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Matson family autograph albums

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: ViU-2021-0027

Content Description

This collection contains two autograph albums belonging Esther Lightner Matson and Frank A. Matson. Inscriptions in these books are related to two Native American boarding schools in Nebraska. One album belonged to Esther Lightner Matson, daughter of Isaiah Lightner, who served as Indian Agent of the Santee Reservation between 1877 and 1885. Lightner was the last of a series of Quakers to serve as agent at the reservation. In the early 1880's, Esther attended the Santee Normal Training School in Niobrara, Nebraska. Her autograph album contains 29 pages of handwritten entries including autograph sentiments by Quaker missionary families living on the reservation, a teacher at the Santee Normal Training School, the assistant principal of the school, a page containing the signatures of four Sioux students at the school, and a page containing a four-line inscription in Dakota Sioux by a student at the school. The album also contains later entries, in the 1880's when Esther was living in Lincoln, Nebraska. The other album belonged to Frank A. Matson, future husband of Esther Lightner Matson. In the first half of the 1880s, Frank lived in Matson, Nebraska and attended the Genoa Indian School in Genoa, Nebraska. The album contains eight pages of autograph sentiments related to Frank's time at the school, including several inscriptions by Native American staff and students. The album also includes numerous inscriptions from later in the decade, when Frank attended Lincoln Business College, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Several inscriptions are accompanied by small drawings; one is accompanied by a small albumen photograph. .

Acquisition Type



Purchased 15 November 2020.

Restrictions Apply


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Handle gently as albums are fragile.


  • 1880 - 1899



.06 Cubic Feet (2 letter sized folders)


2 albums