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RG0810.AM:  John F. Keller, 1885-1971

Papers:  1932-1960

Cherry County, Nebraska:  Homesteader, music writer

Size:  0.2 cu.ft.


John Keller was born in Cherry County, Nebraska, on the original homestead of the Keller Ranch, July 2, 1885. In 1906 Keller homesteaded land adjoining his father’s land under the Kindaid Act. For parts of four years (1913-1916) John raised wheat in Unity, Saskatchewan, Canada, as well as operating his ranch at Cascade, Nebraska. On January 1, 1914, he married Nelda Hoefs. They had five children: George Theodore, Neal, Willard, Elsie Mae, and Shirley. Neal and Willard took over the ranch from their father when he moved to Valentine, Nebraska, in 1947. John was active in the Cherry County Historical Society and was one of the organizers of the Nebraska Stock Growers. John Keller was the oldest native of Cherry County when he died in 1971 at the age of 86.


This collection consists of manuscript material arranged in three series: 1) Correspondence; 2) Manuscripts; 3) Music recordings.

The bulk of this collection consists of original material written by John Keller. Included a letter written by Mr. Keller to Franklin D. Roosevelt (including his response), and a history of the Sandhills. Also included are some recordings of songs by Keller.

Note: Additional information about John Keller and the Keller family can be found in:

Beel, Marianne Brinda and Harms, Ruth Johnson, editors, A Sandhill Century, Book II: The People, Cherry County Centennial Committee: 1985, pp 220-221.


Series 1 – Correspondence


  1. Letter written to the editor of the Ainsworth Star-Journal, November 3, 1960

  2. Copy of letter written by Keller to Franklin D. Roosevelt, with the response, 1932

  3. Reminiscences of 75th Birthday

Series 2 – Manuscripts

  1. “Song of Korea” by Keller

  2. “United Brotherhood” by Keller

  3. “Some Early Sandhills History” by Keller

Series 3 – Music recordings (in audio-visual collection)

  1. “The Cowboy’s Return” by V. S. Broad and John Keller

  2. “One Who Cares” by Verna Broad

  3. “The Cowboys Return” by John Keller and Verna Broad

  4. “N-E-B-R-A-S-K-A” by John Keller and Verna Broad

  5. “Song of Korea” by John Keller

  6. “I Tried to Tell You” by Verna Broad

  7. “Valentine” By Verna Broad


Subject headings:

Broad, Verna (Salmon), 1907-1997

Cascade (Nebraska) — History

Cherry County (Nebraska) — History

Keller, John F., 1885-1971

Nebraska — Sandhills region — History

Ranches and ranching — Cherry County (Nebraska)

Roosevelt, Franklin Delano 1882-1945


Revised TMM       04-19-2007