Wyoming and the End of World War I

By the autumn of 1918 during World War I, Germany found itself bereft of manpower and supplies and was faced with imminent invasion. The country’s leaders requested an armistice from the Allies to end fighting on land, sea and air. Also known as the Armistice of Compiègne from the place where it was signed, it came into force at 11 a.m. Paris time on November 11, 1918 (“the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”) and marked a victory for the Allies and a defeat for Germany, although not formally a surrender. Although the armistice ended the fighting, it needed to be prolonged three times until the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed on June 28, 1919, took effect on January 10, 1920.

Thousands of Americans, including many from Wyoming, were demobilized near Cheyenne through Fort D. A. Russell, which had also served as a major mobilization point at the start of the war.


Cheyenne photographer Joseph E. Stimson labeled this photograph “Red Cross workers, Liberty Loan Drive.” Joseph E. Stimson photographs, Accession #1208, Box 3, Folder 1, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Gov. Robert D. Carey, who had won the 1918 election, appropriated $10,000 for a fund to welcome the soldiers home. There are apparently no records of how this money was spent. However, plenty of projects sprang up to ease the soldiers’ transition back to civilian life.

 The Wyoming State Tribune reported on March 24, 1919, “ninety-eight per cent of … [returning soldiers] will get their own old jobs back, or a job equally as good.” This effort was coordinated by Edward P. Taylor, U.S. Labor Commissioner for Wyoming.


Monument to University of Wyoming students and graduates and to Albany County residents who served in World War I. The monument was erected in 1924 at the intersection of 2nd Street and Thornburgh (now Ivinson Avenue) in downtown Laramie. After a few years, the monument was moved to the corner of Sixth Street and Ivinson Avenue near the Albany County Courthouse. Ludwig Svenson Collection, Accession #167, Negative #11566.3, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

An article in the same issue announced that the YMCA National War Work Council had opened headquarters in downtown Cheyenne. The Council expected to facilitate soldiers’ travel home and to funnel information to them from various agencies such as the U.S. employment bureau.

By order of the War Department, the War Camp Community Service also planned a soldiers’ club in Cheyenne. The club was to include a lounge, writing room, pool tables and a room for pressing uniforms and shining shoes.


Soldier’s amusement hall at Fort D.A. Russell. Photo file: Fort D.A. Russell, Wyoming, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Four bond drives were held during the war, all Liberty Loans, and one bond drive was held after the war—the Victory Loan. Wyoming residents purchased $23.6 million worth of Liberty Bonds. Victory Bonds paid 4.75 percent, and Wyoming purchased $7.2 million of these. Charitable donations in Wyoming totaled an additional $1.4 million, with individuals giving, giving, giving, “until it hurt.”


World War I Liberty Loan poster. Edward Lyman Munson papers, Accession #5526, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Visit the American Heritage Center to see a display of original materials regarding Wyoming’s involvement in World War I. The display is located in the Centennial Complex lobby and is available for viewing from November 6 through November 16, 2018.

– Sections of this post were excerpted from “Life on the Home Front: Wyoming During World War I” by Rebecca Hein, WyoHistory.org.


Posted in exhibits, found in the archive, military history, Politics, Uncategorized, University of Wyoming history, World War I, Wyoming history | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Adventures in the 20th Century: The Frederick and Cecil Nussbaum papers

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.[1]  They officially announced their engagement on February 15, 1918 and Cecil Collin Rigby became Mrs. Frederick Louis Nussbaum on March 16, 1918.[2]  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.”[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]


Cecil and Fred Nussbaum. Frederick Louis Nussbaum and Cecil Rigby Nussbaum papers, Accession #400033, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming


The Nussbaum’s wedding announcement. Frederick Louis Nussbaum and Cecil Rigby Nussbaum papers, Accession #400033, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming

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.[6] They traveled often for family events and they had busy lives and went to many parties.


The Nussbaums with their dog Kako. Frederick Louis Nussbaum and Cecil Rigby Nussbaum papers, Accession #400033, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming

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.”[7] 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.[8] 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.


Wyoming U.S. Senator Gale McGee and Cecil Nussbaum at Fred’s retirement party. Frederick Louis Nussbaum and Cecil Rigby Nussbaum papers, Accession #400033, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming


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.

                [1] Diary of Cecil Collin Rigby, 1913-1918, Box #5, Frederick Louis Nussbaum and Cecil Rigby Nussbaum papers, 1882-2002, 400033, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

                [2] Cecil Collin Rigby Diary, 1918-1923, Box #5, Frederick Louis Nussbaum and Cecil Rigby Nussbaum papers, 1882-2002, 400033, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

                [3] Frederick Louis Nussbaum biography, Box #2, Frederick Louis Nussbaum and Cecil Rigby Nussbaum papers, 1882-2002, 400033, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

                [4] Frederick Louis Nussbaum biography, Box #2, Frederick Louis Nussbaum and Cecil Rigby Nussbaum papers, 1882-2002, 400033, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

                [5] Frederick Louis Nussbaum memorandum, Box #2, Frederick Louis Nussbaum and Cecil Rigby Nussbaum papers, 1882-2002, 400033, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

                [6] Frederick Louis Nussbaum biography, Box #2, Frederick Louis Nussbaum and Cecil Rigby Nussbaum papers, 1882-2002, 400033, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

                [7] 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.

                [8] Frederick Louis Nussbaum biography, Box #2, Frederick Louis Nussbaum and Cecil Rigby Nussbaum papers, 1882-2002, 400033, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Posted in found in the archive, Interns' projects, Student projects, Uncategorized, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history, Wyoming history | Tagged | Leave a comment

Attack of the Killer…Shrews?

With it being the Halloween season, it seems appropriate to take note of a gruesome creature of movie land that may have haunted our dreams, or is kitschy enough to have  made us roll our eyes in disbelief.

You’ve heard of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, giant ants, blobs, and even clowns. But what about shrews? A shrew is small mole-like animal that looks like a long-nosed mouse. They’re actually rather cute.  Shrews are commonly found in North American gardens and farms, so maybe you’ve run across one.


Photo: Shutterstock

But what about giant ferocious shrews? Now that’s something to reckon with. In 1959, during a period of science fiction film mania, shrews were enlarged in body size and teeth, to become The Killer Shrews.


Such a scary sight that we can only show you the tail! Forrest J Ackerman collection, Accession Number 2358, Box 116, UW American Heritage Center.

As you might expect, there is a mad scientist involved. In this case, the scientist’s purpose is to shrink humans to half their size to reduce world hunger because he reasons that being smaller, humans will consume less food in a world with a limited food supply. Plausible, right? But his serum, which he’s been testing on the local unsuspecting shrew population, has instead created mutant giant shrews that have – gasp! – escaped and are now reproducing outside in the wild, growing larger and more voracious day-by-day.

Luckily, there is a rough and ready type to outsmart the shrews. And a lovely female to inspire him. Unfortunately, she brings along an inconvenient fiancé. But – spoiler-alert – the shrews make fast work of that guy.

So, what do ferocious killer shrews look like? Are you ready?


“Killer shrews.” Courtesy https://non-aliencreatures.fandom.com/wiki/Killer_Shrew

Um…they look kind of like…dogs. That’s because they are dogs! For wide shots, coonhounds were costumed as the shrews. Close-ups of the shrews were filmed using hand puppets.


Handpuppet shrew. http://kaiju.wikidot.com/wiki:killer-shrew

If you watch the film’s trailer below, you may recognize one of the stars – James Best, who went on to become the inept sheriff of Hazzard County, Georgia, in the television series The Dukes of Hazzard that ran from 1979 to 1985.

It was James Best’s destiny was to reunite with the shrews when he appeared in a 2012 remake, The Return of the Killer Shrews, that featured somewhat more high-tech shrews courtesy of computer-generated imagery. And – guess what – his Dukes of Hazzard former nemesis Bo Duke (John Schneider) was in on the fun too.

So, if you’re considering which Halloween costume to don this year, why not try for the killer shrew look? Or possibly you can costume your dog, especially if it’s a coonhound.

The American Heritage Center has a treasure trove of movie posters and publicity stills that attest to the popularity of science fiction and horror genres, particularly during the 1950s.



Posted in Current events, events, Fantasy, Holidays, Horror, Motion picture actors and actresses, motion picture history, popular culture, science fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrating 200th anniversary of Frankenstein

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.


Mary Shelley, 1831. Artist : Stump, Samuel John (1778-1863). Fine Art Images/Heritage Images / Getty Images

In the novel, Shelley (1797-1851) tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who builds a sapient creature in his laboratory through an ambiguous method consisting of chemistry and alchemy. The monster is described in the novel as 8-foot-tall, hideously ugly, but sensitive and emotional.


Boris Karloff portrays the creature created by Victor Frankenstein, 1931. Forrest J. Ackerman papers, UW American Heritage Center.

The monster attempts to fit into human society but is shunned. He later begs Victor Frankenstein to create a mate for him, a monster equally grotesque to serve as his sole companion. Victor at first refuses, then acquiesces to the creature’s demand.  But, horrified by the possible consequences of his work, Victor destroys his new creation. The monster, enraged, in turn murders Victor’s new bride. By the end of the novel, both the creature and its creator have come to tragic ends.


Publicity still from the film The Bride of Frankenstein, 1935. Forrest J. Ackerman papers, UW American Heritage Center.

To commemorate the book’s anniversary and celebrate the continued interest of Frankenstein in its various forms, the American Heritage Center is showcasing Frankenstein materials from the Forrest J. Ackerman papers, as well as an 1832 edition of the book from the AHC’s Toppan Library.


Title page of 1832 edition held in the American Heritage Center’s Toppan Rare Books Library.

The AHC has placed copies of posters of movie adaptations of the novel at the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts. The exhibit runs through November 2, 2018.

You can also visit the AHC to see a display reflecting Frankenstein’s influence on pop culture, including original materials such as the 1832 book, photos from movie sets, and fan letters from the Famous Monsters of Filmland fanzine. There are also copies of movie posters. Additionally, there is a digital display of materials in the AHC’s Loggia. The exhibit will be on display until November 2, 2018.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Celebrate Frankenstein Friday on October 26, 2018. It is held each year on the last Friday in October.

On October 26 at noon the UW Libraries will screen the film Young Frankenstein in Coe Library, Room 123, followed at 2pm by a screening of The Bride of Frankenstein, also at Coe in Room 123. A panel discussion will follow each screening. Both events are free.

– Post submitted by Rachel Gattermeyer, AHC Digital Programs Archivist and curator of the AHC’s Frankenstein exhibits.

Posted in announcements, Authors and literature, Current events, events, exhibits, found in the archive, Frankenstein, Horror, Motion picture actors and actresses, motion picture history, Photographic collections, science fiction, television history, Uncategorized, University of Wyoming | Tagged , | Leave a comment

AHC Exhibit for Homecoming Week, October 13-20

While you are out and about planning your attendance at all of the fantastic events around campus and Laramie, please don’t forget to stop by the UW American Heritage Center and check out our Homecoming exhibit on the main floor of the Centennial Complex (2nd floor).

Homecoming is an annual tradition in the United States. People, towns, high schools, and colleges come together, usually in late September or early October, to welcome back alumni and former residents.


Three University of Wyoming majorettes doing the can-can, Homecoming 1941. UW American Heritage Center photo file: University of Wyoming — Homecoming — 1941

Early homecoming events all had similar characteristics: a football game served as a center point; the events included rallies, parades, dances and dinners. The intention was to unite alumni and students to create a stronger sense of school pride, and they were wildly successful.

ah100263_early football

University of Wyoming football team with their mascot, 1895. Holliday family papers, Accession #347, Box 11 A, Folder 9, UW American Heritage Center, 

Using these early events as an example, homecoming celebrations quickly became popular on college and university campuses and by the 1920s homecoming across the U.S. became an American tradition. The first University of Wyoming Cowboys Homecoming was in 1922, spear-headed by longtime UW geology professor Dr. Samuel H. Knight, whose papers are at the AHC.


Colorful collection material included in the exhibit are:

1920 scrapbook with Homecoming souvenirs from the Josephine Irby collection,

1933 Homecoming photos from the Ruth Finch Powers and the Holliday Family collections,

1985 and 1990 Homecoming parade photos from the Multicultural Resource Center records,

Newspaper clippings of 1932 and 1985 Homecoming parades found in the Ralph McWhinnie collection,

Handmade flag and “Letter Sweater” (1920) from the Margaret Plumb collection,

Student beret, scrapbook and dance cards (1919) from the Elma Brown collection, and

University of Wyoming jacket and track jersey (1920) from the Ralph McWhinnie collection.

– Submitted by Vicki Glantz, UW American Heritage Center Reference Department.

Posted in Centennial Complex, Current events, events, exhibits, found in the archive, Homecoming, Local history, Uncategorized, University of Wyoming history, Wyoming history | Tagged , | Leave a comment

2018 marks the 20th remembrance of Matthew Shepard’s murder

To honor Matthew Shepard’s memory and continue efforts to strengthen compassion and inclusivity in our community for LGBTQ+ and all social identities, the American Heritage Center curated an exhibit that is on display until October 31 at the Buchanan Performing Center of the Arts. It is also on display digitally in the Loggia of the Centennial Complex until October 20 and in the breezeway of the Wyoming Union on October 10, 11, 12, 22, and 25.


Postcard from the Matthew Shepard Foundation, circa 2008.
Spectrum records, Collection #300518, UW American Heritage Center.

The exhibit contains a page from a memory book created by Rulon F. Stacey, an administrator at Poudre Valley Hospital when Shepard was admitted. Shepard died at the hospital on October 12, 1998 from a severe beating that occurred near Laramie. The memory book contains notes from Poudre Valley Hospital employees, a photograph, newspaper clippings, and correspondence relating to Shepard.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Angel Action,” an activist group of people dressed as angels with large wings, was founded by Matthew’s friends Romaine Patterson and Jim Osborne to contrast Fred Phelps’ messages of hate and intolerance during protests at Matthew’s funeral and the anticipated protests outside of the courthouse for the trials of Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. Angel Action participation in protests was in a silent, peaceful, and loving manner.

Angels 2

Angels in front of the Wyoming Union on UW campus. Wyoming Union records, Collection #513007, UW American Heritage Center.

Students and community members marched in Laramie in support of Matthew Shepard and tolerance. The University of Wyoming United Multicultural Council’s armbands represent UW students and the UW community unifying against any and all acts of violence and disrespect toward any other human being. The green circle is the international sign of peace and the yellow background is a symbol of intolerance for violence.

Laramie street

Students and community members march in Laramie, undated.
Matthew Shepard Collection, Accession #300014, UW American Heritage Center.

Current memorials at the University of Wyoming aspire to promote the message of compassion, community, and hope through activities and programs that emphasize an understanding of social justice that is intersectional in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, and class.

– Text submitted by Sara Davis, AHC University Archivist.




Posted in announcements, Centennial Complex, Current events, events, exhibits, found in the archive, LGBTQIA+, Matthew Shepard, Transgender people, Uncategorized, Under-documented communities, University of Wyoming history, Violence - history, Wyoming history | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Lovell’s Latin American Colony

In 1916, the sugar beet industry brought the first serious wave of Mexican-speaking migrants to Lovell: betabeleros, the beet workers, to hoe the fields and help with the harvest. Yet most were not Mexican nationals, but rather Spanish-speaking people from Texas, New Mexico and southeastern Colorado, wrote Augustine Redwine, then a graduate student at the University of Wyoming, in a Fall 1979 Annals of Wyoming article, “Lovell’s Mexican Colony”. While many of the workers were still “Mexican Na­tionals,” they had immigrated earlier and had already received resident/worker status when the Great Western Company recruited them. Some stayed, but most moved back to Texas or the Southwest.


Undated post card showing a side view of the Great Western Company factory in Lovell. Photo file: Wyoming – Lovell, UW American Heritage Center.

Redwine recounted the experience of the Rodriguez family who came to Lovell in 1924 to work for the Great Western Company:

The Rodriguez family gathered their possessions and boarded the train in El Paso on May 2, 1924. Three full cars of people from all parts of Texas and Mexico made the train trip to Lovell with only one stopover on the way. At the stop in Denver, they received further instructions about where they were going. Accommodations were cramped and they were never allowed to leave the train. Bologna sandwiches, sar­dines, and coffee were provided for meals. When Secundino and his family arrived in Lovell, a farmer was waiting to take them to his farm and the one-room house he had for them. They also saw the acreage they were to work for the first time. It was not a small plot like the re­cruiter told them. Their main duties included not only work­ing the beets but feeding the cattle as well. Rodriguez’s nephew Eusebio was recruited by a free-lance recruiter who took his money then told him his destination was Oregon. Instead, he was sent to Boise, Idaho. He came to Lovell in 1924.

There are conflicting opinions as to the date the Lovell colony was established. One long-time Lovell resident said there were some houses in the greasewood area later known as the Colony before 1923. The Great Western company’s magazine, Through the Leaves, printed two photographs of the Colony houses in 1924, indicating that the Colony had only been established that year. While accounts vary as to the number of houses built there, no more than 20 were in existence at any one time. They lined a single unpaved road at the end of which stood a building, about twice the size of the residences, that served as a meeting house.

In 1927, early in the colony’s history, residents formed an organization, the Comision Honorifica (Honorary Commis­sion) for both social and political reasons. At one point there were 30 members, according to Eusebio Rodriguez. The Comision controlled the community meeting house, known as “El Salon,” where social functions were held as frequently as once a week. In El Salon the area’s laborers celebrated Mexi­can national holidays which occurred nearly every month. The Comision had committees like the Comite Pa­triotico (Patriotic Committee) whose chief function was to plan Mexican holiday parties.


Undated photograph of El Salon function in Lovell. Hugo G. Janssen Photographs, Accession #11712, Box 2, Folder 5, UW American Heritage Center.

The organizers of the Comision, Nicolas and Manuel Almazan, formed it to fight discrimination and to seek help from the Mexican consul in Denver if residents needed assis­tance from the outside. The social function came later. While American-born laborers could go to the police and other authorities if they had difficulties, the Mexican citizen believed his only hope lay with the Mexi­can consul. The Comision was the link to the consul.

Complaints of discrimination in bars, the local pool hall and restaurants were frequently made. Even in the local Catholic Church, seating for the Mexicans was divided from that for “whites.” At one point, Mexicans and African-Americans were refused admittance to bars altogether. The policy was amended to allow them to purchase beer or liquor in the bar although they were still prohibited from consuming their purchases on the premises. The sugar company re­mained silent about the discrimination so the only recourse was a complaint process to allow the Mexican consul to intercede in such cases.

The Comision existed until 1940 when Mexican member­ship dropped off. The founders, the Almazan brothers, left that year and the others moved away to join the war effort, returned to Mexico or simply lost interest. The Colony was demolished in 1954. At that time, there were 20 houses, and the majority of the residents were related to Secundino Rodriguez. When the colony closed, they found quarters in town or in the surrounding area.

Excerpted from “Lovell’s Mexican Colony” by Augustin Redwine, Annals of Wyoming 51 (Fall 1979): pp. 26-35.

Posted in Agricultural history, community collections, Immigration, Local history, Mexican-American history, Uncategorized, Under-documented communities, Western history, Wyoming history | Leave a comment