Heather Tosh, senior in art history, stands with Mrs. Donna Reuter of Alma, Kansas. They are
working together to create a written record of the work of pioneering Alma photographer
Gus Meier. Heather has studied photography at KSU and is very interested in writing about Mr. Meier,
who had a studio in Alma for many years. His photographs, some taken with a box camera set up in the
snow, are featured at the Wabaunsee County Historical Society and Museum in Alma, where these two
researchers are standing. The actual cameras Mr. Meier used are on display, an aspect that fascinates
She learned that Mrs. Reuter knew the family through her husband’s side. Together, they are putting
together a study of this fine early photographer for Chapman Center’s Lost Kansas Communities class.
Kathryn Jones, a junior pursuing a double major in literature and history, copies down an insciption in French on a child’s gravestone. On April 9, Katy and Dr. Morgan inventoried four remote cemeteries in northern Clay County, searching for evidence of French (primarily Nova Scotian) settlement near the Nebraska border. They discovered five French family names and French language inscriptions in tiny Riverdale Cemetery south of the Republican River and Clifton.
Riverdale is a long-vanished community. Searching out these lost traces of towns and people is a prime initiative in Chapman Center. Katy has a French minor and is excited to be able to use her understanding of French in her Lost Communities project. “I told my parents I’m doing research that really matters,” she says. “I’m finding things no one else has ever thought important.”
Today, Eric Scribner made an exciting advancement in his study of the hotel in Pavilion, Kansas. He has found evidence that hotels in the Alma area, including Pavilion were bringing in Swedish and Danish women to work in their hotels, rather than utilizing the local women. This information reveals that local Kansas born girls were avoiding working in the hotels and thus, illuminates late 19th century values in the small towns, such as Pavilion . Eric is hoping to make further such advancements in his research as the semester progresses.