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RG3742.AM:  William Gunn Whitmore, 1849-1931

Papers:  1876-1929

Valley, Douglas County, Nebraska:  Agri-businessman and Regent of the University of Nebraska; Legislator

Size:  2 boxes and 1 reel of microfilm


William Gunn Whitmore was born on June 23, 1849, in Sunderland, Massachusetts.  He lived with his family in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, where he was elected to the state legislature in 1876.  His young son died on June 7, 1876; a new-born baby girl in February 26, 1877; and his wife, Clara Ely, on April 8, 1877.  The following February Whitmore moved west with his brother Frank, known as “Doc”, and purchased land in Valley, Nebraska.  The two men raised hay commercially and bred and trained horses for sale.  In 1880, Whitmore purchased the Valley Stockyards Company, which he managed until his retirement in 1920.  Whitmore served in the Nebraska Legislature in 1885 and 1887.  In 1904, he was elected to the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska and served until 1917.

Whitmore promoted the development of agriculture as an officer and a member of many agricultural organizations.  In addition, he took special interest in the agricultural program as a Regent of the University.  He was elected as one of the first Nebraska Master Farmers; in 1927 was honored by the College of Agriculture for outstanding service to agriculture in the state; and in 1933, was inducted posthumously into the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement.

Shortly after his arrival in Nebraska, Whitmore met Ida Knowlton whom he married on May 26, 1880.  The couple had nine children of whom seven survived past childhood.  The family lived in Valley, Nebraska, until Whitmore retired in 1920 and moved to Lincoln where he died on October 13, 1931.


This collection consists of 1 reel and 2 boxes of manuscript material arranged in 6 series: (1) Journals, 1876-1914; (2) Correspondence, 1908-1929; (3) Speeches, 1895-1921; (4) Financial Records, 1877-1887; (5) Programs and Pamphlets; and (6) Miscellany.

This collection relates primarily to William G. Whitmore’s career as a livestock breeder and his work in agriculture in Nebraska.

The Journals of Series 1 comprise the microfilm reel of material.  These Journals record the daily activities of William G. Whitmore.  Whitmore recorded the weather; dates of planting and harvesting; construction of or repairs to the farm buildings; prices of hay and other commodities; births, deaths, anniversaries, and illnesses of his family and friends; his travels; and occasional comments on state and national political events.  Series 2 through Series 6 consists of unfilmed material.  The Correspondence, 1908-1929, of Series 2, consists mainly of invitations to speak at various dedications and on various programs, sent to William G. Whitmore.  Included also is notification of his appointment to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.

Series 3 is comprised of Speeches of which only about one-third are dated, 1895-1921.  Topics include livestock and agricultural practices and improvements, J. Sterling Morton, the sugar been industry, the University of Nebraska, Chancellor Andrews, Abraham Lincoln, the problems of facing Nebraska farmers, and the 4th of July.  Series 4 consists of photocopies of Financial Records of William G. Whitmore.  Folder 1 shows the assets and liabilities of Whitmore and his wife, 1877-1880, while the rest of the material in the series deals with the financial status of Whitmore Brothers of Valley, Nebraska, 1885-1887.  Folder 3 contains advertisements and business cards, loose invoices, dividend recordings, and property recordings.

The Programs and Pamphlets of Series 5 are for dedications and agricultural meetings attended by William G. Whitmore.  The Miscellany of Series 6 includes membership cards, business agreements, certificates, clippings, and sermons collected by William G. Whitmore.


Series 1 – Journals, 1876-1914

Microfilm reel 1


  1. Journal, January 1, 1876 – July 31, 1879

  2. Journal, August 1, 1879 – October 22, 1882

  3. Journal, October 23, 1882 – June 30, 1893

  4. Journal, July 4, 1893 – November 2, 1897

  5. Journal, November 1897 – September 2, 1906

  6. Journal, November 12, 1906 – October 5, 1913

  7. Journal, October 5, 1913 – June 9, 1914

Series 2 – Correspondence, 1908-1929

Box 1


  1. 1908-1929

Series 3 – Speeches, 1895-1921, n.d.

  1. 1895-1921

  2. Undated

  3. Undated

Box 2


  1. Undated

Series 4 – Financial records, 1877-1887

  1. William G. Whitmore and wife, 1877-1880

  2. Whitmore Bros. of Valley, Nebraska, 1885

  3. Whitmore Bros. of Valley, Nebraska, 1887

  4. Loose financial records, advertisements, business cards, invoices, dividend records, property records

Series 5 – Programs and pamphlets

  1. Dedications and Agricultural Meetings

Series 6 – Miscellany

  1. Includes identification cards, certificates, business agreements, collected sermons


Subject headings:

Agriculture — Economic aspects

Beets and beet sugar

Douglas County (Nebraska) — History

Livestock — Nebraska

Valley Stockyards Company (Valley, Nebraska)

Valley (Nebraska) — Businesses

Valley (Nebraska) — History

Whitmore Bros. (Valley, Nebraska)

Whitmore, William Gunn, 1849-1931


AIF         12-12-1979