Former fall, 2012, intern and history major Aaron Melby has been invited to present his research on crime patterns in rural Kansas during the Civil War years. On June 1, Aaron will give a talk at the annual meeting of the Wabaunsee County Historical Society. His presentation is titled “Enduring Hardship in Wabaunsee County, Kansas: The Civil War and the Ensuing Postwar Crime, 1861-1921.”
Lost Communities students fan out over the area of the Union Pacific stockyards at old Broughton. Rapid tree growth has reclaimed the townsite,
bulldozed in 1966 to create the spillway for Milford Reservoir. Using 1900 plat maps, students were able to estimate where the rail line ran and the
location of the shipping pens and grain elevator.
This lily-covered mound is the humped grave of a Broughton home. Broughton homes had day lilies and other varieties planted in their yards and kitchen gardens. These have escaped to spread over the townsite in the spring.
There’s research and then there’s research…spring intern Rebecca Hall explored Mushroom Rock State Park in Ellsworth County last weekend, scoping out the land and environment for her study of the vanished community of Terra Cotta. The terrain of Kansas is unexpectedly diverse. Each tiny town and village making up our 9,000 or so lost places has a story to tell.
On April 4, Lost Kansas Communities class explored the rocky pastures of northern Wabaunsee County. They were working with a portion of a township survey from 1880, learning about the terrain and how surveyors represented it, where early property boundaries lay, sites of old springs, orchards, and homesteads. This information will allow students to analyze settler persistence rates.
A useful term for this kind of investigation is ABOVE GROUND ARCHAEOLOGY.
The smaller pieces of stone used between the larger blocks have an origin in early English stonewall construction and are called “hearting.” The builders of Bean School were German stonemasons who also understood how to use hearting to stabilize a stone wall.
On April 3, undergraduate research assistant Angela Schnee presented a poster in Topeka for Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. Her project is titled “The Chinese Laundries of Wichita, Kansas: A Portrait of an Immigrant Community on the Western Frontier, 1880-1905.”
A senior geography major with GIS training, Angela created original maps showing the location of Chinese laundries in late nineteenth century Wichita. She derived the locations from city directories and census and newspaper data. Her maps reveal that Chinese populations in Kansas corresponded to the routes of cattle trails and railway lines shipping cattle east.
Very little published information exists about Chinese citizens of Kansas. Angela’s research and findings are therefore truly significant. Look for her maps in Chapman Center’s new Cartography Collection, coming soon to our digital archive!
CONGRATS also to Janet Adam, who will graduate this May after two semesters as a Chapman Center Intern. On March 8, Janet presented a paper at the Missouri Valley History Conference in Omaha. Her project, also explored in her posted slide-show on our website, was titled “Kansas Eleemosynary Institutions: Giving the Proper Amount of Care, 1860-1950.” Janet’s original field research produced a north-central Kansas map locating poor farms, orphanages, deaf and blind schools, and institutions for the insane. Particularly difficult to find were the long-disappeared poor farms, run at county level. Janet tracked down the original poor farm locations often through word of mouth only, as very little documentary trace remains of these places.
Look for Janet’s map in our soon-to-be-posted Cartography Collection!
Congrats to current Chapman intern Rebecca Hall (on left), history, and Billie Chesney, agriculture, for qualifying as research interns for an interesting CHS grant. Becky and Billie will work this summer and next fall to track down, record, and make accessible materials relative to farm co-ops in Kansas. These co-ops were and are a vital part of the rural landscape. CHS and Chapman Center, along with the Dept. of Agriculture, have created this opportunity for skilled undergraduate researchers to contribute a valuable collection for future scholars. The farm co-op collection and database, envisioned to include oral history, will be housed in Hale Library.
Saturday morning, March 30, five interns and former interns met to clean, organize, and preserve the photos, documents, and artifacts collected from Max Miller’s cabin last fall. In a bequest to Beach Museum of Art, Mr. Miller left an extraordinary personal collection of memorabilia, historic photos, personal photographs, and artifacts from his long life. Chapman Center participated in the initial sorting at the cabin; we worked to preserve a smaller collection on Saturday.
We were so fortunate to have the guidance of Allana Saenger, Curator of Design at Riley County Historical Society and one of the first Chapman interns back in 2008. Allana went on to complete a master’s degree at KU in Museum Studies.
Thanks to all who participated in our Max Miller Clinic. We think Max would have liked what we did. And we found plenty to appreciate about him — especially his sense of humor about national and cultural events!