Nebraska Authors

Rudolph Umland

AKA: Rudolph E. Umland

Born 1907-12-26 Eagle, NE (USA)

Died 1993-07-15
Lincoln, NE (USA)

Lincoln, NE (USA)
Image of Rudolph Umland

Image of Rudolph Umland

Rudolph “Rudy” Umland, 1907-1993, was a local farm boy who grew up near Eagle, Nebraska and became a prolific writer of essays, short fiction, local history, and book reviews. He was educated sporadically at the University of Nebraska in the 1930s. When he was too poor to stay at the University, he returned to his parent's farm and then took off to travel and find work as a hobo, riding the rails. When he eventually returned to the University, his intelligence and the generous sense of humor displayed in his writing attracted the interest of Lowry Wimberly, editor of Prairie Schooner. Wimberly and Umland became close friends and Wimberly persuaded Umland to join the WPA's Nebraska Federal Writers' Project. Wimberly and Mari Sandoz guided the project from behind the scenes, and helped Umland rescue the Project from a disastrous political appointee who was its first director. Umland became the Project's de facto editor, Editor (from 1935), Assistant State Director (1936-1940), and later State Director (1940-1941). Umland organized and edited the Project’s most significant publications. In his work at the Project, Umland befriended or worked with many writers, including Mari Sandoz, Weldon Kees, and Loren Eiseley. Heritage Room collections include his 15 volume Scrapbook, manuscripts and many letters in several collections. These collections document his early life, his education, travels as a hobo, work on the Federal Writers’ Project, his later writing, his military service and government career. He was an important informant for Helen Winter Stauffer in writing her biography of Mari Sandoz, and for Gale Christianson in writing his biography of Loren Eiseley.

Umland was also close to Wilbur Gaffney and Robert Carlson


Places Lived

Eagle, NE
Lincoln, NE
New Orleans, LA
Prairie Village, KS

Author Of

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Journalism
  • Other


Nebraska Federal Writers Project; Book Reviews; Regionalism; Humorist


High School Diploma, 1925, Eagle High School, Eagle, NE
Undergraduate Studies, 1925-1928, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE


Training Officer, Veteran's Administration
Claims Authorizer, Social Security Administration
Book Reviewer, Kansas City Times and Kansas City Star

Places Worked

WPA Federal Writer's Project (FWP)--editor, assistant state, state supervisor
US Postal Censorship Station, New Orleans
Veteran's Administration, Nebraska


Lowry Wimberly
Mari Sandoz
Loren Eiseley
Weldon Kees
WPA Nebraska Federal Writers Project
Prairie Schooner


Many articles in Prairie Schooner
Featured Book Reviewer for Kansas City newspapers

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 NebraskaAuthors@lincoln.ne.gov to suggest a change.

Rudolph Umland

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)