Tribute to Alice Howell
See also: "Alice Shaneyfelt Howell:
Friend of Kearney-Friend of Buffalo County Historical Society" by Margaret
Stines Nielsen, and "A Tribute to Alice Howell " By Mardi Anderson,
Buffalo Tales, March-April, 2003
Lost a giant in the field of local history.
Knew more about the history of this county than anyone else I know of.
One of the group that reorganized the BCHS in 1972 and remained active until
about 2000 when health prevented her from doing more.
The last project I worked with her on was writing a job description for a
Offices within the organization: President, Secretary, Board of
Directors over 25 years
Tours: Did all the research for County tours, downtown Kearney tours
Programs: Scheduled many of the programs which the BCHS had in the
Also gave programs to organizations – we have no way of knowing how many.
Trails & Rails Museum: Went to Nebraska State Historical Society for
advice & guidance.
Established the numbering and cataloging procedures we use today to keep
track of all the donations of artifacts and archival documents.
Was totally in charge of the museum for the first years.
Gave that up when she served as president but was always there to assist,
answer questions, help wherever she could through the 1980’s.
Archives: Moved her focus to the Archives.
Established and organized it from the document (paper, map, photograph)
donations to make these records accessible & available. Before that we
really did not know what we had.
Research and writing:
Answered innumerable requests for
Researched many, many historic homes
Instrumental in establishing
Buffalo Tales. 1978-1999 - Total 186 articles, Alice wrote (or edited)
54 or 29% including the very first one. If she did not write them she was
always on the look out for someone who would. When Phil Holmgren died in
1999 she took over as editor for about a year but did not write any more
Indexed five volumes of Tales of
Buffalo County – (I alphabetized the last index and she found that quite
astonishing how the computer could do that. She never gave up her
typewriter.) Edited Vol. III-VI
Articles written or edited by
Vol. I (1978-79-80) 5 of 30 articles
The Oregon Trail: The Randall Journal
Railroads in Buffalo County
Early Post Offices in Buffalo County
Towns of the Wood River Valley: Successes and Failures in 1890
Nebraska Centre and the Boyd Ranch
Vol. II (1981-82-83) 7 of 30 articles
Sodtown, the Community that would not Die
(coauthored with Irvin Urwiller)
Sartoria, a Lovely Ghost Town
The Dayton Emigration Association
Early Days in Elm Creek (accompanied Elm Creek in 1942 by Stephen King)
The Lincoln Highway
B. O. Hostetler, District Judge
Kearney Volunteer Fire Department: The First 100 Years
Vol. III (1984-85-86) 10 of 30 articles
Kearney High School, 1881-1901
Weddings Through the Years
Letters of Sally Coffman to her Daughter Marilla, 1877, 1879, 1880
The Mitchell-Ketchum Tragedy
Letters to Nellie, Part I and Part II [edited]
The first Greeks in Kearney, Part I and Part II
The Opera House, Part I and Part I
Vol. IV (1987-88-89) 13 of 30 articles
Kearney 100 Years Ago, 1886 in Review
The Farming Community of Buffalo County, 1886
When Watertown was a Town
The Ice Industry
Barnstormers, A Flying Parson and Other Aviators [followed my air show
The Kearney Air Base, The Military
The Kearney Air Base, The Civilians
50 Years of KVFD Emergency Medical Service
A View of Kearney in 1888
Washington Day 1889
The Kaufmann & Wernert Store
Vol. V (1990-91-92-93) 10 of 30 articles
Kearney Boomers in 1889
Rural Electrification, 1929-1953
Quilts and Quilting
1890 in Kearney
Post South Loup Fork
Flour Mills in Buffalo County, Part II [think Phil edited Part I]
Industrial Boom Reaches Its Zenith
The New York to Paris Automobile Race – 1908
Brickmaking in Kearney
More on Brickyards
Vol. VI (1994-95-96-97-98-99) 9 of 36
West Nebraska Holiness Camp Meetings
The Kearney Bank Robbery
Camp John R. Brooke
Camp Henry A. Morrow, The G.A.R. Reunion of 1888
Historical Background Of Churches in Buffalo County, Part I & Part II
Kearney Public School Classrooms Then and Now, 125 Years [with Phil]
The Empress And The Fort Theaters, 1914-1988
We have Alice's research notes in the Archives; some we cannot read -
she often used shorthand because she was a secretary by profession.
She was the modern-day Samuel Bassett in pulling together information about
the history of this county.