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Nebraska State Historical Society

Prairie Settlement, collage

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This digital collection integrates two collections from the holdings of the Nebraska State Historical Society, the Solomon D. Butcher photographs and the letters of the Uriah W. Oblinger family. Together they illustrate the story of settlement on the Great Plains. Approximately 3,000 glass plate negatives crafted by Butcher record the process of settlement in Nebraska between 1886 and 1912. Butcher photographed actively in central Nebraska including Custer, Buffalo, Dawson and Cherry counties. The approximately 3,000 pages of Oblinger family letters discuss land, work, neighbors, crops, religious meetings, problems with grasshoppers, financial problems, and the Easter Blizzard of 1873. Uriah Oblinger came from Indiana to Fillmore County, Nebraska in 1873 to claim a homestead for his family. In the eloquent letters exchanged between Uriah and his wife Mattie, and in letters to other family members, Oblinger expresses very personal insight into the joy, despair, and determination in their struggle to establish a home on the prairie.
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The Library of Congress presents these documents as part of the record of the past. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress and the Nebraska State Historical Society do not endorse the views expressed in these collections, which may contain materials offensive to some readers.

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The Oblinger Family and their Letters

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The digitization of these materials by the Nebraska State Historical Society was supported by an award from the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition. Links marked * are to web pages mounted at the awardee institution.

The source materials for this collection are housed at the Nebraska State Historical Society .* For information about the original materials or to obtain reproductions, contact the Reference Desk at Nebraska State Historical Society.

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