Have you ever wondered what it was like to live from the late 1800s to the late 1900s and experience all of the technological advances and a variety of major historical moments that happened heavily through the 20th century?
Frederick Nussbaum and his wife, Cecil Rigby Nussbaum, were born in 1885 and 1897, respectively. The Nussbaums lived through major events like World War I and World War II, and Fred even served in WWI.
After dating for some time, Fred and Cecil were engaged on December 10, 1917. They officially announced their engagement on February 15, 1918 and Cecil Collin Rigby became Mrs. Frederick Louis Nussbaum on March 16, 1918. After the war ended, Cecil and Fred lived to France for a few years and then they returned to the States. Fred took a job as the history professor for Temple University in Philadelphia, but he was let go from there for being “too radical for the good of the school.” After Temple University, the Nussbaums moved to Los Angeles where Fred taught at the University of Southern California as a ‘supply’ instructor. Even after some business venture, things were not looking good for the two, so they returned to Paris. In 1925, the Nussbaums returned to the U.S. for Fred to start his career with the University of Wyoming, which would last until his sudden death in 1956.
The Nussbaums traveled regularly, and even after Fred’s death, Cecil continued to travel the United States and the world. Some of the places that they frequented were France, California, and Washington D.C. Fred often served as a visiting professor for other schools such as the University of Texas, Harvard, Western Reserve, University of Minnesota, and New York University. They traveled often for family events and they had busy lives and went to many parties.
The Nussbaum’s moved to Laramie in 1925 as Fred accepted a position as a professor of history at the University of Wyoming and Cecil, being a pianist, performed programs and taught students in Laramie. Cecil “was granted the first bachelor’s degree in music at the University of Wyoming.” Fred accomplished many articles and books during his lifetime. Two of those books being A History of the Economic Institutions of Europe, and The Triumph of Science and Reason. On the University of Wyoming campus, the Nussbaums’ dog, Kako, was often brought to class and an article dedicated to him on his passing reads:
In his later years Kako picked up student habits. He would lie down near the front row of sets, sleep until the end of class, then get up and leave promptly when it was finished. Then, too, Kako would skip a class on occasion. Once while loitering in the Campus Shop, Kako found a student who should have been in history class. While Kako eyed him, the student became flustered, left for class in a hurry.
Cecil and Fred were heavy supporters of the Democratic Party. Cecil traveled to Washington D.C. where she worked for Senator Gale McGee as an assistant for almost ten years through the Eisenhower Presidency and through John F. Kennedy’s and Lyndon B. Johnson’s terms.
To learn more about Frederick and Cecil Nussbaum, see the Frederick L. Nussbaum and Cecil Rigby Nussbaum papers at the American Heritage Center.
– Submitted by MaKayla Garnica, University of Wyoming student and AHC’s Carlson intern.
 Cecil Nussbaum of many accomplishments in her 90th year newspaper article, Box #3, Frederick Louis Nussbaum and Cecil Rigby Nussbaum papers, 1882-2002, 400033, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.