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Collection Number RG1047.AM
Collection Name RG1047 Olson, James Clifton, 1917-2005
Identifier Personal papers
Size and Materials 12.5 cu.ft.; 24 boxes
Title James C. Olson papers
Date or Date Span 1936-1965
Year Range from 1936
Year Range to 1965
Admin/Biographical History James Clifton Olson, son of Arthur Edwin and Abbie Anderson Olson, was born in Bradgate, Iowa, on January 23, 1917. He received his A.B. Degree from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1938, and both his M.A. (1939) and his Ph.D. (1942) from the University of Nebraska. His doctoral dissertation on J. Sterling Morton became the first of many books he published.

On June 6, 1941 he married Vera Blanche Farrington. Their marriage was blessed with two daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah Margaret.

During World War II he served as an expert consultant to the Department of War on the history of the U.S. Army in the war. In addition to these duties, Dr. Olson was instructor of history at Northwest Missouri State Teachers College in the summers of 1940 and 1942 and became Superintendent of the Nebraska State Historical Society in 1946. He held this post until 1956, during which time he was a lecturer at Omaha University (1947-1950), part-time lecturer at the University of Nebraska (1946-1954) and part-time associate professor of history at the University (1954-1956). In 1956 he accepted the position of chairman of the department of history at El Colegia de Mexico, Mexico City in 1962. The same year he was named the Bennett S. and Dorothy Martin Professor of History and chairman of the department. Dr. Olson became the director of graduate program development and associate dean of the graduate college in 1965 and was promoted to Vice-Chancellor for Graduate Studies and Research in early 1968. Beginning in the fall semester of the 1968-1969 school year, he held the position of Chancellor of the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Dr. Olson was active in numerous professional and service organizations. He belonged to the Agricultural History Society and served as its vice-president 1961-1962, was a member of the council of the American Association for State and local History from 1948-1956, regional vice-president, 1956-1962 and president, 1962-1964, and was chairman of that organization's research and publications committee. He served as president of the University of Nebraska Chapter of the American Association of University Professors in 1964, served on the board of directors of the Nebraska State Historical Society (1956-1968), and was a member of the Council for Basic Education. Dr. Olson was a member of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association and served as its secretary-treasurer (1953-1956), a member of the board of editors, (1960-1963), and served on its executive committee from 1963-1966. He held the post of president of the Nebraska History and Social Studies Teachers Association from 1957-1958 and was president of the Nebraska Writers Guild from 1951-1953.

In addition to his biography of J. Sterling Morton, Dr. Olson is the author of History of Nebraska, 1955, Red Cloud and the Sioux Problem, 1965, and was a contributing editor to the Army Air Force in World War II, 1951, 1955. With his wife, Vera F. Olson, he published Nebraska is My Home, 1956, and This is Nebraska, 1960.
Scope & Content This collection consists of manuscript material and index files arranged in two Subgroups. Subgroup 1: Writings; and Subgroup 2: Correspondence and Subject Files. These materials related to James Olson's time with the Nebraska State Historical Society as well as the University of Nebraska.

The materials in Subgroup 1 are further divided into series which relate to the publication of Red Cloud and the Sioux Problem, J. Sterling Morton, the History of Nebraska and to various other writings, including articles, book reviews and speeches. Included are correspondence, research notes, and drafts of the manuscripts. Subgroup 2 consists of correspondence and subject files, much of it relating to his affiliations with various professional organizations.
Creator Olson, James Clifton, 1917-2005
Finding Aids James C. Olson finding aid
Related units of description See the photo component [RG1047.PH] for related images. Official records from Dr. Olson's time as Superintendent of the Nebraska State Historical Society are now part of RG14. See the NSHS Library catalog and the Nebraska History index for various published materials by James Olson.
Associated Material The UNL Archives holds additional James Olson papers relating to his time at the University.
Subjects Frontier & pioneer life
Historical societies
People Abbott, Ned Culbertson, 1874-1960
Cook, James Henry, 1857-1942
Creigh, Thomas Alfred, 1840-1909
Culbertson, Alexander, 1809-1879
Mason, James Murray, 1798-1871
Miles, Nelson Appleton, 1839-1925
Morton, Julius Sterling, 1832-1902
Olson, James Clifton, 1917-2005
O'Neill, John, 1834-1878
Red Cloud, 1822-1909
Sarpy, Peter Abadie, 1804-1865
Sellers, James Lee, 1891-1966
Sheldon, Addison Erwin, 1861-1943
Taylor, James
Search Terms American Association for State and Local History
American Historical Association
Arbor Day
Cambridge (Neb.) -- History
Cheyenne County (Neb.) -- History
Dodge County (Neb.) -- History
Fort Atkinson (Neb.)
Gosper County (Neb.) -- History
Hall County (Neb.) -- History
History -- Study and teaching
Lincoln (Neb.) -- Centennial
Minden (Neb.) -- History
Mississippi Valley Historical Association
Nebraska -- Culture
Nebraska City (Neb.) -- History
Nebraska State Historical Society
North Platte (Neb.) -- History
Omaha (Neb.) -- History
Phelps County (Neb.) -- History
Platte County (Neb.) -- History
Platte Valley -- History
Richardson County (Neb.) -- History
Sidney - Black Hills Trail
St. Paul's Methodist Church (Lincoln, Neb.)
Teachers -- Certification
Western History Association