Nebraska Authors

George S. Metcalf

Born 1900 Wauneta, NE (USA)

Born in a sod house.

Died 1975

Though Metcalf's formal education ended in the eighth grade, he succeeded in making a career as a field archeologist, a historian of the Great Plains, and supervisor of the processing laboratory of the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution. Metcalf began collecting artifacts along Frenchman's Creek in western Nebraska as a boy. He learned the trade of the professional archaeologist working with A.T. Hill and the Nebraska Archeological Society under the auspices of Nebraska's WPA program in the 1930s. He worked in factories during World War II. Then, returning to Nebraska, from 1947-1953, he worked on the Missouri River Basin Archaeological Survey. He was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution as the River Basin Survey wound up, and spent the rest of his career there, working as a field assistant on numerous Great Plains expeditions and cataloging artifacts. He would be the Smithsonian's representative in cataloging other museum collections, including those of Luther College.

Luther College granted Metcalf an honorary ScD in 1970.

Places Lived

Washington D.C.

Author Of

  • Nonfiction


Archaeology; history of Native Americans; Great Plains Archaeology; WPA


Museum Aide in Archeology

Places Worked

Smithsonian Institute


Numerous articles in professional journals.

Frequently cited example: Kivett Marvin F., and George S. Metcalf, "The Prehistoric People of the Medicine Creek Reservoir, Frontier County, Nebraska: An Experiment in Mechanized Archaeology (1946-1948)." Plains Anthropologist. 42:1-218.

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George S. Metcalf

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)