NU and Wyuka Cemetery

June, 2013

Lincoln -- Wyuka Cemetery in the middle of Lincoln is the final resting place of several notable people associated closely with the University of Nebraska.

Their gravesites are worth a visit to remember their contributions to Nebraska, to the country, and to the world.

Nebraska History and the Nebraska Humanities Council provide a walking and driving tour of Wyuka that describes the cemetery and some of the notables in it. The following list supplements that tour by adding others with a strong connection to the state university. The list is presented in numerical order by cemetery section.

• Carl P. Hartley (Sec 5 Lot 133). A botanist inspired by Charles Bessey and trained by Frederic Clements, Hartley explored the Netherlands' East Indies and pursued a career in the U.S. Forest Service. He wrote the first comprehensive study of tree diseases of the Great Plains. He was the son of Lincoln pioneer, school superintendent, and orchardist E. T. Hartley and brother of university student suffragette Faye Hartley.

• Frederic E. Clements (Sec 5 Lot 486). Recognized worldwide as the founder of the discipline of plant ecology, Clements gave his name to what is now called the "Clementsian Paradigm" of ecology. An important (and controversial) figure in the history of science, he has been described as "by far the greatest individual contributor to the science of vegetation." His ashes are buried in the plot but were not not marked for many years. A new marker now commemorates his life and that of his wife, Edith Schwartz Clements, the first woman to receive a Ph.D from the University of Nebraska.

• Frank Shoemaker (Sec 7 Lot 1102). Shoemaker's career as a naturalist and photographer is newly recounted in Nebraska History. His grave is not marked, but his name adorns the Frank Shoemaker Marsh in the unique saline wetlands north of Lincoln.

• Robert H. Wolcott (Sec 7 Lot 1102). A professor of biology, Wolcott was founder, with Lawrence Bruner, of the Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. He also co-founded the Ecological Society of America.

• Lawrence Bruner (Sec 7 Lot 6034). An entomologist who traveled the world for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, saving crops from insects, Bruner was once chosen by a governor's committee as "Nebraska's most distinguished citizen."

• Charles E. Bessey (Sec 7 Lot 6026). One of the country's all-time greatest educators, botanist Bessey was both a professor and chancellor. He inspired students and was mentor to an astounding number of famous scientists and academicians. Bessey is in the Nebraska Hall of Fame.

• Don Hollenbeck (Sec-11 Lot 2323). This native of Lincoln began his career as a news reporter at the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska State Journal. At NBC, he covered WWII in Italy; at CBS he was a colleague of Edward R. Murrow, was targeted by McCarthyites and took his own life.

• Frank and Earl Eager (Sec 12 Lot 642). Frank Eager earned a Silver Star and commanded the Nebraska Regiment at the end of the Philippine American War. A populist, he was owner of The Independent, a newspaper that published the views of Thomas Tibbles and his wife Suzette LaFlesche Tibbles. As a Lincoln businessman, Frank Eager developed P Street and opposed relocating the nearby university campus, winning a statewide referendum to keep the main campus downtown. Brother Earl "Dog" Eager was an early football hero who became university athletic director and acquired the land for the current stadium.

• Marjorie Barstow (Sec 13 Lot 116). A protégé of both F.M. and A.R. Alexander after studying at NU, Marjorie Barstow returned to Lincoln and attracted thousands of students from all over the world to her Alexander technique workshops held on the Lincoln campus.

• Erwin H. Barbour (Sec 18 Lot 65). A geologist and palentologist, Barbour was curator of the State Museum. He led the Nebraska expeditions that unearthed the great prehistoric animal collection now on display at Morrill Hall, which Barbour had built for the collection.

• Edgar A. Burnett (Sec 18 Lot 118). Chancellor Burnett led the university through difficult times during the Great Depression. He came to the position after successfully heading the university's agriculture program and its experiment stations.

• Samuel Avery (Sec 22 Lot 107). A chemist, Avery was chancellor during the expansion of the city campus from 1908 to 1927. Early on, he clashed with the Eagers but much of the city campus as it exists today dates from Avery's planning and construction decisions.

• Olin J. Ferguson (Sec 22 Lot 122). Ferguson was Dean of Engineering from 1920-1945. He was know for his care and advocacy of students. He co-administered the university's military college during World War II.

• Herbert Brownell, Sr. (Sec 22 Lot 201). Professor Brownell, who taught science education at the NU Teachers College, was the father of Samuel Brownell, U.S. Commissioner of Education, and Herbert Brownell Jr., U.S. Attorney General. Professor Brownell was a cousin of Susan B(rownell) Anthony.

• Leta Stetter Hollingworth (Sec 23 Lot 47). A psychologist, this NU graduate was a pioneer in the field of gifted education and used IQ test data to establish that intelligence is independent of gender. Her husband was the noted psychologist Harry Hollingworth, a classmate at NU.

• Laura, Louise, and Olivia Pound (Sec 25 Lot 5607). Folklorist and athlete Louise Pound is the only person on this tour who is also on the more official Wyuka tour. Among her important but lesser known accomplishments is her early association with and influence on H. L. Mencken. Her mother Laura and her sister Olivia also studied at the university and were community leaders.

Readers are encouraged to add to this "NU and Wyuka" list by contacting me at Also of interest would be further discovery of the connections among these great Nebraskans. For example, Leta Stetter was a student of Louise Pound; Bessey was Clements' mentor; the Hartleys and Shoemaker were trained in ecology at Clements' Alpine Lab on Pike's Peak; Shoemaker died a pauper and is buried in the Wolcott family plot; Frank Eager and Samuel Avery tangled over the location of the university campus; in the middle of the conflict, Avery fired Earl Eager from his position in the athletic department.

They are now all neighbors at Wyuka; some are sadly in danger of being forgotten.