Brad & Lin’s Excellent Adventure

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Future, as stands at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Photo by Brad Galka

“What is past is prologue.”  – William Shakespeare

Located on the northeast corner of the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., sits the sculpture, “Future,” with Shakespeare’s words inscribed on its foundation. This fall, Chapman Center for Rural Studies (CCRS) Editorial Assistant, Brad Galka, and CCRS Intern, Bo Lin, worked together to plan a research trip to the Archives and other resources in the Capitol. While there, Brad took the photo of “Future” at right.

It is unusual for a graduate student to collaborate on a research trip with an undergraduate student, but the Chapman Center has a history of fostering cooperative work as illustrated in the “Going Home: Hidden Histories of the Flint Hills.”

Brad Galka in front of the White House. Photo by Bo Lin.

Brad Galka in front of the White House. Photo by Bo Lin.

Though Brad and Lin researched separate topics, they learned both needed to access information found only in the physical National Archives and – in Lin’s case – the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. While discussing their respective projects around the Chapman Center library table, they discovered each needed to travel to Washington, D.C. and decided to travel together. By joining forces, they ensured reliable traveling companionship and a colleague on-site to help strategize research, transportation, and dinner!

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Bo Lin in front of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Brad continues to refine his master’s thesis regarding fascism in America between World War I and World War II. Lin was finishing his discovery of primary sources concerning Carmelite priests who once lived in Scipio, Kansas.

Lin found three volumes of books which helped to flesh out the Carmelite history in Scipio, Kansas. “They included other versions of the story and were really helpful!” said Lin.

While Lin scoured the Carmelite archives, Brad dove into the National Archives looking for Congressional transcripts of testimonies from key public figures of the period between the Great Wars. Unlike Lin, Brad learned much of the primary texts he was hunting are not available. This has caused Brad to pivot towards new means of finding information to support his master’s thesis.

Though they enjoyed the good company of their shared fall research trip, both Lin and Brad recommend planning further than one month in advance to save expenses and avoid the challenges of arranging “last minute” research itineraries.

Chapman Center researchers are known to go to great lengths to find sources and verify their research. We trust the work Brad and Lin accomplished this fall semester will certainly serve as prologue to solid careers in History and the Humanities.

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Library of Congress, Photo by Brad Galka

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Arlington Cemetery, Thanksgiving morning 2016. Photo by Brad Galka

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!

New Video Trailers: “Going Home” Exhibit, September 24, 2016 – January 8, 2017

Laura Ingalls Wilder once said, “Home is the nicest word there is.”
What if your home or hometown no longer stands?

The Chapman Center for Rural Studies will host “Going Home: Hidden Histories of the Flint Hills,” an exhibit at the Flint Hills Discovery Center, starting September 24. You are invited to explore the histories of seven Flint Hills, Kansas, towns including: Bodarc, Broughton, Cedar Point, Chalk, Maple City, Volland, and Big John Creek Village, the Kansas home of the Kaw Nation. Kids will have a very special area dedicated to exploring how Kansas kids of the past played, learned, and more!

08042016 James Pepper Henry

An interactive map of all verified towns will help you envision how the Flint Hills population waxed and waned. Vintage photos and video will be displayed throughout the exhibit where you can explore towns and ideas like communication, travel, and recreation of Kansas’ past. Several iPad stations will be posted for more exploration of the seven featured towns.

Plan to stop at the Story Store, a place to record your memories of home throughout the exhibit. This is also where we will partner with nationally-recognized, StoryCorps, in November. “StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” We hope to add Flint Hill stories to their archive housed in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

This exhibition represents the work of undergraduate students working with Chapman Center for Rural Studies faculty and made possible by an estate gift from Mr. Mark Chapman. The stories, images, sounds and exhibit films were written, discovered, and created by an amazing and talented group of young scholars who care deeply about the Flint Hills. ( View more videos on our YouTube channel!)

The exhibition opens Saturday, September 24, at 10 am to the public.

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. 

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

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)!

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

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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.

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

Student’s Lost Town Paper Exceeds Expectations

PNP245580 Defending the Fort: Indians attack a U.S. Cavalry post in the 1870s (colour litho) by Schreyvogel, Charles (1861-1912); Private Collection; Peter Newark Military Pictures; American, out of copyright

Defending the Fort: Indians attack a U.S. Cavalry post in the 1870s (colour litho) by Schreyvogel, Charles (1861-1912)

Blog Article by Emmalee Laidacker, Chapman Center for Rural Studies Intern

Last semester, Dr. Morgan’s Lost Kansas Communities class was tasked with writing an 8-10 page essay on a lost town of their choosing. They were expected to carefully and extensively examine its history, often uncovering new information in the process, and are given the full semester to do so. One such student, however, completed this assignment to an incredible extent. Darren Ivey, submitted his paper, “Lonely Sentinel:  Fort Aubrey and the Defense of the Kansas Frontier, 1864-1866”, which thoughtfully illustrates the history of Fort Aubrey along with the men who were stationed there.

Located in Hamilton County and formerly known as Camp Wynkoop, Fort Aubrey was named after explorer and trader Francois Xavier Aubrey. The fort’s life was short-lived, as it was abandoned after a number of troops deserted their post. Unfortunately, very little remains of Fort Aubrey today.

Darren Ivey, K-State student

Darren Ivey, K-State student and author

The study itself is over thirty pages in length, while the bibliography comes to nearly fifteen, making Darren’s submission an impressive forty-five pages in length.  “There was a lot to say”, said Darren, a former firefighter from Hutchinson, Kansas. “I wanted to exercise my research and writing skills”. Darren stated he has always had an interest in history since grade school, but more specifically “…in the American Civil War, mainly the cavalry of both sides, and the West, especially the frontier army and the Indian Wars; Texas Rangers, U.S. marshals, and other lawmen; and gunfighters.”

Ivey said he “perked right up” when Dr. Morgan mentioned the word “fort” in class and selected Fort Aubrey due to the fact it had not been thoroughly researched yet. Because Fort Aubrey existed for such a short time, he mentioned that one challenge was “just having enough there to really talk about, which apparently I did.”

Surprisingly, Darren went the extra mile in another area; he purchased the right to use the painting on the front page of his essay. Because the image he was set on using was copyrighted, he had to obtain permission as well as pay a fee to the copyright holder. “I emailed Bridgeman [Art Library] and asked for a quote. In a series of emails, the account manager and I eventually figured out which fee would be most appropriate for usage on a class project, and inclusion on the Chapman Center’s archives… The whole process only took about two days to complete, and the final fee was not outrageous.” He had already been familiar with the artist’s work and wanted to use the painting because it was one of few that depicted Fort Aubrey.

Darren Ivey has also authored a book, The Texas Rangers: A Registry and History and is currently in the process of writing another, making him no stranger to researching, writing, or studying the past. He plans on submitting his Fort Aubrey essay to a magazine.

Student Determination Opens Doors in Research

By Emmalee Laidacker, Chapman Center for Rural Studies Intern

Each semester, Dr. Morgan’s Lost Kansas Communities class researches and writes a study of lost Kansas towns in order to preserve each community’s memory. One recent student, Rachel Tucker, chose the Pearl Opera House, located in Alta Vista, as the subject of her study. Built in 1904 by a married couple who were early settlers in the town, the theater was an instant success with over 300 people in attendance opening night. The Pearl featured live performances as well as motion pictures, allowing residents of small communities to enjoy a new form of entertainment.

“When I was talking to Dr. Morgan about a research paper, I was telling her about my interests and I mentioned theater…she mentioned doing a small town opera house and as soon as she said that it just kind of clicked with me and I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

Rachel Tucker, KSU-Chapman Center for Rural Studies

Rachel Tucker, KSU-Chapman Center for Rural Studies Student

Rachel is a junior studying journalism, but is also working toward a minor in theater which provoked her interest in studying the opera house.

“I followed when it first opened and everything that went in there, not only theater productions, but since it was in a small town, a lot of times they used those spaces for all different kinds of gatherings. They even used it as a skating rink for part of the time; it’s very interesting to see what the community can do with a space like that.” said Rachel.

During the lengthy and complicated research process, all students are faced with obstacles of some form, but the roadblock Rachel surmounted was quite significant. She visited the Pearl three times with the hopes of getting to view the inside of the theater. The first two attempts, the store on the first floor was closed. “When I went to Alta Vista and saw the outside of it, it was just so exciting and I really, really wanted to try to get upstairs.”

Vintage Ad for Wrestling Tournament at Pearl Opera HouseFinally, the third time she visited Alta Vista, the store owner was present and allowed her to come upstairs to the second floor and finally look inside of the theater she had been studying throughout the semester.

“It was weird to be able to go into the space and see where everything that I was writing about had happened and taken place, so it was really surreal to see that…I was so glad that I had tried the third time to go, because it was really incredible.”

Rachel decided to take the class because of her long-time passion for history, but also because she found the title of the course very intriguing. Click to read Rachel’s paper, “Pearl Opera House: Phantom of the Flint Hills, Alta Vista, Wabaunsee County, Kansas, 1880s – 1970s“.

New Additions to Lost Kansas Communities Archive

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Silkville, Kansas, Residents. Photo courtesy of the Barbara Netherland collection.

Ever heard of Silkville or Oronoque, Kansas? These are two of the new additions to our student-researched Lost Town profiles you’ll find at lostkscommunities.omeka.net.

Check out these fresh-from-the-students Lost Town profiles (click the town name):

“We often talk about the ways these small town people laid a solid foundation for those who came after them. These hopeful settlers had not ‘failed’ because the town was no longer there. They had done exactly what they were meant to do; raise up a successful generation of folks who found their own lives and vocations.” (Dr. Lynn-Sherow)

You’re invited to pull up a chair and meet these Kansans who helped to grow the Wheat State and the people who call it home.