The beginning of the Nebraska State Historical was made August 26, 1867, when David Butler, Thomas P. Kennard and John J. Gillespie, commissioners appointed by an act of the legislature to select a site for a state capital for the state of Nebraska, filed a plat of the new capital city in the office of the county clerk of Lancaster County.
On this plat block 29, lying between Q and R, 9th and 10th Streets, at the southwest corner of the present university campus, were designated State Historical and Library Association block
On the same day articles of incorporation of the State Historical and Library Association were filed in the same county clerk's office.
On February 15, 1869, the Legislature by Joint resolution confirmed the action of the three commissioners.
Nothing further was done toward the realization of these early aims until the appearance of a letter to the public dated Brownville, Aug. 1, 1878, and signed by Robert W. Furnas. The letter was addressed to a number of prominent citizens and asked the use of their names in calling a meeting to organize a State Historical Society.
Upon the evening of September 25, 1873 a meeting was held at Commercial Hotel in Lincoln, at which the following persons appeared and organized a Nebraska State Historical Society: Dr. George L. Miller, Chris Hartman and J. T. Allan, Douglas County; Gov. Silas Garber and H. S. Kaley, Webster County;
S. R. Thompson, T. P. Kennard, W. W. Wilson and Samuel Aughey. Lancaster County; Rev. J. M. Taggart and J. H. Croxton, Otoe County; C. H. Walker, Franklin County; L. Crounse and E. N. Grenell, Washington County; Prof. C. D. Wilbur. Saline County; J Q Gross, Sarpy County; D. H. Wheeler
and Wm. Gilmore, Cass County; O. T. B. Williams, Seward County: L. B. Fifield, Buffalo County; Rev L. B.W. Shyrock and E. Shugart, Gage County; Wm Adair, Dakota County, and Robt. W. Furnas, Nemaha County.
Robert W. Furnas was elected president, and Prof. Samuel Aughey, of the state university, secretary.
Since its organization in l878, the society has had continuous experience and its work of collecting, organizing and preserving the historical material relating to Nebraska has gone forward.
It has published eighteen volumes of Nebraska history, besides a number of pamphlets. It publishes a quarterly magazine, “Nebraska History and Record of Pioneer Days.”
It has accumulated a museum of 40,000 specimens; it has a library of 52,000 books and pamphlets;
it has in its collection 10,000 volumes of Nebraska newspapers.
It has 1,300 members, distributing over the entire state.