William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


[TOC] [part 30] [part 28] [Cutler's History]



The first incorporated society in Kansas was a historical society.

At the first session of the Territorial Legislature an act was passed incorporating the "Historical and Philosophical Society of Kansas." William Walker, of Wyandotte, was the founder of the society, which had for its object "the collection and preservation of a library, mineralogical and geological specimens, historical matter relating to the history of the territory, Indian curiosities and antiquities, and other matters connected with and calculated to illustrate and perpetuate the history and settlement of Kansas." By the act, the incorporators were to organize by a meeting at the capitol within one year from the passage of the act, which time was afterward extended to three years. The incorporators were William Walker, chairman; D. A. N. Grover, David Lykins, John Donaldson, James Kuydenhall, Thomas Johnson, William A. H. Vaughn, L. J. Easton and A. J. Isacks. The times were not propitious for historic work. Much history was to be made before it could be written.

At the annual meeting of the Editors and Publisher's Association, held at Manhattan, April 7, 1875, Hon. D. W. Wilder offered a resolution, which was adopted, providing for a committee to organize a State Historical Society, "for the purpose of saving the present and past records of our twenty-one years of eventful history." The following members were appointed as the committee: F. P. Baker, D. R. Anthony, John A. Martin, Solomon Miller and George A. Crawford. A quorum of the committee, with other gentlemen, met in Topeka, December 13, 1875, and organized the society. The following directors were elected for the first year: Samuel A. Kingman, Floyd P. Baker, John A. Martin, Daniel R. Anthony, Solomon Miller, Daniel W. Wiler, R. B. Taylor, Milton W. Reynolds, George A. Crawford and S. S. Prouty.

The following officers were chosen: President, Samuel A. Kingman; Vice President, George A. Crawford; Treasurer, John A. Martin; Secretary. F. P. Baker. At a meeting of the Board of Directors, February 4, 1876, Mr. Baker resigned the office of Secretary, and F. G. Adams was appointed in his place. The following have been the Directors and officers since:

Directors for 1877: F. P. Baker, John A. Martin, John Francis, George A. Crawford, Solomon Miller, T. D. Thacher and Thomas H. Cavanaugh. Officers for 1877: President, George A. Crawford; Vice President, John A. Martin; Treasurer, John Francis; Secretary, F. G. Adams.

Directors elected at the annual meeting January 21, 1879, to hold their office for one year: P. I. Bonebrake, P. B. Plumb, T. D. Thacher, George Graham, C. K. Holliday, George A. Crawford, Samuel N. Wood, Jacob Stotler, C. W. Leonhardt, M. W. Reynolds, A. G. Barrett, Robert Crozier, J. L. McDowell, John J. Ingalls, F. G. Adams, J. M. Harvey, J. C. Hebbard.

Directors elected for two years: D. W. Wilder, James F. Legate, Benjamin F. Simpson, D. R. Anthony, John Speer, E. N. Morrill, D. E. Ballard, F. P. Baker, Edward R. Smith, James Blood, Albert H. Horton, Charles Robinson, Samuel A. Kingman, W. A. Phillips, J. P. St. John, Solomon Miller, John Francis, John A. Martin.

Officers elected January 23, 1879, for a term of two years: President, Charles Robinson; Vice President, D. R. Anthony and C. K. Holliday; Treasurer, John Francis; Secretary F. G. Adams.

Directors elected January 21, 1880, for term of two years: P. I. Bonebrake, C. K. Holliday, George Graham, George A. Crawford, F. G. Adams, J. C. Hebbard, T. D. Thacher, Thomas W. Waterson, Henry Booth, M. M. Murdock, S. N. Wood, John S. Gilmore, J. S. Emery, B. F. Stringfellow, J. M. Harvey, George W. Martin, John A. Halderman, Joseph P. Root.

Directors elected January, 1882: P. I. Bonebrake, C. K. Holiday, J. S. Waters, F. G. Adams, C. W. Blair, J. Slotter, T. D. Thacher, James Smith, Henry Booth, M. M. Murdock, S. N. Wood, N. S. Goss, J. S. Emery, B. F. Simpson, J. M. Harvey, George W. Martin, E. G. Ross and John C. McCoy.



This association shall be styled the Kansas State Historical Society. The object of the society shall be to collect, embody, arrange, and preserve books, pamphlets, maps, charts, manuscripts, papers, paintings, statuary and other materials, illustrative of the history of Kansas in particular, and of the country generally; to procure from the early pioneers narratives of the events relative to the early settlement of Kansas, and of the early explorations, the Indian occupancy, overland travel and emigration to the Territory and the West; to gather all information calculated to exhibit faithfully the antiquities and the past and present resources and progress of the State, and to take steps to promote the study of history by lectures and other available means.

This society shall consist of active, life, honorary and corresponding members, who may be chosen by the Board of Directors of the society at any regular or special meetings, except at their meeting next preceding the annual meeting of the society; the active members to consist of citizens of the State by the payment of two dollars annually; the life members by the payment at one time of twenty dollars; the honorary and corresponding members, who shall be exempt from fee or taxation, shall be chosen from persons in any part of the world distinguished for their literary or scientific attainments, and known especially as friends and promoters of history. Editors and publishers of newspapers and periodicals, who contribute the regular issues of the same to the collections of the society shall be considered as active members of the society during the continuance of such contribution.

There shall be a Board of Directors of the society, to consist of thirty-six members. The Directors shall be chosen at a regularly called annual meeting of the society, and shall hold their officers for two years and until their successors shall be chosen - except that the Directors shall be divided into two classes - one class to go out of office each year. And immediately after the annual election in January, 1879, lots shall be drawn for the two classes, to hold their respective offices one and two years; and at each subsequent annual election those of the class chosen shall hold their offices for two years. Any number not less than five shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. No member of the board of Directors or other officer, except the Secretary, shall receive pay for any of the ordinary duties of his office.

The officers of the society shall consist of a President, two Vice President and a Secretary, to be chosen by the Board of Directors from their own members, and who shall hold their offices for two years and until their successors shall be chosen; the regular terms of the same to begin with the election in January, 1879. And in addition to these elective offices, all donations of money or property (if accepted by the Board of Directors) to the amount or value of five hundred dollars, shall constitute the donors life Directors of the society during their natural lives; but such life Directors shall never exceed in number the regularly elected Directors; and all moneys from life-directorships, or from donations or bequests, unless specifically directed otherwise by such life Directors, donors, or devisors, shall be invested to the best advantage, and the accruing interest only shall be used, and shall be employed in such manner, for the benefit of the society, as the Board of Directors may direct.

The annual meeting of the society shall be held at Topeka, on Tuesday after the third Monday in January; and those members, not less than ten, who meet at any annual or special meeting of the society, upon the call of the Board of Directors, shall be a quorum for the transaction of business.

The President, or in his absence one of the Vice Presidents, or in their absence any member of the society selected on the occasion, shall preside at the annual or any special meeting of the society. Such presiding officer shall preserve order, regulate the order of proceedings, and give a casing vote whenever the same is required.

The Secretary shall preserve a full and correct record of the proceedings of all meetings of the society and Board of Directors, to be entered on his book in chronological order. These records shall always be open for the inspection of any member of the society. He shall conduct the correspondence of the society, shall preserve for the society the official communications addressed to him, and keep copies of important official letters written by him; he shall collect, or cause to be collected, money due to the society, and pay the same to the Treasurer; he shall give notice of the meetings of the society and of the Board of Directors; he shall edit and supervise, under the direction of the Publication Committee, the publications of the society, direct the literary exchanges, and shall write out and cause to be published in one or more of the Topeka papers, the proceedings, or a synopsis thereof, of the meetings of the society and Board of Directors; he shall have charge of the books, manuscripts and other collections of the society; he shall keep a catalogue of the same, together with all additions made during his official term; in case of donation, he shall specify in his record the name of the book, manuscript, or article donated, with the name of the donor and date of the gift; he shall make an annual report of the condition of the Library, and respond to all calls which may be made upon him touching the same, at any annual or special meeting of the society.

The Treasurer shall receive and have charge of all dues, and donations and bequests of money, and all funds whatsoever of the society, and shall pay such sums as the Board of Directors may from time to time direct on a warrant of the Chairman of said Board, countersigned by the Secretary; and he shall make an annual report of the pecuniary transactions to the society, and also exhibit a statement of the funds and property of the society in his hands, at any stated or special meeting, when thereto required.

The Secretary and Treasurer shall give satisfactory bonds in such sums as the Board of Directors may deem proper for the faithful performance of their respective duties, and for the faithful preservation of property of every kind belonging to the society; and such bonds shall be filed among the papers of the society.

The President, or in his absence one of the Vice Presidents, shall preside at the meetings of the Board of Directors, and in their absence the members present may select a chairman from their number to preside, and to perform such duties as may be prescribed for him. The Directors shall supervise and direct the financial and business concerns of the society; may augment the library, cabinet and gallery, by purchase or otherwise; may make arrangements for a single lecture or a course of lectures, for promoting historical knowledge and increasing the pecuniary resources of the association. They shall have power to fill any vacancies occurring in their number. They shall audit and adjust all accounts of the society. They may call special meetings when necessary; appoint the annual orator, make suitable arrangements for the delivery of the annual address; use their discretion as to the publication of any communications, collections, transactions, annual or other addresses, or other written matters of the society; and they shall annually make a full report of their transactions, accompanied by such suggestions as may seem to them appropriate and worthy of attention. They may appoint an Executive Committee from their own number, to perform such duties as may be prescribed for such committee.

The Secretary is hereby authorized and directed to cause the bills for the annual dues of active members to be made out and sent to the address of such members, on or before the first day of June of each year, with a copy of this article, and if the amount of such dues is not paid to the Treasurer of this society on or before the first day of December following of said year, those members in arrears shall be deemed to have forfeited their membership and their names be stricken from the roll of members; and no person, who may thus have lost his membership, shall be re-elected to the same without full payment of his arrears.

The Board of Directors may adopt by-laws for their own government and guidance not inconsistent with this constitution.

This constitution may be amended at any annual meeting of the society; Provided, That the proposed amendment shall have been reduced to writing and entered on the minutes of the society at least three months previous to a vote being taken on the same. And provided, also, That a majority of the members present shall concur in the adoption of the amendment or amendments proposed.

The society has already in its work far surpassed the expectations of its organizers, as expressed in the resolution which gave it birth. Its collection is already the most valuable and voluminous in the West, and covers not only the period since the Territorial history of Kansas began, but comprises nearly everything accessible concerning the early history of the vast domain of the Louisiana purchase, of which Kansas formed a part. It comprises, also, the historic material, much of which is contained in manuscripts and letters of early Indian missionaries, sufficient for a more complete history of the Indian tribes who formerly inhabited Kansas than has ever been written. With relics and trophies of past times and men, innumerable manuscripts and compete files of nearly every paper ever published in the Territory or State, it has come to be one of the most valuable sources of historic information in the country.

These grand results, the inestimable value of which will come to be appreciated more and more as the years go by, are attributable in full measure to the rare ability and indefatigable labors of the present Secretary, Hon. F. G. Adams, who has, from small beginnings, brought this, one of the youngest societies of its kind in the country, to the first rank in the estimation of all students or others who have had the ability or opportunity to come to appreciate through examination the value of the historic treasures which he has gathered and is still gathering, collating, classifying and setting in order for the future use and benefit of the commonwealth and the country.

The collection is now kept in ample and elegant rooms in the west wing of the Capitol, just completed (1882).

It has been, considering the uncertainty which pertains to the experimental period of infancy, liberally endowed and cared for by the State. An experiment no longer under its present management, the State owes it to itself and sister States to still extend its fostering care, even to the bounds of munificence.


An act regulating the State Library took effect March 24, 1870. Its Board of Directors consists of the Governor, and the Judges of the Supreme Court. The library was made up of the books, pamphlets, maps and charts belonging to the State then in the State Library, or what should be thereafter added to the same. This act made it the duty of the Governor to appoint a State Librarian who should hold his office for four years, unless sooner removed, at an annual salary of $500. By an act of the Legislature, going into effect March 16, 1871, the librarian's salary was raised to $1,000; two years later, it was raised to $1,500.

Annual Reports. - On or before the 20th of December of each year, a report from the librarian is due to the Governor. The report states the number of volumes contained in the library; the number purchased during the year and the cost of the same; the number received by donation and further information or suggestions that may be deemed desirable. There is an annual appropriation of $300 to the librarian to be expended in the purchase of miscellaneous books for the library.

By the act of 1873, the Justices of the Supreme Court, by virtue of their office, shall be the directors of the library. The office hours are from 9 A. M. to 12 M., and from 2 to 5 P. M., and during the session of the Legislature from 7 to 9 in the evening.

David Dickinson was the first State Librarian. December 27, 1870, he reported 6,306 volumes in the library, 577 having been added during the year. He recommended that the librarian have the whole matter of exchange of public documents with the several States committed to him.

December 13, 1871, the librarian reported: There are now 7,341 volumes in the library, and some hundreds of small pamphlets and thirty volumes of unbound newspapers. The library is in good condition. The following exhibit was made of the receipts for the year ending December 15, 1871:

Law books purchased by Justices Supreme Court.  460
Law books purchased by exchange of duplicates.   62
Regular exchanges and donations...............  543
     Whole number received.................... 1065
     Deduct duplicates exchanged..............   30
     Net increase............................. 1035

December 12, 1872, the librarian report 8,473 volumes in the library. His report showed a perfect library set of Laws of Kansas, from the organization of the Territory. He stated:

I have sent our Documents, Laws and Supreme Court Reports to the librarians of all the States and Territories, and to the library of Parliament in Canada. The number of books sent from the library during the year is 246.

The report of 1873, stated that there were 9,241 volumes in the library; that of 1874, shows 10,297 volumes; that of 1875, 11,717 volumes. The librarian said:

Among the few donations, there is one of the Journals and Debates of the Kansas Constitutional Convention at Wyandotte, which had been long sought for. It was presented by Gen. John Ritchie, of Topeka, one of the members of the convention, and a life-long and unfaltering advocate of freedom and equal rights. It has been durably bound, and will be watchfully guarded.

The report for 1876, of books received during the year is as follows:

By purchase.............................    236
By exchange for reports and duplicates..     51
By exchange with States and Territories.    996
By donation.............................     13
     Whole number received..............  1,296
     Deduct volumes exchanged...........     12
     Whole number at last report........ 11,717
     Whole number at present............ 13,001
    A net increase of 1,281 volumes.

Of Supreme Court Reports, there were 6,743 volumes, valued at $26,972. Dr. Dickinson's first biennial report embraced a period of time extending from December 1, 1876, to June 30, 1878. He reported 14,574 volumes in the library, 6,311 of Supreme Court Reports. This, the last report of Dr. Dickinson, states:

When the librarian took charge of the library, eight years ago, there was not a half-dozen full sets of law reports, and a very meager assortment of text-books; the completion of the law library was, therefore, an indispensable necessity. Since it has been completed, or nearly so, more attention has been paid to the miscellaneous library.

Changes in the Office. - Dr. Dickinson died October 5, 1879. His successor was Hon. Samuel A. Kingman, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who resigned both the offices of Chief Justice and librarian on account of ill-health.

Hamilton J. Dennis was commissioned as librarian February 5, 1881, and he took charge of the office March 1, 1881.

August 10, 1882, Librarian Dennis submitted the second biennial report, in fact - Librarian Kingman having failed to make any - and Mr. Dennis called it the third biennial report, to correspond with the reports of other State officers covering the same period of time, so as to avoid confusion. He made the estimate 18,736 volumes in the library, as near as may be. He says:

As I have no data of reports sold, or of additions to the library by purchase or exchange between June 30, 1878, and March 1, 1881, the present report covers only transactions concerning the library from March 1, 1881, to June 30, 1882.

On taking charge of the library, I found it in a very crowded condition - every shelf, nook and corner being filled with books, the large case in the Supreme Court room filled with Government documents, as well as the most of the shelving in the vault below the library room; and as purchases and exchanges have since come in, there has been a steady overflow of the least-used books into the Judges' rooms and into the vault below to make room for them.

This of course breaks up anything like an orderly arrangement of the Government and State public documents, which, though not often called for, are still, when wanted, as useful and necessary as any other books.

Catalogue. - Under this heading, Librarian Dennis presents the following:

The last catalogue of the law and miscellaneous books of the library was made and printed in 1873. This did not include the Federal and State documents and pamphlets, which in fact have never been catalogued at all. In 1876, there was a brief catalogue of the law books of the library made and printed. The catalogue of 1873 was only by authors, gave titles very briefly, and no attempt was made at classification or making cross-references.

Considering the fact that nearly ten years have elapsed since the publication of this catalogue, little argument is required to show the necessity for a new catalogue as speedily as possible.

To make a proper catalogue and keep it up is the most important work a librarian is called upon to do, requiring patience, care and vastly more labor than is generally thought to be required.

Occasionally a reader will know the author of a book he is in search of, in which case the author-catalogue is sufficient, as from it can be quickly ascertained whether the library has the book or not.

But 75 per cent of the people consulting public libraries are in pursuit of a subject, and the name of the author writing upon the subject is a matter of comparative indifference to them. The question is not who has written, but what is written. To all such the catalogue should show at a glance all that the library contains on any given subject - that is, it should be a dictionary catalogue, where all that the library contains on any subject can be found as readily as a word, and its signification, in a dictionary.

To make such a catalogue as this, I say, requires much time, care and labor.

During the past year, I have from time to time, as I could get opportunity, written about 100 pages of catalogue of law books, covering the elementary works, with subject indexes to same; law periodicals, digest (English, Irish and State), Federal Reports, and State Supreme Court Reports, by reporters and series, with table of time covered by each series or reporter.

This much I found it absolutely necessary to do to know what was really in the law library, and render it readily available on call, and to enable me to make purchases understandingly and avoid duplicates. Of course the same necessity exists with reference to the books of the general library - the session laws, Federal and State documents, pamphlets, etc. After completing the catalogue, much work will be required to complete imperfect sets of the more important public documents, such as the Congressional Globe and Record, Patent Office Reports, specifications and drawings (daily called for) and Agricultural Reports.

As fast as possible, I shall continue work upon the manuscript catalogue, and leave the question of its publication to be determined upon after I shall have it completed and ready to submit for inspection.

Regard for the Producers. - Though the matter of Herd Books was considered by the Librarian, a novel subject to be mentioned in the report of a State Librarian, yet having had frequent calls for the "American Herd Book," which is the standard register of Short-horn pedigrees, and for books giving pedigrees of horses and other stock, he learned from reliable sources that there is not in the State a complete set of the "American Herd Book."

Noticing that the value of cattle, horses, sheep and swine in Kansas for the year 1881 aggregated $65,119,242, he concludes that much of the profit of any investment will depend upon its being intelligently made, and reasons upon the matter in the following matter:

To me there is as much food for thought in the above figures as could be found in a complete set of Cooper's novels, bound in full Russia with gilt tops.

When it is considered how much the value of the increase of the above amount of stock may be enhanced or depreciated by proper or improper breeding, the value of such books, and the importance of making them available for the use of the stock-growers of Kansas, becomes apparent.

I made up a brief list of books I thought desirable on this subject, including the "American Herd Book," and wrote East to publishers for prices. Our book fund was nearly exhausted, and it was doubted whether the appropriation made contemplated the purchase of such books from the book fund.

I therefore suggest that a special appropriation be made for the purchase of the follow- (sic) books, which can be obtained at the following prices:

The American Herd Book - Vols. 1 to 22, inclusive - and the 
"Reprint of English Bulls," and "History of Short-Horn cattle; 
taken together, 24 found volumes...............................   $100 00
American Cattle.  By L. F. Allen. 1 vol........................      2 50
Breeders' Trotting Stud Book. By J. H. Sanders. 1 vol..........      5 00
Bruce's American Stud Book.  3 vols............................     30 00
Percheron Norman Stud Book. By J. H. Sanders. 1 vol............      3 00
American Clydes Stud Book.  By Col. C. F. Mills.  1 vol........      5 00
Randall's Practical Shepherd.   1 vol..........................      2 00
    Total......................................................   $147 50

It is immaterial whether the books (if purchased) be placed in the State Library or the with the Agricultural department; probably the latter would be the better place for them.

But let it be known that they are here as the property of the State, and subject to inspection by any one desiring to consult them, and I believe they will be appreciated and consulted by the stock-men of the State. I do not know of any way in which the State could invest the above amount of money to its greater advantage.

During the autumn of 1882, the State Library was removed from the central portion of the south part of the basement to more spacious apartments.

Receipts from Reports and Statues. - The following is a statement of amounts collected for book sales and paid over to the Treasurer from March 1, 1881, to June 30, 1882:

March, 1881......       $449 50
April, 1881......        714 50
May, 1881........        617 50
June, 1881.......        521 50
July, 1881.......        336 50
August, 1881.....        211 00
September, 1881..        354 50
October, 1881....        482 50
November, 1881...        482 00
December, 1881...        348 50
January, 1882....        611 50
February, 1882...        254 50
March, 1882......        424 50
April, 1882......        306 50
May, 1882........        190 00
June, 1882.......        400 50
   Total.........     $6,705 50       

Abstract of volumes received from March, 1881, to June 30, 1882:

Law books purchased....................    320
Law books from Schedule "F"............     43
Miscellaneous books purchased..........    113
Miscellaneous books from Schedule "F"..     49
Exchanges from States and Territories..    554
Donations..............................     83
     Whole number received.............  1,162
Whole number reported in library
                  to June 30, 1878..... 14,574
Estimated number received from June
30, 1878, to March 1, 1881 - 
two years and eight months.............  3,000
      Total............................ 18,736

[TOC] [part 30] [part 28] [Cutler's History]