Candle and Books (EKIS)

Behind the Scenes . . .

In the Early Kansas Imprint Scanners (EKIS) workshop, volunteers use scanners to make electronic copies of materials such as books and photographs, proof any text, and then add web designs to include these works in the Kansas Collection. Here's a look at what the volunteers are up to, behind the scenes:

       Notes from around EKIS:   Cutler's History
         of the State of Kansas,"Orphan Trains," the
         Andreas History of the State of Nebraska, recent
         contributions, and the EKIS/KanColl "Season's
         Greetings" page

       Volunteer Spotlight:   Meet Bonnie Bunce

Notes from around EKIS

We are very grateful to Bob Mills for agreeing to serve as interim associate manager for the Cutler's History of the State of Kansas project, with associate manager John Matthews, while Bonnie Bunce takes a much-deserved break. This project stays in very good hands!...."Orphan Trains of Kansas": Connie Dipasquale reports, "I just wanted to tell you that I'm getting several e-mails from grade school kids who are doing reports and projects on the Orphan Trains. And I find this really exciting! So I want to thank you, and Dick Taylor and Lynn Nelson, and everyone else involved for making this outlet available to these kids. I've really enjoyed being able to help them. Thanks!" (We thank Connie for her generously contributing all the information contained in the "Orphan Trains" gallery -- more materials are in progress!) . . . Andreas History of the State of Nebraska: The year before William G. Cutler and his team of researchers prepared the monumental History of the State of Kansas, they wrote the History of the State of Nebraska -- both were published by Andreas' Western Historical Company of Chicago, Illinois. We are very pleased to announce that EKIS has begun work on transcribing the Nebraska history, so that both Andreas books will be available in KanColl. Connie Snyder has generously agreed to manage this project for EKIS, and we appreciate her energetic and dedicated work! We hope to start making some of the first chapters available in KanColl soon . . . EKIS has recently received sets of generous contributions from Debbie Wafford, Marcia Philbrick, and Steve Chinn. We very much appreciate the large quantity of materials that have been donated! Work has begun on preparing these works for inclusion in KanColl -- you can view one of the selections, a letter to Edward Beedles, in KanColl now. This 1870 letter was donated by Betty Ralph through the assistance of Debbie Wafford . . . EKIS and KanColl celebrated the holidays with our "Season's Greetings" page, and we want to thank everyone who signed the guest book for their wonderful comments, they are much appreciated!

Volunteer Spotlight:   Meet Bonnie Bunce

People all over the world have benefited from the EKIS transcription of William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, an immense work which is still in progress. This 1883 book (sometimes published in two volumes, since there are 1600 pages!) provides an extensive history of Kansas and thorough histories of each of the state's 105 counties.

An army of EKIS volunteers has been working on the transcription for nearly two years; it is an unimaginably large project, and the fact that the print is extremely small, and generally cannot be scanned into computer files, further complicates the work. Volunteers must manually type the material (which that small print makes very difficult to read) into computer files for coding and installing in the Kansas Collection. If you want to know why EKIS has such a project underway, and why this work is at last being made widely available for researchers, students and educators, genealogists, and folks just interested in history, we have two words for you: Bonnie Bunce.

Bonnie had this idea to transcribe the book for the Internet. Well, it was crazy -- Cutler's History is simply huge, and scanning is mostly impossible. No one would even think of undertaking such a project -- no one except Bonnie. She persuaded EKIS to take on the project, became the EKIS associate manager for the Cutler's project, and began mobilizing EKIS volunteers to transcribe the massive work.

Bonnie was later joined by EKIS associate manager John Matthews, who has not only transcribed a considerable number of the completed chapters, but is also responsible for the coding, design, and overall consistency of the web presentation of the History of the State of Kansas.

Cutler's has now become an indispensable resource, a catalyst for involving communities in Kansas history and its preservation, and has led to the newest EKIS project, transcribing the 1882 Cutler's History of the State of Nebraska.

We are honored to introduce you to a very remarkable person, Bonnie Bunce, who writes:

     "I was not very healthy as a child and spent a lot of time at home sick, and thus was probably exposed more to my father and his sister who raised me than people usually are to their parents. My father was 47 when I was born. My sister and I were the youngest of all of our cousins, most of them are now retired, so we definitely grew up in an adult household. At times to entertain us my father would dig out old family photos from his trunk in the basement, and he would tell us how this uncle of his mother's marched with Gen. Sherman to the sea in the Civil War and how this great uncle fought Indians in Kansas, etc. It was always interesting to me, mainly because they were dead and those pictures were my only link to the previous generation. My father's mother died in 1935, 14 years before I was born, and his father died in 1941, so I never met any of my grandparents.

     "In 1974 I traveled to Portland, Oregon to visit my sister who had moved there with her husband, and also met a couple of my uncles and an aunt who lived there also. One of my first cousins mentioned to me that she had never seen a picture of our mutual grandmother, and I felt bad about that, so when I returned to Denver, we got out the old family photos to find one of grandmother Estella May (Mehaffey) Bunce to get copied to send to Oregon. Since she died during the Great Depression, there were not many pictures of her later in life, but she had taken some at the downtown Woolworth's store in one of those booths, where you put your monety in and a few minutes later pictures pop out of the machine. My aunt thought perhaps we could have one of those enlarged and restored. So working on getting several old pictures restored got the whole family started on a search for our roots. Several months before my grandfather had died my father sat down with him and had him identify who was in the old family photos, the problem was that years later, we didn't know how we were related to all these people. :-)

     "I first saw Wm. G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas at the genealogy department of the main branch of the Denver Public Library in 1974-75. I found the biographical sketches of my great-grandfather, Peter Bunce, Jr., and great-great-grandfather Elisha Davis Jackson, in the chapter on Shawnee Co. But it was not until I started typing the chapter on Shawnee Co. and sending out copies of the other chapters that I found information on other early family members that had come to Kansas. Thus far I've learned new information on three or four other related families through Cutler's history, and it has been surprising to me as well as thrilling to see how my collateral ancestors helped in the early life of Kansas.

     "By the way, as you may have guessed, history was one of my best subjects in high school and college!

     "It has been rewarding to me to see how others have taken such an interest in the subject, and also I think it serves to strengthen our American commitment to equality of men and the higher ideals of fair dealing under the law for all people regardless of their race or nationality.

     "My purpose in doing this was that I felt such pride in my own family (however small a role they played in Kansas history) and I wanted others to share in that, too. I knew many people on FidoNet had a strong commitment to preserving records of family history, and from reading messages on Internet newsgroups, such as Roots-L, which I had access to through a local FidoNet BBS, Roots Cellar Too!, I knew others might feel as I do. And, so here we are nearly two years later and so many, many chapters are on line. What an incredible miracle!"

NOTE: As "Voices" goes to press, Bonnie is taking a well-deserved break from her duties -- she's devoted over a year and a half to Cutler's without a vacation or holiday, in addition to her job as administrative assistant at Metro State College in Colorado and her other responsibilities. We wish Bonnie well while she takes this well-deserved time off, and we look forward to her return!
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