Plains Humanities Alliance

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The Trans-Mississippi and International Expositions of 1898–1899: Art, Anthropology, and Popular Culture at the Fin de Siècle

The Trans-Mississippi Exposition of 1898 celebrated Omaha’s key economic role as a center of industry west of the Mississippi River and its arrival as a progressive metropolis after the Panic of 1893. The exposition also promoted the rise of the United States as an imperial power, at the time on the brink of the Spanish-American War, and the nation’s place in bringing “civilization” to Indigenous populations both overseas and at the conclusion of the recent Plains Indian Wars. The Omaha World’s Fair, however, is one of the least studied American expositions. Wendy Jean Katz brings together leading scholars to better understand the event’s place in the larger history of both Victorian-era America and the American West.

The interdisciplinary essays in this volume cover an array of topics, from competing commercial visions of the cities of the Great West; to the role of women in the promotion of City Beautiful ideals of public art and urban planning; and the constructions of Indigenous and national identities through exhibition, display, and popular culture. Leading scholars T. J. Boisseau, Bonnie M. Miller, Sarah J. Moore, Nancy Parezo, Akim Reinhardt, and Robert Rydell, among others, discuss this often-misunderstood world’s fair and its place in the Victorian-era ascension of the United States as a world power.

 Trans Mississippi West book cover

Lost Writers of the Plains

“Lost Writers of the Plains,” a public radio series, website and ibook, highlights eight writers who achieved “fame," but who have become lost to modern readers. These essays offer a historical perspective on why these interesting new (old!) authors and their writing, careers or Plains connection has been forgotten. Visit the website to:

  • Stream or download free audio of these authors' stories, poems, plays and essays read aloud
  • Read the stories yourself as they originally appeared in the journal Prairie Schooner
  • Play one or all eight of NET's 3-minute radio essays exploring their achievements
  • Find out about their life and work through videos with contemporary poets and historians.

The ibook (cover at right) is an interactive book that offers adult fiction and non-fiction as well as literary criticism completely integrated with sound, video and historical documents, as well as complete audio and texts of all the writers.

Project Administrator

Wendy Katz,
Associate Professor, Art & Art History
Associate Director, Center for Great Plains Studies 
402-472-9478
1155 Q Street, P.O. Box 880214,
Lincoln, NE 68588-0214

 Lost Writers ibook cover


We are shaped by the history, landscape and literature - the humanities - of our region.

The Plains Humanities Alliance is dedicated to preserving, researching and promoting the cultural heritage of the Great Plains. By encouraging collaboration among humanities educators, scholars, professionals, and the public, the Plains Humanities Alliance encourages explorations of the region's diverse peoples and their cultural expressions.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has designated the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma as Alliance members.