American MemoryThe National Digital Library Program: Archived Documentation

The Library of Congress / Ameritech National Digital Library Competition (1996-1999)

Image from collection

Nebraska State Historical Society

Prairie Settlement: A Story of Determination

Amount of award: $65,464

This collection consists of 2,500 glass plate negatives of images recording the process of settlement of Nebraska between 1886 and 1912 and approximately 3000 pages from letters and diaries written by the Oblinger family as they moved from Indiana to settle in a sod house on the prairie. Image and text document the changes in landscape and environment brought about by the homesteaders as well as their "giddy optimism and layered failure." The Oblinger letters discuss land, work neighbors, crops, religious meetings, sod houses, grasshopper problems, the Blizzard of 1873, and their tumultuous finances.

Online Collection

Image Caption: The David Hilton family near Weissert, Custer County, Nebraska. 1887. (Nebraska State Historical Society, Solomon Devore Butcher Collection. Reproduction Number: RG2608.PH:000000-003535)