This month is more than "March Madness," it is National Women's History Month and the perfect time to recognize the women's holdings of the University Archives, especially when the theme for this year is "Writing Women Back Into History." Just what the University Archives is all about! Focusing on this topic comes with some degree of hesitation because space does not afford the luxury of addressing this challenging topic in the manner in which it deserves; there is a risk that certain women and collections will be overlooked. But, if the cliche "the tip of the iceberg" was ever appropriate, this is the time because the women's holdings of University Archives & Manuscripts are vast in quantity and rich in quality!
From the time that K-State was established in 1863 women have played a significant role in its history. When the college opened that year on September 2, half of the 52 students were female as were two of the six faculty listed in the first college catalog published in 1864! Today a multitude of records and collections are available which document the vital role of women at K-State during the last 147 years! In addition, countless personal collections created by women or containing significant information about them have been donated to support research on scholarly topics strategic to the academic programs at K-State, and scholarship on the national level.To make this Keepsake manageable in this limited venue, the collections are organized below according to category or subject with the understanding that many could be listed under more than one area.
Faculty papers. The papers of many outstanding women faculty are preserved in the University Archives. Major examples, their academic disciplines, and dates of contents are as follows: Harriett Parkerson, niece of Isaac Goodnow, one of K-State's founders (K-State and Manhattan history, late 1800s); Nellie Kedzie Jones, Class of 1876 (domestic science, 1882-1955); Mary T. Harmon (zoology, 1912-1952); Vida Harris (art, 1915-1970); Tessie Agan (family economics and consumer issues, 1957-1974); Leone Kell (family economics and homemakers service (1946-1975); Mary Border (extension home economics in the Middle east, 1953-1967); Ruth Hoeflin (personal papers and college of home economics historical files, 1875-2001); Virginia Quiring (Farrell Library); Caroline Peine (assistant dean of students, and center for student development, ca 1961-1981); Cornelia Butler Flora (sociology and first female president of faculty senate, 1976-1989); Margo Kren (art and Kansas City Artists Coalition, 1971-2009); Pat O'Brien (anthropology, ca 1970-2008).
Alumni and professions. Mamie Alexander Boyd, Class of 1902 (newspaper journalism, rural Kansas, and women's organizations; Boyd Hall named in her honor; 1876-1979); Alice Nichols, '27 (literature, 1914-1961); Marie Rezak Bonebrake (Kansas genealogy and history); Velma Carson, 1915-1919 (literature, 1913-1983); Clementine Paddleford, '21 (food editor, 1925-1967); Sue Dawon, '62 (food editor, 1979-2001).
Student records, papers and organizations. Scrapbooks and photograph albums of approximately 40 students (ca 1895-1940); Domestic Science Club (late 1800s); Smith, Bottomly and Lill Papers (family letters, ca 1934-1945); Boyd Hall (1960), Putnam Hall (1953-1999), and Association of Residence Hall (1968-2001) scrapbooks; Mortar Board (1933-2008); Clovia Scholarship House (ca 1931-2004); Literary Societies (organizations, late 1800s to per WWII years); 4-H Youth Programs (1913-1960).
K-State records and organizations. Dames/Student Wives Educational Association (1947-1978); Women in Communication (1916-1977); Commission on the Status of Women; University Women’s Caucus (1987-1999); Media Relations (former faculty files, ca 1950-2009); Sue Peterson (assistant to the president/director government relations); First Ladies of K-State (material on wives of presidents, 1863-present)
Athletics. photographs, scrapbooks, programs, etc. related to women’s sports at K-State (ca 1949-present).
State and national organizations. Kansans for the Equal Rights Amendment /Caroline Peine (1975-1983); Kansas Association of Extension Home Economists (1914-1986); Kansas Extension Homemakers Council (1914-1983); Kansas Association of Family and Community Education; KSU Social Club (1911-present); Kansas Master Farmer-Master Farm Homemaker (1927-1984); Novelists, Inc. (popular fiction writers, 1989-present).
Consumer Movement. Dorothy Willner (International Organization of Consumers Organizations, representative to United Nations, 1974-1983); Florence Mason (1959-1987).
Cookery. Clementine Paddleford (food editor, 1925-1967); Sue Dawson (food editor, 1979-2001).
Military history. Marjorie Honstead Feldhausen (U.S. Army nurse , 1943-1946); Frances Jennings Casement (letters to husband, General John S. Casement, Union army, 1861-1865); Richard and Marion Boydston (1943-1945); Victor and Alice Roper (1944-1946).
Personal collections. Marion Van Atta (edible & subtropical plants, gardening, 1970-1998); Doris Fenton (Tuttle Creek Dam, 1948-1955); Doris and Leona Velen (Tuttle Creek Dam opposition, 1937-1962); Lenora Herring (poultry); Edna Worthley Underwood (literature/Latin American authors, 1889-1946); Marie Boyd (newspaper journalism and women’s organizations, 1929-2003) Martha Keys (U.S. House of Representatives, 1975-1978); Shelia Hochhauser (Kansas House of Representatives, 1988-1966); Marjorie J. Morse (Manhattan and Riley County history).
University Archives collections documenting women. K-State newspapers, photographs, lecture recordings and files (Landon Lectures, Convocations, etc.), faculty publications, "First Ladies of K-State" files that document wives of the presidents, vertical/reference files covering numerous subjects (individuals, organizations, lectures, buildings on campus named after women, etc.).
Descriptions of the majority of the collections identified above can be found by visiting the University Archives homepage; many include links to their "finding aids." A major source of information about the women's holdings related to K-State is available in University Archives & Manuscripts: K-State Women, Selected Holdings, prepared by Cindy Von Elling in 1995.
Given this impressive information that identifies and recognizes the significant holdings of women in the University Archives, "In Her Own Write" is more than a quotation. It is inherent in the collections that are essential to providing scholarly information needed by students, faculty and distant researchers. It is with this mission in mind that we celebrate National Women's History Month in the University Archives!
Anthony R. Crawford, University Archivist
Credits. Photographs from University Archives: Mamie Alexander Boyd Papers, Clementine Paddleford Papers, Subject Files, and 1863 College Catalogue. Quotation used in the title from IN HER OWN WRITE: Women's History Resources in the Library and Archives of the Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis, 1983, edited by Beverly Bishop and Deborah Bolas; published while the author of this Keepsake was Director of Library and Archives at that institution.