John G. Neihardt was born near Sharpsberg, IL on January 8, 1881. At the age of five, he and his two siblings were living with his maternal grandfather in a sod house, outside of Stockton, KS. The Neihardts moved to Kansas City in 1888, and when John’s father, Nicholas left the family in 1891, his mother Alice moved them all to Wayne, NE. It was there that Neihardt grew up, attending grade school and graduating from the Nebraska Normal College in Wayne, at the age of 16. Neihardt taught in two country schools right out of college, and he and the family moved to Bancroft, NE in 1900.
Neihardt’s first published book, The Divine Enchantment  was an epic mystical poem inspired by the Vedanta philosophy. In Bancroft, Neihardt worked with Indian traders, getting to know many of them well, and translated their tales into publishable short stories, many of which were included in his first story collection, The Lonesome Trail. From 1903 to 1905, he co-owned and edited the local newspaper, and from 1905-1912, he focused on his own writing, achieving national acclaim for his lyric verses and fiction. In 1912, at the age of 31, he began work on what he was to consider his masterwork — A Cycle of the West. Although published in fits and spurts over the next 29 years, and out of order at that, his Cycle is considered one of the great works of American literature. At the age of 40, he was named Poet Laureate of the State of Nebraska, and was acclaimed throughout the U.S. and European literary world as one of the most distinctive of American poets. In 1932, his other best known work was published — Black Elk Speaks a narrative biography taken in verbal form and translated to written form by Neihardt. In his late 80s, after traveling the United States, Neihardt returned for good to Nebraska, to work on his own autobiography. He had completed only one volume of his letters before his death in 1973, although a subsequent volume was released in 1978
The Lincoln City Libraries owns numerous different editions of Neihardt’s works, especially the five poems (all starting with “The Song of…”) that went into his Cycle of the West. The Cycle of the West itself has been printed in different ways — either as a singular volumes comprising the five different poems, or as two separate volumes, The Mountain Men and The Twilight of the Sioux. The titles below are hotlinked to representative editions of the various works, however if you do an author search in our catalog, you will find many other editions listed.
1900 – The Divine Enchantment [811 Nei] 1902 – A Bundle of Myrrh [811 Nei] 1909 – Man-Song [811 N31m] 1912 – The Stranger at the Gate [811 Nei] 1913 – The Death of Agrippina
1915 – The Song of Hugh Glass [811 N31sho] 1919 – The Song of Three Friends [811 N31so] 1921 – Two Mothers [811 Nei] 1925 – The Song of the Indian Wars [811 N31si] 1926 – Collected Poems, Lyrics [811 N31co] 1935 – The Song of the Messiah [811 Nei] 1941 – The Song of Jed Smith [811 N31sj] 1949 – A Cycle of the West [811 N31cb] The Mountain Men [811 NeiM] The Twilight of the Sioux [811 NeiT]
1907 – The Lonesome Trail *
1911 – The Dawn Builder
1914 – Life’s Lure
1926 – Indian Tales and Others *
1951 – When the Tree Flowered: The Fictional Biography of Eagle Voice, a Sioux Indian
1991 – The End of the Dream *
1991 – The Ancient Memory and Other Stories *
* – indicates short story collection
1920 – The Splendid Wayfaring [978 Nei] 1921 – Laureate Address [Heritage 815 Nei] 1925 – Poetic Values [B K245k] 1932 – Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (as told through John G. Neihardt) [970.2 Bla] 1991 – The Giving Earth: A John G. Neihardt Reader [810.8 Nei] 2002 – Knowledge and Opinion: Essays and Literary Criticism of John G. Neihardt [809 Nei]
The Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors has copies of numerous Neihardt books in various languages. These are available for Neihardt scholars to study during the Heritage Room’s regular hours. You will also find numerous other items associated with Neihardt by doing either Subject — or Author — searches in the library catalog under “Neihardt, John G.”