John Neihardt was born in Illinois and lived in various places in the Great Plains areas of the Midwest before moving to Nebraska when he was 10 years old. He began writing as a teenager and as he got older his published poetry enjoyed a much wider audience.
In Paris, a student who was studying with the renowned sculptor, Auguste Rodin, read one of his books. She loved his poetry so much that she wrote to him and he wrote back! They kept exchanging letters, (snail mail, of course) and a year later Mary Martinsen moved to Nebraska and she and Neihardt got married.
Neihardt is most famous for the book Black Elk Speaks which records the beliefs, thoughts and visions of a Lakota medicine man. The book has remained a significant work of Native American history and a new edition was released in 2008.
In addition to Native American culture, Neihardt wrote books of poetry about Nebraska and its inhabitants.
The Neihardt Center, in Bancroft, Nebraska, is a place which showcases all things Neihardt and encourages young writers.
The Neihardt Center is the fourth stop on our Nebraska Trail!
Rebecca Blake Beech