Nebraska Authors

James C. Olson

Born 1917-01-01 Bradgate, IA (USA)

Died 2005-08-17
Kansas City, MO (USA)

Known to friends as a dry wit, Olson had distinguished careers as a historian and, later in life, as a university administrator. Olson served as a historian for the United States Army Air Forces in the Pacific Theater in World War II. After the war, from 1946-1956, he served as Director of the Nebraska State Historical Society and taught at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, where he would later serve as Regents Professor of History, chair of the Department of History, dean of the Graduate College, director of Graduate Program Development, and vice chancellor for Graduate Studies and Research. His biography of J. Sterling Morton, his first book, was derived from his Ph.D dissertation at the University of Nebraska. He was also the author of the widely adopted school and reference text Nebraska History which first appeared in 1955, but has been kept up-todate in revised additions, with collaborators.

In 1968, after some hesitation, Olson accepted a position as chancellor of the University of Missouri–Kansas City. From 1976 to 1984 he would serve as chancellor of the University of Missouri system. While at Missouri, he wrote several books on university administration, and a very well received biography of (William) Stuart Symington, Democratic United States Senator from Missouri (1953-1976), first Secretary of the Air Force and one of the twentieth century's most influential political figures.

dsc

Places Lived

Lincoln
Late 1930s
1946-1968
IA, NE, MO

Author Of

  • Biography
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction

Keywords

History--American West; History--Nebraska; Biography; Native Americans--History; History for Children

Education

AB, Morningside College, 1938
MA in History, University of Nebraska, 1939
Ph.D in History, University of Nebraska, 1942

Occupation

Professor of American History
University Dean;

Places Worked

UNL
University of Missouri;

Honors

Nebraska 150 Books honor for History of Nebraska, 4th ed., 2017
University of Missouri Curators 2005 Award for Scholarly Excellence.

Associations

Board of the Harry S Truman Library Institute
Department of the Army Historical Advisory Committee
Missouri Arts Council
Mid-America Arts Alliance
Organization of American Historians
American Heritage Editorial Board

Bibliography

James C. Olson.
J. Sterling Morton. 1942.
History of Nebraska. 1955.
History of Nebraska. 3rd Edition. 1997.
Nebraska Is My Home. 1956 and 1965 eds. w/Vera F. Olson. juv.
Red Cloud and the Sioux Problem. 1965.
Higher Education: A Short Look Ahead. 1979.
The University of Missouri: An Illustrated History. 1988.
Serving the University of Missouri: A Memoir of Campus and System Administration. 1993.
Stuart Symington: A Life. 2003.

We appreciate corrections and additions to our information about authors, but please read the following guidelines and caveats carefully.

  • The Nebraska Authors database is based on publicly available sources. Unless you are the author contacting us in person, it helps us if you cite the source or sources of your information. We cannot include unsourced information in the database.
  • We may be appreciative of information we choose not to include in the publicly available database.
  • To include an image on an author profile, please send jpg attachment to nebraskaauthors@lincolnlibraries.org. A photo-release agreement is required before the image will be published on this site.
  • Because of the way we are staffed, expect corrections or additions to take time, sometimes up to three months.
  • While we initially included some actual links to external URLs in the database, we will in the future no longer provide functioning links. We will instead record the presence of specific external materials in language that we hope will help intelligent users find it themselves. Web rot, in which actual materials remain online but undergo changes in their URLs, is too demanding in terms of staff time for us to hope to keep external links current.

Do you have corrections for the above information or other information to add?