Ted Kooser, founding president of the NLHA, at an early NLHA Spelling Bee, a yearly event that raises funds for the organization.
Ethel Jane Maurer, reference librarian for the Lincoln City Libraries, started a card file of works by Nebraska authors in the late 1940s, setting aside a shelf for their books at the reference desk, and with this, the concept of collecting works of Nebraska authors began. In the late 1950s, at the direction of Charles E. Dalrymple, Director of Lincoln City Libraries, Ms. Maurer started the "Nebraska Author Collection" and began collecting books by prominent Nebraska authors, using out-of-print catalogs and visiting used-book stores. Then, as now, first editions and autographed copies were most desired. Earlier a circulating “Nebraska Collection” had been located in the reading room with “Nebraska” stamped on the card and pocket of each book. The new collection, however, was to be an exhibit collection only, and the books were not to circulate.
When the Old Main Library was torn down in the 1960s, the Nebraska Author Collection was moved into the new Bennett Martin Public Library's “Treasure Room,” located near the director's office on the second floor. When the 1968 addition to the Bennett Martin Public Library (Unit II) was built, the collection was moved to the second floor McKelvie Room, named for Sam and Martha McKelvie. Sam McKelvie was a Sandhills rancher and former governor of Nebraska (1919-1923), and Martha McKelvie was an author best known for Sandhills Essie. Dorothy Martin helped furnish the room with items donated by the McKelvie family, including furniture, an Oriental rug, Bohemian glass, and a grandfather clock.
When Unit Three was added to Bennett Martin Public Library in 1978, the collection, now consisting of about 3,000 items, was moved to the southeast corner of the third floor, to The Heritage Room, a name suggested by Jane Pope Geske. The Heritage Room was supported through the Lincoln City Libraries budget until 1981, after which it was closed for several months.
1. Junior League to the Rescue
After the Heritage Room closure, Curator Kay Stenton decided to call for help. Lorraine Pallesen and Martha Greer, members of the Lincoln City Library Foundation and Junior League Sustainers, proposed asking the Junior League of Lincoln to support the Heritage Room until permanent funding could be established. The three met in Kay's living room to lament the possibility of losing the Heritage Room and to sort out ideas on saving the collection. Martha and Lorraine felt the Junior League was the best group to help. With the generous financial grant and volunteers of the Junior League, the Heritage Room survived, and volunteers organized community members, authors, and readers to build strong support for the room. Through their Nebraska Authors Project, the Junior League of Lincoln took over the maintenance of this unique collection, and provided funds and general help, paid the salaries of the curator and assistant, and purchased materials with the help of twenty-one volunteers.
After completing the commitment, the Junior League then trained members of the NLHA Board of Directors and its volunteers to support the Heritage Room. They returned with some additional program assistance in 1985, and continued endorsement of the effort with generous donations for funding operations for an additional two years. Junior League members continue to be involved with the work.
The Nebraska Authors Project covered three years, 1981-1984. The project chairmen were Anne Senkbeil, Laurie Confer, and Judy Keetle. Each year many volunteers worked on the project, promoting public awareness, sponsoring special events, assisting with programming, and creating displays. Several special programs were presented: project volunteers wrote and produced a slide show and helped with a seminar on Loren Eiseley; presented a day of programs to Beatrice High School English classes about their native son, Weldon Kees; researched, wrote, and supervised production of a videotape of Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman discussing her art and her career; and organized programs featuring mystery writer Mignon Eberhart and ornithologist Paul Johnsgard. They organized Nebraska Humor Month, which featured several lectures by Nebraska authors, as well as a standup comedy night at Barrymore’s. During this time Junior League volunteers presented many, many programs about the Nebraska Authors Collection throughout the community. Seven League members presented programs about Nebraska authors to more than 2,000 Nebraskans in school and community groups.
2. NLHA Is Formed
Foreseeing the end of the Junior League support for the Heritage Room, Martha Greer and Lorraine Pallesen, co-chairmen of the Lincoln City Library Foundation’s Heritage Room Committee, invited fifty community leaders to attend a July 8, 1982, luncheon at the Nebraska Club. The letter of invitation stated that the Junior League’s grant has made it possible for the library to continue to provide the service and give the library time to develop and find long-range funding for the unique and significant service, with the goal of providing the community with access to a collection of books and related materials written or created by Nebraskans which illustrates the rich literary heritage of the state.
Twenty-four people attended the meeting, at which it was decided to develop a Heritage Room support group and to identify in its bylaws the relationship between the library, the new support group, and the Library Foundation. Suggestions for the name of the new organization included several involving the words Heritage Room. After discussion, it was decided to include the concepts of Nebraska, heritage, and arts and letters in the new organization’s name, but not the word room. The Nebraska Literary Heritage Association (NLHA) was formed on December 2, 1982, with Ted Kooser as President of the Board of Directors; Martha Greer, Vice President; Lorraine Pallesen, Treasurer; Laurie Confer, Secretary. The founding board included Mrs. Rick Akin, Mrs. John Ames, Mrs. Victor Anderson, Maurice Baker, Penny Berger, Patty Beutler, Laurie Confer, Kit Dimon, Mrs. David Dow, Jane Pope Geske, Martha Greer, Jack Hart, Judy Keetle, JoAnn Kimball, William Kloefkorn, Dr. Robert Knoll, Ted Kooser, Lorraine Pallesen, Mrs. Dave Pierson, Mrs. Joe R. Seacrest, Kay Stenten, Sidney Sweet, Morrie Tuttle, Bess Walt, and Dale Young.
The first newsletter editor was Ruthann Young, and the first issue of the NLHA newsletter included: a feature story about Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman written by Patty Beutler; the story of the Junior League of Lincoln and their critical help for the Heritage Room by Laurie Confer; notes about literary events by Ted Kooser; a list of the NLHA board members; and a definition of a ‘Nebraska author’ as someone who was born in or spent his/her childhood in Nebraska, or received the greater part of his/her education, or produced something of literary significance while living in the state.
As the Heritage Room situation stabilized in 1983, Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman began donating her original art to the Heritage Room. The NLHA board began discussions about making the Heritage Room a statewide resource; however, Jane Pope Geske commented that every library in Nebraska collects items about Nebraska. She suggested the NLHA cooperate with other libraries and authors’ organizations in the state, and offered to take the lead on this. While discussion about the purpose and goals of the organization continued on a regular basis, Jane cautioned that the board must constantly stress the function of NLHA as a support group for the Heritage Room, suggesting it should identify what the organization does and what the Heritage Room’s role is in relationship to the Nebraska State Historical Society archives and library, the Center for Great Plains Studies, the Lincoln Public Schools and other organizations with similar goals. She also noted the ongoing importance of clarifying the relationship of the NLHA to the Lincoln City Libraries and to the LCL Foundation.
3. NEH Grant Provides Endowment Funds (How the Match Was Won)
CAN WE WIN THE MATCHING GAME? was a headline in the Winter, 1984, News from the Heritage Room. In 1983 the Lincoln City Library Foundation, with the newly formed Nebraska Literary Heritage Association, had sent a proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities for a matching grant on behalf of the Heritage Room at Bennett Martin Public Library. Had the newsletter editor looked into the future, the metaphor might have been in terms of war rather than games, for it was a prolonged engagement of forces that finally decided the matching grant campaign.
When that effort began, the Heritage Room was already home to a growing collection of books, manuscripts, art works, audio- and videotapes, photographs, maps, and other objects by and related to Nebraska authors--approximately four thousand items and six hundred Nebraska authors.
The Library Foundation and the NLHA applied to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for funds on the following terms: that over a period of three years, local efforts would raise three dollars to benefit the Heritage Room for every dollar provided by the NEH, with Carol Connor, Library Director, Lincoln City Libraries, and the Project Director. In 1984 the NEH advised the Foundation and the NLHA that the grant application effort had been successful, and an amount of up to $100,000 would be available for match. The NEH thus recognized the significance of the Heritage Room, for the award was one of only seven such grants given that year.
The NLHA then set out to raise the $300,000, which was to establish, with the NEH grant, a $400,000 endowment fund. Income from the endowment fund was to maintain the Heritage Room as a repository of Nebraska literary materials, staffed and open to the public, free of charge, five afternoons a week, without requiring city tax support or other funding sources.
The Lincoln City Library Foundation authorized hired Tom Holland and Sarah Rosenberg to write grants for further NEH funding. The NLHA then began planning a series of fundraising events and activities to raise matching dollars and community awareness for the Heritage Room. The NEH Challenge Grant funds could be matched with:
As plans for the fund drive were formulated, the NLHA named Dale and Norma Young, Betty Anderson, John and Jean Ames, and E.J. Faulkner as Honorary Chairmen of the Fund Drive. Kit Dimon and Judy Wilcox were selected in May 1984, to co-chair the Endowment Fundraising Drive. Members of their committee were Paul Ess, Breta Dow, Jean Ames, Martha Greer, Joyce Lundstrom, Laurie Confer, and Ann Myers. In charge of the Corporations Fund Drive were Dick Ellingson and Ross McCown, co-chairs; Sid Sweet chaired the Foundations Fund Drive; and Jack Hart, the Individuals Fund Drive.
A donor recognition program was formed to define the various categories of giving. The program maintained a record of the names of individuals, corporations, and foundation donors who then became members of NLHA and received newsletters and invitations to events.
Major Donors to Operations and Endowment Funds:
As a festive first event, the NLHA celebrated Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman’s contributions to Nebraska and national literature at a gala dinner held in the Capitol rotunda, July 23, 1984.
JoAnn Kimball suggested a series of 100 fund-raising dinners, inspired by the New York Public Library's ‘Night of a Hundred Dinners.’ Nebraska authors, poets, and critics appeared at these parties hosted by Lincolnites.
The first of the Adult Spelling Bees to benefit the Heritage Room was held at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar in May 1984. Featuring local celebrities as judges and contestants, the Bee has become a popular annual event. Prizes are given to the winner, the first person to be eliminated, and to the best cheering section for one of the contestants. Scott Young, who volunteered for many years, proved to be a popular Master of Ceremonies. He was replaced by Leta Powell Drake, who appeared as the Queen Bee emcee for several years and was joined by Beth Muehling as her Worker Bee in 2003. John Baylor served as emcee in 2004.
Also in 1984, the Woods Charitable Fund granted $60,000 to be spread over three years, which was to be matched by other gifts during the period. This assured that the Heritage Room would have a full-time curator and allowed expansion of the hours the room was open to the public during the endowment fund drive. This grant was independent of and did not apply to the endowment fund drive.
The first-year interim goal for the NEH grant was surpassed, and success was heralded in the Summer 1984 newsletter, News from the Heritage Room, after the first grant report was submitted. In fall the NEH validated the first report, and income exceeding the first year’s goal was applied to the second year’s goal.
December 1, 1984, brought the Holiday House Tour and Quilt Raffle. Several homes, decorated for the holidays, were opened to the public. The quilt was designed by Carol Dunklau, and Nancy Pierce’s sister Judy Stokes, drew the illustrations for the Nebraska Author Quilt blocks. Liz Wanamaker donated funds to purchase materials; Ann Gohde pieced the blocks; and NLHA friends did the quilting. The finished quilt was displayed at various banks, stores, and shopping centers before it was raffled. Carol Connor won the quilt.
Tom Holland also wrote a concurrent grant to the National Endowment for the Humanities for $27,327, which was issued for programming ‘Frontier Heritage in Nebraska Literature and Arts’, a year-long informal series of monthly sessions that told about frontier settlers--how they changed the frontier and were changed by it. Various forms of creative expression--literature, music, painting, and architecture--have transmitted the frontier heritage through the generations, according to the Winter 1985 newsletter. Director of Libraries Carol Connor, said, The grant...enables us to continue to provide dynamic and interesting programs which demonstrate the usefulness of the services of the Heritage Room. Heritage Room Curator Jo Casullo attributed the success of the grant request to Sarah Rosenberg and Tom Holland, who wrote the application, and to the high caliber of programs held in the Heritage Room--programs which became available to the public through videotapes, and special programs for children and adults, as well as the John H. Ames Reading Series of poetry and fiction. In 1984 Scandinavian traditions were explored during a six-week fall lecture series funded by a Nebraska Committee for the Humanities grant. Breta Dow then chaired a Scandinavian Heritage Traditional Christmas party for NLHA members.
A Readathon was held in spring 1985. Lee Ridge created a three-foot soft sculpture of a four-dip ice cream cone; each dip, a separate piece, was a different color to symbolize the stages of the NLHA Fund Drive. This became the focus for the summer’s Ice Cream Promotion, led by Jane Geske. The local department store Miller & Paine, Lincoln’s Dairy Queens, and Ted & Wally’s Ice Cream each pledged a percentage of their ice cream sales to the Heritage Room. The sponsors were listed on the ‘Let’s All Scream for Ice Cream’ poster and in the publicity releases encouraging the public to visit those stores. Kicking off the promotion, the NLHA members brought homemade ice cream to the home of Jean and Jack Ames for a lawn party and ice cream social in June 1985.
Professor and author Paul Johnsgard presented a carved owl to the NLHA "to be used in any way you wish," perhaps as a silent auction item, which became the inspiration for an arts auction. The Nebraska Authors Benefit Auction was held in December. Paul Johnsgard was named honorary chairman, with committee members Robert Knoll and Frederick Luebke. Jane Geske provided the leadership, with Norman Geske serving as the consultant. Nebraska writers and artists received letters requesting contributions of signed or limited editions of their works to be auctioned, and in response donated 165 works. In addition, individuals and local bookstore contributed materials from their own collections. The printed catalog for the event was sold during November, and silent bids were sought in advance of the auction to increase the bids accepted at the auction. Materials to be sold were displayed in the Heritage Room during September, and at selected sites during October and November and up to December 5, 1985. Items for sale were valued between $10 and $1500, and included such things as inscribed books and art works. The auction took place in the NBC executive dining room following a "walking buffet."
By the end of the second year the drive had produced $147,600 raised locally toward the $300,000 objective. Necessary operations money to match the Woods grant was also raised. Although $170,000 had been raised by 1986, another $63,000 was needed by July. This shortfall threatened the closure of the Heritage Room and transfer of staff to other work in the library. The Summer 1986 newsletter headline read, SOME HURDLES STILL STANDING IN RACE FOR GRANT MATCH.
Extra fundraising time was gained when the NEH approved a one-year extension to the original three-year grant period to help the NLHA reach the $300,000 challenge portion. Funds then raised were held in escrow until the full amount was reached, according to the Winter 1987 newsletter. But the Heritage Room hours had to be cut; Curator Jo Casullo accepted work elsewhere, and Jim Gulick moved to another position in the library system while working reduced hours in the Heritage Room.
The final steps in fundraising for the grant began. The empty J. C. Penney building downtown was transformed into a Holiday House on the day of Lincoln’s Star City Parade, December 6, 1986. Young-in-heart visitors of all ages found sandwiches and cider, magicians, dancers, musical groups, films and storytelling, art activities, craft areas, a bakeshop, the Heritage Room Gift Shop, and pets from the Humane Society at the Holiday House. Local children decorated the building’s windows earlier, and the performers, who donated their services, came from local schools and colleges. Stephenson School Supply donated crafts, and the use of the building was donated as well, so funds from entrance fees and any goods sold were added to the grant moneys.
A preview party was held the night before the parade, featuring music, refreshments, a children’s fashion show, and Virginia Opocensky’s reading of The Christmas of the Phonograph Records by Mari Sandoz. Twelve winners were named for raffle items, which included a Keith Jacobshagen oil painting, two handcrafted dolls from Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman, a Dwight Kirsch signed print, a Roger Bruhn signed and framed poster, books by Karl Bodmer and Wright Morris, and autographed books by Mari Sandoz, Paul Johnsgard, John E. Carter, Roger Welsch, and Robert Hanna.
By fall of 1987, under the leadership of the NLHA Board of Directors, another extension for the $300,000 Challenge Grant was approved, making the original three-year challenge a five-year effort. The extension until June 1989, required $43,000 by July 1988, and the balance of $47,000 the following year. NLHA Board members expressed relief at the extension and pledged to pursue the remaining amounts needed.
Martha Greer’s new cookbook/commentary, Never Appear To Choose, but with a Quick Eye--Select the Best became the incentive for a dinner and a cocktail party to raise funds for the challenge grant. A cocktail buffet honoring coaches Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne was based on a menu from Select the Best in April 1988. Proceeds from cookbooks Martha sold at an earlier party were donated to NLHA.
The 1988 Lincoln City Library Book Sale included books from the estate of Wilbur Gaffney, which were sold for the benefit of the challenge grant. Elizabeth Gaffney, his widow, donated several rare books directly to the Heritage Room, including L’Art et la Philosophie des Indiens de l’Amerique du Nord, a 1926 French edition of the 1916 book, North American [Indian Mythology] by Hartley Burr Alexander. The Adult Spelling Bee continued each year; a giant garage sale, which generated over $700, was held in the Westminster Church parking lot; and the Mayor’s Arts Awards included an NLHA-sponsored award for the first time, with the directive that the organization’s goals be given as part of the award presentation: The Literary Heritage Award. This award will be presented to one who is from this area, who writes of it, and who is directly involved through the fostering of writing of excellence in the area. Two well known Nebraska writers, Hilda Raz and John Janovy, shared the first award. NLHA continues to participate in the Mayor’s Arts Awards, which is sponsored by the Lincoln Arts Council.
By now NLHA had raised $233,000, and needed $45,116, plus $8,400 for pledges that would not be paid by the end of June 1989. Fundraisers, needing more than $53,000, began the "Last Ditch Blitz" to raise the final amounts before the final grant period ended June 30, 1989.
On April 8, "Murder in the Stacks," a mystery party in the library, raised funds. The evil deed happened near the fiction shelves where the mysteries are shelved and posed a mystery to be solved by those participating. Another garage sale was held at Judy Keetle's house in the spring. Campbell's Nursery then helped sponsor a garden tour of eight homes in June 1989. Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman produced an original artwork to be raffled during the garden tour. Garden tours continued biennially with tremendous support from Campbell’s Nursery and original artwork by Nebraska artists. Several gardens are opened to the public following a gala Preview Party, the first of which took place in 1992 and raised $9,000 plus additional and substantial in-kind donations.
The total raised for the Challenge Grant was $285,100; 87% of all donations were received from individuals, with over 100 businesses and corporations contributing along with twelve foundations. Although the fundraising effort fell somewhat short of the goal, the all-important NEH matching grant served to start the endowment fund and provided leverage for future grants. That grant gave the endowment fundraising effort credibility, and the various fundraising events held helped to heighten awareness in the community of the wonderful Nebraska author resource housed at the library. So many new, creative and dedicated volunteers joined the effort as a result and provide an ongoing base for the NLHA today. From then on, the establishment of the endowment fund has enabled the Heritage Room to operate with at least a part-time staff. The NLHA continues to provide support for the room. The holdings of the Heritage Room have grown, attracting national and international visitors using the collection for research on Nebraska authors and publications.
In a special-edition newsletter, Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors: The Nebraska Literary Heritage Association, August 1997, the NLHA recognized the grant’s success, thanking supporters, giving a brief history, and listing the largest donors. The publication also highlighted programs available through NLHA in the Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors, as renamed in 1996. Recognition went to the opportunities for students, and to the Adult Outreach possibilities available in the daytime and evenings. The Heritage Room collects materials and information by Nebraska authors and makes them available to the public. The growing amount of material housed in the Heritage Room is available for research, so the emphasis now is on adding to and preserving the collection, and making it available to everyone interested in Nebraska and its writers.
4. Looking To The Future
In 1990, after completing fund-raising for the NEH grant, the NLHA board began to plan for the future. The board had a strategic planning session that asked, “What does the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association do next?” Led by Milan Wall, the group focused on a discussion of the threats, opportunities, strengths, weaknesses, and program ideas for NLHA. A planning task force consisting of Kit Dimon, Sue Smith, Ruth Ann Lyness, Ann Myers, Nancy Pierce, Penny Berger, Judy Keetle, Susan Perlman, Lonnie Pierson, Ruthann Young, and Judy Wilcox was formed as a result of this meeting to summarize its results and develop a timeline for accomplishing a plan.
The committee agreed on the strengths and weaknesses of NLHA as defined in the planning session. Strengths included a committed board and leadership, excellent collection, strong support from the library staff, strong community support, and a stabilized funding source. Weaknesses included lack of broad-based membership, a relatively unknown facility, need for conservation of materials in collection, need to keep room open more, and need for a permanent curator. From this, the board adopted a set of goals and objectives: a) collect and preserve books and related materials that are representative of Nebraska authors and Nebraska subjects; b) promote a center for Nebraska literary heritage through programs and educational support; and c) support a facility commensurate with the unique and priceless Heritage Room collection. Programs and educational support include using the room as an informal setting for poetry readings, author and book talks, and lecture series; providing outreach programs, providing outreach programs to young people, continuing education with other agencies and organizations that share common goals; and fostering original research. Facility support includes developing and maintaining a docent program for the Heritage Room and providing staff and service hours to promote use of the room.
The board then developed a list of program ideas, including developing a creative writing program for junior and senior high students, encouraging adult creative writing programs, holding writing workshops, organizing school tours and programs, developing a Midday Brown Bag program, and other ideas designed to raise the profile of the room and collection. (A full list of the 1990 program ideas and the goals and objectives are included as an appendix to this history.) The board also decided to continue to hold the Spelling Bee and the Garden Tour (still in collaboration with Campbell’s Nurseries) as fundraisers, adding the money from the Garden Tour to the Endowment Fund and using the proceeds from the Spelling Bee, combined with membership dues, for ongoing programming.
Following the plan, NLHA continued to support the Heritage Room with fundraising efforts as well as focusing on the two main goals of helping with preservation of materials and promotion of Nebraska authors. During this time, work also began on the NLHA Website, which was completed in 2002, and a Vision Statement to guide the NLHA for its next steps, adopted by the board in 2000. And in 2000, the NLHA received an Upper Midwest Conservation Association grant.
5. NLHA Reaches Citizens Of All Ages: Programs Inform the Public
Today the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association sponsors the Read to Me project in which board members read to school children, the Writers Write program led by five established writers for eighth-grade students, and the Lunch at the Library luncheon series.
In 1992, NLHA celebrated its10th anniversary with book sales, off-site reading, a humor night, and a commemorative issue of the newsletter, News from the Heritage Room. Allison Petersen chaired a Patron Party for the 89 donors who had given more than $500 to the NEH fund drive.
That was also the year of the first Writers Write workshop with Bill Kloefkorn, Nebraska State Poet and Wesleyan professor; Nancy McCleery, poet and Arts in the Schools coordinator; Marjorie Saiser, poet and Lincoln schoolteacher; and Margrethe Ahlschwede, writer and English instructor at UNL, as leaders. Twyla Hansen, Fran Reinehr, Shelly Clark, Karen Shoemaker, Sandra Mathews, and Rex Walton also have served as workshop leaders. Lincoln teachers identify eighth-graders to take part in a daylong workshop held in the Heritage Room. Students are prompted to write, read, and discuss their work. Occasionally the work of the students has been published, and the young authors have been recognized in various ways. The event, which meets the NLHA goal of working with children, is a cooperative effort with the Lincoln Public Schools. In charge of this workshop have been: NLHA committee chairs, Leah Magee and Judy Keetle & Nancy O’Brien, co-chairs; LPS liaisons, Pat Friesen and David Smith.
1992 was also the year of an environmental writing project for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders in Lincoln and Lancaster County in celebration of Arbor Day, a contest called ‘In Praise of Trees,’ sponsored by the NLHA and the Lincoln City Library Foundation. Bess Walt was chairperson of the environmental committee, and Judy Wilcox chaired the creative writing committee, which judged the entries of more than 600 elementary students. Winners, who were students at Meadow Lane, Sheridan, Park, Huntington, St. Patrick’s, and May Morley, received cash prizes on Arbor Day. The contest on ‘Our Feathered Friends’ was repeated the next year on Earth Day, April 22. Volunteers from the Lincoln Area Retired Teachers Association helped with the judging of the entries on ‘Our Wild and Furry Friends’ in 1994, the last year of the writing project for elementary students.
A Student Programs Committee was formed in 1993 to present panel discussions for local high school students about the six best-known Nebraska authors: Bess Streeter Aldrich, Willa Cather, Loren Eiseley, Wright Morris, John Neihardt, and Mari Sandoz. Each committee member researched the life and works of one of these writers and spoke for the author in the panel discussion. NLHA members involved were Chairperson Mary Commers, Lonnie Barney, Elizabeth Bentley, Patty Beutler, Jean Grainger, Judy Keetle, Ann Myers, Nancy Pierce, Mary Solari, Morrie Tuttle, and Dorothy Young.
Curator Joanne Ferguson worked with Judy Wilcox in January 1994 on mini-grant and creative writing workshop programming ideas for Young Adults. At the same time, the NLHA received a $2,000 mini-grant from the Lincoln Public Schools Foundation’s Library Power Program for a pilot project to bring Mari Sandoz to fourth and seventh grade students in two Lincoln schools. Mary Commers and the NLHA Library Power Mini-grant Committee decided to focus on providing two Mari Sandoz books plus developing a curriculum guide and programming for one of the schools. The study of Sandoz’s Winter Thunder emphasized history at Sheridan Elementary School, and The Horsecatcher study focused on Native American culture at Millard Lefler Middle School. The grant enabled the purchase of classroom sets of books, and the development of teaching materials and special performances, one of which was a readers’ theater performance of selections from Old Jules. Each classroom visited the Heritage Room to explore the Sandoz materials, as well as those of other authors, and to hear the Sandoz story, ‘Christmas of the Phonograph Records.’
Another example of the NLHA outreach effort was the sponsorship of state poet Bill Kloefkorn as poet-in-residence on the Nebraska Public Radio network during the 1994-5 season. Kloefkorn read and discussed poetry; his own as well as that of other poets, in eight- to ten-minute programs on all nine stations of NPRN. The series lasted a year as part of the Monday evening program, ‘Soundstage,’ and brought information about the Heritage Room to the entire state.
A hygrothermograph, a machine that monitors the temperature and humidity levels to help meet conservation needs in the Heritage Room, was purchased in June 1995 with the proceeds of the Bread and Book Fair held at the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery that spring. The Fair was sponsored by the Nebraska Art Association, the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association, and Friends of the Libraries - UNL. The day’s activities included readings by Nebraska authors, a silent auction, and judging of the bread-baking contest with a $100 prize. Featured for sale were breads and gourmet edibles, new and used books, and specialty books on food and art. Co-chairs were Katherine Endacott from NLHA, Eva Sartori from Friends of the Libraries-UNL, and Nancy Smith from the Nebraska Art Association.
Judy Keetle and Dotty Kuester met with Assistant Curator Laura Lacy in January 1996 to discuss needs of the room and to determine how the Docent Committee could be of use. They developed a self-guided tour that the public could use for informal tours and information about the Heritage Room if staff were unavailable. The possibility of NLHA volunteers helping to cover public service hours in the room during a staff shortage was also discussed.
The board began the sponsorship of the Lunch at the Library series in 1996, filling another outreach goal. Begun under the direction of Charlotte Miller and Marjorie Gloe, the committee has scheduled monthly lectures at Bennett Martin Public Library by authors and people concerned with the Nebraska Literary climate. The same year, the Garden Tour went biennial while the Spelling Bee remained an annual event. The room was closed November 25 to December 10 for renovations. The NLHA, along with the Heritage Room staff, hosted an open house to celebrate the renovation. On January 15, 1997, Curator Vicki Clarke and Laura Lacy presented a program about the Heritage Room to an audience of authors, NLHA, and Lincoln City Library Board members, Library staff and representatives of the Nebraska State Historical Society.
A video promoting the Heritage Room was developed in 1996 and 1997 under the direction of Milan Wall. By April the final video script was approved, and videotaping began in May. Segments included Ruthann Young leading a tour of the Heritage Room, Susan Rosowski doing research, scenes from the Writers Write workshop, and Bill Kloefkorn at Nine-Mile Prairie. A rough copy of the program was put together for the NLHA annual meeting held May 19, 1997. The 14-minute video, ‘Writers on the Plains,’ premiered at a preview party, held Sunday, February 15, 1998, at the Wagon Train Project. The party featured Roy Scheele’s premiere reading from his book, Keeping the Horses that was produced by Ted Kooser for the benefit of the Heritage Room. Ted also served as the Master of Ceremonies. The evening also honored past NLHA presidents. Nebraska products were used for the party: wine from James Arthur Vineyards, cheese from the UNL Dairy store, and chocolates from Baker’s candy in Greenwood. The video, narrated by Jim Hewitt and producer/director Deborah Burns, is available to libraries across the state.
In November 1997, the NLHA sponsored a tree at the Holiday of Trees, the Heritage League event held at the Unitarian Church. The theme, ‘Journey into Christmas,’ featured author ornaments and ornaments made from reduced color copies of Nebraska books published by the University of Nebraska Press. The tree was then on display in the Heritage Room from December 9 to January 7, 1998. The Heritage League has since invited NLHA to contribute decorated trees, the last of which, in 2001, held winter and holiday poems reproduced on separate sheets of paper, a poet-tree.
Gary Moulton presented a program in April 1998, on the Lewis and Clark Journals, which he edited. The event, co-sponsored with Friends of Love Library, was held in the Christlieb Room at the Center for Great Plains Studies.
6. NLHA Grows Stronger: Annual Meetings
The first annual NLHA meeting was held in 1991 as a donor recognition program, with Kit Dimon and Judy Wilcox recognizing the people and organizations that helped NLHA with the NEH Challenge Grant. Later Annual Meetings included State Poet William Kloefkorn reading from his poetry in 1993; Marlene Snyder portraying Clara Colby, founder of the Beatrice Public Library and an early and controversial suffragist, in 1994; and Christine Lesiak, who wrote, produced, and directed the television documentary, ‘Reflections of a Bonehunter,’ presenting a 1995 program on Loren Eiseley. In 1996, Burns Smith Davis presented ‘An American Salon,’ an NLHA Annual Meeting program of music that had inspired Willa Cather.
The May 1998 NLHA Annual Meeting was held in conjunction with Friends of Love Library at Architecture Hall. This first joint meeting highlighted several Willa Cather projects that were currently under way in conjunction with Cather’s 125th birthday. Several books were donated to the Heritage Room in honor of deceased members and past officers, and the NLHA board recognized the winners of Lee Booksellers story writing contest for Lincoln elementary school children. The Lincoln Mayor’s office issued a certificate of commendation to the winners, and Bill Kloefkorn agreed to read the winning stories and honorable mentions on his NPR program. The three winning entries were bound in marbleized boards and were displayed at the Heritage Room in late March. Each winner was entered into the library catalog individually, and the honorable mentions were cataloged together in one record.
‘The Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors’ became the official name of the room under the direction of Barb Sommer with the help of Nancy Pierce and Judy Keetle. At the Annual Meeting held at the Lincoln Country Club in January 2000, President Mel Krutz publicly acknowledged the new title. At the same time, Norman Geske donated a Bob Weaver portrait of Jane Geske to the Heritage Room. The portrait is accompanied by Ted Kooser’s tribute to Jane. At the following year’s Annual Meeting, Christine Pappas portrayed Dorothy Thomas, whose short stories collection Christine edited. Her presentation was ‘Through the Eyes of Dorothy Thomas: A Different Look at Mabel and Loren Eiseley.’ Ed Zimmer was the speaker at the 2002 Annual Meeting in the Loren Corey Eiseley Branch Library, marking the completion of two new city libraries. With the aid of a slide presentation, he told the stories of early Lincoln libraries.
Nebraska musician and storyteller Dan Cox performed for the Annual Meeting in 1997. He was called again to present a birthday program for the twentieth anniversary in 2003. NLHA members were treated to a birthday cake, balloons, party hats and noisemakers. President Ann Billesbach spoke of the NLHA history, the problems with funding and housing the Heritage Room, and the metamorphosis to the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors, its final name honoring the many and lasting contributions of Jane Pope Geske, premier volunteer, fundraising instigator, and lasting inspiration.
7. Additional Projects
A design, style, and color were selected for a new Heritage Room mug in August 1998. The cup’s design was updated in 2004. It has been given to both Ames Series readers and Lunch at the Library readers and has been available for sale in the gift shop, which also provides books, posters, and note cards for sale to the public.
In September 1998, NLHA members went to Omaha’s Rose Theater to see the opera Eric Hermannson’s Soul, based on Willa Cather’s short story. The newly produced ‘Writers on the Plains’ video was mailed to libraries with a ‘How to Use This Video’ brochure. The video was showcased at the 1998 Nebraska Literature Festival in Wayne, Nebraska.
In December, 2000, two documents were approved by the Board of Directors: the Bylaws revised by Caryl Greathouse’s committee and the Vision Statement written by Gerry Cox’s committee. Four years later, under the direction of President Kay Walter, co-chairs Barbara Sommer and Laureen Riedesel, Molly Fisher, and Carol Connor (ex officio), updated the mission and goals statement for NLHA in light of the new relationship with the Lincoln City Libraries Foundation. Milan Wall is the LCLF liaison for NLHA. The web site, <www.literaryheritage.org>, was developed under the direction of Milan Wall, Barb Sommer, and Gerry Cox in 2002.
Throughout NLHA history, volunteers have been essential to the growth of the Heritage Room. Two outstanding people are examples: Dorothy Young, who clips newspaper stories of Nebraska authors, and the late Breta Dow, who came in to keep the room open on Sundays. Members of the Spelling Bee Committee have contributed hundreds of hours compiling word lists and organizing the traditional evening of fun. Garden Tour Committee members, along with employees of Campbell’s Nursery, have spent hours in hot summer afternoons seeing to it that the public can enjoy, admire, and get ideas from local gardens. The Preservation Committee continues to help with the conservation of Heritage Room treasures by checking shelves, straightening books, replacing labels, photocopying vertical file material, and creating booklists.
The committee on the Write Stuff has expanded the number of writing workshops for adults with poets Lucy Adkins and Marge Saiser leading sessions. The Read to Me program organizing adults reading to students has been led by Carol Zink and Veronica Rathman. After President Barb Sommer reinstated Board orientations, Anne Senkbeil took over that task and regularly introduces new board members to the NLHA. She and Kay Walter also organize Board members’ excursions to learn more about Nebraska authors. The newsletter, News from the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors, is published three times a year under the direction of Tami Works, who followed Mary M. Sweeney. Her predecessor was Ruthann Young, the founding newsletter editor.
Mindful of the legacy of the people listed here and the great number of people who have been indispensable to the preservation of this unique collection who are not mentioned here, the NLHA dedicates this 25th anniversary publication to the visionaries--its original members and all those who have followed. Today the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association continues to support the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors, which now holds more than 12,000 volumes by more than 3,350 authors.
Timeline of the Nebraska Authors Collection
1948: Card file of works by Nebraska authors set up in Reference Dept.
1949: Shelf for books by Nebraska authors set aside in Reference Dept.
1961: McKelvie furniture donated--located in the “Treasure Room” (in the SW corner of the second floor of the Bennett Martin Library).
1968: McKelvie Room dedicated (in the NE corner of the second floor Bennett Martin Library).
1978: Third floor room designated for works by Nebraska authors.
1980: Heritage Room Endowment Fund established. The memory of Virginia Faulkner provided inspiration for this fund.
1981: City ceased funding—determined to be a nonessential service.
Received a Woods Grant for operations.
1981-1984: Junior League of Lincoln, Nebraska Authors Project provided programming, displays, public awareness and funding.
1982: Meeting called by Martha Greer and Loraine Palleson to discuss future funding for the room.
1983: Nebraska Literary Heritage Association established.
1984: 1st Spelling Bee at the Zoo Bar; a Ted Kooser idea.
Poetry & Fiction Series established in April; Don Welch was first reader.
NLHA member newsletter started.
1984-1989: National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant $100,000 ($300,000 raised locally).
1985: John H. Ames Reading Series replaces Poetry and Fiction Series in June; Catherine Kidwell was the first reader.
Ice Cream Promotion in conjunction with Dairy Queen.
1985-1987: Junior League provided funding.
1986: Holiday House and Raffle (during the Star City Parade).
Spelling Bee moved to P. O. Pears.
1987: Garage Sale fundraisers.
NLHA Alumni Group started.
1988: NLHA’s Mayor’s Arts Award established – the Literary Heritage Award.
1989: Dinner Party fundraisers.
“Death in the Stacks” (murder mystery party).
1989-1991: Quilt Raffles.
1989-1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002: Garden Tours.
1991: 1st Student writing workshop.
1992: NLHA received the Jane Geske Award through the Nebraska Center for the Book.
NLHA celebrated its 10th anniversary.
1st Writers Write Workshop.
1992-1995: Earth Day essays.
1993: “Author Panel” student programs started.
1994: Bread and Book Fair with Nebraska Art Association.
1995: Hygrothermograph installed (monitors temperature and humidity).
Public Radio broadcasts of readings of works by Nebraska authors.
1996: Name of room changed to Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors.
NLHA launched “Lunch at the Library.”
1997: 14-minute video “Writers on the Plains” debuts.
Holiday of Trees with the Heritage League.
2000: Name changed to Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors.
2002: NLHA launched its web site.
2003: 20th anniversary of NLHA.
2004: NLHA’s Statement of Mission, Vision, and Goals updated.
Spelling Bee tradition continued in its 20th year.
Changes are made to Heritage Room: new carpeting, increased shelving to accommodate larger collection and to enhance security, rearrangement of artwork.
2005: Ames Reading Series celebrated 20 years.
2006: “Memorandum of Understanding between the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries and Nebraska Literary Heritage Association” updated in September.
NLHA website moved to FLCL: www.foundationforlcl.org/NLHA
“Lunch at the Library” celebrated 10 years during fall; first two guests in 1996 repeated performances – Jim McKee & Ted Kooser.
2007: LSTA digitization grant project, “The Nebraska Federal Writers’ Project: Remembering Writers of the 1930s,” completed and launched on HR website, researched and written by HR staff member, Steve Cloyd.
(This project was supported in part by the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered through the Nebraska Library Commission.)
2008: Annual Writers Write Workshop provided fun, productive sessions for all in February – 44 8th graders, 5 authors, LPS English Consultant, and many NLHA volunteers.
“Letters about Literature” group made annual visit in March, arranged by NLHA board member, Laureen Riedesel.
Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman items owned by HR included in Haydon Art Center exhibit, “Children’s Book Illustrators” in August.
2009: HR received National Film Preservation Foundation grant in amount of $8,340 for preservation work on film footage, “Point Reyes Project,” by Weldon Kees.
HR web exhibit, “The Nebraska Federal Writers' Project: Remembering Writers of the 1930s” cited in Chapter 6, “Nailing a Freight on the Fly: Nebraska,” in book, Soul of a People: The WPA Writers’ Project Uncovers Depression America.
Ames Reading Series has been in existence for some 25 years. Catherine Kidwell did the first reading on June 25, 1985.
NLHA's Adult Spelling Bee moved to Brewsky's; after 20 years of hosting the event, PO Pears closed.
2010: During the 25 years of Ames readings, 4,386 people have attended 190 programs; average attendance was 23.
“Memorandum of Understanding between the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries and Nebraska Literary Heritage Association” updated in January.
Four Kees requests in June:
2011: State Poet Bill Kloefkorn passed away on May 19, 2011.
Work was finished on the National Film Preservation Foundation grant in amount of $8,340 for preservation work on film footage, "Point Reyes Project: by Weldon Kees.
Heritage Room, Polley Music and Bennett Martin Public Library are part of Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau's "Be a Tourist in Your Own Town" summer program.
2012: Former Heritage Room Curator Joanna Lloyd passed away on May 25, 2012.
A Michigan State University professor visited the HR during an NLHA meeting; he came to Lincoln for a conference, but his main purpose was to find Loren Eiseley's The Immense Journey in Urdu; he is writing about the translator.
Sheridan Elementary's 3rd graders visited the HR during their walking tour; in all, 92 students and 32 adults heard about HR history, about items of interest to young people, including Rajean Shepherd's C is for Cornhusker which is part of the NLHA Book Suitcase.
Mission, Vision, and Goals Statements
The Nebraska Literary Heritage Association (NLHA) is an unincorporated, non-profit association affiliated with the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries acting as a friend’s group that supports Lincoln City Libraries Heritage Room program and services. The Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors is a Lincoln City Libraries special collection and is owned by Lincoln City Libraries, City of Lincoln.
The mission of the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association is to encourage the collection, preservation, and promotion of work by and about Nebraska authors through support of the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors and to foster the creation and appreciation of this literature through programs, collaborative partnerships, and the use of technology.
Vision Statement: Recognizing the significance of this collection, the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association (NLHA) envisions a Jane Pope Geske Heritage Center of Nebraska Authors that would provide convenient public access. The Center would be a climate-controlled, space-appropriate facility within the Lincoln City Libraries System designed specifically to house the library’s permanent treasury of works by and about Nebraska authors, past, present, and future. The Center will provide access to:
Goals Statement: The Goals of the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association for the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors shall be to:
1. Increase and diversify membership.
2. Evaluate Nebraska Literary Heritage Association programs and activities in terms of its mission.
3. Support, maintain, and continue to develop the NLHA Website.
4. Provide volunteer opportunities to support the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Author operations.
5. Use the NLHA budget resources when responding to special funding requests from Lincoln City Libraries related to the operation of the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors.
6. Develop partnerships with other groups and organizations to encourage and maintain statewide collaborations.
7. Cooperate with Lincoln City Libraries in its facility planning as it relates to the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors
8. Coordinate with the Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries, the 501 (c) 3 organized for the purpose of soliciting and receiving gifts, bequests, grants and devises of property for use and benefit of Lincoln City Libraries, in the development of a fund-raising plan to increase the Heritage Room Endowment, the funds through which the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association provides support to the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors.
Adopted April 21, 2004
Presidents of the Board of Directors
Dec. 1982 – Dec. 1983 Ted Kooser
Jan. 1984 – Dec. 1984 Jane Geske
Jan. 1985 – Dec. 1985 Jane Geske
Jan. 1986 – Dec. 1986 Nancy Pierce
Jan. 1987 – Sep. 1987 Nancy Pierce
Oct. 1987 – April 1989 Lonnie Pierson
May 1989 – May 1990 Judy Wilcox
June 1990 – May 1991 Allison Petersen
June 1991 – May 1992 Ann Myers
June 1992 – May 1993 Judy Keetle
June 1993 – May 1994 Katherine Endacott
June 1994 – May 1995 Morrie Tuttle
June 1995 – May 1996 Ruthann Young
June 1996 – May 1997 Anne Senkbeil
June 1997 – May 1998 Barb Hoppe
June 1998 – May 1999 Rod Confer
June 1999 – May 2000 Mel Krutz
June 2000 – May 2001 Barb Sommer
June 2001 – May 2002 Gerry Cox
June 2002 – May 2003 Ann Billesbach
June 2003 – May 2004 Katherine Walter
June 2004 – May 2005 Katherine Walter
June 2005 – May 2006 Mary Jo Ryan
June 2006 – May 2007 Carol Zink
June 2007 – May 2008 Kit Keller
June 2008 – May 2009 Kathy Johnson
June 2009 – May 2010 Gretchen Garcia
June 2010 – May 2011 Gloria Strope
June 2011 - May 2012 Nancy Swetland
June 2012 - May 2013 Mike Page
Honorary Author Members
1983-1984 Catherine Kidwell
1984-1985 Paul Johnsgard
1986-1987 Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman
1987-1988 Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman
1988-1989 Hilda Raz
1989-1990 John Janovy, Jr.
1990-1991 Kent Haruf
1991-1992 Don Welch
1992-1993 Ivy Ruckman
1993-1994 Paul Johnsgard
1994-1995 William Kloefkorn
1995-1996 Sue Rosowski
1996-1997 Marly Swick
1997-1998 Twyla Hansen
1998-1999 Marge Saiser
1999-2000 Jim McKee
2000-2001 Jonis Agee
2001-2002 Roy Scheele
2002-2003 Marge Saiser
2003-2004 Karen Shoemaker
2004-2005 Ladette Randolph
2005-2006 Timothy Schaffert
2006-2007 Sandra Mathews
2007-2008 Sean Doolittle
2008-2009 Kelly Madigan Erlandson
2009-2010 Stephanie Grace Whitson
2010-2011 Marilyn Dorf
2011-2012 Lois Lewandowski
2012-2013 John Wunder
Literary Heritage Award Winners
The Nebraska Literary Heritage Association began sponsoring the Literary Heritage Award in 1988 as part of the Mayor's Arts Awards. The Literary Heritage Award recognizes persons who promote excellence in writing in Nebraska.1988 John Janovy, Jr. and Hilda Raz
1989 Ted Kooser
1990 David McCleery
1991 Bess Walt
1992 William Kloefkorn
1993 Herb Hyde (posthumously)
1994 Jane Geske
1995 Martha Greer
1996 Marly Swick
1997 Nebraska Literature Festival
1998 Morrie Tuttle
1999 Marge Saiser
2000 Molly Fisher
2001 Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman
2002 Ruthann Young
2003 Kit Dimon and Judy Wilcox
2004 Campbell’s Nurseries and Garden Centers
2005 Carol Connor
2006 Dorothy Olson Young (posthumously)
2007 Gerry Cox
2008 Paul A. Olson
2009 Robert Knoll (posthumously)
2010 NET Radio: “All About Books” with host, Charles Stephen and Otis Young (posthumously)
2011 Jim McKee & Linda Hillegass
2012 Joe Starita
NLHA Spelling Bee Winners
Sydney Lynch 1st Annual 1984
Kathleen Rutledge 2nd 1985
Deb Pearson 3rd 1986
Donald McGinley 4th 1987
Mary White 5th 1988
Vaughn Border 6th 1989
Ann Gillis 7th 1990
Bob Gibson 8th 1991
Maureen Hutfless 9th 1992
Judy Sing 10th 1993
Bill Regier 11th 1994
Francois Neville 12th 1995
Larry Day 13th 1996
Kathryn Bellman 14th 1997
Donald McGinley 15th 1998
George Day 16th 1999
Tex Richters 17th 2000
Spelling Bee Not Held 2001
Brian Bornstein 18th 2002
Rod Confer 19th 2003
Brian Bornstein 20th 2004
Larry Day 21st 2005
Brent Mehling 22nd 2006
Michael Cartwright 23rd 2007
Julia Doerr 24th 2008
Larry Day 25th 2009
Brent Mehling 26th 2010
Aubrey Matthews 27th 2011
Brad Bossung 28th 2012
Garden Tours, 1989-2002
June 4, 1989
The gardens of:
Mr. and Mrs. Dick Campbell
Mr. and Mrs. Chuck Cordes
Mr. and Mrs. Bob Harris
Mr. and Mrs. Giles Henkle
Mr. and Mrs. Gary Petersen
Mr. and Mrs. Steve Sorensen
Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Wibbels
Mr. and Mrs. Tom Woods
Original Artwork: Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman "Flower Basket" Quilt Raffle
Committee Chairs: Allison Petersen and Nancy Pierce
June 10, 1990
The gardens of:
Doug and Mary Carper
Robert and Pat Gillispie
Tim and Gladys Jeurink
Thomas and Harriet Potter
Walt and Carol Zink
Original Artwork: Judy Cherry "Garden Path Quilt" Raffle
Committee Chairs: Allison Petersen and Nancy Pierce
June 7, 1992
The gardens of:
Mike and Jennifer Arter
Rob and Carla Pisel-Nixon
Dana and Lynn Roper
Mark and Margaret Seacrest
Art and Debra Thompson
Original Artwork: Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman
Committee Chairs: Allison Petersen and Nancy Pierce
June 13, 1993
The gardens of:
Betsy Egan's Adventure Golf Course
Bob and Mary Ellen Glenn
Steve and Janis Thelen
Steve and Lind Schefer
Richard and Karen Vierk
Original Artwork: Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman
Committee Chairs: Dottie Kuester and Ann Tolly
June 18, 1994
The gardens of:
Carol and Barb Banks
Rick and Nancy Bigler
Dave and Kathy Bingham
Terry and Betsy King
Gretchen and Theona McCoy
Original artwork by Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman
Committee Chair: Dottie Kuester
June 15, 1996
The gardens of:
Larry and Linda Bitney
Roy and Margaret Dillon
John and Diane Dudley
Mike and Kathy Higgins
Jeff and Irene Klintberg
Original artwork by Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman
Committee Co-chairs: Dottie Kuester and Ann Tolly
June 20, 1998
The gardens of:
Don and Phoebe Hamann
Larry and Pat Lewis
John and Marilyn McGreer
Steve and Mickie Sorensen
Original Artwork: Ruth Rosekrans Hoffman
Committee Chairs: Rhoda Claridge and Ann Tolly
August 5, 2000
The gardens of:
Ron and Marva Tonniges
Dave and Jane Firestone
Jerry and Rose Coniglio
Dennis and Judy Theye
Ed and Joan Perry
Dr. Sushil and Jane Lacy
Original Artwork: "Posies from the Garden" by Carol Ronin Thompson
August 3, 2002
The gardens of:
Jerry and Rose Coriglia
Tim and Tracy Domhard
Tim and Linda Mack
Kyle and Debbie Sitzman
Mike and Deanna Stranathan
Original Artwork: "The Garden Does White" Carol Ronin Thompson
Writers Write Authors
1992: Margrethe Ahlschwede, Bill Kloefkorn, Nancy McCleery, Marjorie Saiser
Twyla Hansen, Fran Reinehr, Shelly Clark, Karen Shoemaker May 7, 1992
1993: Kloefkorn, McCleery, Saiser, Hansen May 4, 1993
1994: Kloefkorn, McCleery, Saiser, Hansen Ap. 28,1994
1995: Kloefkorn, McCleery, Hansen, Reinehr May 4, 1995
1996: Kloefkorn, McCleery, Hansen, Reinehr May 7, 1996
1997: Kloefkorn, McCleery, Hansen, Saiser, Reinehr May 15, 1997
1998: Kloefkorn, McCleery, Hansen, Saiser, Reinehr Nov.13,1997
1999: Kloefkorn, Hansen, Saiser, Reinehr, Robert King Jan.27, 1999
2000: Kloefkorn, Hansen, Reinehr, King, Shoemaker Feb.3, 2000
2001: Kloefkorn, Hansen, Reinehr, Saiser, King Feb.8, 2001
2002: Kloefkorn, Hansen, Reinehr, Saiser, Clark Feb.7, 2002
2003: Kloefkorn, Hansen, Fran Reinehr Olson, Saiser, Clark Feb. 20, 2003
2004: Kloefkorn, Hansen, Saiser, Clark, Shoemaker Feb.19, 2004
2005: Kloefkorn, Hansen, Saiser, Clark, Shoemaker Feb. 24, 2005
2006: Saiser, Clark, Hansen, Rex Walton Feb. 23, 2006
2007: Kloefkorn, Hansen, Clark, Walton, Sandra K. Mathews Feb. 22, 2007
2008: Kloefkorn, Hansen, Clark, Walton, Mathews Feb.21,2008
2009: Kloefkorn, Hansen, Clark, Walton, Mathews Feb.19, 2009
2010: Hansen, Clark, Walton, Mathews, Matt Mason Feb. 25, 2010
2011: Hansen, Clark, Dominique Garay, Mathews, Walton Feb. 24, 2011
2012: Hansen, Garay, Kelly Madigan, Mathews Feb. 23, 2012
Nebraska Authors Collection/Heritage Room Staff
Ethel Jane Mauer 6/59 – 9/72
Bennett Martin Public Library built 1962
“Treasure Room” on 2nd floor
BMPL 1st addition built 1968
McKelvie Room on 2nd floor
Ethel Jane Mauer, the first curator* 3/73 – 10/76
became ill and died in 1977.
As of 5/13/77, there were no regular hours for the McKelvie Room.
Kay Stenten 9/68 – 1/78
Unit III of BMPL built 1977 – 1978
Heritage Room on 3rd floor
Kay Stenten* 6/78 – 2/81
HR p.s. hours began 9/1/78. 8/31/80 was last day of regular 24 p.s. hours per week.
Evelyn Sandall 11/70 – 9/73
Beverly Blume 75 – 76
Patrick Callahan 8/76 – 4/77
No staffing in room 3/1/81 until 6/1/81
Pamela Gossin* 8/79 – 1/84
Steve Smith 1982
Jim Gulick, acting curator 7/83 – 8/89
Joanne Casullo* 5/84 – 1/87
Christina Hugly 7/89 – 12/89
Heidi Nickish 11/89 – 8/90
Laura Weymouth* 1/90 – 9/90
10/90 – 7/92
Vicki Pike Clarke* 8/90 – 8/93
8/94 – 9/99
Joanne Ferguson* 1/94 – 8/94
Laura Lacy 2/91 – 10/97
Damon Wilson 3/94 – 2/96
Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors 1996
Christine Pappas 4/96 – 8/01
Stephanie Volf 11/97 – 7/98
Susan Herrick* 9/99 – 4/00
Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors 2000
Alicia Graybill* 11/00 – 7/01
Joanna Lloyd 9/98 – 3/01
Joanna Lloyd* 8/01 – 6/04
Curtis Iron Thunder 10/01 – 3/02
Karen Steinauer 1/02 – 1/04
Bill Murphy 9/02 –
Molly Fisher, NLHA member 2004
Robin Thompson* 7/04 – 1/05
Steve Cloyd 8/04 – 8/11
Meredith McGowan* 3/05 –