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RG0721.AM:  Nebraska Farmer

Sod House letters, 1957-1958

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska:  Agricultural periodical

Size:  0.25 cu.ft.; 1 box


The Nebraska Farmer was founded in October 1859, by Robert W. Furnas in Brownville, Nebraska, to record “the experiences of those who have been cultivating our own soil.” It was published for several years as a monthly, then discontinued because of a change in ownership of the printing plant. In 1872 the Farmer was revived in Lincoln and was issued weekly, with Abraham Deyo as editor. Personnel difficulties in 1874 led to the closing of the paper, which did not reappear until January, 1877, issued as a monthly and edited by J.C. McBride. In spite of difficulties in obtaining subscribers and in procuring advertisers, the periodical continued and in January 1898, moved to Omaha where it was consolidated with The Cultivator.

In 1905 publisher Frank O. Edgecomb of Geneva, Nebraska, offered the editorship to Samuel Roy McKelvie, who had been a field man with the Century Farmer. The plant was moved to Lincoln, largely to accommodate the new editor, and three years later McKelvie purchased the periodical’s offices. He immediately undertook an energetic campaign to improve the paper, hired L.S. Herron as editor and increased the number of paid subscriptions by selling stock. Throughout the rest of his life until he died in January 1956, McKelvie was closely involved with the fortunes of the Nebraska Farmer.

McKelvie successfully expanded the newspaper by enlarging the staff with people familiar with Nebraska agriculture, and by consolidating the Farmer with other farm periodicals such as the Twentieth Century Farmer, which he acquired for $93,500 in January 1918, and the Nebraska Farm Journal, acquired in 1924 from Capper’s. Other expansion projects included the launching Colorado Rancher and Farmer in 1947, the hiring of several hundred employees, and the remodeling of the printing plant to accommodate commercial printing contracts. For additional information see “A Century of History of the Nebraska Farmer, 1859-1959” by Homer Fine, Nebraska Farmer, January 17, 1959.


This material is arranged in one series: 1) Sod House letters, 1957-1958. It consists of letters to the Nebraska Farmer written by pioneers in 1957 and 1958, relating their experiences in the late 19th and early 20th Century. The letters were printed in a series titled, “I Lived In A Soddy,” and relate primarily to building and living in sod houses. Correspondents also wrote about contemporary social and religious life; discussed farming experiences, including crops raised and yields obtained for different years; and other related aspects of agricultural life. For copies of the letters consult the “Sod House Letters” volume in the Library Collections.


Series 1 – Sod House letters, 1957-1958

Folder 1

Mrs. Fred Racek (Mabel McDermott), Lexington, Nebraska

Mrs. Thane Bever McCain, Hershey, Nebraska — relating to the Sand Hills

Evva Walker Denison, Tuthill, South Dakota — relating to Sheridan County

Mrs. Goldie L. Kindle, Brocksburg, Nebraska — relating to South Dakota

Mr. Albert Bongers, David City, Nebraska — relating to Butler County

Mr. Marvel B. Berry, Bakersfield, South Dakota — relating to Western, Nebraska

Mrs. W. O. Bishop, Beaver City, Nebraska — relating to Furnas County

Isaac N. Meyers, Denton, Nebraska — relating to Furnas County

Mrs. Carrie W. Baker, Trenton, Nebraska — relating to Harlan County

Mr. Charles W. Baker, Trenton, Nebraska — relating to Hitchcock County

Folder 2

Mrs. Fred Bartz (Winnie Baker), North Loup, Nebraska — relating to Greeley County

Mr. E. E. Bowers, Stromsburg, Nebraska — relating to York County

Mrs. A. E. Bures, Edgar, Nebraska — relating to Arthur County

Mr. R. R. Campbell, Parks, Nebraska — relating to Seward County

Mrs. Belle Lovenburg, Madrid, Nebraska

Mrs. Jennie Rose Cook, Napa, California — relating to Lyle, Kansas

Grace A. Schmidt, Cambridge, Nebraska — relating to Frontier County

Mrs. Eliz Sanders, Hastings, Nebraska — relating to Rock County

“A Reader, Kenesaw”

Mr. John F. Keller, Valentine, Nebraska — relating to Cherry County

Folder 3

Mr. J. C. Bone, Arnold, Nebraska — relating to Sherman County

Leah Owen White, Burwell, Nebraska — relating to Garfield County

Mrs. Edna S. Rapp, Brownville, Nebraska — relating to Kansas and Colorado

Mrs. Orval Lookhart, Holyoke, Colorado — relating to Franklin County, McPherson County, Arthur County; detailed narrative on life in soddy

Mrs. Arthur Babcock, Ansley, Nebraska — relating to Thomas County

Mrs. Ernest Hipsher, Broken Bow, Nebraska — relating to Custer County

Mrs. H. B. McPherson, Craig, Nebraska — relating to Custer County

Mr. Lee Chrisman, Ansley, Nebraska — relating to Custer County

Mrs. Lenno Wolf, Sumner, Nebraska — relating to Lincoln County

Mrs. Roy Ready, Gandy, Nebraska — relating to Dawson, McPherson and Thomas Counties

Folder 4

G. Berstrom, Brady, Nebraska

Mrs. Herman Hansen, Holstein, Nebraska

Mrs. Fred Sydow, Rushville, Nebraska — relating to Sheridan County

Mrs. Lydia Wiley, Bassett, Nebraska — relating to Burton Creek

Mrs. W. L. Downing, Bayard, Nebraska — relating to Custer and Logan Counties

Mrs. Floyd Burkinshaw, Herrick, South Dakota — relating to Arthur County

Mr. A. D. Herndon, Kansas City — relating to Saline County; farming, life in early Nebraska

Mrs. Harry Bickner, Chadron, Nebraska — relating to Sheridan County

Alice E. Lee, Valentine, Nebraska — relating to Gosper County

Mr. Charles D. Haseloh, Harvard, Nebraska — relating to Clay County

Folder 5

Mrs. Ed. Reynolds, Thedford, Nebraska — relating to Blaine County

Mrs. Cora Lee Goding, Potter, Nebraska

Cora Le Wooters, Dallas, Texas — relating to Saline and Custer Counties

Mrs. Lester Miles, Chambers, Nebraska — relating to Thomas County

Mrs. M. L. Rowon, Mills, Nebraska

Mrs. R. S. Teaford, Purdum, Nebraska

Mrs. Cora Austin, Broken Bow, Nebraska — relating to Loup County



Subject headings:

Frontier and pioneer life — Nebraska

Nebraska — History

Pioneers — Nebraska

Sod houses


Revised TMM      12-27-2006