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Published Quarterly by the Nebraska State Historical Society
Addison E. Sheldon, Editor

Subscription $2.00 Per Year
All sustaining members of the Nebraska State Historical Society receive Nebraska History without further payment.

Vol. IV.

January-March, 1921

Number 1

   Lend this issue to your friend. After he has read it ask him how he likes in. Then secure his membership in the Nebraska State Historical Society.

   Volume XX of our bound and illustrated reports is in the hands of the printer. The page-proof has been read. Editor Albert Watkins is completing the index. It is an important and interesting volume--filled with fascinating "stories" of Nebraska which you have never seen in print.

   A sample recent day's mail to the Historical Society brought letters asking historical information from points as far away as New York City, Akron, Ohio, Tacoma, Denver and Beaumont, Texas, while letters from Nebraska came from points as separate as Omaha, Benkleman, Pawnee City and Alliance.

   The Nebraska State Historical Society issues three distinct types of publications. First, the bound volumes of state reports, begun in 1885; Second, special pamphlets- and volumes on single topics; Third, the quarterly magazine. All three publications will continue. All current publications, are sent to sustaining members.




   With this number the Historical Society begins the publication of its quarterly in regular magazine form. This form has long been planned for its permanent publication. It is believed the plan will now succeed. The magazine will be larger--and better--as the months go by. There is interest in its subject. There is demand for its information. There is needed only the financial means to pay for expert office help, printing and illustrations.

   "Saunders County in the World War" is a handsome bound volume of 200 pages which reflects great credit on the Wahoo Democrat, publisher, and W. W. Chreiman, compiler. It has hundreds of pictures of scenes and persons showing how Saunders county sustained her part in the great conflict--at home and abroad. The story is well told. Volumes such as these will be cherished and studied through the centuries to come. Each county in Nebraska needs such a book.

   L. T. Brodstone of Superior is a genius. No one can read a letter he writes, but he prints the most wonderful, successful, magazine in Nebraska--the Philatelic West. It is one organ of collectors and hoby riders. It circulates all over the world. Its advertising columns are a gold mine. It tells all about the rare coins, stamps, weapons, implements, relics. It is a great popular lecturer on human history for no one can be a "bug" collector without becoming a student of history. From the latest issue we glean that one can now buy World War shrapnel for $4 each; German helmets, $3.00, French and German shell cases, 85 cents, German gas mask $2.50 and war currency at any price you please.

   From Dale P. Stough, of Grand Island, the Society acknowledges the gift of two volumes of the History of Hamilton and Clay counties and two volumes of the history of Dodge and Washington counties. Mr. Stough is editor of the Clay and Hamilton volumes and has done a good piece of work condensing a narrative of important points in State history. There is need of a good county history for each county in Nebraska. The work ought to be done by someone familiar with the story, knowing the people, having training and love for the work and not chiefly concerned in getting paid biographies and illustrations.



   John A. Rea, Tacoma, is now president of the board of regents of Washington State University. Fifty years ago he was a newspaper reporter in Lincoln and Omaha. His recollections of that period are original and vivid, and he is now engaged in making a picturesque story of them. During the past few weeks he has kept the Nebraska State Historical Society busy supplying his demand for original documents.

   From Victor Rosewater, Omaha, comes a pamphlet, "A Curious Chapter in Constitution Changing"--reprint of an article by him in the Political Science Quarterly. It is a brief review of the efforts to make the Nebraska Constitution of 1875 amendable. Especially condemned is the device enacted in 1901 for counting straight party ballots for such amendments. Mr. Rosewater points out that by inadvertence the constitutional convention of 1920 left the open use of the circle ballot on propositions for calling new constitutional conventions. He might add that another inadvertence left in our constitution the 1875 provision for preferemce vote on candidates for U. S. Senate--now nulified by adoption of tne sixteenth amendment to the federal constitution.

   The 35th annual report of the Bureau of American Ethnology (Part 1) has just reached the Historical Society library. It contains most interesting material on the custom and folk lore of the Kwakiutl Indians who inhabit British Columbia. Their culture is kindred to that of tribes in the Puget Sound region. A most fascinating part of the book is the detailed account of how these people solved the problems of food and shelter, including recipes for preparing many dishes which ought to be good reading for teachers of domestic science.

   The American Commission Report on Conditions in Ireland comes as a gift of the commission. This is the committee of one hundred appointed by the New York Nation. Senator Norris of this State is a member. The investigation was held in America; witnesses came from Ireland. The British government declined to have part in its work. As the report says the viewpoint of Ulster unionists and British officials in Ireland is not represented. The report is therefore one-sided. It is bad enough at any rate as a disclosure of conditions on the island.



 Picture or sketch

Title page of Nebraska State Historical Society copy of Le Page
Histoire de la Louisiane du Pratz


   In the library of the Nebraska State Historical Society are many quaint and curious old volumes of western history. Some of these are in Spanish, some in German, some in American Indian tongues, many in French, the bulk in English. Special students and research scholars delve in these volumes. From such books are gleaned the material for plays, poems, novels, sketches, histories. The great general public knows these writings only in the form given them by present day writers. Hundreds of themes and stories in this early literature are yet untouched by modern interpretation. Some of them are not found in English translation.



   The editor of this magazine plans a series of articles with the purpose of making this literature more generally known and enjoyed. Further--to encourage study of the volumes and the production of an inspiring popular literature from these sources.
   The first work presented is one printed at Paris in 1758--History of Louisiana by LePage du Pratz, in three volumes. It is the original French edition. Translations have been made into English. The original French carries an "atmosphere" which the translations lack. Bound in solid leather, with two maps, forty wood cuts and the quaint-faced type used at Paris two hundred years ago, these volumes are just the handy size to slip into a coat pocket, and the wide outer margins are a challenge for making copious notes.
   The work is a description as well as a history of Louisiana --which then included the Nebraska region. The motive of the author and the time of its publication summon instantly before the mind scenes in the great world drama still on the stage--the struggle for world domination and control by the English speaking people.
   In 1758 the war between England and France for the possession of North America was in its fourth year. The tide of success which ran in favor of France for the first three years had turned. Popular opinion in France depreciated the vast resources of the great province of the Mississippi basin. The first purpose of M. du Pratz was to correct false impressions and to give the intelligent French public a true view of the great fertile valley of the New World.
   In his preface the author says he lived sixteen years in Louisiana, that he made long voyages into its interior, that he interviewed many French and Indians who knew points he had not seen, that he had made a study of its plants and animals and a collection of three hundred medicinal plants from the region and that he would give a truthful account of the riches of this vast region. All of this for the glory of France and the King.
   A learned French author, M. des Lands, about that period had written in a history of philosophy that Louisiana was a sterile land with subterranean lakes inhabited by poisonous fish. M. du Pratz warmly rejoins that forty years' residence of French colonists proved that in fertility and climate Louis-



iana excelled the most favored parts of Europe and that no one there ever heard of the poisonous fish.
   The chapters on agriculture in this work are among the best early descriptions of this region. The author's vision sees the products of the land enter into world commerce, bringing wealth and happiness to those who cultivate the land and new satisfactions to consumers in Europe and elsewhere.
   He describes the bread grains grown in this region thus: Maiz, which in France is called Turkey-corn, is the natural product of this country. The kinds are flour corn, homony corn (white, yellow, red and blue) and small corn, called so because of its size. Maiz grows on a stalk six to eight feet high and each stalk bears sometimes six or seven ears.
   Wheat, rye, barley and oats grow extremely well in Louisiana. Wheat, when sown by itself, grows wonderfully, but when in flower great number of drops of red water may be observed on the stalk about six inches from the ground which collect there during the night and disappear at sunrise. This water is of such an acid nature that in a short time it consumes the stalk and the ear falls before the grain is formed. To prevent this, which is due to the richness of the soil, the method I have used is to mix some rye and dry mould with the seed wheat in such proportion that the mould shall be equal to the rye and wheat together.

Picture or sketch 

   Illustration from Le Page du Pratz showing Indians of Northern Louisiana
(Nebraska region) going on their winter hunt. Note absence of horses--
dogs used for conveyance.

   Full of interest to the scientist as well as historian are the pictures of trees, plants and animals of Louisiana, from draw-



ings by M. du Pratz. In this article there is space only for a few sentences on the Nebraska-Kansas region. He writes:
   The Cansez is the largest known river flowing into the Missouri. It flows for two hundred leagues through the most beautiful land. The Missouri brings down cloudy water for it flows through a land rich and fat where there are no stones.
   M. du Pratz' map of Louisiana is fairly accurate as far as the present site of Kansas City. Beyond that he roughly indicates the "Pays des Panis" or Pawnee Country, with the Missouri river turning westward as though the Platte or Niobrara were its main stream. He says "It will be ages before we explore the northern part of Louisiana."
   This brief review can scarcely convey the charm of these volumes. No history of agriculture in the Mississippi valley can ever be complete without careful study of them. They give detailed directions for the planting and cultivation of all kinds of crops grown here. How little could the author guess that the very region he so fondly describes trying to awaken France to realize its riches would within two centuries feed the French and English nations fighting side by side against the invader from beyond the Rhine.

   Mormons and the Mormon church have had important part in Nebraska history. The Mormon camps on our borders, the picturesque trains of Mormons crossing our plains, the Mormon settlers who scattered in various unnoticed nooks of Nebraska in the great migration perion--all have an interest, quite out of proportion to their total number. Only a few Nebraskans know that there are twenty Mormon churches with 1,973 members in our state. These are the Reorganized Church, which repudiates Brigham Young, but adheres to Joseph Smith and his descendants. This branch publishes a Journal of History at Independence, Missouri, which is just now printing the record of the separation of the Reorganizers from the Salt Lake branch and a very interesting story of human affairs it makes. Very few people have read the Book of Mormon. it cannot be called easy reading. It purports among other things--to give an account of the early migration of a branch of the Jewish people across the Atlantic to America, of their growth into a powerful people, of their destruction in war wherein more than two millions perished. After twice reading the book the editor's opinion of it as an historical narrative remains unchanged. Yet the establishment and

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