Neihardt’s Song of the Hoe

110 years ago, on September 27, 1900, The Youth’s Companion published a poem titled, “The Song of the Hoe”.   It was written by Nebraska’s own John G. Neihardt, who was just nineteen years old at the time.   
Nebraska State Historical Society, 9962-1; Source: Mrs. J. Robert Niblick, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Nebraska State Historical Society, 9962-1; Source: Mrs. J. Robert Niblick, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Neihardt’s daughter, Hilda Neihardt Petri, writes in The Broidered Garment: The Love Story of Mona Martinsen and John G. Neihardt, that the poem was created while he was hoeing a potato field, and it was written on the back of a hoe. He received $14.00 in payment from the magazine. 

Neihardt became Nebraska’s poet laureate in 1921, a position he held until his death in 1973.  His most popular works include Black Elk Speaks (1932) and A Cycle of the West (1949). 

Laura Mooney, Museum Registrar

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