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Kansas History - Autumn 2001

(Vol. 24, No. 3)

Kansas History, Autumn 2001

Craig Miner,  "Lane & Lincoln: A Mysterious Connection."

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Abraham Lincoln and James H. Lane were two very different historical personalities, but Craig Miner, professor of history at Wichita State University, also finds some interesting similarities in this study which focuses on their personal and political relationship.  Throughout the Civil War to the surprise of many and the chagrin of some, such as Kansas Governor Charles Robinson, Senator Lane wielded considerable influence over the administration, but Lincoln "was never dominated by him." Miner finds many explanations for the storied Lincoln-Lane relationship; "there were such reasons of reasoned expediency for a bond between Lane and Lincoln," he writes, "reasons involving loyalty, military experience and style, vision, and Lane's power as a convincer. But one may speculate responsibly that there was something else-a personal affinity based not only on common experience but upon a deeper understanding the two men shared."

Penny T. Linsenmayer, "Kansas Settlers on the Osage Diminished Reserve: A Study of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie."

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When Charles Ingalls and family built their "little house" on the Kansas prairie in 1869, they did so in Montgomery County on land legally reserved for the Osage Indians. They were squatters, and like the rest of their white neighbors, knew full well that the had no legal right to this land. The third novel in Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" series focuses on the interaction between these Kansas "sooners" and the Osages, and depicts the Ingalls family "as the victim of a capricious and overreaching federal government.  . . . It is clear from Wilder's writings," concludes author Penny Linsenmayer, "that although her father favored peaceful relations with the Indians, he also believed that the land would, and significantly, should, be opened up for settlement by white pioneers.Wilder's Little House on the Prairie chronicle provides an important backdrop for evaluating the relationship between and perspectives of both squatters and Osages as their fundamental conflict of interest played out on the Kansas Prairies."

Philip R. Beard, "The Kansas Colored Literary and Business Academy: A White Effort at African American Education in Late Nineteenth Century Kansas."

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Among the many responses by local and national organizations to the Great Exodus of 1879 and 1880 was the establishment of the Kansas Colored Literary and Business Academy at Dunlap in southeastern Morris County. The Dunlap Academy resulted from the missionary efforts of the Associated Presbyterian Church, and, although it flourished for a time during the 1880s, "a complex combination of factors, including environmental and socioeconomic conditions as well as struggles within the church itself, led to the school's closure after only a decade of service," explains author Philip R. Beard. "This article describes the origin, progress, and ultimate failure of the school, with a focus on the church's central role in these events."

Rita G. Napier, "Rethinking the Past, Reimagining the Future."

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This thought provoking essay by Professor Napier of the University of Kansas serves as the introduction to a new series of articles to be published in Kansas History over the next several years at the rate of at least one per issue. Our hope is that this project, which will involve many leading scholars, beginning with Dr. Gunja SenGupta on Bleeding Kansas in the winter issue, will call attention to the importance of recent writings and encourage our readers to see Kansas history differently. If fully successful, the series also will inspire scholars to take research and writing in new directions and add to our understanding of Kansas, past and present. Napier, the series' co-editor, lays down the challenge by shooting "a different vector on the new history." Her essay addresses the change from the old Western and Kansas history to the new, explores answers or interpretations historians have advanced, and poses questions specific to our state that scholars still need to explore.


(The following books and collections are reviewed in full in our print version.)

On the Backroad to Heaven: Old Order Hutterites, Mennonites, Amish, and Brethren
by Donald B. Kraybill and Carl F. Bowman
xvi +330 pages, tables, figures, photographs, notes, bibliography, index.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001, cloth $29.95.

Reviewed by Timothy Miller, professor of religious studies, University of Kansas.

Custody of the Heart: Selected Spiritual Writings of Abbot Martin Veth, O.S.B.
edited by William P. Hyland
xviii + 185 pages, footnotes.
Atchison, Kans.: Benedictine College Press, 2001, paper $15.00.

Reviewed by Charles J. Reid Jr., research associate in law and history, Emory University School of Law, Atlanta.


Kate M. Cleary: A Literary Biography with Selected Works
By Susanne K. George
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000. xiiii + 250 pages, paper $13.95.)

First published in 1997, this Bison Book paperback edition should put into wider circulation this fine story of the life and letters of Nebraska wife, mother, and author Kate M. Cleary (1863-1905), whose sketches, poetry, short stories, and essays tell us a great deal about late-nineteenth-century life on the plains. George, a professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, reserves over half the volume for a biographical chronology, selected works, and a rather extensive bibliography of Cleary's publications.

Kansas Breeding Bird Atlas
By William H. Busby and John L. Zimmerman
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2001. xii + 466 pages, cloth $35.00.)

With 202 line drawings, 341 maps, and 399 tables, Busby, an associate scientist with the Kansas Biological Survey, and Zimmerman, a former professor of biology at Kansas State University, have put together an exceptionally useful reference volume, which appears to live up to its billing: "the definitive guide for anyone, whether amateur or professional, concerned with the activities of Kansas's breeding birds, and it provides information essential to environmental and conservation planning as well."

Black Elk Speaks: As Told Through John G. Neihardt (Flaming Rainbow)
By Nicholas Black Elk
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000. xxx + 230 pages, paper $12.95.)

Black Elk Lives: Conversations with the Black Elk Family
Edited by Hilda Neihardt and Lori Utecht
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000. xvii + 168 pages, cloth $25.00.)

With the publication of these two volumes, the University of Nebraska Press offers yet another version of Neihardt's "acclaimed story of Lakota visionary and healer Nicholas Black Elk" (1863-1950), first published in 1932, and an all new collection of "conversations" with members of Black Elk's family, who reflect on their famous ancestor's legacy.

Sacred Objects and Sacred Places: Preserving Tribal Traditions
By Andrew Gulliford
( Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2000. xvii + 285 pages, paper $29.95.)

Professor Andrew Gulliford, the director of the Public History and Historic Preservation Program at Middle Tennessee State University, here discusses issues pertaining to the preservation and exhibition of objects and places sacred to native peoples. Sacred Objects and Sacred Places, which contains 113 photographs, twelve line drawings, and three maps, outlines "an important native movement to preserve sacred sites, to retain dance and song traditions, to pass on languages, to identify and use sacred plants, and to repatriate human remains and sacred objects to their tribes of origin." The author specifically references only two Kansas incidents--the Indian Burial Pit near Salina and the Pawnee Indian medicine bundle--but explores many issues of importance to Kansas and Kansans.

Gifts of Pride and Love: Kiowa and Comanche Cradles
Edited by Barbara A. Hall
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000. 136 pages, paper $29.95.)

With its more that 130 black and white and color illustrations, Gifts of Pride and Love is "a beautiful homage to the artisans who crafted cradleboards" that "includes a history of the origins of lattice cradles as well as essays by eleven descendants of cradle makers." This volume, edited by the deputy director and curator of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University, opens with an introduction by N. Scott Momaday.

Following the Santa Fe Trail: A Guide for Modern Travelers
By Marc Simmons and Hal Jackson
(Santa Fe: Ancient City Press, 2001. xi + 236 pages, paper $15.95.)

This completely revised third edition of Simmons's 1984 publication Following the Santa Fe Trail should be of interest to all trail trekkers who desire an up-to-date guide to help them retrace the famous "highway of commerce." Thirty-three maps and twenty-one photographs enhance the usefulness of this volume that explores and describes the old wagon route from Franklin, Missouri, through Kansas, to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Big Mobs: The Story of Australian Cattlemen
By Glen McLaren
(North Fremantle, Western Australia: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2000. 391 pages, paper $24.95.)

In recent years, scholars from both sides of the Pacific have undertaken numerous comparative studies of agriculture and pastoral traditions in the Great Plains of North America and the Down Under--Australia and New Zealand. Readers of Kansas History may find this particular volume of interest since, as Emporia State University Professor Jim Hoy explained, trail-driving and ranching traditions and practices in the two distant regions are quite similar in many respects; in reality, Hoy claimed, the Australian story is "far more intriguing, more dangerous, more 'western'" than that made famous in novels and movies about the North American West.