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RG2239.AM:  Mamie Jane Meredith, 1888-1966

Papers:  1917-1966

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.:  Teacher and writer

Size:  6.0 cu.ft.


Mamie Jane Meredith was born April 7, 1888, the daughter of Cephas Sehlburn and Alice M. (Hoffman) Meredith of Clinton, Illinois, the family home. She received her early education in the Clinton common schools, and her B.A. from the University of Nebraska in 1913. From 1914 to 1922 she taught in Nebraska high schools. Miss Meredith also attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, 1921, 1923, and the University of Chicago in 1935. She obtained her M.A. in 1929 from the University of Nebraska, where she had taught mostly business English, and retired from teaching in 1956.

Miss Meredith was closely connected with many well-known Nebraskans of letters, and with many writers outside of Nebraska, and was also a writer in her own right, publishing numerous articles on the development of the English language. She was a contributing editor for three journals and for many articles printed in others, and was a consultant on the second edition of the Britannica World Language Dictionary. Among her scholastic and professional activities, she was the organizer and past president of the American Name Society, a member of the American Association of University Women, former secretary of the Nebraska State Historical Society, member of the Nebraska Writers’ Guild, and member of the Modern Languages Association. Her special interest was in the language and social customs of the American pioneers. Miss Meredith died at her home in Lincoln, Nebraska, on July 13, 1966.


This collection consists of manuscript materials arranged in six series: 1) Correspondence, 1917-1966; 2) Nebraska writers and artists; 3) Manuscripts; 4) Printed matter; 5) Organizations; and 6) Miscellany.

This material relates to Miss Meredith’s career as an English teacher at the University of Nebraska from 1923 to 1956, her studies in the development of the English language and her activities in professional organizations, such as the American Name Society, of which she was the organizer. The bulk of the correspondence and printed material relates to the lives and works of various authors, primarily Nebraskans, who achieved prominence in the field of literature, including folklore and history, such Benjamin A. Botkin, the Pound family and Mari Sandoz.

Correspondents include:  Charles G. Ammon, 1931; Warren Alfson, 1942; Robert S. Aldrich, 1954; Ben A. Botkin, 1951, 1953-1956, 1960, 1963, 1965, 1966; Fred Ballard, 1951,1953, 1955, 1956; Mildred R. Bennett, 1956; Max H. Coover, 1943-1945; Truman Clare, 1945; Boyd Carter, 1952, 1965; Clyde B. Dempster, 1948; Bruce Duncan, 1944; Donald F. Danker, 1958, 1966; Terrence R. Duren, 1963; Dorothy (Canfield) Fisher, 1938, 1945; Paul W. Hyland, 1943-1945; Joseph H. Heming, 1944; Ben R. Heard, 1945; Frank M. Hallgren, 1953; Victor P. Hass, 1953; Clifford M. Hardin, 1955; John D. Hicks, 1956; Dwight Kirsch, 1963, 1966; J.R. Johnson, 1964; Alvin Johnson, 1964, 1965; Weldon Kees, 1937; Wilfred A. Keyes, 1945; Hamill T. Kenny, 1961; Walter E. Militzer,1953; Ralph S. Mueller, 1953-1956, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1965; Marguerite C. McPhee, 1956; Wayland Wells Magee, 1964; Eugene Muench, 1960-1966; Anthony S. Nocita, 1945; John G. Neihardt, 1964; Barney Oldfield, 1966; Louise Pound, 1950, 1956; Olivia Pound, 1960; Roscoe Pound, 1962-1963; Caroline Sandoz Pifer, 1950, 1960-1966; Paul D. Riley, 1960, 1962, 1964; Ruth Moore Stanley, 1929, 1964-1966; Loyd E. Stall, 1944, 1945; Harold Sandall, 1948, 1956, 1959, 1960, 1964; Karl Sapior, 1960; Mari Sandoz, 1947, 1951-1965; Don Thompson, 1940; D.A. Worcester, 1955; Lowery Charles Wimberly, 1956; Louis G. Zinnecker, 1942-1944.

Series 1 consists of letters to and from Mamie Meredith. Most correspondents were people with whom Miss Meredith had worked in a professional capacity and with whom she had retained professional and close personal ties. With several, such as Mari Sandoz, she corresponded concerning the fields of history and folklore. Also of interest are the letters of some of her former students at the University of Nebraska, who were writing to her while serving in the armed forces during World War II. Many of her original letters have been acquired along with the correspondence of the individuals to whom she wrote.

Series 2 contains folders of clippings relating to the life and work of several individuals with Nebraska backgrounds, whose talents in literature or other fields won them recognition. Also included in the relevant files are some reprints, and a few biographical sketches. Most of these files were started by Miss Meredith, and additional material was added from the remainder of the collection.

Series 3 consists of mostly typed manuscripts, some of which were published elsewhere. Of particular interest is the Civil War narrative of George Hoffman, a distant relative of Mamie Meredith. Miss Meredith probably edited this document from an ex post facto journal assembled by Hoffman, who served with the Illinois Calvary, was captured, and later escaped from Andersonville prison. Also of interest are the papers submitted by Miss Meredith’s University of Nebraska students, on the subjects of pioneer ancestors, accounts of pioneer life, and some on place names. Also included in this series are several folders of research material and finished manuscripts resulting from this research, showing Miss Meredith’s research techniques.

Series 4 is comprised of a large assortment of printed material. Included are some reprints of articles by Mamie Meredith and others; part of a series of pamphlets on Nebraska folklore; newspapers and newspaper clippings. Subject matter is mainly language, pioneer life and customs.

Series 5 contains folders of clippings, programs, rosters, and other sources of information about organizations to which Mamie Meredith belonged.

Series 6 consists of a miscellaneous assortment of information about her work and interests.

Note: See the photograph [RG2239.PH] and audio [RG2239.AU] components for additional materials.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1917-1966

Box 1


  1. 1917

  2. 1921-1923

  3. 1926, 1928-1929

  4. 1931-1932, 1934-1935

  5. 1936-1939

  6. 1940-1941

  7. 1942-1943

  8. 1944

  9. 1945-1946

  10. 1947-1949

  11. 1950-1951

  12. 1952-1953

  13. 1954-1955

  14. 1956-1957

  15. 1958-1959

  16. 1960-1961

Box 2


  1. 1962

  2. 1963

  3. 1964

  4. 1965

  5. 1966

  6. Undated, complete letters

  7. Letter fragments and notes

  8. Correspondence from and to persons other than Miss Meredith, originals and copies which were sent to her by the recipients

  9. Correspondence mailing list

  10. Letters of Caroline Sandoz Pifer-M.J. Meredith, 1958, 1960-1966

  11. Letter from Louise Pound to Dean Goss, 1950

Series 2 – Nebraska Writers, Artists

Box 3


  1. Bess Streeter Aldrich, 1881-1954

  2. Benjamin Albert Botkin, 1901

  3. Boyd Carter, 19097

  4. Willa Sibert Cather, 1873-1901

  5. Mignon (Good) Eberhart, 1899-

  6. Loren Corey Eiseley, 1907

  7. Dorothy (Canfield) Fisher, 1879-1958

  8. Weldon Kees, 1914-

  9. Clare M. McPhee, -1960

  10. Mamie Jane Meredith, 1888-1966

  11. Ralph Mueller

  12. John Gneisenau Neihardt, 1881-

  13. Louise Pound, 1872-1958

    Olivia Pound, 1874-1961

    Roscoe Pound, 1870-1964

  14. Mari Susette Sandoz, 1896-1966

  15. Bernice Slote

  16. Lowery Charles Wimberly, 1890-

  17. General Works on Nebraska writers and artists, and information on some individuals not listed here

Series 3 – Manuscripts

Box 4


  1. Manuscripts by Mamie Jane Meredith, mostly undated

  2. Manuscripts by Mamie Jane Meredith, mostly undated

  3. Manuscripts by Mamie Jane Meredith, mostly undated

  4. Manuscripts by Mamie Jane Meredith, mostly undated

  5. Manuscripts by Mamie Jane Meredith, mostly undated

  6. “My Experience of the Civil War and My Prison Escape,” George Hoffman, transcribed by Mamie Meredith, 9pp. typed

  7. Manuscripts by Caroline Pifer

  8. Manuscripts and research on “Drive-ins”

  9. Manuscripts and research on “A and An History”

  10. Manuscripts and research on weather

  11. Manuscripts and research on “The Little Old Sod Shanty on the Claim.”

  12. Manuscripts and research on “Fences”

Box 5


  1. Manuscripts and research on “Oscars and Edgars and Tonys”

  2. Manuscripts and research on tombstones and epitaphs

  3. Manuscripts and research on whooper hoopers

  4. Manuscripts and research on Railroad turnpikes

  5. Manuscripts and research on America “Circuits”

  6. Manuscripts and research on “The Flaring of Flair”

  7. Manuscripts and research on “Alcoholics Anonymous”

  8. Manuscripts mostly by students of Mamie Meredith

  9. Manuscripts by other writers

Series 4 – Printed Material

Box 6


  1. Reprints of articles by Mamie Meredith, 1928-1954:

    “Curious Names,” from American Speech, February, 1928

    “The Human Head in American Slang,” from American Speech, June, 1928

    “Longfellow’s ‘Excelsior” Done in Pidgin

    “English,” from American Speech, December, 1929

    “Tall Talk in America Sixty Years Ago,” from American Speech, April, 1929

    “The Plurals of Bus,” from American Speech, August, 1929

    “‘Hards’ and ‘Softs’ in American Politics,” from American Speech, June, 1930

    “The American Drive,” from American Speech, August, 1930

    “Inexpressibles, Unmentionables, Unwhisperables, and Other Verbal Delicacies of Mid-Nineteenth Century Americans,” from American Speech, April, 1930

    Review of “The Buffalo Wallow: A Prairie Boyhood,” from Western Folklore, 1954

    Review of “The Dictionary of California Land Names,” from Names, 1953

    “Oscars, Edgars, and Tonys,” from Names, December, 1953

    “Upside-Down Farming and Other New Methods of Soil Conservation,” from Miscellany, n.d.

  2. Reprints of articles by other writers, sent to Mamie Meredith

  3. “Nebraska Folklore,” pamphlet nos. 19-21, 23-25, 28-29, of the series put out by the Federal Writers’ Project, 1939-1940

  4. Indian Affairs, Newsletter of the Association on American Indian Affairs, nos. between May, 1961 and December, 1962

  5. The Nebraska Alumnus, nos. between April, 1959-May, 1961

  6. The Daily Nebraskan, nos. between February, 1953-September, 1961

  7. Boys Times, nos. for June 11, 25, 1948

  8. The Stars and Stripes, Paris editions, numbers for October, 1945

  9. Shrivenham Post, nos. between September-December, 1945

  10. Feature articles on Nebraska

    “The Nebraskan Story,” article by Gov. Dwight P. Griswold in Saturday Evening Post, September, 1943

    “Blizzard of 1949,” Sunday Journal and Star; “Nebraska, the State of Opportunity,” advertising section from the New York Times for Sunday, October 5, 1952

  11. Lets Talk Highways, pub. By Nebraska Dept. of Roads and Irrigation, 1955 — special on principal routes through Nebraska to the gold region

  12. Union Pacific Bulletin, 1959, 1961

  13. Hotel Cornhusker Comment nos. from 1956, 1961

  14. Yank magazine, nos. for May and September, 1945

  15. The Key, national magazine of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, Diamond Jubilee issue, Spring, 1957

  16. Pamphlet from Experiment Station, University of Nebraska College of Agriculture

  17. Clippings and obituaries on Sen. George W. Norris

  18. Clippings on the Korean War

  19. Clippings on World War II

  20. Clippings on Arbor Day

Box 7


  1. Clippings on Fire Fighting

  2. Clippings on Fire Fighting

  3. Clippings on Fire Fighting Equipment

  4. Clippings on Fire Fighters

  5. Clippings on Tales and Superstitions

  6. Clippings relating to Nebraska obituaries, biographical information, and historical incidents

Box 8


  1. Clippings on Nebraska-lore

  2. Clippings on Nebraska-lore

  3. Nebraska maps and pamphlets

  4. Clippings on place names

  5. World Herald Place Names Questionnaire

  6. World Herald Place Names Questionnaire

Box 9


  1. Book reviews

  2. Book reviews

  3. Reports to the stockholders of four Nebraska industries between the years 1958-1962

  4. Catalogues of art sales and exhibits

  5. Catalogues of book sales

Box 10


  1. Proof copies of the Webster’s New International Dictionary, Addenda section, 1945, 1949, 1950, 1954, 1959

  2. Miscellaneous pamphlets and booklets

  3. Miscellaneous clippings and parts of newspapers, some marked

  4. Miscellaneous clippings and parts of newspapers, some marked

  5. Miscellaneous clippings and parts of newspapers, some marked

Series 5 – Organizations

Box 11


  1. Interprofessional Institute, rosters, lists

  2. American Business Writing Association, report of the public relations committee, 1954

  3. Omaha Writers’ Conference, programs of meetings

  4. Nebraska Writers Guild, clippings, programs

  5. Modern Language Association, programs

  6. American Association of University Women

  7. American Folklore Society

  8. American Name Society

  9. Nebraska Folklore Society, general

  10. Nebraska Folklore Society, correspondence

  11. Lincoln and Lancaster County Child Guidance Center

Series 6 – Miscellany

Box 11


  1. University of Nebraska, commencement programs, 1913, 1914

  2. “Sweet Water Affair” Opera about the cattle industry, produced by UNL

  3. Certificates and diplomas

  4. Notes

  5. Railroad “lore”

  6. Phonograph record of Christmas music, recorded and sent by Ralph Mueller, 1960  [Note:  transferred to RG2239.AU]

Box 12


  1. Miscellaneous pamphlets and papers

  2. Miscellaneous pamphlets and papers

  3. Miscellaneous pamphlets and papers

  4. Miscellaneous pamphlets and papers



Authors, American — Nebraska

Botkin, Benjamin Albert, 1901-1975 — Correspondence

Meredith, Mamie Jane, 1888-1966

Pifer, Caroline Sandoz — Correspondence

Pound, Louise, 1872-1958 — Correspondence

Sandoz, Mari, 1896-1966 — Correspondence


08-20-2007   Revised TMM