Buffalo Bill, artists, poets discussed in Great Plains Quarterly

Released on 08/20/2007, at 10:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., August 20th, 2007 —

In the summer issue of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Great Plains Quarterly, researchers wrote about how William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) helped save the American bison from extinction, how Henry Worrall encouraged settlement in Kansas in the 1870s through his paintings of an idyllic landscape, and how William Reed Dunroy started his career as a poet and reporter in Nebraska in 1894.

In "How William F. Cody Helped Save the Buffalo Without Really Trying," UNL history graduate student David Nesheim writes about the contradiction between Cody's early career as a buffalo hunter and his later use of bison in his "Wild West" show. "Buffalo Bill's 'Wild West' exposed millions of North Americans and Europeans to live buffalo, offering an opportunity to watch them in action," Nesheim wrote. "Seeing a display of mounted animals at a museum, or one of two in a small enclosure at a zoo, was one thing; watching them run at full gallop was quite another."

Kansas State University geographer Karen De Bres focuses on how the Kansas frontier of the 1870s was presented to potential settlers. At that time, the railroads owned one-sixth of the land and were anxious to depict that land through visual images of promised wealth and happiness. Henry Worrall (1825-1902), considered the "first artist of Kansas," helped persuade farmers to buy railroad land through drawings that appeared to be illustrations of genuine frontier farming. De Bres writes, "Worrall's pictures helped create or at least reinforce some of the common stereotypes about the American frontier and the characteristics and identities of its inhabitants."

In "'Young Poets Write What They Know': William Reed Dunroy, Poet of the Plains," UNL English graduate student Carrie Shipers takes an in-depth look at a writer whose poetry and prose described what he knew best and cared about most deeply -- the Great Plains. One of Dunroy's early poems, "Nebrasky," appeared on the front cover of the University of Nebraska's 1898 yearbook. Shipers writes, "This poem would become one of Dunroy's most frequently reprinted works."

Great Plains Quarterly is published by the Center for Great Plains Studies at UNL. The journal may be purchased in the Great Plains Art Museum gift shop at 1155 Q St., or by calling the center at (402) 472-3082. Order forms are available online at www.unl.edu/plains.

CONTACT: Charles Braithwaite, Editor, Great Plains Quarterly, (402) 472-6168