Nebraska Authors

James Calmar Wilson

AKA: Jim

Born 1900-10-08 Stromsburg, NE (USA)

Died 1995-01-31
Polk, NE (USA)

Buried
Polk, NE (USA)

Wilson was one of the state's delightful explorers and eccentrics. Late in life, Wilson pioneered the cultivation of native Nebraska prairie grass seeds with a very successful seed business near Polk, Nebraska. After graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1922, he tried his hand at being a New York City jazz musician. Failing that, he joined a friend for a 1,200-mile motorcycle trip through Africa, and his account of that, Three Wheeling Through Africa, 1936, was briefly on the New York Times best seller list. He also tried his hand at being an English professor and songwriter. He settled on the farm near Polk in the 1950s and remained there until his death in 1995. He was widely known as "the Grass Guru" for his expertise on prairie grasses.

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Places Lived

Stromsburg, NE
Lincoln, NE
Polk, NE
New York

Author Of

  • Biography
  • Nonfiction
  • Music and Audio

Keywords

Personal Narrative; Agriculture; Travel

Education

Diploma, Stromsburg High School, Stromsburg, NE
Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

Occupation

College Instructor
Agricultural Journalist
Grass Expert

Places Worked

Wilson Seed Farms, Polk, NE

Honors

Jim Wilson Canyon is a Valley in Fall River County, South Dakota, in the Buffalo Gap National Grassland near Pine Ridge Reservation. It was named for James Calmar Wilson.

Associations

Wilson's father was one of the founders of Polk, Nebraska
Wilson Family owned Wide Skies Books, a publishing business in Polk, NE

Bibliography

Three-Wheeling Through Africa. 1936.
Grass Land. 1967.

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