Early Kansas Home Canning Research Project

Katie Goerl, Chapman Center Intern for fall, 2011, with early home canning equipment.

Jars of canned green beans and apple butter pictured here were found on cellar shelves in Pottatwatomie County, dating probably from the late 1940s.

According to intern research, the first zinc canning lids were devised around the Civil War era; the familiar screw-top lids were invented in 1915. Katie is investigating the phenomenon of community canning days, outdoor events in which residents and extended families worked to put up substantial canned goods in the late summer. These canning clubs were prevalent in rural Kansas before World War II. Her project, “Neighborhood Canning in Rural Kansas: Preserving Family and Community in the Early 20th Century,” is one of four intern studies on food institutions in Riley, Pottawatomie, Wabaunsee, and Clay Counties. These will be the final inclusions in Chapman Center’s food-ways book, Filling the Larder, Feeding Our Families. A joint project with Professor Jane Marshall’s food writing classes in the College of Human Ecology, Filling the Larder is the product of a two year grant from the Center for Engagement and Community Development. Research will conclude this December. We hope to announce the book release sometime in early 2012.

Katie is a senior majoring in Women’s Studies. Her internship will also include an in-depth project on female teachers in one room schools of Wabaunsee and Pottawatomie Counties. She will be conducting interviews with former teachers and also working with student records in Wabaunsee County. Her focus is on the psychological and emotional landscape of teaching in isolated rural schools.


Frank Gent ~ Fall 2011 Intern Biography

Frank is a K-State alumnus that graduated in 2003 with a degree in Social Sciences. Frank is currently working toward his second degree, this time in History. Frank considers his first major history project to be a 4th grade project about his relatives that helped found his hometown, St. George, KS. Frank works full-time and is a single parent of an active 11 year old son.

This semester Frank is working to redevelop the St. George Historical Society’s website. Frank says, “My goal with updating the website is to make it more inviting, to generate interest and help the society gather and preserve the history of St. George. If I am successful, then perhaps I will be able to assist the Chapman Center further by getting people interested in helping with the lost towns that Dr. Morgan and the staff continues to look for.”


We are proud to have Frank on the team this semester!

New Digital Archive of Lost Towns Coming Soon

Chapman Center Staff, 2011

With support from an NEH Digital Archive planning grant, the new Lost Town Archive is nearing completion and will go live at the end of 2011. Two graduate interns, Theresa Young and Daron Blake have been busy editing and preparing a new set of lost town research projects written by undergraduates in several classes. Kansas History students, taught by Jim Sherow, Lost Communities students, taught by M.J. Morgan and Senior History Seminar students, taught by Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, have all been hard at work since August.

Look for a new quick link on the Chapman Center homepage to access the new digital archive.