Nebraska Authors

John R. Wunder

Born 1945-01-07 Vinton, IA (USA)

Died 2023-06-25
Lincoln, NE (USA)

Long-time UNL history professor and former director of the Center for Great Plains Studies, Wunder has written about the Great Plains, Plains Indians, the Civil War and American legal history. He donated his law books to the UNL law library, and his other books and personal papers to the UNL University Archives. He published or edited some 19 books and numerous essays and professional articles. Retained by the People: A History of American Indians and the Bill of Rights, 1995 won Phi Alpha Theta's (the national history honorary society) award for the best history book that year. Wunder has won many other awards and fellowships.

See also, for Native American subjects: Joe Starita, David Wishart, Stew Magnuson and Alan Boye.

Places Lived

Lincoln, NE (1988- )
Cleveland, OH
Iowa City, IA
Seattle, WA
Lubbock, TX
Clemson, SC

Author Of

  • Nonfiction


Western American History; Legal and Constitutional; Nebraska; Native Americans; Historiography; Slavery; Environmental; Land Management; Social History


Bachelor of Arts Degree, 1967, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Master of Arts Degree and Law Degree (J.D.), 1970
Ph.D., 1974, University of Washington, Seattle, WA


Professor of History
Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Director of the Center for Great Plains Studies

Places Worked

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
Head of History Department, Clemson University, Clemson, SC


Recipient of the Annis Chaikin Sorenson Award for Outstanding Teacher at UNL, 1994
Recipient of Phi Alpha Theta's award for best history book by an established scholar, 1995 for Retained By the People
First UNL Professor to be selected to hold the Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies in Finland, 1995-96 (unanimously selected)

John H. Ames Reading Series, Featured Reader, 19 October 2008


Inferior Courts, Superior Justice: A History of the Justices of Peace on the Northwest Frontier. 1979. (Contributions in Legal Studies)
At Home on the Range: Essays on the History of Western Social and Domestic Life. 1985.
Working the Range: Essays on the History of Western Land Management and the Environment. 1985.
Historians of the American Frontier. 1988.
The Kiowa. 1989.
Retained By the People: A History of American Indians and the Bill of Rights. 1994.
Spain and the Plains: Myths and Realities of Spanish Exploration and Settlement of the Great Plains. 1994. (Co-Authored with Ralph Vigil and Frances Kaye)
Nebraska Moments. 2007. (Co-author, new edition)
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. 2008. (Compiler and Co-Editor, with Joann M. Ross)
"I do not apologize for the length of this letter" : the Mari Sandoz letters on Native American rights, 1940-1965. 2009. (Kimberly Lee, editor and compiler, John R. Wunder, Foreword and series editor.)

John and Susan Wunder were the featured readers for the Ames Reading Series in October 2008. The program can be viewed here:

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@lincoln.ne.gov. 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.

Please copy, fill out the form below, and email it to heritage@lincoln.ne.gov to suggest a change.

John R. Wunder

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

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