Reading list for "Home on the Range" Conference

KanColl Interactive Reading List

Emigration   Plains Women   Orphan Trains of Kansas
Related Sources


History of the State of Kansas
William G. Cutler
    In this classic reference of Kansas history, published in 1883, William Cutler describes the emigration of former slaves to Kansas (the "Exoduster" movement). Cutler's History also includes a number of biographical sketches of German emigrants, as well as of German settlements such as those in Allen and Wabaunsee counties.
"Life-Altering Decisions of Joseph Dvorak and Francis Zvolanek"
Eric Taylor
    This story of Bohemians emigrating to Kansas explains what motivated them and what they found when they got here.
"Memories of Kansas Settlement"
E. T. McFarland
    In 1865, E. T. McFarland came to Kansas to "grow up with the country." This informative and highly entertaining personal account of these early days in Kansas was published in the Havensville Register sometime in 1889 or 1890.
"Reminiscences of William Darnell"
George A. Root
    William Darnell provides a detailed description of life in pioneer days in Pottawattomie County, Kansas, in this extensive oral history reprinted from the Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society, 1926 - 1928. The reminiscences range from his arrival in the Territory in the 1850s to his freighting days as a mule-skinner in the 1870s.
Top of Page

Plains Women:

Went to Kansas
Miriam D. Colt
    Mrs. Colt describes her emigration to Kansas, "an ill-fated expedition to that fairy-land and its sad results," in this 1862 book. A remarkable woman and gifted writer, Mrs. Colt's story is a heart-rending account of the tragedies besetting early pioneers in their search for a better life.
Kansas: Its Interior and Exterior Life
Sara Robinson
    Kansas history is full of strong women and Mrs. Robinson, wife of Governor Charles Robinson, is no exception. This book, written in 1856 during the "Bleeding Kansas" days, is an impassioned plea for justice and aid against pro-slavery forces, but also acquaints you with Mrs. Robinson and the life of early Kansas settlers.
"Recollections of Pioneer Life"
Nancy Wisner
    In this engaging and informative reminiscence, Mrs. Wisner recalls her life and her family's emigration to Kansas.
"Autobiography of Sarah Edna Eutsler Kennedy"
Sadie Kennedy
    Written for her children, this story of Sadie Kennedy's life is filled with humor, despite the darker moments of her life. Another of those remarkable Plains women!
Top of Page

Orphan Trains:

"Orphan Trains of Kansas"
Connie Dipasquale
    Connie Dipasquale, Secretary of the Kansas Orphan Trains Reunion Group, has collected a comprehensive selection of resources, articles, and other works related to the orphan train movement in Kansas. Many are presented here (more to be added in future): descriptions of those who rode the orphan trains, newspaper articles, the forms used to take in orphan train riders, bibliographies, lists of placing agents and riders, and more.
Top of Page

Related Works:

Commerce of the Prairies
Josiah Gregg
    This landmark 1844 book of a trading expedition across Kansas to Santa Fe, New Mexico provides a unique view of the Kansas Territory and the Old West in those very early days.
A Campaign in New Mexico with Col. Doniphan
Frank S. Edwards
    Written just three years later in 1847, Frank Edwards recounts his participation in the military campaign in New Mexico, as "manifest destiny" gathered steam and headed further West.
The Prairie Traveler: A Hand-book for Overland Expeditions
Randolph B. Marcy, Captain, US Army
    In this classic 1859 guide to Westward travel, Capt. Marcy explains in clear and easily understood terms everything an emigrant would need to know when going West. Selection includes a brief biography of the author and "The World of The Prairie Traveler in 1859," a description of notable events and persons of that time.
Report of the Committee of the Kansas State Historical Society on the Santa Fe Trail Through Kansas
    A historical reference to the Santa Fe Trail in Kansas, developed by the Kansas State Historical Society in 1911-1912. The Society has long been a strong and unparallelled force in preserving the State's history and presenting it to later-day Kansans. Any opportunity to visit the Society's state-of-the-art museum in Topeka should not be missed.
Santa Fe Trail maps: Eastern, Central and Western Sections

"The Oregon Trail through Pottawatomie County"
William E. Smith
    William Smith describes a Kansas section of the Oregon Trail and its travellers in this standard trails reference.
"Tell Me A Story . . . "
Susan Stafford and Dick Taylor
    This article from the premiere issue of Voices, the Kansas Collecton's online magazine, explores our interest in stories and history, and the Kansas Collection's efforts to let the voices of the past be heard again today. Several of those voices, some cited above in this list, are included in the article.
"Kansas Postcards"
Judith B. Glad
    Jude Glad has contributed a fascinating selection of turn-of-the-century postcards, providing a unique view of times long gone by.
John Abbott
    John Abbott has also contributed Kansas postcards from the early part of this century, in an impressive variety of subjects.
Portrait Gallery of Eminent Kansans
Dick Taylor
    This gallery assembled by Dick Taylor primarily features Kansans who were prominently involved in the "Bleeding Kansas" struggles, many of them Douglas County residents.
Old Kansas Area Maps
Dick Taylor
    These maps, collected by Dick Taylor, show Kansas as it was, and are a helpful reference in researching locations and passages of the time.
Top of Page

KanColl     Kansas Collection Books     Kansas Collection Articles     Kansas Collection Graphics