Kansas Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
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The Kansas State Historical Society publishes Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains, formerly called Kansas Historical Quarterly (1948–present). A directory to historical and genealogical societies is published annually, indicating more than twenty genealogical periodicals published in the state. The issues for 1931–77 are being digitized for online access.
The Kansas State Historical Society holds a superior collection of Kansas newspapers. Since the historical society was founded by newspaper editors, they have copies of the vast majority of the newspapers published in Kansas. Their current goal is to microfilm all pre-1930 holdings. The newspapers are now available on interlibrary loan, and may be purchased from the society with a list of holdings available online at www.kshs.org/library/news.htm.
The researcher will find an excellent reference in Aileen Anderson, ed. and comp., Kansas Newspapers: A Directory of Newspaper Holdings in Kansas (Kansas Library Network Board, 1984).
In addition to newspapers, the Kansas State Historical Society has a diverse and rich manuscript collection, including letters, diaries, journals, and photographs of early pioneers. Although there is no comprehensive guide to the manuscripts at the Kansas State Historical Society, there are finding guides to major and individual collections online at www.kshs.org/research/collections/resourceguide.pdf. A useful source is the original manuscripts and biographies of over 800 Kansas women collected by Lila Day Monroe, source material for Pioneer Women (see Background Sources for Kansas). Among the other materials at the society are records of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, including pay rolls; the papers of Indian missionaries, Isaac McCoy (1808–74) and Jotham Meeker (1825–64); and the papers of William Clark, superintendent of the St. Louis Indian Superintendency that have been microfilmed. The state archives department in the society holds state prison records from the 1860s to the 1980s.
Genealogists with ancestors in the medical professions may be interested in the Comprehensive Index to Kansas Physicians and Midwives, 1887–1900, and Index to Obituaries from the Kansas Medical Journal, 1889–1966. Both indexes were prepared by the Kansas State Historical Society. The material included is representative of the type of information included in its entire collection.
Several necrology indexes for hereditary and fraternal organizations are at the Kansas State Historical Society. They cover from the 1870s to the 1940s and give members’ name and date of death. Organizations include Knights of Pythias, Ancient Order of United Workmen, Grand Lodge of Kansas, Masons, Odd Fellows, Modern Woodmen of America, and Grand Army of the Republic.
A recent publication (1987) entitled A Guide to Special Collections in Kansas describes over 300 repositories including collections in university, public, and school libraries. It is available from the Special Collections Department, Ablah Library, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS 67208.