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John G. Neihardt - Poet Laureate - 1881-1973


category : Famous People
John G. Neihardt - Poet Laureate - 1881-1973 Author, lecturer, and award-winning poet, John Gneisenau Neihardt, arrived in Nebraska in 1892 at the age of eleven. Settling in Bancroft from 1900 to 1920, Neihardt became interested in the traditions, culture, and history of the American Indian. For a time, he lived among both the Oglala Sioux and the Omaha tribes. Those experiences dramatically shaped his writings, poetry, and short stories detailing the struggle between white settlers and native peoples to claim the West.

Neihardt's most famous work, Black Elk Speaks, received international critical acclaim and has been translated into many languages. Other great works include The River and I and the epic poem, A Cycle of the West. In 1921, Neihardt was appointed Poet Laureate of Nebraska.

Neihardt had been writing poetry since age 12, and upon arriving in Bancroft, worked as an owner-editor of the Bancroft Blade. He traveled the plains and lived the land first hand. He became a published author at 19 ... married at 27 ... started his major work, The Cycle of the West at 31 ... and became Nebraska's Poet Laureate at 40. At 45 he was literary editor for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and at 68 became poet-in-residence and lecturer in English at the University of Missouri. In his 80s, Neihardt returned to Nebraska, living with friends and continuing his writing and personal appearances. He was working on the second volume of his autobiography when he died at age 92.


Come visit us in Bancroft, Nebraska

Attractions and Upcoming Events

The Sacred Hoop Garden

The Sacred Hoop Prayer Garden is a living symbol of the Hoop of the World from the vision of the Oglala Lakota Holy Man Black Elk, found in John G. Neihardt's, Black Elk Speaks. The Prayer Garden was designed by Neihardt. The symbolism is explained on signs along the quiet garden paths. Bancroft, NE Indian Heritage


The Neihardt Center

The Neihardt Center has been constructed for the study and preservation of the works of John G. Neihardt. The memorial room repeats the symbolism of the Hoop of the World and chronicles Neihardt's life, works and the times in which he lived. See the study where Neihardt began his epic poem

Bancroft, NE Arts

Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte

Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte was born in 1865 to the last recognized chief of the Omaha tribe. Her father, Iron Eyes, encouraged his children to learn the ways of the majority white culture. Upon graduation from the Philadelphia Women's Medical College in 1889

Bancroft, NE Indian Heritage

John G. Neihardt - Poet Laureate - 1881-1973

Author, lecturer, and award-winning poet, John Gneisenau Neihardt, arrived in Nebraska in 1892 at the age of eleven. Settling in Bancroft from 1900 to 1920

Bancroft, NE Famous People

Rattlesnake Bridge - NHR

In January 1903 the Cuming County Supervisors awarded an annual bridge construction contract to the Standard Bridge Company of Omaha. In 1903 the county undertook an ambitious bridge-building program,

Bancroft, NE National Register

Things to do Famous People near Bancroft, NE

Bancroft Notables

-- Joseph "Iron Eye" LaFlesche, last chief of the Omahas. One of his daughters, Susan LaFlesche Picotte, was the first wo...