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This special collection of over 12,000 books by over 3,350 authors illuminates the unique character of Nebraska's literary heritage and the diverse achievements of the state's contemporary writers.

Chimney Rock in about 1844. One of the earliest views of Nebraska seen in the United States.

Chimney Rock from Fremont's Report of 1845

Special Events:

John H. Ames Reading Series
NLHA's Lunch at the Library

Web Exhibit:

The Nebraska Federal Writers' Project: Remembering Writers of the 1930s

This project was supported in part by the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered through the Nebraska Library Commission.

New Exhibits and More:

See our blog:

Nebraska Writers

for notice of new Heritage Room exhibits and upcoming events.

Book Collection:

The collection focuses on books by and about Nebraska authors. The following lists introduce some themes that reflect the diverse ways that living in Nebraska has inspired literary creativity.

Nebraska Links to American History
Nebraska Guides
Nature Writing
Heritage Video List
Ted Kooser
Children's Literature
Nebraska Sandhills

Archival Collections:

The Heritage Room archive contains manuscripts, artwork, photographs, letters, scrapbooks and other unpublished materials by Nebraska authors and from Nebraskans prominent in the publishing world, including:

Loren Eiseley
Weldon Kees
Dorothy Thomas
Rudolph Umland
Glenn Noble
Wright Morris
Cliff Hillegass

Heritage Room Links:

Literature and History Links
Contact, Support, or Donate

A Heritage Room Newsletter

One of our new Books, Movies & More pages!

Lincoln City Libraries:

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The Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors is a service of Lincoln City Libraries supported by the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association.


The Jane Pope Geske

Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors


From a single shelf of books . . .

Boxes - cover imageMajor General (ret.) Mark Musick of Lincoln will discuss Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes by Douglas Wellman at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 19 in the Heritage Room. The book tells the story of the reclusive Howard Hughes who was unable to escape his famous life. The book claims he changed his appearance, employed a stand-in, accepted another name and identity and faked his death, yet continued to operate his business through his cadre of aides. The story says Hughes married Eva McLelland, who loyally kept his identity to herself. Over eight years, she relayed the story to Musick and told him that after the stand-in died in April 1976, Howard and Eva lived a reclusive lifestyle in Alabama for 25 years. After four years, Musick came to believe the story and set out to fully develop the intriguing tale. He worked for two years with Douglas Wellman, former Associate Dean of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, prior to the book’s release in May 2010.
As long ago as 1949, the Reference Department at the Bennett Martin Public Library recognized the importance of gathering information about Nebraska authors. Over the years, what was once a single shelf of books has now grown into a room-sized collection, known as the Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors.

Our mission is to preserve and promote works by and about Nebraska authors, past and present. The collection strives to gather in one location a representative sample of written works by all Nebraska authors. Today, the Heritage Room contains more than books alone. One can also find archives of unpublished correspondence and manuscripts by and about Nebraska authors, and information files that trace author careers in clippings from newspapers, magazines, and literary journals. The Heritage Room preserves photographs, audio and video cassettes, compact discs, original artwork by authors and their illustrators, and other memorabilia that document the lives and work of Nebraska authors. Loren
        Eiseley as a Federal Writers' Program employee in 1936.Writer Willa Cather at age 19, in June 1894.


Nebraska possesses a literary tradition of striking quality. The fiction of Willa Cather and the histories of Mari Sandoz are recognized as among the most knowledgeable and detailed explorations of the settlement of the last American frontier. Native Americans have found Nebraska poet John Neihardt's record of his encounter with Black Elk crucial in preserving their own spiritual traditions and history. Nebraska has produced some of the English language's most widely published and influential nature writers. Nebraska poets and mystery writers, social critics and romance novelists, historians and journalists have achieved regional, national and international recognition.

Though writing is a solitary pursuit, few writers have learned their craft or found their calling without the encouragement and constructive criticism of teachers and peers. Nebraska's literary community has been lively and ambitious ever since the first days of European settlement. The state sustains a surprising number of active literary organizations, formal and informal writer's groups, and local and regional publications.

With the support of the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association, the Heritage Room seeks to document and promote the work of today's Nebraska authors. Our efforts include:

The NAIL Database -- The Nebraska Author Information Link (NAIL) is a computerized database with over 3000 entries of biographical and bibliographical information about Nebraska authors. Authors who have published original work and have significant ties to Nebraska are encouraged to complete NAIL questionaires which are available by contacting the Heritage Room.

The Heritage Room Vertical Files -- The Heritage Room maintains over 600 information files on Nebraska authors and related subjects which are updated regularly. Together with NAIL, these files are a window on the careers, connections, publications, and public and peer reception of Nebraska's writers.

John H. Ames Reading Series -- This series showcases Nebraska authors reading their own works. Videotapes of these readings, and other special programs, are available for local checkout and through Interlibrary Loan.


The Heritage Room staff works to promote Nebraska's literary tradition through a number of outreach efforts: Heritage Room Tours/Talks -- Many civic groups and school classes come to the Heritage Room for guided tours. Staff are also available to provide programs.

Writers Write Workshops -- In this popular program for 8th graders, students spend a morning writing and reading their work under the direction and encouragement of several local poets. This program is sponsored by the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association.

Writers on the Plains -- This 14 minute video provides a tour of the Heritage Room collection, introduces viewers to Nebraska authors and describes the role of the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association. This video is available by contacting the Heritage Room.

The Nebraska Literary Heritage Association -- The NLHA supports the Heritage Room through an endowment fund and a variety of volunteer projects. It is only through NLHA's efforts that we can work toward preserving and promoting Nebraska's literary tradition. For more information about NLHA's activities or to become a member, please call 441-8516.


The Heritage Room is located on the third floor of Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln, Nebraska. The books do not circulate and special care and preservation measures help ensure their longevity. The Heritage Room collection is a multifaceted reflection of the history and literary culture of the state. We have more than pioneer stories. There are books on every topic, including philosophy, poetry, nature, psychology, politics, and pop culture. Our shelves contain many entertaining and thought provoking books for children by Nebraska authors. Our fiction collection includes romance, fantasy, contemporary, western, and mystery novels to suit every taste. Heritage Room staff will be glad to assist you with any questions you may have about Nebraska authors.