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People - Notable Kansans - Peffer, William Alfred, 1831-1912

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A party of patches

A party of patches
Creator: Judge Magazine
Date: June 6, 1891
This political cartoon drawn by Bernard Gilliam was copied from the satirical magazine Judge presents the Republican perception of the People's (Populist) Party. The artist depicts the People's Party as a hot air balloon made up of a patchwork of pieces, with each piece labeled with the name of the political organization or party that has been subsumed under the banner of the Populists. Some of the more recognizable "patches" include the Prohibition Party, the Greenback Party, the Farmer's Alliance, and the Knights of Labor Party. Inside the balloon's basket are two leading Populists from Kansas, William Peffer and "Sockless" Jerry Simpson.


Biographical circulars

Biographical circulars
Date: 1890-1899
This collection consists of biographical forms sent by F. G. Adams, secretary of the Kansas Historical Society, to individuals whose names appeared in historically significant materials in the collections of the Kansas Historical Society. The responses are arranged alphabetically by last name. Biographical information may include full name, place and date of birth, place and date of settlement, present residence, place and date of death, official positions, and/or addresses of family members.


Gulliver bound down by the Democratic Lilliputians

Gulliver bound down by the Democratic Lilliputians
Creator: Judge Magazine
Date: Between 1890 and 1895
This political cartoon from the satirical magazine Judge illustrates the Republican perception of the Democratic Party and Peoples' (Populist) Party by adapting a classic story from Gulliver's Travels. The cartoon depicts politicians, activists, and wealthy Americans tying down a giant man who symbolizes industrial prosperity. The ties stretching across his lower body represent "tariff tinkering" and "free silver," political issues where many Democrats and Populists were in agreement. William Peffer, a Kansas Populist, stands on a podium near the center giving a speech about silver. Judge magazine, created by artists who had previously worked for the well-known magazine Puck, began in 1881.


Peffer's Tariff Manual

Peffer's Tariff Manual
Creator: Peffer, William Alfred, 1831-1912
Date: 1888
This manual written by William Alfred Peffer is described as a "statement of facts and figures showing the origin, history, use, object, and effect of tariff legislation in the United States, together, with much statistical information useful in tariff discussions." This pamphlet contains a great deal of statistical information about the impact of the tariff in the U.S. Peffer and other populists believed that tariffs were hurting farmers and workers. Peffer served as a U. S. Senator from Kansas representing the Populist Party.


Senator William Alfred Peffer

Senator William Alfred Peffer
Creator: Leonard, J. H.
Date: Between 1891 and 1897
This is a cabinet card portrait of William Alfred Peffer, a member of the Populist Party, who served as Kansas United States Senator 1891-1897. The photograph was taken by J. H. Leonard, 613 Kansas Avenue, Topeka, Kansas.


Stubborn Facts in a Nutshell.  Manifesto by the State Central Committee of the People's Party.

Stubborn Facts in a Nutshell. Manifesto by the State Central Committee of the People's Party.
Creator: Zercher, Daniel C.,
Date: 1894
This pamphlet was compiled by Daniel C. Zercher on behalf of the State Central Committee of the People's Party. It contains a "Manifesto by the State Central Committee of the People's Party signed by John W. Breidenthal from 1894 and an address on the cause of the "late financial panic: signed by Populist senators and representatives from various states including W. A. Peffer and Jerry Simpson. It discusses the legislative dispute in Kansas between Republicans and Populists, legislation concerning railroads, etc. Statistics related to the various issues are presented. It also includes "Seventy-five Reasons Why I am a Populist." This pamphlet was also published in Swedish (Pam vol. 2 #9 ) and German (Pam. vol. 2 #10)


The Advocate

The Advocate
Date: January 17, 1894-November 17, 1897
View and search this newspaper by clicking on the Chronicling America link below. This newspaper comes from the collections of the Kansas Historical Society and was digitized with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program. On January 17, 1894, the Advocate and Topeka Tribune resumed its original title of the Advocate. Dr. Stephen McLallin continued to edit the Advocate until about a year before he died on March 4, 1897. By then, the paper was under the direction of William Alfred Peffer, the first Populist U.S. Senator. Peffer had been chairman of the national conference that organized the People's Party and served as president of the National Reform Press Association. He was an important reformer to the extent that Populism was sometimes referred to as "Pefferism."


The foolish appeals of the political tramps

The foolish appeals of the political tramps
Creator: Judge Magazine
Date: 1891
This political cartoon from the satirical magazine Judge depicts a farmer (representing Uncle Sam) standing in his wheat field talking to a Democrat and two Populists, "Sockless" Jerry Simpson and William Peffer, both from Kansas. These three men are attempting to convince the farmer of the importance of free trade and free silver, but he remains satisfied with the current situation. Meanwhile, across the sea in Europe, there are starving peasants begging for relief. The cartoon is meant as a criticism of the Populists' and Democrats' desire to "save" farmers. Judge magazine, created by artists who had worked at Puck magazine and who allied with the Republican Party, began in 1881.


The Grangers' dream of cheap money

The Grangers' dream of cheap money
Creator: Puck
Date: Between 1880 and 1900
This political cartoon from the satirical Puck magazine illustrates the Republican perception of the People's (Populist) Party belief in the coinage of silver and the redistribution of wealth to the masses. In the cartoon, Populist senator William Peffer uses a bellows to propel the windmill of the U.S. Treasury in order to pump out more "greenbacks." Outside the windmill, farmers are hungrily grabbing bags of money and carting them away in wagons. Billboards in the nearby town refer to the rapid inflation caused by the distribution of so much money.


The poor donkey has too many drivers

The poor donkey has too many drivers
Creator: Judge Magazine
Date: Between 1890 and 1899
In this political cartoon from the satirical magazine Judge, Populist senators William Peffer and "Sockless" Jerry Simpson push a boulder (symbolizing the Farmer's Alliance) under the wheel of a wagon that represents the United States. In the driver's seat are five congressmen, each with their own agenda labeled on their sash. The wagon is being pulled by a donkey signifying "democracy." Judge magazine, created by artists who had allied with the Republican Party, began in 1881 and its sales eventually surpassed those of its rival, Puck.


The way out:  a scheme to establish a perfect financial system; to destory the influence of the money power, and prevent panics; to supply the people with money driect from the government, without the intervention of banks, at one per cent. . . .

The way out: a scheme to establish a perfect financial system; to destory the influence of the money power, and prevent panics; to supply the people with money driect from the government, without the intervention of banks, at one per cent. . . .
Creator: Peffer, William Alfred, 1831-1912
Date: 1890
William Peffer authored this pamphlet offering various solutions to the financial problems of farmers. The extensive title, not all of which was listed but which is on the first page of the pamphlet, indicates the subject matter. Peffer was the editor of the Kansas Farmer published in Topeka and he was also a Populist.


William Alfred Peffer

William Alfred Peffer
Creator: Leonard, J. H.
Date: Between 1891 and 1897
William Alfred Peffer was the first Populist senator elected to U.S. Congress. He was born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, on September 10, 1831. As a young man he traveled across the country, living in California, Indiana, Missouri, and Illinois. After the outbreak of Civil War, Peffer enlisted in the 83rd Illinois Infantry, entering as a private and working his way up to the rank of second lieutenant. He read law while still in the military, and after his discharge in 1865 he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in Clarksville, Tennessee. Five years later he moved to Fredonia, Kansas, where he established another practice and edited the Fredonia Journal. Peffer served as a state senator from 1874 to 1876, and during his tenure he relocated to Coffeyville, Kansas, where he assumed editorial control of the Coffeyville Journal. Then, in 1881, he launched the Populist publication Kansas Farmer, one of his best-known contributions to this agrarian reform movement. Peffer was instrumental in the creation of the People's (Populist) Party, serving as a Populist U.S. Senator from 1891 to 1897 and running again (unsuccessfully) for re-election in 1896. Two years later, he ran an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of Kansas, losing the election to Republican William Stanley. Peffer died in 1912 in Grenola, Kansas, at the age of 81.


William Alfred Peffer

William Alfred Peffer
Creator: Prince, George (b. 1848)
Date: Between 1890 and 1897
This is a photograph of William A. Peffer, a Populist, who served in both the Kansas State Senate from 1874 to 1876 and the United States Senate from 1891 to 1897. In addition, he was an editor of several Kansas newspapers during his professional career.


William Alfred Peffer

William Alfred Peffer
Creator: Leonard, 613 Kansas Ave., Topeka, KS.,
Date: Between 1891 and 1897
This is a cabinet card showing William A. Peffer, a Populist, who served in both the Kansas State Senate from 1874 to 1876 and the United States Senate from 1891 to 1897. In addition, he was an editor of several Kansas newspapers during his professional career.


William Alfred Peffer

William Alfred Peffer
Creator: Bell, C. M.
Date: Between 1891 and 1897
This is a cabinet card showing William Alfred Peffer, a Populist, who served in both the Kansas State Senate from 1874 to 1876 and the United States Senate from 1891 to 1897. In addition, he was an editor of several Kansas newspapers during his professional career.


William Alfred Peffer

William Alfred Peffer
Creator: Knight, J. Lee
Date: Between 1890 and 1897
This is a carte de visite of William Alfred Peffer, a Populist, who served in both the Kansas State Senate from 1874 to 1876 and the United States Senate from 1891 to 1897. In addition, he was an editor of several Kansas newspapers during his professional career.


William Peffer scrapbooks

William Peffer scrapbooks
Creator: Peffer, William Alfred, 1831-1912
Date: Between 1890 and 1900
Populist politician William Peffer kept at least three scrapbooks of political cartoons during his six-year term as U.S. Senator from Kansas between 1891-1897. All three volumes are included here in their entirety. The political cartoons he collected appeared in satirical weeklies like Puck, Judge, Harper's Weekly, and various other publications, and feature caricatures of Senator Peffer and other politicians. The cartoons are especially critical of the Populist Party platform.


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