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Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. Read more.



Kansas Memory Blog

Dec 10, 2018 by

By: Haley Suby, Digital Archivist

Over the past eleven months, the Kansas Historical Society has been working hard to bring you digitized images that represent the past, present and future of Kansas and Kansans. Featured in this post are highlights from each month, different collections and counties. Read further to see what we have found to digitize for you.




One of the first items to be digitized in 2018 comes from the home town of the Society's new Acquisitions Archivist. Gracing us from Pittsburg, Crawford County, Kansas, this booklet uses black and white photographs with accompanying captions to represent street scenes, churches, businesses, aerial views and residences. The Acquisitions Archivist may not have been in Pittsburg in 1902 but some of the buildings may still be around for your delight today.

 Pittsburg, Kansas, Central School Building


February was the cold month the current Digital Archivist joined the team. This 360-degree photograph of a container from the Shawnee Methodist Mission in Johnson County, Kansas, was shot by the Society's photographer. Through shooting the container thirty-six times incrementally by ten degrees around the container, a full 360-degree view is achieved giving the viewer a better perspective of a 3D object.



March brought more cold weather to Kansas, but it also brought this digitized map of the Kansas Territory. Today we have more convenient modern technology to help us stay warm while outside working compared to when the land was surveyed for this map. George N. Propper surveyed the land to create this map to identify county boundaries, Indian boundaries, rail roads, emigrant routes and many more.

Township Map of Kansas


The Kansas History Museum is constantly surprising us with exhibits and interpretations of collections, but if you haven't made it to the Museum they are bringing their collections to you. This digitized cartoon brought Christmas to April for some. A Christmas list is written on the cartoon, does your wish list look similar?

Christmas Cartoon by Alfed T. Reid



In May the weather was beginning to warm up in Kansas and the bitterly cold winds were staying away. This set of photographs shows the welcome arch to the Neosho Falls Fair Grounds in Woodson County, Kansas. Summer farmer's markets and fairs are just beginning to open for the season and this arch would certainly make someone excited to attend.

Welcome arch at the Neosho Falls fair grounds, Woodson County, Kansas


From Miller, South Dakota, Nelson Antrim Crawford (1888-1963) made his name as an educator and journalist in Topeka, Kansas. He is best known for his publication “Your Child Faces War” which provided guidelines for parents to educate their children on peace and international affairs. His house stands near Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. These drawings were digitized in June to show interior and exterior details and designs of this journalist’s home.  

Nelson Antrim Crawford residence drawings


This year our archeology training program traveled to Council Grove in Morris County, Kansas, to work on the Last Chance Store. While the archeologists were excavating the Last Chance Store the Archives held a Scan and Share event. Local residents brought historic materials to be digitized for publication on Kansas Memory. One of the items brought during the visit is the only known portrait to exist of the Indian Agent Seth Hays (1811-1873).  Hays traveled to Council Grove, Kansas, by the Santa Fe Trail in the spring of 1847 where he chose to stay to open and operate a trading post.

Seth Hays portrait


Taken in Riley County, this photograph shows the shift from taking a casual swim to taking in the sun to get the highly desired tanned look. On the left, Miss 1880 is modeling a traditional wool bathing costume outfitted with full pants and dress to accommodate the wearing of a corset underneath to maintain her figure. Beauty pageant contestants are sporting vogue rayon swimsuits which were becoming popular for young ladies. Many more United States women were pushing the limits of bathing suit laws with fitted and sleeveless suits popularized by Australian Annette Kellerman in 1907.

Beauty contestants, Manhattan, Kansas



The Goddard Woman's Club in Sedgewick County and the Kansas Historical Society worked together to digitize the Club's scrapbooks. This scrapbook highlights the Club's community service to provide educational programs about the Shell Oil Company that at the time had forty-five producing wells and 60,000 acres of land in and around Wichita, Kansas.

Goddard Woman's Club project book


This Depression-era letter from progressive journalist William Allen White to Dorothea Gufler demonstrates the high unemployment rate in the United States. In his response to Dorothea Gufler's letter on behalf of her friend Mr. Brayshaw, White’s sarcastic tone makes it evident that he has received many of these requests the past four years.

William Allen White to Dorothea Gufler letter


Hailing from South Dakota, which is most likely colder than we are here in Kansas, is the Society's newest Government Records Archivist. During his work, he transcribed a written statement by John Brown, abolitionist, on the Battle of Osawatomie where he gained notoriety on the national stage for his skill at guerilla warfare. Brown’s chilling account of the battle highlights the difficulties men and women may have encountered settling in Kansas at this time.


John Brown, statement on the Battle of Osawatomie


Returning in 2019, the Kansas Historical Society will be working hard to bring you more items to you to view at your own convenience.

Oct 10, 2018 by

By: Haley Suby, Digital archivist 

Germans brought their culture and language to the United States and sought to preserve them when emigrating to the United States. One example of German culture in Kansas is Turnvereins, commonly referred to as Turner Halls. Turner Halls were the epicenters of socializing and athleticism in these communities and often centered around the production and consumption of beer. Soon after establishing their communities and breweries Germans fought to preserve their right to brew and drink beer against new state laws on the prohibition of alcohol. 

 Figure 1: Turner Hall, UID 209348

Kansans were early adopters of prohibition forming the first temperance organization in 1850, passing a prohibitory amendment to the state constitution in 1880 and bringing prohibition to the national stage in 1884 when Kansas Governor John St. John ran as a presidential candidate for the Prohibition Party. To influence legislation that would allow Turner Halls to continue providing beer for their communities, Germans promoted their moderate approach to consumption, rejecting the over-indulgence often exhibited by some Americans, and provided samples of beer to government officials. Germans along with other immigrants and brewers were successful enough for a time that some Kansans hoping to preserve their own right to indulge even sought their help. In one letter from a Mr. L.W. Clay of Lawrence to John Walruff , Prussian brewer, in 1882, Clay asks Walruff for his advice of how to purchase beer for the City Council without facing the legal backlash of prohibition in Kansas.


Figure 2: John Walruff Brewery, UID 209348

To continue providing beer for their communities and preserve their culture, Turner Halls could purchase and be awarded lemonade licenses by the State. The origin of the name “lemonade license” is unclear but it may have come from a refinement method to produce beer that contained less alcohol and aroma of traditional brewing methods. The Denton and Doniphan County Turnverein was a well-known source of bottled beer for Germans (Topeka State Journal, 1895) But as prohibition laws continued  to tighten their grip on all communities serving liquor, Turner Halls “(…) forced a compromise allowing Germans to buy beer on Sundays except during church service hours” (Higgins, 1992, p. 15) . 

For some Turner Halls this was not enough and they continued selling beer during operating hours illegally and paid fines. To maintain operating costs, such as paying fines and purchasing lemonade licenses, Turner Halls began charging memberships fees and beer coin fees. Their open rebellion to prohibition came from their “(…) German subculture’s resistance to assimilate and reluctance to abandon the past” (Higgins, 1993, p. 6). 

Figure 3: Turner Society, UID 209368


In the end, Turner Halls lost their right to sell beer. The prohibitory amendment proposed by state legislature was passed in 1879 by voters reflecting Kansans disapproving attitudes toward drinking and unruly behavior. The amendment faced rebellion by breweries as they continued to serve alcohol through the end of the nineteenth-century, but as penalties became more severe, breweries were forced to accept the law by the early 1900s. In response to closing breweries and prohibition, Kansans as well as other states turned to new sources for their liquor, one such instance being a physician’s prescription card to purchase liquor at a pharmacy. By the beginning of the twentieth-century, Turner Halls turned their attention to promoting athletic endeavors for young men in their community.

 Further reading:

 Higgins, C. “Kansas Breweries, 1854-1911,” Kansas History 16, no. 1 (1993): 2-21.

Higgins, C. Kansas Breweries & Beer, 1854-1911. Kansas: Ad Astra Press, 1992.

“From Far Away Russia,” Kansas Museum of History (online exhibit), accessed April 2018, https://www.kshs.org/p/from-far-away-russia-introduction/10679

Kansas State Historical Society. “Brewers Clogs,” Kansapedia (blog), last modified December 2014, https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/brewers-clogs/10187

Kansas State Historical Society, Brewery Album, https://www.kshs.org/dart/units/subunits/209348

Kansas State Historical Society. “Germans from Russia in Kansas,” Kansapedia (blog), last modified December 2017, https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/germans-from-russia-in-kansas/12231

Kansas State Historical Society. “Lewelling, Lorenzo, D.,” Kansapedia (blog), last modified February 2017, https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/lorenzo-d-lewelling/17109

Kansas State Historical Society. “Prohibition,” Kansapedia (blog), last modified March 2014, https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/prohibition/14523

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