Nebraska Hall of Fame

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Nebraska Hall of Fame
Nebraska Hall of Fame, Northwest Courtyard Hall, Nebraska State Capitol.jpg
Northwest courtyard corridor of Nebraska Hall of Fame, Nebraska State Capitol, Second Floor.
Established June 22, 1961
Location Nebraska State Capitol
Website [1]



The Nebraska Hall of Fame officially recognizes prominent individuals from the State of Nebraska. Twenty-five busts located on the second floor of the Nebraska State Capitol commemorate members of the Hall of Fame. Nebraska Medal of Honor recipients are also members of the Nebraska Hall of Fame. A plaque with the names of Medal of Honor recipients is located in Memorial Chamber—the fourteenth floor of the capitol.

History[edit]

Nebraska Hall of Fame, Bust Locations, Nebraska State Capitol, Second Floor.

On May 23, 1961, the family of U.S. Senator George W. Norris gave a bust of Norris to the State of Nebraska. In celebration of the centenary of his birth, the state placed the Norris bust in the southeast niche of the Great Hall of the capitol.[1] One month later, the Nebraska State Legislature established the Nebraska Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission.[2] The commission chose Norris as the first member on November 21, 1961.[3] The state permitted the commission to use the Norris bust in the capitol as the senator's statuary representation in the hall of fame.[4]

On June 6, 1961, the Nebraska State Legislature also accepted a bust of John G. Neihardt and resolved to permanently place it "in one of the niches in the corridors of the State Capitol."[5] The state dedicated the Neihardt bust on December 7, 1961, and placed it in a large niche above the landing of the northeast stairwell.[6] On April 3, 1962, the state moved the Neihardt bust to the southwest niche of the Great Hall (across from the Norris bust) after protests pronounced that the bust's previous location was improper.[7] On March 21, 1974, the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission elected Neihardt to the hall of fame, and the commission grandfathered his bust into its statuary collection at the capitol.[8]

The commission dedicated the bust of William Frederick Cody on June 12, 1969, and placed his bust in the last of the six niches of the Great Hall.[9] The commission placed subsequent busts on limestone plinths throughout the second floor courtyard hallways to the north and south of the legislative chambers.

Selection Criteria[edit]

In 1961, the Nebraska State Legislature provided fundamental selection criteria for membership to the Nebraska Hall of Fame. The legislature stated that the purpose of the hall is to "bring to public attention and to recognize officially those people who, in their lives, have achieved prominence and who were outstanding Nebraskans."[10] The legislature further stated that "Nebraskans" mean individuals "(1) who were born in Nebraska, (2) who gained prominence while living in Nebraska, or (3) who lived in Nebraska and whose residence in Nebraska was an important influence on their lives and which contributed to their greatness."[11]

The 1961 legislature also provided that "the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission shall not name more than two persons to the Nebraska Hall of Fame during the first two years after [June 22, 1961], and not more than one person each two years thereafter." Further, the legislature required that an inductee be deceased.[12]

In 1976, the Nebraska State Legislature amended statutes and provided that four members may be named to the hall of fame in celebration of the United States Bicentennial. The legislature also stipulated that individuals shall be deceased at least ten years before being named to the hall of fame.[13]

Finally in 1998, the Nebraska State Legislature again amended statutes and provided that, beginning January 1, 2000, no more than one member may be named to the hall of fame every five years. Additionally, the legislature stipulated that individuals shall be deceased at least thirty-five years before being named to the hall of fame.[14]

Members[edit]

Member Inducted Bust Original Composition of Bust Sculptor Note of achievement
Norris, George W.George W. Norris 1961 George W. Norris bust2.jpg 1942 Jo Davidson Nebraska U.S. Congressman (1903-13); Nebraska U.S. Senator (1913-43).
Cather, WillaWilla Cather 1962 Will Cather bust2.jpg 1962 Paul Swan Nebraska novelist.
Pershing, John J.John J. Pershing 1963 John J. Pershing bust2.jpg 1921 Bryant Baker Commanding General, American Expeditionary Forces, Europe, World War I (1917-18); U.S. Army Chief of Staff (1921-24).
Flanagan, Edward J.Edward J. Flanagan 1965 Edward J. Flanagan bust2.jpg 1967 Paul Granlund Founder of Boys Town.
Cody, William FrederickWilliam Frederick Cody (Buffalo Bill) 1967 William Frederick Cody bust2.jpg 1891 Anton Friedrich Scholl Soldier, buffalo hunter, Army scout, actor, rancher, and showman of the West.
Bryan, William JenningsWilliam Jennings Bryan 1971 William Jennings Bryan bust.jpg 1905 William Whitney Manatt U.S. Secretary of State (1913-15); Nebraska U.S. Congressman (1891-95); three-time Democratic candidate for President of the United States (1896, 1900, 1908).
Aldrich, Bess StreeterBess Streeter Aldrich 1971 Bess Streeter Aldrich bust.jpg 1973 Herman Albert Becker Nebraska novelist.
Neihardt, John G.John G. Neihardt 1974 John G. Neihardt bust2.jpg 1956 Mona Neihardt Poet of the West, historian, philosopher, and friend of the American Indian. Named Nebraska Poet Laureate in 1921.
Morton, Julius SterlingJulius Sterling Morton 1975 Julius Sterling Morton bust.jpg 1896 Rudolph Evans Founder of Arbor Day; U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (1893-97); legislator, and Territorial Secretary of Nebraska (1858-61).
Abbott, GraceGrace Abbott 1976 Grace Abbott bust.jpg 1978 James T. Olsen Social reformer and social worker.
Sandoz, MariMari Sandoz 1976 Mari Sandoz bust.jpg 1980 Mary Bryan Forsyth Nebraska biographer, historian, and novelist.
Pound, RoscoeRoscoe Pound 1976 Roscoe Pound bust.jpg 1981 Avard Fairbanks Botanist, pioneer ecologist, lawyer, and legal educator.
Standing Bear, Standing Bear (Ponca: Maⁿchú-Naⁿzhíⁿ) 1977 Standing Bear bust.jpg 1980 Ted Long Ponca leader; Standing Bear v. Crook (1879) which declared American Indians as citizens under the U.S. Constitution.
Furnas, Robert W.Robert W. Furnas 1980 Robert W. Furnas bust2.jpg 1982 Tom Palmerton Newspaperman, soldier, historian, and second Governor of Nebraska (1873-75).
Creighton, EdwardEdward Creighton 1982 Edward Creighton bust.jpg 1983 Phyllis Aspen Telegraph pioneer and banker.
Tibbles, Susette LaFlescheSusette LaFlesche Tibbles (Omaha: Inshata Theumba, "Bright Eyes") 1983 Susette LaFlesche Tibbles bust.jpg 1984 Deborah S. Wagner-Ashton Omaha Indian educator; speaker and writer for American Indian rights.
Hitchcock, Gilbert M.Gilbert M. Hitchcock 1984 Gilbert M. Hitchcock bust.jpg 1985 George Lundeen Founder of the Omaha World-Herald; Nebraska U.S. Senator (1911-23).
Eiseley, LorenLoren Eiseley 1986 Loren Eiseley bust.jpg 1987 Kappy Wells Anthropologist, poet, and philosopher of science.
Alexander, Hartley BurrHartley Burr Alexander 1988 Hartley Burr Alexander bust.jpg 1990 Tom Palmerton Anthropologist, poet, philosopher, educator, and authority on North American Indian mythology. Thematic consultant to the Nebraska State Capitol.
Thompson, Arthur WeimarArthur Weimar Thompson 1990 Arthur Weimar Thompson bust.jpg 1992 Bryant Baker "Dean of American Auctioneers."
Griswold, Dwight P.Dwight P. Griswold 1993 Dwight P. Griswold bust.jpg 1994 George Lundeen Banker, publisher, and twenty-fifth Governor of Nebraska (1941-47).
Gold, Nathan J.Nathan J. Gold 1996 Nathan Gold bust.jpg 1997 George Lundeen Businessman, civic leader, philanthropist, and Nebraska booster.
Red Cloud, Red Cloud (Lakota: Maȟpíya Lúta) 2000 Red Cloud bust.jpg 2001 Jim Brothers Oglala Lakota leader.
Bessey, Charles EdwinCharles Edwin Bessey 2007 Charles Edwin Bessey bust.jpg 2009 Littleton Alston Botanist and chancellor of the University of Nebraska.
Johnson, Alvin SaundersAlvin Saunders Johnson 2012 Alvin Saunders Johnson bust.jpg 2014 Wesley Wofford Economist and founder of The New School.

Medal of Honor Recipients[edit]

Nebraska Medal of Honor Plaque, Nebraska Hall of Fame, Nebraska State Capitol, Memorial Chamber.

In 1969, the Nebraska State Legislature amended the Nebraska Hall of Fame statutes "to provide that Nebraskans awarded the Medal of Honor shall be named to the Hall of Fame" and required that the Hall of Fame Commission procure a plaque with the names of the Medal of Honor recipients.[15] On May 5, 1974, the State of Nebraska officially inducted 57 Nebraska Medal of Honor recipients to the Nebraska Hall of Fame.[16] The commission placed a bronze plaque by J.H. Matthews on the southwest pilaster of the Great Hall of the Nebraska State Capitol.[17]

On November 11, 2013, the State of Nebraska unveiled a new, updated bronze plaque with the names of 72 Nebraska Medal of Honor recipients.[18] The Nebraska Office of the Capitol Commission placed the new plaque in Memorial Chamber—the fourteenth floor of the capitol.

Controversy[edit]

In spring 2004, the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission created controversy when it considered naming U.S. Senator Kenneth S. Wherry or Malcolm X to the hall of fame. Critics of Wherry said he was an inappropriate inductee because of his "crusade to root out homosexuals in government" during his tenure in Congress at the height of McCarthyism.[19] Critics of Malcolm X said he was an inappropriate inductee because he only lived in Nebraska for a few months after his birth in Omaha. On April 27, 2004, the commission selected Wherry over Malcolm X on a four-three vote.[20]

By June 2004, however, the commission realized its selection was in violation of state law. Statute dictated that the commission should not name more than one individual to the hall of fame between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2004.[21] The commission had previously named Red Cloud a hall-of-famer on January 20, 2000.

To date, neither Wherry nor Malcolm X are members of the Nebraska Hall of Fame.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Capitol Gets Norris Bust". The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, NE). 24 May 1961. p. 6. 
  2. ^ "Legislative Bill 693" (PDF). Legislative Journal of the State of Nebraska 1: 1789. 1961. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "Hall of Fame Picks Norris First Member". The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, NE). 22 November 1961. p. 1. 
  4. ^ "Bust of Norris Might Be Used In Hall of Fame". The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, NE). 23 November 1961. p. 31. 
  5. ^ "Legislative Resolution 36" (PDF). Legislative Journal of the State of Nebraska 1: 1626. 1961. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  6. ^ "Dedication Today of Bust of Poet Laureate J.G. Neihardt". The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, NE). 7 December 1961. p. 13. 
  7. ^ "Neihardt Bust is Firmly Cemented". The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, NE). 4 April 1962. p. 16. 
  8. ^ "Poet Neihardt Chosen". Lincoln Evening Journal (Lincoln, NE). 21 March 1974. p. 5. 
  9. ^ "Bust of Buffalo Bill Installed in Statehouse Hall of Fame". The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, NE). 13 June 1969. p. 5. 
  10. ^ State of Nebraska (1961). "Legislative Bill 693". Laws (Lincoln, NE: Frank Marsh, Nebraska Secretary of State): 1118. 
  11. ^ State of Nebraska (1961). "Legislative Bill 693". Laws (Lincoln, NE: Frank Marsh, Nebraska Secretary of State): 1118. 
  12. ^ State of Nebraska (1961). "Legislative Bill 693". Laws (Lincoln, NE: Frank Marsh, Nebraska Secretary of State): 1119. 
  13. ^ State of Nebraska (1976). "Legislative Bill 670". Laws (Lincoln, NE: Allen J. Beermann, Nebraska Secretary of State): 353. 
  14. ^ State of Nebraska (1998). "Legislative Bill 1129". Laws (Lincoln, NE: Scott Moore, Nebraska Secretary of State): 567. 
  15. ^ "Legislative Bill 1212" (PDF). Legislative Journal of the State of Nebraska 1 (Eightieth Session): 603. 1969. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  16. ^ "Civil War to Vietnam: 57 Medal Winners Enter Hall of Fame". Lincoln Evening Journal (Lincoln, NE). 6 May 1974. 
  17. ^ "Nebraska Hall of Fame Members". Nebraska State Historical Society. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  18. ^ Salter, Peter (11 November 2013). "New plaque names those who went 'above and beyond the call of duty'". Lincoln Journal Star (Lincoln, NE). Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  19. ^ Kenney, Colleen (27 April 2004). "Wherry voted into state Hall of Fame". Lincoln Journal Star (Lincoln, NE). Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  20. ^ Associated Press (14 June 2004). "Nebraska Choices for Honors Stir Up a Nest of Controversy". The New York Times (New York, NY). Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  21. ^ State of Nebraska (1998). "Legislative Bill 1129". Laws (Lincoln, NE: Scott Moore, Nebraska Secretary of State): 567. 

External links[edit]