The Library/Archives recently acquired a scrapbook relating to Donald Abbott of Beatrice and then Lincoln, Nebraska. Abbott was born in Illinois in 1912 and later moved with this family to Beatrice. He played cornet in the school band and became a rather accomplished musician. The scrapbook contains this photo of Donald Abbott with band mate, Arlington Brugh (with cello), who later became known as the film star, Robert Taylor.
From the program on the next page of the scrapbook, we think the boy in the photo with the violin is Gerhart Wiebe.
After spending several years in Beatrice, the Abbott family moved to Lincoln, where Donald eventually graduated from Lincoln High School in 1930. The scrapbook contains clippings, programs, photos and other items documenting Donald’s early music career. He won several State music competitions and competed at nationals. Several of Donald’s music pins/medals are held in our museum collections.
The scrapbook contains several other interesting photographs of prominent musicians, including noted composer Thurlow Lieurance and composer/conductor John Philip Sousa.
After graduating from high school, Abbott got a job playing in a band on an ocean liner to Europe. The group toured France and Belgium before returning to the United States at the end of the summer. Once back, Abbott moved to Santa Ana, California where he attended Santa Ana Junior College. Little is know about Donald Abbott after he moved to California, except that he played with Everett Hoagland and his Troubadours.
-Tom Mooney, Curator of Manuscripts