the Missouri River in 1908. The journal is illustrated with photographs, pasted in pictures from magazines, and plant specimens. Her interest in plants is evident also in the articles she wrote about the “Wild flowers of Nebraska.” Ida’s recipe notebook is an outstanding example of a personal cookbook, organized by type of dish, with notes as to the source of a recipe, etc.

Note:  The original recipe book and the journal, “The Voyage of the Ark,” are restricted for preservation. Researchers are asked to use the photocopies and transcripts provided. The photo component of the collection [RG5107.PH] includes 97 portraits and snapshots of the Cornelius Family, related families and friends.


Series 1 – Diary, 1887-c.1910

Box 1


  1. Diary index, alphabetical by LAST name

  2. Diary index, alphabetical by FIRST name

  3. Summary extracts from the diary

  4. 1887, Feb. 27-Dec. 22

  5. 1887, Dec. 23 – 1888, Aug. 7

  6. 1888, Aug. 8 – 1889, May 6

  7. 1889, May 7 – 1890, May 20

  8. 1890, May 21 – 1891, Aug. 14

  9. 1891, Aug. 15 – 1894, May 31

  10. 1894, June 1 – 1896, June 12

  11. 1896, June 13 – 1898, May 11

Box 2


  1. 1898, May 13 – 1900, May 9

  2. 1900, May 11 – 1902, July 9

  3. 1902, July 12 – c.1910

Series 2 – Ida Brockman Cornelius Writings

Box 2


  1. “First Western Trip” [transcript only]

  2. Recipe book [photocopy]

  3. Recipe book [transcript]

  4. “The Voyage of the Ark,” 1908 [photocopy]

  5. “The Voyage of the Ark,” 1908 [transcript]

    Letter, Sept. 30, 1908, describing the trip to the Missouri River, [transcript]

  6. “Wild Flowers of Nebraska,” 1896 [transcript, with index to flowers]

Series 3 – Family History Materials

Box 2


  1. Oral history transcripts – interview with Carol Cornelius Mitchell, 1978-1979

  2. John Brockman materials [photocopies]

  3. Brockman Family genealogical charts [photocopies]

  4. Cornelius Family genealogical charts [photocopies]

  5. Obituaries [photocopies]

  6. Biographical entries copied from The Souvenir Stella Press, 1901

  7. Notes about the Ida & Alpheus Cornelius farmhouse, built 1905 [Notes by Amy Tuttle]

  8. Cornelius Family miscellaneous

  9. Brockman Family miscellaneous

  10. History of Mrs. Edna M. Scott [transcript]

Series 4 – World War I Home Front Materials, 1918-1919

Box 2


  1. Victory Girls/Victory Boys United War Work Campaign

  2. War Savings Society

  3. Junior Red Cross

Series 5 – Miscellaneous

Box 2


  1. Humboldt High School Class of 1886, Meeting Minutes, notes, clippings 1886-1953 [transcript only]

  2. History of Prospect Community Club, by Carol Cornelius Mitchell

  3. History of Prospect Church and Porter Precinct, Richardson County [transcripts only]

  4. History of Humboldt Christian Church [photocopy only]

  5. Miscellaneous



Brockman Family



Cookery — Nebraska

Cornelius Family

Cornelius, Ida Rebecca Brockman, 1869-1960


Education — Nebraska — Richardson County

Farm wives — Nebraska

Humboldt (Neb.) — History

Missouri River — Description and travel

Richardson County (Neb.) — Climate

Richardson County (Neb.) — History

Tighe Family

Wildflowers — Nebraska

World War, 1914-1918 — Nebraska


Revised 04-11-2008   TMM