Dandelion digging

· 3 min read

Dandelion digging

From the Archives
Students, faculty and staff scour the university grounds to eliminate dandelions in spring 1911.
University Archives and Special Collections

Armed with knives and “spud” weeding tools, members of the University of Nebraska community scour campus grounds to dig up and remove sprouting dandelions in the spring of 1911. The university held multiple Dandelion Days during the spring season to try and halt the spread of the invasive plant.

In Daily Nebraskan reports on May 3, 1911, volunteers were asked to remove two species of dandelions — “the big-headed kind that has greenish “seeds” and coarser leaves” and the “small headed” variety with red seeds and leaves that are “more finely cut and slashed.” At the time, both had recently spread into Nebraska having originated in Asia. The university even formed a Dandelion Committee to organize the campuswide events to remove the flowers from university grounds.

In the April 28, 1911 edition of the Daily Nebraskan, the Dandelion Committee published a letter to all those assisting with the removal.

A last word to diggers.

Wear a dandelion today.

Bring your own knives or “spuds.”

The program will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Examine the map on the bulletin board to find out where your class will work.

Each class has been assigned a particular section of the campus.

Before you begin your labors, attend the band concert in front of University Hall. Instructions will be given out there.

Refreshments will be served to workers only.

Faculty members are especially invited to work.

The Dandelion Day program will be given in front of the University Hall as soon as the battle is ended.

Do not fail to be on hand at 1:30 o’clock sharp to witness the condemnation proceedings, preparatory to the slaughter.

Pay attention to the manager of your section.

Pick out a place where there are dandelions; select the area you will cover; then proceed to dig. Don’t try to cover too much ground. Three-feet wide and 25-feet long is all the area you can do well. Better hunt in couples. See who will do this stunt first. Criticize one another’s work. Sit down, if you have a knife; stand up if you have a dandelion “spud.”

- The Committee

Lecture hall identified

The unknown lecture hall featured in the March 29 edition of From the Archives has been identified as the one in Bessey Hall. Other contenders included lecture halls in Avery, Brace Laboratory and Richards halls. Deciding factors include the windows and 45 degree angles at the back of the room — all other lecture halls have square corners. Thanks to Bill Manning, Adam Houston, James Nau, Richard Horner and Dan Eberhardt for helping pinpoint the location.

Students take notes in a large, theater-style lecture hall in this photo from 1982.
University Archives and Special Collections
Students take notes in Bessey Hall's large, theater-style lecture hall in this photo from 1982.

Architect drawing of the first floor of Bessey Hall. This drawing shows the lecture hall (center, bottom) and the angled walls that helped identify the photo from the Archives and Special Collections.
Archives and Special Collections
Architect drawing of the first floor of Bessey Hall. This drawing shows the lecture hall (center, bottom) and the angled walls that helped identify the photo from the Archives and Special Collections.


“From the Archives” is a biweekly feature in Nebraska Today. Images are provided by Traci Robison, outreach archivist and assistant professor of practice with Archives and Special Collections in the University Libraries. Explore the Archives and Special Collections online. For more information, contact Troy Fedderson at tfedderson2@unl.edu or 402-472-8515.

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