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Winter 1977, Volume 43, Number 4

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Harry Turbet Taylor in the Taylor Abstract Title Company office in Larned, Kansas Harry Turbet Taylor in the Taylor Abstract Title Company office in Larned, Kansas

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Collections - State Archives - Governor's Records - Anderson, John, Jr.

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Anonymous resident to the governor's wife

Anonymous resident to the governor's wife
Date: August 20, 1963
An anonymous Kansas resident writes the wife of Governor John Anderson Jr. of Topeka concerning a proposed atheist colony near Stockton, Kansas. The author expresses her opposition to the colony and regards it as a plot of communist Russia. Madalyn Murray [O'Hair] of Baltimore, Maryland, proposed the colony after the Supreme Court decision in Murray v. Curlett (1963) declared prayer in schools unconstitutional. Ms. Murray formed Other Americans, Inc. (a Maryland corporation) to advance atheist interests and establish an atheist colony in Kansas. Carl Brown, a farmer near Stockton and former Kansas state senator, served as a director of that corporation. Mr. Brown, an avowed atheist, deeded 160 acres of land near Stockton to the corporation. During the 1950s and 1960s, the national debate over the role of religion in public life centered on the use of prayer in public schools. Many people associated atheists with communists and approached this issue from the larger context of the cold war. Historical Society staff removed the author's name and place of residence from this copy of the letter to comply with her request for privacy.


Governor John Anderson capital punishment received correspondence

Governor John Anderson capital punishment received correspondence
Creator: Kansas. Governor (1961-1965 : Anderson)
Date: 1961-1964
Republican politician John Anderson compiled this series of correspondence on capital punishment issues from letters received while governor of Kansas from 1961-1965. The State of Kansas executed fifteen men between 1944 and 1965. Two AWOL soldiers, George York and James Latham, who were hung on June 22, 1965, became the last persons executed before the Supreme Court ruling of 1972 invalidated Kansas' death penalty. In 1976, the U. S. Supreme Court's Gregg vs. Georgia decision allowed states to pass new death penalty laws if they followed certain guidelines, and after much debate, this eventually led to the passage of the 1994 law which permits execution by lethal injection, which Governor Finney refused to sign. That death penalty law was rejected by the Kansas Supreme Court, but then upheld in 2006 by a five to four vote of the U. S. Supreme Court. Although eleven men have received the death sentence since the new law was passed (1994), none have been executed.


Governor John Anderson communism received correspondence

Governor John Anderson communism received correspondence
Creator: Kansas. Governor (1961-1965 : Anderson)
Date: 1961-1964
Republican politician John Anderson complied this series of correspondence on communist issues from letters received while governor of Kansas from 1961-1965. Anderson's tenure in office was in the early 1960s and one of the signs of the times was the perceived threat of the Soviet Union and the Cold War in international politics. Ordinary Kansans felt this threat and called upon the governor to do everything in his power to halt the spread of Soviet communism. The communist party had, in fact, been outlawed in other states (Arizona and Arkansas, for example). Of all of the issues of the time, the threat of Soviet expansion and spread of communism probably caused more anxiety and fear than any other. The letters from individual Kansans and organizations such as the Veterans and Citizens Committee Against Communism and the National Indignation Convention reveal a level of anxiety bordering on paranoia.


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