UNL Libraries
Archives & Special Collections | Finding Aids

Erwin H. Barbour, Papers, Museum Photograph Series

Title: Erwin H. Barbour, Papers, Museum Photograph Series

Creator: Barbour, Erwin H., 1856-1947

Collector: University of Nebraska State Museum

Dates: 1889-1938

Quantity: 71 boxes  (30 linear feet)

Collection Number: RG 32-01-01

Language: English

Restrictions: None

Access and Use: For information on access or copyright, please see our guidelines or email archives@unl.edu.

Historical Records Statement: Please see our statement on historical records and materials.

Preferred Citation: Erwin H. Barbour, Museum Photographs Series (RG 32-01-01). Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.

Formats: Photographic prints, film negatives, and glass plate negatives


Erwin H. Barbour was born in Springfield, Indiana, on April 5, 1856. He received both his A.B. in 1882 and Ph.D. in 1887 from Yale University. He worked for the United States Paleontological Survey from 1882 to 1888 before becoming professor of natural history and geology at Iowa College in Grinnell, Iowa. In July 1891, he accepted the position of professor of geology and zoology at the University of Nebraska and became director of the State Museum. He remained a vital member of the university, community, and state for more than fifty years.

In 1891, Barbour made his first expedition to western Nebraska where he collected fossil and geological specimens and studied geological formations. This was the first of yearly expeditions to build the museum collection and to increase his knowledge of the state's natural resources. The author of more than 350 publications, Barbour wrote about such topics as paleontology, geology, and economic geology of Nebraska. He organized and served as the director of the Nebraska Geological Survey beginning in 1891 until 1921 when it became the Conservation and Survey Division of the University.

Barbour was responsible for preparing University of Nebraska exhibits for the 1896 Trans-Mississippi Exposition and award-winning exhibits related to education and natural resources in Nebraska for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. He received numerous additional honors, including a medal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the best designed homemade windmill in 1904 and the Lincoln Kiwanis Club medal for distinguished service as a teacher, scientist, and citizen in 1935.

Active in his fields of research and in his community, Barbour was a member of several scholarly and civic organizations. He belonged to the Geological Society of America, the Association of American Museums, the Paleontological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Nebraska Ornithologists Union, the Seismological Society, and the Nebraska Academy of Science. Barbour served on the school board, city park board, cemetery board, and city planning commission for Lincoln, Nebraska, and was chairman of the court of honor for the city's Boy Scouts. An artist who illustrated his own publications, Barbour designed mosaics for the Nebraska state capitol building and was a director of the Nebraska Art Association.

He was married to Margaret Roxanna Lamson in 1887 and they had one daughter, Eleanor Barbour. He died in 1947.

Scope and Content:

The materials in the photograph series relate to Barbour's research in paleontology and geology, his work as director of the State Museum, his civic involvement in Lincoln, Nebraska, and his personal life.

The images of vertebrate and invertebrate fossils are primarily from Nebraska. They include scenes of excavations, fossil preparation, and museum displays in addition to photographs illustrating fossils from various angles against plain backgrounds. There are also negatives showing fossil leaves and Barbour's sketches of fossils and animals. Images of fieldwork show aspects of daily life for paleontologists in the field.

The photographs show landscapes, landforms, bodies of water, and towns throughout Nebraska, particularly in the sandhills and badlands regions. Photographs of natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods, and ice jams are included. Many of the photographs relate to the economic geology of Nebraska and show industries in various communities, including photographs illustrating the construction and operations of the Nebraska Portland Cement Company in Superior, Nebraska. Also of note are photographic prints taken by geologist Nelson Horatio Darton that show lands in South Dakota and Nebraska.

Images from the University of Nebraska show activities and buildings on campus. Particularly interesting are photographs documenting the construction of Morrill Hall, from the plot of land before construction to the mounting of exhibits inside. The interiors and displays from earlier museums and group portraits of staff in the geology department are also included.

Photographs related to Barbour's personal life and family include scenes from his Yale University class reunion and group and individual family pictures. Among those related to his civic activities are images of Wyuka Cemetery, parks, a school garden project in Lincoln, Nebraska, and a Boy Scout camp. Street scenes and buildings in Lincoln, Nebraska, are also included.

Photographs taken on travels include images of college campuses, buildings, parks, cemeteries, and geological features. Displays and buildings from the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition and Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition are shown as well. Images related to Charles Henry Morrill include interiors of his home in Stromsburg, Nebraska.


Darton, Nelson Horatio, 1865-1948

Morrill, Charles Henry, 1842-1922

Alkali industry and trade







Cement industries


Cities & towns

Class reunions (Yale University)

Clay industries

Cork industry - Algeria



Economic geology

Educational facilities






Geology - fieldwork

Glacial landforms



Invertebrates, fossil

Lakes & ponds



Leaves, Fossil

Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904, Saint Louis, Mo.)

Mills and mill-work



Nebraska State Fair

Oil wells



Paleontology - Drawings

Paleontology - Fieldwork


Potash industry and trade





Sandhills (Neb.)


Stone buildings




Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition (1898: Omaha, Neb.)

Universities & colleges

Vertebrates, fossil




Zoological specimens

Bermuda Islands

Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)






Glacier National Park (Mont.)


Lincoln (Neb.)

Morrill Hall (University of Nebraska Lincoln)


New Orleans (La.)


South Dakota

Southern States


University of Nebraska (Lincoln campus)


Vancouver (B.C.)

Washington (State)

Yellowstone National Park

Barbour family

Cook family (Agate, Neb.)

Series Description: Series 1: Photograph Series

The photograph series consists of black and white photographic prints, glass plate negatives, and black and white negatives.

The items are arranged by format, and negatives of both types are grouped according to size. In each format items are arranged chronologically. Within each year, items with the same alphabetical suffix are grouped together. The photographic prints are mounted on numbered cards. Each folder number corresponds to the number of the card inside it.

Subjects for the photographic prints and negatives are available on index cards. The collection number is located in the upper right corner of each index card, along with a "P" to indicate a print or an "N" to indicate a negative. Located on the left, the item number consists of three or four sets of numbers separated by dashes. The last two digits of an item number indicate the year from which it dates. Often the item number also contains an alphabetical suffix. To the right of each item number is the item's description. The card numbers of mounted prints appear below the description and are preceded by a pound sign. A print may be located by determining the card on which it is mounted, selecting the folder of the same number, and then choosing the print labeled with the correct item number. Volumes and page numbers listed on the index cards refer to photo albums. Alternate formats of an image may be noted on the index card.

Container List: Box 1. Folder 00-142. Photographic prints, 1900-1904 Box 2. Folder 143-285. Photographic prints, 1904-1906 Box 3 . Folder 286-447. Photographic prints, 1906-1907 Box 4 . Folder 448-603. Photographic prints, 1907-1909 Box 5 . Folder 604-741. Photographic prints, 1910-1911 Box 6 . Folder 742-903. Photographic prints, 1912-1913 Box 7 . Folder 904-1044. Photographic prints, 1913-1914 Box 8 . Folder 1045-1184. Photographic prints, 1914-1916 Box 9 . Folder 1185-1332. Photographic prints, 1916-1920 Box 10 . Folder 1333-1474. Photographic prints, 1920-1926, 1933 Box 11 . Folder 1475-1620. Photographic prints, 1926-1931 Box 12 . Folder 1621-1745. Photographic prints, 1931-1939, undated Box 13 . Folder 1746-1921. Photographic prints, 1890s, 1912-1914, 1926-1929, 1934, undated Box 14 . Folder 1922-2002. Photographic prints, 1889-1892, 1900, 1913-1914, 1938, undated Box 15. Glass plate negatives, 1894-1897Nos. 2-15-5-94 UGC to 5-14-5-97, including suffixes UGC and Cornell Box 16. Glass plate negatives, 1897-1899Nos. 7-3-7-97 to 9-13-8-99 C, including suffixes Cornell and C Box 17. Glass plate negatives, 1899-1901Nos. 10-13-8-99 Cornell to 4-5-2-01, including suffixes Cornell, C, M, and UGC Box 18. Glass plate negatives, 1901-1904Nos. 10-5-2-01 Cornell to 4-5-2-01, including suffixes Cornell, M, A, H, and EHB Box 19. Glass plate negatives, 1904-1906Nos. 10-18-10-04 to 2-3-4-06 Condra, including suffixes C and Condra Box 20. Glass plate negatives, 1906Nos. 9-3-06 Cornell to 3-10-5-06 Cornell, including suffixes Cornell and Condra Box 21. Glass plate negatives, 1906-1907Nos. 18-5-06 Condra to 5-9-12-07, including suffixes Condra, Cornell, S, and D Box 22. Glass plate negatives, 1908-1929Nos. 24-13-1-08 to 13-15-3-29 Cornell, including suffixes Cornell, FHS, Keller, and K Box 23. Glass plate negatives, 1891-1892Nos. 30-6-91 to 5-11-7-92, including suffix B Box 24. Glass plate negatives, 1892-1894Nos. 2-12-7-92 to 6-7-12-00, including suffixes Cornell and Barbour Box 25. Glass plate negatives, 1895-1896Nos. 1-5-95 to 17-23-11-96, including items with suffix EHB Box 26. Glass plate negatives, 1896-1898Nos. 18-23-11-96 to 9-18-8-98 Box 27. Glass plate negatives, 1898-1899Nos. 2-19-8-98 to 6-6-4-99 Box 28. Glass plate negatives, 1899Nos. 7-6-4-99 to 2-8-8-99 F, including suffixes EHB, Cornell, C, and F Box 29. Glass plate negatives, 1899-1900Nos. 3-8-8-99 F to 3-28-6-00 W, including suffixes F, EFS, UGC, and W Box 30. Glass plate negatives, 1900-1902Nos. 4-28-6-00 W to 4-15-11-02, including suffix W Box 31. Glass plate negatives, 1902-1909, 1912-1914, 1916Nos. 5-15-11-02 to 2-29-10-16 JHB, including suffixes B, EHB, K, Keller, JBB, and JHB Box 32. Glass plate negatives, 1900, 1916, undatedNos. 3-29-10-16 JHB to 6-8-10-00, including suffixes JHB, Whitford, and W Box 33. Glass plate negatives, 1900-1903Nos. 2-9-10-00 to 5-12-03 Box 34. Glass plate negatives, 1904-1913Nos. 28-3-04 C to 2-20-1-13 G, including suffixes C, JBB, RAG, EFS, EHB, and G Box 35. Glass plate negatives, 1913-1914Nos. 22-1-13 G to 1-14-1-14 FHS, including suffixes G, EFS, S, FHS, and Elmore Box 36. Glass plate negatives, 1914Nos. 2-14-1-14 FHS to 1-28-10-14, including suffix FHS Box 37. Glass plate negatives, 1914-1915Nos. 2-28-10-14 Shoemaker to 25-1-4-15 FHS, including suffixes Shoemaker, FHS, and ACW Box 38. Glass plate negatives, 1915Nos. 25-1-4-15 FHS to 39-30-6-15 FHS, including suffix FHS Box 39. Glass plate negatives, 1915-1916Nos. 37-30-6-15 to 2-18-9-16 FHS, including suffixes FHS, W, Keller, K, and EHB Box 40. Glass plate negatives, 1916Nos. 2a-18-9-16 FHS to 2-24-8-16, including suffixes FHS and Hans Box 41. Glass plate negatives, 1916-1918Nos. 1-27-8-16 Hans to 15-7-18 FHS, including suffixes Hans and FHS Box 42. Glass plate negatives, 1918-1919Nos. 15-7-18 FHS to 43-1-6-19 FHS, including suffix FHS Box 43. Glass plate negatives, 1919Nos. 44-1-6-19 FHS to 94-1-6-19 FHS, including suffix FHS Box 44. Glass plate negatives, 1919Nos. 95-1-6-19 FHS to 143-1-6-19 FHS, including suffix FHS Box 45. Glass plate negatives, 1919-1920Nos. 144-1-6-19 FHS to 6-25-3-20 FHS, including suffixes FHS and UGC Box 46. Glass plate negatives, 1920-1923Nos. 7-25-3-20 FHS to 4-1-2-23 FHS, including suffix FHS Box 47. Glass plate negatives, 1923Nos. 5-1-2-23 FHS to 3-1-9-23 FHS, including suffixes FHS, Cornell, UGC, and Shoemaker Box 48. Glass plate negatives, 1923-1925Nos. 32-1-9-23 FHS to 2-15-8-25 FHS, including suffix FHS Box 49. Glass plate negatives, 1925Nos. 3-15-8-25 FHS to 45-15-8-25 FHS, including suffix FHS Box 50. Glass plate negatives, 1925-1926Nos. 46-15-9-25 FHS to 15-19-8-26 FHS, including suffixes FHS and Shanafelt Box 51. Glass plate negatives, 1926-1928Nos. 16-19-8-26 to 9-1-8-28, including suffixes FHS and EHB Box 52. Glass plate negatives, 1928-1936, undatedNos. 10-1-8-28 to 1983-85, including suffixes FHS and Shoemaker Box 53. Negatives, 1900-1913, 1922-1936Nos. 2-4-7-05 Cornell to 1-6-3-36 Hale, including suffixes Cornell, Welch, NP, SP, and Hale Box 54. Negatives, 1936-1938Nos. 1-7-3-36 Hale to 1938 Hale, including suffix Hale Box 55. Negatives, 1893-1911Nos. 22-6-93 to 1-12-7-11 EHB, including suffixes Burnett, Cornell, Condra, and EHB Box 56. Negatives, 1911Nos. 2-12-7-11 to 1-11-7-11 EFS, including suffixes EHB, JBB, D, G, and EFS Box 57. Negatives, 1911-1912Nos. 1-24-8-11G to 12-8-12 Burnett, including suffixes G, EFS, EHB, JBB, and Burnett Box 58. Negatives, 1912Nos. 12-9-12 Burnett to 3-2-12-12, including suffixes Burnett, EFS, and EHB Box 59. Negatives, 1912-1913Nos. 4-2-12-12 to 24-26-3-13 EFS, including suffixes EFS, EHB and G Box 60. Negatives, 1913Nos. 26-29-3-13 EFS to 6-6-1-13 ACW, including suffixes EFS, DGW, ACW Box 61. Negatives, 1913-1914Nos. 1-8-1-13 ACW to A-79-18-3N, including suffixes ACW, W, Whitford, EHB, EFS, Schramm, FHS, and N Box 62. Negatives, 1915-1916Nos. 2-29-7-15 CAB to 5-31-12-16 EHB, including suffixes CAB, EHB, JBB, and HJC Box 63. Negatives, 1916-1917Nos. 1-8-1-16 JB to 11-11-17 EHB, including suffixes JBB, E, Ellis, Hager, Richmond, Smith, and EHB Box 64. Negatives, 1918-1919Nos. 1-6-4-18 EHB to 15-21-8-19, including suffix EHB Box 65. Negatives, 1919-1920Nos. 23-8-19 EHB to 1-29-7-20 EHB, including items with suffix EHB Box 66. Negatives, 1920-1926Nos. 2-29-7-20 EHB to 3-29-26, including suffixes EHB, Whyman, and Cornell Box 67. Negatives, 1926-1929, 1981-1983Nos. 1981-1 to 15-5-29 Cornell, including suffixes Cornell and Colbert Box 68. Negatives, 1926, 1929Nos. 15-5-29C to 8-20-26 MS, including suffixes C, Cornell, and MS Box 69. Negatives, 1926, 1930-1935Nos. 8-20-26 MS to 4-19-8-26 FHS, including suffixes MS, Cornell, and Welch Box 70. Negatives, 1926-1936, undatedNos. 5-19-8-26 Cornell to 88-1-12-36, un-numbered negatives of Barbour sketches, including suffix Cornell Box 71. Panoramic negatives, undatedItem 1. Nos. 2-8-04-01 to 9-4-1-13 EHB, including suffixes EHB and B
Related Material and Resources: Many of the photographs in this collection may be found in the Erwin H. Barbour Museum Photograph Series available through the University Libraries' Image and Multimedia Databases.

If you have questions about the Archives & Special Collections, please email "archives@unl.edu."
Finding Aids | Archives & Special Collections | UNL Libraries | UNL Home
© University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries | Lincoln, NE 68588-4100 | 402-472-9568 | comments to: Web Team