THE fifty-eighth annual meeting of the Kansas State Historical Society and the board of directors was held in the rooms of the Society on October 17, 1933.
The meeting of the board of directors was called to order at 10 a. m. by the president, Thomas Amory Lee. The first business was the reading of the annual report of the secretary.
The past year has been one of continued growth and progress in all departments of the Society. Accessions of manuscripts, documents, books and relics have been large and of unusual interest and value, particularly in the archives and manuscripts department, where the new material received was outstanding. There was a marked increase in the number of persons who have used the Society's collections.
The executive committee met regularly every month with the exception of July. The advice of the members has been sought in all matters of consequence, and in accordance with the constitution and by-laws they have approved all expenditures.President Lee appointed Sam F. Woolard, Wichita, and T. M. Lillard, Topeka, for two-year terms ending October, 1934. The terms of W. W. Denison, chairman, E. A.Austin, and H. K. Brooks, all of Topeka, expire with this October, 1933, meeting.
The 1933 legislature was pledged to economy, and when it convened the friends of the Society were fearful that our work might be crippled by ill-advised reductions in salary and maintenance appropriations. Some of the proposals which received support both in the House and Senate were indeed radical. Thanks to the assistance of the president of the Society, Thomas Amory Lee, and the unselfish work of a number of other officers and members, the final appropriations were not too drastic. The fact that the staff of the Historical Society was already inadequate made it seem important not to receive a reduction in the personnel. The secretary and the other officers of the Society wish to express their thanks again to the members who so generously and promptly gave their assistance.
The library received over three thousand requests for information, mostly regarding Kansas subjects or genealogy. A large number of students have used the collections of the Society, both for theses and general research. Some of the thesis subjects on which research was made are: gubernatorial elections, 1930, 1932; national banking system, 1865-1875; property tax delinquency in Kansas; place of the comic strip in newspapers; Congressman Hatch of Missouri and his contribution to agriculture; Paddock, Nebraska and agriculture; history of education in Kansas; Populist delegation in the 52d Congress; Haskell Institute; Lindsborg and Bethany College; development of
newspapers; Federal Land Act, 1891; Desert Land Act, 1877; Sherman antitrust act, 1890; history of religion in Kansas, Nebraska and western Missouri; trend of kindergartens in Kansas; and history of Elk county.
The constantly increasing demand for information and assistance often makes it impossible for the library staff to handle the routine of library work and cataloguing. Two additional catalogue clerks are needed to do the work efficiently.
Accessions to the archives for the year ending June 30, 1933, were 12,503 manuscripts, 563 manuscript volumes and 74 manuscript maps. A large part of the post-office accessions, mentioned later, go into this department. The bound manuscript volumes received from the post office are included in these figures.
The smallest and most interesting manuscript volume received is only 5 x 71 inches. It is the leather-bound original field notes of a survey of a United States mail route along the Santa Fe road from Independence, Mo., to a station on Pawnee Fork in west central Kansas. This survey was made in 1858. It is interesting to know that years ago the Society acquired the original map of this survey. Now by a strange circumstance the field notes come to light after seventy-five years in private ownership.
One of the valuable bound volumes included in the post-office collection is a tome of 632 pages, labeled "Journal A," which is a record of pleas in the United States district court of Kansas from 1862 to 1872. Two exhibits filed in this journal are a copy of a map of Indian reservations surveyed by Isaac McCoy and assistants from 1830 to 1832; and a copy of a map of Fort Leavenworth reservation in 1862.
An entertaining accession was a volume recording accounts of "The National Marriage Aid Association," whose headquarters were Topeka and whose secretary and treasurer was the Rev. John D. Knox. These records date in 1881 and 1882.
A collection of about 12,000 manuscripts came from the law department of the Union Pacific Railway in Topeka, through the courtesy of T. M. Lillard, a director of this Society. While much of this will doubtless have to be discarded,a preliminary inspection indicates that it includes some valuable material. There is a map of the southern branch of the road from Junction City to Humboldt, based on a survey of 1866. This map shows the location of Cottonwood City in Chase county, a forgotten townsite started in 1857 by French immigrants.
The recent state treasury scandal has prompted an inspection of original impeachment trials and investigations for the years 1862, 1874, 1891 and 1905. The archives department has original proceedings of these, either in bound volumes or manuscripts.
Fortunately for the manuscripts department the two clerks authorized by the legislature of 1931 were continued by this year's legislature, although for a time it appeared this very important work would be stopped. The work of organizing and repairing the thousands of manuscripts has gone forward steadily. One hundred and forty-nine boxes of papers have been examined and placed in chronological or alphabetical order. Valuable papers have been repaired. Approximately 30,000 pieces were handled.
One of the important collections belonging to the Society is the John Brown papers. The Society's original John Brown collection, numbering 137 papers, had been pasted in a bound volume. This was the approved method of handling manuscripts years ago; but now many of these pieces were in imminent danger of disintegration. All these valuable letters were removed from the volume, repaired, and reinforced with silk gauze according to the best modern practice. They are now more legible than they were in the bound volume and are preserved from further deterioration.
There have been many interesting and valuable accessions in this department during the year. What is probably the most important single accession of manuscripts and documents ever received by this Society came early this year from the Topeka post office. In the attic of the old federal building were several large rooms full of post-office records and other government papers and records. When this building was about to be razed instructions were received by the local post-office authorities to dispose of this accumulation of material.It had been sold to a waste-paper dealer when by accident the secretary learned of its existence through a man who had secured old stamps from some of the documents and letters. Postmaster R. C. Caldwell kindly permitted the Society to inspect these records, and when it appeared that there were documents of value he allowed us to remove them to the Memorial building. In all, seven small truck loads of books and papers were transferred to the Society's archives.
While it is not yet possible to classify this huge collection in any detail, much of it unquestionably is invaluable from a historical standpoint. There are a large number of original territorial court records, most of which originated at Lecompton in the 1850's, hundreds of pieces bearing the signatures of Judges Lecompte, Cato and Elmore. These relate to most of the controversial questions which arose in the territorial conflict. There are thousands of papers, including letters and official records, relating to district courts, circuit courts, bankruptcies, pensions, land offices, war-time alien-enemy registrations, United States marshal's activities, war-time Red Cross work, together with a great many miscellaneous government documents, pamphlets and bulletins. These date from 1854 down to the time of the World War, and some later. Each of these general groupings will, of course, lend itself to extensive subdivision, if more detailed handling indicates that it is of sufficient value to justify being retained. We have only begun to organize this collection. Preliminary examination already indicates that the territorial documents will throw a new light on the history of that period. With our limited staff it will be many months before the worthless material can be discarded and an inventory made.
The issues of 735 newspapers and periodicals, 79 being school and college publications, were being received regularly for filing on October 1. Of these, 58 were dailies, 11 semi-weeklies, 505 weeklies, 27 fortnightlies, seven semi- monthlies, four once every three weeks, 73 monthlies, 13 bimonthlies, 23 quarterlies, 10 occasionals, two semiannuals and two annuals. In the list were included 452 weekly community newspapers. On January 1 the Kansas newspaper collection totalled 41,216 bound volumes.
Historians, journalists and students find this collection inexhaustible for accounts of Kansas events. Statistics for the operation of the wheat allotment
plan of the federal government have been published in almost every newspaper in the state the past few months. This and publicity for other governmental innovations should make the 1933 file of newspapers the most important of recent years to the historian.
The 1933 annual List of Kansas Newspapers and Periodicals received by the Kansas State Historical Society was published in July. The edition listed the editors and publishers of 735 publications.
To the 186 volumes of newspapers shipped to the Fort Hays State College in 1931 is added a shipment to Wichita University in January, 1933. Over five hundred bound and unbound volumes of duplicate newspapers of comparatively recent date were included.
Newspaper accessions for the year include an incomplete file of the Topeka Daily Legal News, 1913-1932, from Nation L. Herren, Topeka; sixteen bound volumes of the Cawker City Public Record, 1883-1916, and the Cawker City CampFire, 1882-1883, from A. G. Alrich, Lawrence; fourteen bound volumes of The Argentine Republic, Kansas City, 1909-1921, from the Kansas City, (Mo.)Public Library; twenty-two volumes of the International Book Binder, Indianapolis and Washington, D. C., 1911-1932, from V. S. Boutwell, Topeka; six bound volumes of Harper newspapers, 1878-1885, from H. M. and J. P. Sydney, Anthony, and three unbound volumes each of the Hoard's Dairyman, Ft. Atkinson, Wis., Breeder's Gazette, Chicago, and Wallace's Farmer, Des Moines, Iowa, 1929-1931, from the Kansas State Board of Agriculture.
In its fifty-eight years the Society has accumulated over 15,000 pictures,ranging from tintypes less than an inch in size to the more than life-sized oil painting of territorial Gov. Andrew H. Reeder. A few of these pictures are hanging on the walls of the building, but thousands have been stored in an inadequate and antiquated filing system of albums and folders. In order to make this fine collection of use it was essential that a complete card catalogue be instituted.
With the approval of the executive committee E. H. Young was employed to begin this work. Our cataloging system was adapted from those in use at the Wisconsin and Minnesota historical societies, who have pioneered in Systematizing picture collections, with modifications recommended by the Library of Congress. This card index will contain descriptive matter sufficient to identify each portrait and scene. Extensive cross referencing will make illustrations of every subject immediately available. This plan will make the best possible use of our present storage facilities, and it is elastic enough to take care of picture accessions for many years to come without reorganization.
Unfortunately for the Society Mr. Young recently received a position in a New England college and the work has been temporarily delayed. Mr. Nyle Miller, our newspaper clerk, will devote half time to this task in the future.
One of the outstanding portrait accessions of the year was the gift of an oil painting of Betty Woolman by her son, William J. Woolman, of New York. Mrs. Woolman was a pioneer Kansan who entertained Lincoln in her home at Leavenworth when he visited the territory. Mr. Woolman and several members of his family made a trip to Kansas to present this painting to the Society. It now hangs in the first floor foyer.
The oil painting of Charles Curtis, former vice president, painted by the late George M. Stone, was sent to the Society by Mr. Curbs when he vacated his government office. This excellent likeness hangs in the first floor foyer.
The museum gained both in attendance and in the number of accessions. It is, of course, the most popular department with the general public, the visitors during the year numbering 32,943. There were 157 items accessioned.
One of the largest collections was given by Rev. A. F. Johnson, of Leavenworth, who was chaplain of the 140th infantry, Thirty-fifth division. This collection included forty World War pieces. A set of cooper tools used in early-day Kansas was sent from Hollywood, Calif., by Mr. W. G. Cracraft. Among the gifts from, the Woman's Kansas Day Club was a hatchet used by Carrie Nation in a raid on a Topeka joint in 1901. A saddle purchased by Mr. A. J. Bellport in San Antonio, Tex., in 1867, and used by him in driving cattle over the Chisholm trail, was donated by his daughter, Miss Abbie Bellport. A hitching post in the form of a negro stableboy now holds the horse which is hitched to a victoria. Oddly enough, the horse, hitching post and victoria attract as much attention as any display in the museum. The new stable boy is a replica of the type that was popular in the South in slavery days. It was a gift of the Castrite Foundry Company, Topeka.
Total accessions to the Society's collections for the year ending June 30, 1933, were as follows:
These accessions bring the totals in the possession of the Society to the following figures:
The Quarterly is now completing its second year. It has proved popular beyond expectation. At first it was difficult to secure suitable contributions, but in recent months the magazine has attracted an increasingly large number
of first-class articles. For this reason the editors believe that forthcoming issues will be of exceptional interest. Much credit for the high standard of the Quarterly is due to Dr. James C. Malin, associate professor of history at the University of Kansas, who is associate editor of the Quarterly.
The collections of this Society are a continuous source of newspaper and magazine feature stories. No small part of what is written about Kansas, both in state and in national publications, is based on research done in the Historical Society. The authors of a number of current books received assistance last year. Within the past year special writers for Collier's magazine, Saturday Evening Post and the New York Times Magazine visited the Society. Articles in the Quarterly are summarized or reprinted in Kansas newspapers and in a number of other out-state publications. Many Kansans who do not appreciate the importance of history but who do appreciate the economic value of publicity would be surprised to learn how large a proportion of what is said about Kansas originates in this Society. It would be difficult to appraise the commercial and advertising value to the state of its historical records.
The secretary is constantly being called upon to make talks about the Society or Kansas history. Last year he addressed nine organizations in Topeka two in Lawrence and one each in Hutchinson, Abilene, Kansas City, Kan., Overland Park, Bancroft and Republic. It is astonishing to discover how little Kansans know about the Historical Society and the extent of its resources.
The budget director approved the Society's request for $4,000 a year for the maintenance of the Old Shawnee Mission. The legislature reduced this to $750 a year, which was the amount allowed by the legislature of two years ago. Much work that had been planned, therefore, cannot be done. Last year it was found necessary to replace the caretaker. Dr. T. G. Vernon and his wife, of Paola, were employed, and they have done much to improve the buildings and grounds. The Shawnee Mission Indian Historical Society and the Shawnee Mission Floral Club have been of great assistance. Work is now being done to repair the rooms which were assigned several years ago to the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Colonial Dames, the Daughters of American Colonists and the Daughters of 1812. When these rooms are furnished, the east building, which contains the Shawnee Mission Indian Historical Society museum, will be one of the most interesting historical buildings in Kansas. This mission, with the three old buildings which looked down on the Santa Fe and Oregon trails, was for many years the last outpost of civilization for the hundreds of thousands of pioneers who peopled the far West. It is one of the outstanding historic sites in the West.
The first capitol building, on Highway No. 40 east of Fort Riley, continues to attract many visitors. For the year ending October 1, 1933, there were 11,546 visitors as compared with 13,216 the preceding year. The salary of the caretaker, who is required to be in attendance every day including Sundays,
was reduced from $600 a year to $450 a year, or $37.50 a month, by the last session of the legislature. This reduction is felt to be too drastic.
This park, which was created by the legislature of 1931, is managed by a board of which the secretary of the Historical Society is a member. There are an old stone blockhouse and guard house which were used by federal troops in 1867. Beginning last spring a Reforestation camp was established, and a crew of nearly 200 men has been at work on the federal project, which includes landscaping and roadmaking on land belonging to the park and to the adjoining experiment station and Fort Hays State College. The project was secured largely through the work of Congresswoman Kathryn O'Laughlin McCarthy, of Hays. The work is being done under the general supervision of the park board in accordance with plans which are approved by federal authorities.
On September 29, 1933, a crowd estimated at over 10,000 assembled at the Pike Pawnee park and monument near Republic, Kan., to celebrate the 127th anniversary of Pike's visit to the Pawnee chiefs on this site in 1806, when the American flag was first raised in the territory that is now Kansas. Addresses were made by Congresswoman Kathryn O'Laughlin McCarthy, Congressman W. P. Lambertson, Gomer Davies, the secretary of the Historical Society and others. The occasion for so large a gathering was the effort which is being made through Mrs. McCarthy to secure a federal appropriation for damming the river and creating a national park. If this is done it is proposed that the eleven acres now belonging to the state of Kansas in the name of the Historical Society will become a part of the national park. The Kansas legislature appropriated $3,000 for a memorial monument which was erected in 1901.
There are several well-informed amateur archaeologists in Kansas and a number of others who make up in enthusiasm for what they lack in knowledge. Kansas is a rich archaeological field. There are many village sites which have not yet been despoiled by curiosity seekers. In order to preserve these sites your secretary has suggested the formation of an archaeological group within the society. If sufficient interest develops and enough responsible members can be secured it is hoped to organize such a group this year.
Since the last annual meeting two county historical societies have been organized and have affiliated themselves with the state society by taking out life memberships. The Society has assisted organizers in several other counties which have not yet affiliated. Several of the local and county societies in the state are doing good work in gathering historical documents and relics. At Dodge City the nucleus of an excellent museum has been brought together. The McPherson County Historical Society has done outstanding work in recording the history of the early day settlers. The Shawnee Mission Indian Historical Society, largely composed of residents of Johnson county, were
assigned the main room in the east building at the old Methodist Shawnee Mission for a museum. Within two years this society has succeeded in placing on display a remarkable collection of documents, relics and pictures. While it is impossible for the state Society to take an active part in the organization of local societies, the encouragement of such associations is essential to the preservation of the history of the state. Members of this Society are urged to lend their assistance to local associations.
This report would be incomplete without mention of the members of the staff of
this Society. They are uniformly courteous, loyal and conscientious. The
secretary acknowledges his indebtedness to them for what. has been accomplished
in the past three years.
Upon the conclusion of the reading of the report of the secretary it was moved by W. W. Denison that it be approved and accepted. Seconded by Sam F. Woolard.Carried.
The president called for the reading of the report of the treasurer of the Society, Mrs. Mary Embree, which follows:
October 13, 1933
Examined by committee October 13, 1933, and approved.
On motion of W. C. Simons, seconded by W. W. Denison, the treasurer's report, as approved by the committee appointed from the executive committee to audit the books, was accepted.
The report of the nominating committee was read by Mrs. Henry F. Mason, chairman:
To the Board of Directors, Kansas State' Historical Society:
Your committee on nominations beg leave to submit the following report for officers of the Kansas State Historical, Society for the following year:
For president, H. K. Lindsley, Wichita.
On motion of Mrs. Bennett R. Wheeler, seconded by W. W. Denison, the report of the nominating committee was accepted.
This concluded the scheduled business for the morning meeting. The president, Thomas Amory Lee, made some suggestions regarding the work of the Society. He called attention to the need of bringing the annals of Kansas down to date, beginning where Wilder's chronology left off. He stated that in his opinion it would be well worth while for the Society to spend more time and money on this undertaking. He recommended the purchase of photographing or photostatting equipment which would make possible the reproduction of newspapers and other material becoming too fragile for constant use. Mr. Lee commented on the calendaring of manuscripts and hoped it would be possible to do more of it in the future. He particularly called attention to the fact that Kansas has made no effort to compile a history: of the participation of the state and its citizens in the World War. He urged that the Society, through its officers, recommend the formation of a state commission looking toward the preparation of a Kansas World War history. Mr. Lee closed his remarks with a word of appreciation for the loyal and efficient work of the members of the staff of the Society.
On motion of Sam F. Woolard, seconded by W. W. Denison, Mr. Lee's suggestions were referred for action to the executive committee.
There being no further business for the board of directors, the meeting adjourned.
The annual meeting of the Kansas State Historical Society convened at two o'clock p. m. The meeting was called to order by President Lee.
The secretary read telegrams and letters from members who were unable to be present.
The secretary displayed a campaign hat which had been worn by Gen. Wilder S. Metcalf while a major with the Twentieth Kansas in the Philippines, who was present at the meeting. In the hat was a hole made by a bullet which had also cut a piece from one of General Metcalf's ears.
Thomas Amory Lee read, as the annual address of the president, a paper on the judicial career of the late Judge William C. Hook. This paper appears as a special article elsewhere in this issue of the Quarterly.
Robert Taft, of the University of Kansas, presented "A Pictorial History of Kansas," which consisted of picture slides of early Kansas scenes and persons, accompanied by explanatory comments. Mr. Taft's pictures and talk were of exceptional interest. "A Pictorial History of Kansas," appears as a special article elsewhere in this issue of the Quarterly.
The report of the committee on nominations for directors was read by the secretary as follows:
OCTOBER 17, 1933.
Your committee on nominations beg leave to submit the following report and recommendations for directors of the Society for the term of three years ending October, 1936:
On motion of W. W. Denison, seconded by Thomas F. Doran, these directors were unanimously elected for the term ending October, 1936. Justice John S. Dawson administered the oath of office to those who were present.
The president called on Mrs. Ottis W. Fisher, president of the Shawnee Mission Indian Historical Society, to read the annual report of the work of her organization. Following the reading of her report she asked Mrs. Bernice Fraser, a member of the Society, to read an original poem on the Old Shawnee Mission. The secretary read a report. of the Marion County Historical Society, forwarded from Mrs. Jane C. Rupp, secretary. On motion the two preceding reports were accepted to be placed on file.
Rev. Josiah E. Copley called the attention of the Society to the celebration commemorating the founding of the Presbyterian mission at Highland in 1837.
The members adjourned to the foyer, where Mrs. Bennett R. Wheeler, in behalf of the Colonial Dames of Kansas, presented to the Society a bronze plate bearing the profile of George Washington and selections from his farewell address. The plate was accepted for the Society by its president, Thomas Amory Lee.
With this ceremony the annual meeting of the members of the Society adjourned.
The afternoon meeting of the board of directors was called to order by the president. He asked for a rereading of the report of the nominating committee for officers of the Society. The following officers were then unanimously elected:
H. K. Lindsley, president; T. F. Doran, first vice president; F. H. Hodder, second vice-president.
President Lee requested Professor Hodder, the newly elected second vice- president, to say hello to the meeting. Professor Hodder complied with a bow and a laconic "hello."
Mr. Lee requested T. F. Doran to take the chair in the absence of the newly elected president, H. K. Lindsley. Mr. Lee moved that the executive committee be instructed to prepare plans for the organization of a World War historical commission for the purpose of compiling a history of the participation of Kansas and her citizens in the World War, with further instructions to present the project at the proper time to the legislature. Seconded by Mr. Mechem. Carried.
Mrs. Henry F. Mason moved a vote of thanks to President Lee for his services to the Society and particularly for his work in the Society's behalf during the meeting of the legislature. Seconded by Mrs. A. M. Harvey and unanimously carried.
There being no further business the meeting adjourned.