Background Sources for Kansas

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This entry was originally written by Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, FUGA, FASG and Mary Clement Douglass, CGRS for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Kansas Family History Research series.
History of Kansas
Kansas Vital Records
Census Records for Kansas
Background Sources for Kansas
Kansas Maps
Kansas Land Records
Kansas Probate Records
Kansas Court Records
Kansas Tax Records
Kansas Cemetery Records
Kansas Church Records
Kansas Military Records
Kansas Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Kansas Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Kansas County Resources
Map of Kansas


  • Anderson, Lorene, and Alan W. Farly. “Bibliography of Town and County Histories of Kansas,” Kansas Historical Quarterly 21 (Autumn 1955): 513-51.
  • Andreas, Alfred Thayer (with William G. Cutler). The History of the State of Kansas. 2 vols. Chicago: A. T. Andreas, 1883. Reprinted in 1976 with an index of names from the 15,000 sketches found in the original volumes, this provides important access to early county and community histories.
  • Barry, Louise. The Beginnings of the West: Annals of the Kansas Gateway to the American West, 1540–1854. 1972. Reprint. St. Louis: The Patrice Press, 1988. Chronological exploration in encyclopedia format of the pre-territorial lives and times of those who lived in Kansas.
  • Cutler, William G. History of the State of Kansas. 2 vols. Chicago: A. T. Andreas, 1883.
  • Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society. 17 vols. Topeka: Kansas State Historical Society, 1881–1928. Historical documents for the state.
  • Napier, Rita, ed. A History of the Peoples of Kansas. Lawrence, Kans.: University of Kansas, Continuing Education, 1985. These scholarly essays discuss ethnic and minority group experience in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
  • Owen, Jennie, and Kirche Mechem, eds. The Annals of Kansas 1886–1925. 2 vols. Topeka: Kansas State Historical Society, 1954, 1956. This is a continuation of Wilder’s book (see below).
  • Report of the Special Committee Appointed to Investigate the Troubles in Kansas with the Views of the Minority of Said Committee—Report No. 200 to the 34th Congress. Washington, D.C.: Cornelius Wendell, 1856. This book was indexed in a two-volume separate publication by Robert Hodge, An Index to the Report of the Special Committee Appointed to Investigate the Troubles in Kansas, vol. 1 (A–L) and vol. 2 (M–Z), published by the author (Vicksburg, Va., 1984). Testimonials and voting records regarding the slavery question in the settlement of Kansas.
  • Richmond, Robert W. Kansas: A Land of Contrasts. 3d ed. Arlington Heights, Ill.: Forum Press, 1989.
  • Rydjord, John. Kansas Place Names. Norman, Kans.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972.
  • Shortridge, James R. Peopling the Plains: Who Settled Where in Frontier Kansas. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995. With a large number of maps and census data, the author provides an exceptional cultural geography detailing the origins and thus the ethnic diversity of nineteenth and early twentieth century settlers.
  • Socolofsky, Homer E., and Virgil W. Dean. Kansas History: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992. The bibliography has 4,565 separate entries, a chronology, and indexes.
  • Socolofsky, Homer E., and Huber Self. Historical Atlas of Kansas. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972.
  • Stratton, Joanna L. Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981. Diaries of women in the early period of Kansas settlement.
  • Wilder, Daniel W. The Annals of Kansas. 1886. Reprint ed. Topeka: Kansas State Historical Society, 1975. Covers the pre-1886 era in Kansas. A new edition is in progress.
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