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Kansas History - Spring 2010

(Vol. 33, No. 1)

Kansas History, Spring 2010

Kelly C. Sartorius, "Experimental Autonomy: Dean Emily Taylor and the Women's Movement at the University of Kansas."

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The second wave of the women's movement is largely understood to have grown on college campuses due to the pressure of women students awakening to women's liberation through their activist experiences in the New Left and the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As historian Kelly C. Sartorius demonstrates, however, women's issues at the University of Kansas became a salient rallying point during the late 1950s and early 1960s due in large part to the encouragement of the dean of women, Dr. Emily Taylor. Although the stereotype of this particular administrative position is largely of a disciplinarian, Taylor initiated a series of experiments to push female college students to accept autonomy as a part of educated adulthood and utilized the Associated Women Student organization to promote women's equality despite the initial resistance of many of female students and the community. In a conservative state in the heartland, Taylor's activism personifies one example of how the first and second waves of feminism connected across generations.

Brent M. S. Campney, "'Hold the Line': The Defense of Jim Crow in Lawrence, 1945-1961."

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In this article, historian Brent M. S. Campney, who teaches at the University of Texas-Pan American, examines the white resistance that developed against the civil rights movement in Lawrence, Kansas, between 1945 and 1961. Drawing on newspaper accounts and on the papers of university officials and of citizen and student activists, Campney identifies some of the conservatives who led this resistance, the arguments and tactics they employed in pursuit of their objectives, and the consistency with which they pursued both throughout this relatively narrow window of time. In addition, Campney situates this racial conservatism of the post-World War II years within a much longer context, running from the immediate aftermath of the Civil War through the racial unrest of 1970.

Scott R. McEathron, "The Kansas Pocket Maps of Otis B. Gunn and David T. Mitchell: A Case of Nineteenth Century Promotional Cartography."

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Engineer Otis B. Gunn and surveyor, land agent, and lawyer David T. Mitchell each created a map of Kansas and its surrounding lands in 1859. By 1861 the two men were working together to publish Gunn & Mitchell's New Map of Kansas. Scott McEathron, of the T. R. Smith Map Collection at the University of Kansas Libraries, explores the publishing history of the 1861 map and its subsequent editions, which were published until 1866. He suggests that the primary market for the map was immigrants seeking land in eastern Kansas and secondarily participants of the Colorado gold rush.

James K. Logan, "Roy Edward French: Pioneer Oil Man, Philanthropist, and Dog Breeder."

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In his 2009 Kansas Historical Society presidential address, the Honorable James K. Logan, retired judge of the Tenth Circuit United States Court of Appeals, discussed the life and legacy of native Kansan Roy French, who died at the age of 106 in November 2003. French made a fortune in the oil business, but his interests were wide ranging, and his Gridley based foundation continues to support charitable, educational, and cultural projects and organizations. Judge Logan was attorney for R. E. French during the later stages of Mr. French's life and some of the content of his address and article is based on his personal knowledge and conversations with his client.


"I Do Not Apologize for the Length of This Letter": The Mari Sandoz Letters on Native American Rights, 1940-1965
edited by Kimberli A. Lee
xviii + 197 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2009, cloth $45.00.
Reviewed by Ramon S. Powers, former executive director, Kansas Historical Society, Topeka.

Dodge City: The Early Years, 1872-1886
by William B. Shillingberg
432 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Norman, Okla.: Arthur H. Clark Company, Western Lands and Waters Series, 2009, cloth $49.95.
Reviewed by Richard W. Slatta, professor of history, North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

Punitive War: Confederate Guerillas and Union Reprisals
by Clay Mountcastle
xii + 202 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2009, cloth $29.95.
Reviewed by Patricia Ann Owens, history teacher, Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel, Illinois.

The American Military Frontiers: The United States Army in the West, 1783-1900
by Robert Wooster
xvi + 361 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2009, cloth $39.95.
Reviewed by William A. Dobak, historian, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, D.C.

Pittsburg State University: A Photographic History of the First 100 Years
by Randy Roberts and Shannon Phillips
x + 206 pages, illustrations, references, index.
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2009, cloth $24.95.
Reviewed by James L. Forsythe, emeritus professor of history, Fort Hays State University, Hayes, Kansas.

Book Notes

The Nebraska-Kansas Act of 1854
Edited by John R. Wunder and Joann M. Ross
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008, xiv + 220 pages, paper $30.00.)

In an effort to put the Nebraska back into the "Nebraska-Kansas Act" and to commemorate the sesquicentennial in the northern part of the territory, several public programs were conducted in Lincoln during the fall of 2004. These presentations comprise the chapters of this fine and interesting little volume that deserves the attention of students of Civil War era history on both sides of the state line and elsewhere. The impressive cast of seven contributors in addition to the volume's editors includes Mark E. Neeley, Jr., "The Kansas-Nebraska Act in American Culture"; James A. Rawley, "Stephen A. Douglas and the Kansas-Nebraska Act"; the late Phillip S. Paludan, "Lincoln's Firebell"; and Nicole Etcheson, "Where Popular Sovereignty Worked: Nebraska Territory and the Kansas-Nebraska Act."

A Window on Flint Hills Folklife: The Mardin Ranch Diaries, 1862-1863
Edited by Jim Hoy
(Emporia, Kans.: Center for Great Plains Studies, Emporia State University, 2009, viii + 104 pages, paper $10.00.)

Originally published in Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains in two parts (Autumn 1991 and Winter 1991-1992), A Window on Flint Hills Folklife features the diaries and other writings of Elizabeth and Elisha Mardin, whose ranch was located in Chase County about six miles northeast of Cottonwood Falls. Elisha Mardin's "log of daily activities, along with that kept . . . by his wife, Elizabeth," observes Professor Jim Hoy, "serves as a window into both agricultural and social customs during the formative years of pioneer life in the tallgrass prairie" (p. 7).

The Munsee Indians: A History
By Robert S. Grumet
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2009, xxxii + 446 pages, cloth $45.00.)

Though the legend that Indians traded Manhattan to the Dutch in 1626 is well known, less so are the Native people involved in the sale. This first complete history of the Munsee tribe, whose ancestral homeland was located between the lower Hudson and upper Delaware river valleys, attempts to tell their story. Of special interest to readers of Kansas History will be those Munsee who emigrated west and joined the Delaware on their Kansas reservation, settling in Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties. Another group maintained a reservation on the Marais des Cygnes in Franklin County until 1900, when they agreed to a final settlement with the American government and became U.S. citizens.

Barbed Wire: The Fence That Changed the West
By Joanne S. Liu
(Missoula, Mont.: Mountain Press Publishing Company, 2009, x + 142 pages, paper $14.00.)

"Good fences make good neighbors," according to Robert Frost, though as this volume demonstrates fences can just as easily make enemies. After the Homestead Act of 1862, settlers parceled off and fenced in what previously was free range for cattlemen. The history of one of the weapons used to keep herds off newly laid farm fields-barbed wire-is told here, from its invention, manufacture, and patenting to the fence-cutting wars that rounded out the end of the open range and turned cattlemen into ranchers.

The Committee to Save the World. By Robert Day
(Woodston, Kans.: Western Books, 2009, xviii + 174 pages, paper $16.95.)

This collection of Kansas author Robert Day's first-person, nonfiction essays, originally published in such periodicals as the Washington Post Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, and Kansas Magazine, is diverse. It includes entries on such Kansas fare as temperance leader Carry Nation and poet William Stafford, as well as more personal remembrances of Day's childhood and a lament over his book The Last Cattle Drive, "now famous in Hollywood as the most filmable novel not made into a movie ever written" (p. 75). The color prints of paintings by Kathryn Jankus Day found throughout add to the book.

A Marvelous Hundred Square Miles: Black Hills Tourism, 1880-1941
By Suzanne Barta Julin
(Pierre: South Dakota State Historical Society Press, 2009, xiv + 221 pages, cloth $25.95.)

Although the Black Hills is now firmly established as one of the nation's prime tourist destinations, before the gold rush of 1875-1876 the area was an isolated forest, held sacred by the Lakota Sioux and protected "forever" from white settlement by the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. This new volume details the area's development from 1880 until the start of World War II, during which time local, regional, and national political and policy decisions created out of the Black Hills "a vacation mecca for motoring Americans of modest means" (p. 5). Julin's account is well written by an author who has clear affection for the place and the book is wonderfully punctuated throughout with more than seventy black and white photographs.

Addie of the Flint Hills: A Prairie Child During the Depression
By Adaline Sorace as told to Deborah Sorace Prutzman
(Jersey City, N.J.: KTAV Publishing House, 2009, 212 pages, cloth $25.00.)

In this memoir Adaline Sorace, born in 1915, describes through her daughter Deborah Sorace Prutzman incidents and daily chores of her childhood that help readers living in a less rugged age understand the physical labor of life in a time before electricity and gasoline powered engines. Sorace reminiscences about relatives, several of whom were pioneers in Chase County and the Flint Hills, and recounts her family tree, which includes Roglers and Beedles. The family also lived in oilfields in Oklahoma and the mines of Utah. A broader historical context is included as are a number of family charts and photographs. Though changes in topic, time frame, and location are sometimes abrupt, this book is a pleasant read and Addie's enthusiasm for life is a constant message.

Black Settlers on the Kaw Indian Reservation
By Jim Sharp
(Manhattan, Kans.: Ag Press, 2008, viii + 131 pages, paper $14.95.)

A native of rural Morris County and a veteran of World War II, Jim Sharp first became interested in black settlement in Kansas after recalling, years later, a six-man football game between his White City High School team and the boys from Dunlap. How did the latter's 1942 squad happen to contain an African American player? To answer that question, the author commenced a research project that culminated in the publication of Black Settlers on the Kaw Indian Reservation, which concentrates on the African American experience in and around Dunlap during the late nineteenth century, when men such as "Pap" Singleton promoted black migration to Kansas and several hundred settled on the old Kaw Reserve in Morris County.