Monday, April 13, 2015

Nebraska Museum to Focus on Letters

The The Neihardt Center in Bancroft, Nebraska, will host its 34th annual Neihardt Spring Conference on April 25, and the focus of the day-long event will be on the role of letters in the lives of the people who were living in the Great Plains region in the 19th and 20th centuries.

According to the Center's website, the conference will "explore the correspondence of John Neihardt and Willa Cather and the collections of lesser known individuals whose letters bear witness to the struggles of frontier settlement or of displacement, as in the letters written by Dakota men imprisoned in Iowa after the Dakota Wars of 1862."

The promotional material for the conference includes this inspiring paragraph:

 "Letters are often deeply personal, private exchanges that reflect the complex cultural norms of the time period and the life happenings, both tragic and celebratory, of the subjects who author them. If you’ve ever searched through old postcards in an antique store or come across an old letter bookmarking a worn, leather—bound volume, then you’ve probably been struck by the beautiful handwriting, by turns of phrase poignantly rendered, and by the maneuvering of etiquette and social politics."

The conference will take place at the Neihardt State Historic Site, a branch museum of the Nebraska State Historical Society.

John G. Neihardt (1881-1973) is the Poet Laureate in Perpetuity of Nebraska. Neihardt was a writer, newspaper editor, poet and university lecturer.

The conference's keynote address will be presented by Dr. Pam Gossin, who will speak on “Unhidden Treasures: The Voices and Visions of John G. Neihardt.” Other scheduled topics include:
* “The Dakota Prisoner of War Letters of 1862 - 1868” by Dr. Rev. Clifford Canku
* “Willa Cather’s Life in Letters: The Role of Correspondence in Literary Creation” by Dr. Andrew Jewell
* “Letters of Great Plains Homesteaders: A Lifeline to Family, Friends, the Past and Future” by Steve Kinsella
* “The Art of Calligraphy” by Cheryl Dyer with Calligraphy Envelope Exhibit

For more details on the conference, Neihardt or the museum, click on the links above.

It sounds like a wonderful conference and a great tribute to the value of letter writing!

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