About Nellie Irene Yost (Snyder)
Nellie Irene Snyder Yost (June 20, 1905 – January 16, 1992) was a historian and writer. She was an active member of the Nebraska State Historical Society, serving for many years as its president, and wrote 13 books (primarily biographies) and many articles on Nebraska history, including biographies of her father, her mother, and Buffalo Bill Cody.
Nellie Irene Snyder was born on June 20, 1905 to Albert Benton Snyder and Grace Bell McCance Snyder in a sod house in northwest Lincoln County Nebraska. At the age of two weeks she was carried on horseback to a ranch in McPherson County Nebraska. She suffered a childhood illness that permanently damaged her spine and slowed her growth resulting in her diminutive height of 4 feet,8 inches. She lived with her family in McPherson County until 1919 when the family moved to Maxwell, Nebraska where she graduated as class valedictorian in 1923. She taught one year in a rural McPherson County school, riding horseback to her school six miles a day. After that she moved to Salem, Oregon for two years, where she worked in the office of Miller Department Store.
Family and Later Life
After moving back to Nebraska, she married David Harrison "Harry" Yost on July 6, 1929 and the couple lived on a ranch in the Box Elder Canyon, south of North Platte, Nebraska, for 30 years. They had one son Thomas Snyder Yost. Harry fell ill and spent his last five years at the Grand Island Veterans Hospital. During those years, as Nellie spent about 10 days out of each month at the hospital, she would sit by his bed side, writing manuscripts in long hand. He died in 1968. She moved to North Platte, Nebraska, where she was active in the Lincoln County Historical Society. She was very active, but in the Historical Society as they worked to open the Lincoln County Museum in 1976, and in Nebraska Writers Guild. She was active in Riverside Baptist Church where she married Frank A. Lydic on August 30, 1984. He was a long time friend and fellow writer. Frank died on November 9, 1991. Soon after, while finishing a trip to promote her last book, she developed pneumonia and was hospitalized. She was transferred to a hospital in Lincoln where she died on January 16, 1992. She was buried next to her first husband at Fort McPherson National Cemetery. Her information was carved on the back of his gravestone with the epitaph, "She Loved Life."
Her first book, Pinnacle Jake, was a recounting of her fathers stories about the west and ranching. Nellie was 46 when it was published. No Time on My Hands was based on a diary her mother had kept. One of her most noted books, Buffalo Bill: His Family, Friends, Fame, Failures and Fortunes, was published in 1979. It received excellent reviews, garnered awards, and resulted in a trip to New York to appear on Good Morning America on February 22, 1980. Her last book, Evil Obsession, was published in October 1991, just a few months before she died. During her 40 years as a published author, she traveled extensively.
Awards and Honors
Eyes of Nebraska Award, Nebraska Optometric Association, 1970
Tenth annual Spur Award for Boss Cowman, 1969
Western Heritage Wrangler Award, Cowboy Hall of Fame, for Buffalo Bill, 1979
Golden Saddleman, 1975
Nebraska Foundation Pioneer Award, 1982
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, 1992