History of Kansas FFA, rural life being preserved with help of Kansas State University undergraduate researchers

The Chapman Center for Rural Studies, in Kansas State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, has received a $2,000 gift from the Kansas Association of the Future Farmers of America in recognition of the work of undergraduate student researchers about rural life in Kansas.

FFA

Manhattan FFA members assisting with hybrid corn tests in 1944. From left are Bill Hosier, Wayne Roesener and Clifford Barry.

Katherine Sundgren, a junior in history, Leonardville, is digitally preserving a collection, including newspaper clippings, that documents the history of the FFA back to 1928 in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the organization.

Center director Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, associate professor of history, was first made aware of the collection in the spring and decided that it was the perfect project for a summer intern.

“The history of the FFA is integral to both the history of Kansas agriculture and Kansas State University,” Lynn-Sherow said. “The collection highlights the work of young adults dedicated to agricultural leadership, and whose stories feel simultaneously foreign and intimate to our current student interns.”

The Chapman Center provides undergraduates with hands-on training in valuable professional skills such as accessioning, digital preservation and even film editing.

The FFA hopes to make these digital resources openly available to the public through a web-based exhibit about the Kansas chapter.

“I was a part of my high school’s FFA program for four years,” Sundgren said. “It’s nice being able to help preserve a long tradition for future generations to enjoy the rich history that surrounds the FFA program. I’ve seen how important it is to many members of my community and I’m glad that my work here helps keep the tradition alive.”

“As we look forward to the 100th anniversary of FFA, the Kansas chapter is excited to partner with the Chapman Center for Rural Studies in collection and documentation of the rich history of agricultural education,” said Mary Kane, who is with the Kansas FFA Association.

The large collection includes hundreds of photos, handwritten and typewritten meeting notes, scrapbooks and even film reels that have not been seen for several decades.

download

Nelson D. Galle, a Kansas State University alumnus and former chair of the Kansas Board of Regents, served as Kansas FFA President from 1953-1954.

“The partnership between Kansas FFA and the Chapman Center for Rural Studies is exciting as many of the foundational events of the association are due to the commitment of rural Kansas schools,” Kane said. “We are excited with the capacity of the center to make accessible the documents and archives of our history.”

The FFA’s partnership with the Chapman Center is the one of many digital projects the center is engaged in or has completed since 2007, including commercial collections, oral histories, museum collections, slide and film collections, postcard collections and several important family collections that Chapman students use in their published research.

“It’s definitely a win-win for everyone,” Lynn-Sherow said. “Organizations and individuals feel good about preserving the past, while our students gain an appreciation of our collective responsibility to share those stories. They learn to work with and rely on others for the greater good. I can’t imagine a better learning outcome than that.”

Written by

Katherine Sundgren
ksundgren@k-state.edu

Advertisements

Welcome our New Spring 2017 Interns

Join us in welcoming two new Spring 2017 interns to the Chapman Center for Rural Studies: Rachel Hein and Shaun Knipp!

Rachel Hein

Rachel Hein

Hello, my name is Rachel Hein. I am a junior at Kansas State University majoring in history and from a small town in Kansas by the name of Andale. It is in Sedgwick County, which is northwest of Wichita.

When it comes to books, movies, or television shows, I will read or watch almost anything. I’m an avid reader and Netflix watcher. I love how a person can get lost in a good book or TV show and – for a moment – feel like they too are a part of that scene.

I also like to travel to new places. My siblings and I like to travel to state and national parks around the United States. My favorite – at the moment – is Zion National Park in Utah.

My project will focus on the material history of artifacts from Diamond Springs, Morris County, Kansas. I will also do an oral history with a long ago resident of Diamond Springs and owner of the project artifacts.

After I graduate, I hope to move to graduate school and onto museum work, possibly as an archivist. I am stoked to be an intern for the Chapman Center for Rural Studies. I look forward to making new friends and gaining more knowledge of what it really takes to be a researcher.

Shaun Knipp

Shaun Knipp

Shaun Knipp is our next Chapman Center “first-semester intern.” He is a senior studying secondary education with an emphasis in social studies. He will student teach this Fall semester.

He will be working on a project detailing the history of a local ranch. Shaun will piece together the public records and genealogical ties related to the property and figure out the role the ranch played in the shaping of the Flint Hills community.

He will also conduct several interviews with people in the surrounding community. Shaun will also develop his skills with photography and drones as well as video editing. He will also learn to incorporate GIS information into the project.

He is extremely excited about this opportunity knowing he will employ this experience into his future classrooms!

You are welcome to drop in and meet the interns and staff of the Chapman Center for Rural Studies!

“Schoolmaster Stratton” and his scholars

Jacob Stratton

Jacob Stratton

Although he masqueraded as “Schoolmaster Stratton,” an early 20th Century one-room school teacher in Wabaunsee County, Kansas, Jacob Stratton was volunteering his talents as an elementary education major to rural Kansas students. 

As part of a celebration of the Flint Hills for Kansas Day 2017, Jacob taught a spelling lesson using nothing but a wooden pointer and large animal cards.  Each grade stood to recite, as they would have done 100 years ago. His students represented Kindergarten through 4th graders of Maple Hill Elementary as well as Alma Elementary School.

Jacob was happy to share his knowledge of rural Kansas and represent the Chapman Center for Rural Studies. He was a student in Dr. Morgan’s Fall 2016 Lost Kansas Communities class.

“It was exciting to have an opportunity to use what I learned in my Chapman course. And it was great to work with children on Kansas Day, especially with the focus on the Flint Hills.”

Some of the materials Jacob used were part of the “Going Home: Hidden Histories of the Flint Hills” exhibit recently concluded at the Flint Hills Discovery Center. One-room schools of Wabaunsee County were represented in a detailed poster. Chalk Schoolhouse contributed mid-twentieth century activities and toys such as Jacob’s squirrel card.

“The squirrel was a hard one to spell,” he said, “but everyone did great with the bee!”

We’re bringing back “Share Your Story” mini-events to the Going Home exhibit

smaller-story-storeYou and a friend are invited to Share Your Story with the Chapman Center for Rural Studies Sunday, December 18; Saturday, December 31; Saturday, January 7; or Sunday, January 8.

Sign up for a 45-minute “interview.” Each designated “Share Your Story” day will include four interview options beginning each hour from 1 pm to 4 pm. Call 785.587.2784 to register or sign-up when you arrive at the Flint Hills Discovery Center, 315 South 3rd Street, Manhattan, Kansas.

Going Home exhibit curator, Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, will be available to help start and keep the conversation going. Your interview will be recorded on the StoryCorps “StoryCorps.Me” application and made available to the Library of Congress archives!

Explore the Chapman Center for Rural Studies’ “Going Home” featured exhibit at the Flint Hills Discovery Center. You have until January 8, 2017, to discover – and record your own – Hidden Histories of the Flint Hills.

Visit the Chapman Center for Rural Studies on YouTube for more video trailers, student-crafted multi-media projects, and discussions of rural Kansas history.

Explore hidden places of the Flint Hills and their stories! You’ll also be invited to tell us all about what ‘Going Home’ means to you. 

 

Lillis, Kansas: In Puzzle Pieces

10122016-lillis-ksby Mallory Harrell, CCRS Fall Intern 2016

Every semester, K-State students enrolled in Dr. Morgan’s ‘Lost Kansas Communities’ class are given the responsibility and opportunity to create their own piece of historical research. This is the very research fueling a large portion of the Chapman Center for Rural Studies.

Among the students enrolled this semester is Mary O’Connor, and her subject? The lost town of Lillis, Kansas, a community which once flourished in southeastern Marshall County on Irish Creek, established between the years of 1856 and 1860.

O’Connor, a senior majoring in psychology, enrolled in ‘Lost Kansas Communities’ after taking a history of Kansas class over the past summer. Her interest in Kansas history grew as a result of both the class and her personal ties to Kansas. “I’m interested in the Kansas historical aspect because it’s where I’m from, and there are many stories about resilience.”

10122016-lillis-ks-blueprintMiss O’Connor also intends to offer a very personal touch to her project. She explained that her interest in researching Lillis largely stems from her own family history. “I’m mostly interested in it because it was founded by Irish Catholics and my Catholic background roots are from Nebraska. I wanted to find something similar because my family has a very similar story.”

One of the more fascinating aspects of the Lillis project involves a town plat that had been donated to the Chapman Center several years ago. It came in many pieces due to its age.

Mary has committed to piecing together the plat like a puzzle as a part of her project. “It’s cool to see that piece of history and not knowing its story, it’s like a cool mystery to put together because you can tell it has a lot of history behind it.”

Mary is also grateful to be working with another donated collection from Francis Hupp, long-time resident of Lillis.

Linda Hupp Morse offered this collection of letters, newspaper clippings, maps, and stories collected over a lifetime by her mother, Frances Hupp, of Topeka. Mary is excited for the opportunity to interview Francis Hupp about her memories of Lillis.

This emphasizes one of the most fundamental rules in studying history:  information can be found anywhere even if one may not know exactly where and how to begin looking. All it takes is a little passion and enthusiasm!

Passion for History Evident in Smallpox Research

04282016 Shannon Nolan Emmalee Blog 3By Emmalee Laidacker, Intern

Every semester, students in Dr. Morgan’s Lost Kansas Communities class research a local history topic that interests him or her. Students then write an in-depth essay detailing the results of their semester-long research. For her project, “The End of an Old Enemy: Smallpox in Clay County from 1900-1925,” Shannon Nolan discusses the devastating effect the epidemic had on the small communities in Clay County.

Small towns were especially vulnerable to the spread of disease due to many hospitals and doctors often being poorly-equipped to treat contagious disease. Railroads had the catastrophic ability to transport disease from town to town with ease. Shannon also mentions specific cases of infection among unlucky residents in Clay County. Only two out of three people infected with smallpox survived, but the disease has since been eradicated with the last known case occurring in 1977.

Portor Morgan Clay CountyShannon is a sophomore majoring in secondary education with a focus in social studies. She chose to take the class due to her strong interest in history.

“The syllabus said we got to write our own paper and I thought that was really interesting to be able to do our own research in a field that I’m interested in. I just really like history so I thought it would be a good fit.”

Like all students, Shannon faced a number of challenges during the research process.

“I’m not from Kansas, so I didn’t have any connections to any town or area in Kansas, and so I decided, instead of focusing on a lost community, I wanted to focus on a broader topic that would make more sense to me…”

Prevention From State Board of HealthAfter doing some research, Shannon discovered that there were a high number of smallpox cases in Clay County and decided it was the topic for her. Other obstacles Shannon ran into simply included a lack of information. “There were a few years that I couldn’t find any research from so that was pretty difficult… Also, pinpointing the exact reasons why this disease was stopping.” She visited Clay County museums in order to fill in the gaps in her smallpox story.

Despite this Shannon enjoyed many parts of the research process, including sifting through original documents. “I liked looking through all the old books that we have here at the Chapman Center and seeing the doctor’s notes first-hand; I thought that was really cool.”

Shannon has always had a passion for history which is the reason she decided to incorporate her passion into teaching; it is the best of both worlds. “You get to teach but you get to teach what you love.” she said.

With her degree, Shannon plans on teaching American history abroad and then later in her career, plans on working for a non-profit organization by teaching women’s rights in developing countries.

Straight to Video: Meet our Chapman Center undergraduate researchers

Chapman Center for Rural Studies undergraduate students and researchers Make History come to life!  Check out this video/slide show of who we are, what we do and why; and where we are headed. Click here for the Spring 2016 Video (or you can click on the photo below)!

CCRS Staff Fall 2105

Wondering what new Lost Kansas Communities have been added to our online archive?
Click the photo below to find out!

Wabaunsee Cowboy

You are invited to the Going Home: Hidden Histories of the Flint Hills exhibit coming to the Flint Hills Discovery Center this fall! You’ll have a chance to tell your town’s story in our “Story Store,” explore hidden histories of people and places of the Flint Hills, and discover more about what has made Kansas and the Flint Hills home to so many for so long.

Screen shot advert from open house video

You’ll also find all the Chapman Center for Rural Studies news online at www.k-state.edu/history/chapman.