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Gilded Age Plains City: The Great Sheedy Murder Trial and the Booster Ethos of Lincoln, Nebraska

On January 11, 1891 in Lincoln, Nebraska, John Sheedy, a real estate developer - and owner of an illegal casino - was struck in the head by an unknown man wielding a steal cane. Sheedy initially survived the attack but died later that night after his wife, Mary, gave him a cup of coffee that some came to believe she had poisoned. What followed was a highly contentious court case that divided the growing city of Lincoln. In 2001, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) history professor Timothy Mahoney penned an article about this fascinating case and what it reveals about the history of Lincoln. As Mahoney's article highlights, the Sheedy murder centered on issues of race, gender, class, urbanization, and "city boosterism." More recently, Mahoney, the UNL Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, and a team of library specialists and student assistants created this fascinating website dedicated to the case and its historical significance. Visitors new to the site may want to start with the Timeline of Events. Visitors may also explore a number of spatial narratives, or key components of the case organized geographically. Through newspaper clippings, legal documents, and other artifacts related to the case, this website provides an excellent exhibition of the craft and significance of historical research.
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Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2017-02-17
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