My last visit covered my historical travel guide Forts of the Northern Plains – since then, I’ve published two more historical travel books, The Great Plains Guide to Custer (2012) and The Great Plains Guide to Buffalo Bill (2014), all from Stackpole Books. The latest on Buffalo Bill, follows the format used in Custer – it’s the chronological story of William F. Cody’s time and experiences on the plains, from his birth in Iowa through his scouting in Kansas, his creation of the Wild West show in Nebraska, his land development in Wyoming, and his death in Colorado. It tells the story of how he went from a fairly obscure buffalo hunter to becoming the world’s first superstar, interspersed with information on getting to the sites where his history happened. It’s more history than you’d find in a guide, and more travel info than you’d get in a history book, but it’s a marriage that works for me!
I just finished writing Extra Innings: The Story of Rushville’s Modisett Ball Park, a truly amazing story about a small-town ball field that hosted professional ball schools of the Braves, Yankees, and Angels, and I’ve already begun work on my next historical travel guide, this one on the elusive Jesse James. I’d love to visit about any of these subjects!
A bit of background on me – I am a fifth-generation Nebraskan from both parents’ families, with one great-great-grandfather a Civil War veteran and Sand Hills newspaper publisher and another a hunter for two wagon trains through the state. I was raised on a farm near Yutan, Neb., and was graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree and minors in history, geography and political science. My professional career has included radio announcer; newspaper reporter, columnist and editor; press secretary for a former governor of Nebraska; public relations and marketing executive for an Omaha advertising agency and an architectural firm; and marketing director for the Durham Museum, Omaha’s museum of history.
I am a frequently requested speaker through Humanities Nebraska, a past member and chairman of the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission, and former “sheriff” of the Omaha Corral of the Westerners. I’m currently on the board of trustees of the Nebraska State Historical Society which lets me promote and enjoy the history of my state in an even more personal way. In the course of researching, speaking, and meetings, I imagine I’m probably one of the few Nebraskans to visit all 93 of our state’s county courthouses!
I make my home in Omaha with my wife Susan. I have four adult children, all of whom are married and still live in Omaha, and two granddaughters and a grandson – my family’s first seventh-generation Nebraskans. (I know – for those of us with grandkids, I’m a pretty envied guy to have all of them within 15 miles!)
Thank you, Jeff, for joining us here in the Junction. Jeff will be giving away a copy of his latest book The Great Plains Guide to Buffalo Bill to one lucky winner. Leave a comment and you’ll be eligible for the drawing.