Nebraska Authors

Addison Erwin Sheldon

Born 1861

Died 1943

Addison Sheldon led the Nebraska State Historical Society as its Superintendent (the same post is now known as Director) from 1917 to 1943. He was a true Nebraskan. Sheldon grew up in Seward County, Nebraska and homesteaded in Cherry County in the 1880s. He became a newspaperman and covered the Wounded Knee massacre for a Chadron newspaper in 1890. He was elected to the state legislature on the Populist ticket in 1897 and served until 1899. After that he attended the University of Nebraska and eventually Columbia University, earning his doctorate in history for a dissertation in 1919 eventually revised and published as Land Systems and Land Policies in Nebraska, 1936. Sheldon was a prolific author of books and articles.

During Sheldon's tenure the NSHS had no real fixed abode, and its collections were scattered around Lincoln in various buildings, including a leaky basement where Mari Sandoz would work with galoshes on her feet in standing water. Sheldon transformed the society from an amateurish affair into a professional organization with professional policies, procedures and goals. He was a perceptive mentor and supporter of other scholars. Perhaps the most famous of these scholars was Mari Sandoz, but there were many others (see Melvin Gilmore). It was also Sheldon who acquired the Eli Ricker Collection for the NSHS--considered one its most important collections. Being from Chadron, Sheldon was an old acquaintance of Judge Ricker. Sheldon remained Superintendent until his death in 1943, and his memorial service was held at the Nebraska State Capitol.

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Places Lived

Chadron, NE
Beaver Crossing, NE
Lincoln, NE

Author Of

  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry

Keywords

History--Nebraska; Nebraska State Historical Society--Employees and Curators

Places Worked

Nebraska State Historical Society

Associations

Populist Party

Bibliography

Poems and Sketches of Nebraska. 1908.
History and Stories of Nebraska. 1913/14 and 1926.
Nebraska Civil Government. 1924 and 1946.
Silver Anniversary of the Nebraska National Forest. 1927.
Nebraska: The Land and the People. 1931.
Nebraska, Old and New: History, Stories, Folklore. 1937.
Birds at Brown Shingles, Christmas. 1942.

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