Loren Eiseley (1907-1977) was a writer and anthropologist who spent his formative years in Nebraska. Much of the writing he did for the rest of his life was based on his childhood experiences in Lincoln and on the time during his college years when he worked on archeological digs in western Nebraska. Focused on these two areas, this project digitally represents Eiseley’s personal experience of the space and place of Nebraska. Using Eiseley’s work as the entry point, we have produced a deep map of Nebraska as Eiseley experienced and recreated it.
As a man fascinated with the natural world and with humanity’s place within it, Eiseley provides a nuanced lens through which readers might access the space of Nebraska. Loren Eiseley’s Nebraska is a digital, interactive map of various sites throughout Lincoln and the state of Nebraska that have significance to Eiseley and that are featured in his writing. This project is a “deep map” of Nebraska, a digital methodology and tool which David J. Bodenhamer, John Corrigan, and Trevor M. Harris describe in Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives as “simultaneously a platform, a process, and a product” (3). By selecting passages of relevance to each location, we have curated Eiseley’s work alongside a multi-layered representation of Nebraska. Our ongoing project fosters ecotourism in these locations, promoting an environmentally and socially responsible method for interacting with and learning about the spaces we map. With this project, we provide users with a venue through which to explore Nebraska as seen through the eyes of Loren Eiseley, and/or an artifact to use as a guide through which they can physically engage with that space.
NOTE: many of the locations on this map, both the homes in Lincoln and the ranches in western Nebraska, are private property. Please do not bother the occupants or trespass on the property.
Loren Eiseley Society
Nicole and Jacob Dean, Crown J. Cattle Company
Vickie and Kevin Hall
Belle the border collie
Jon Garbisch, Cedar Point Biological Station
Cameron Steele and Kiernan Lofland
Special thanks to Humanities Nebraska the Loren Eiseley Society for funding of this project.
Thomas P. Lynch and Emily J. Rau
Ariana Brocious, audio editor
Karin Dalziel, designer
Music “Ashfall” used with permission of Rusty Banks (composer) and Rebecca Van de Bogart of the Nebraska Chamber Players. The entire piece is available for sale here: Ashfall: Chamber Music of Rusty Banks and from the iTunes store.
For a scenic driving tour of the fossil-laden badlands of western Nebraska and South Dakota, where Eiseley did much of his work, check out the Fossil Freeway