Former ESU Archives Blog


Sep 17, 2012


Tags: special collections archives

Welcome to the Special Collections and Archives blog! This month has been very exciting for us, because not only are we celebrating the unveiling of our new blog, but also the reopening of our reading room. We are now located in room 119 of the William Allen White Library on the Emporia State campus. Our reading room is open to researchers Monday – Friday from 11-3pm, or by appointment, and a Special Collections and Archives staff member is available to answer questions and offer research assistance Monday – Friday 8 -5pm. Please stop by and learn more about our resources!


Special Collections and Archives Open House

Sep 18, 2012


Tags: open house event exhibit archives special collections

On Thursday, September 13th, approximately 50 people braved the wind and rain to visit the Special Collections and Archives in room 119 of the library and celebrate its recent opening. This group included students, faculty, staff and community members from Emporia.




Guests were invited to experience an exhibit showing various facets of the wide-ranging holdings of the Special Collections and Archives, including artwork from the May Massee Collection, artifacts and a sketchbook from Lyman B. Kellogg’s papers, Beatrix Potter figurines from the library’s previous Mary White Room, photographs from the Walter M. Andersen Collection, items from the Black Emporia Collection, and a display reflecting on the William Allen White papers.



Special Collections and Archives staff were available to introduce themselves and provide information about the workings of the department and how researchers gain access to the collections. A behind-the-scenes tour was also offered by Curator, Ashley Todd-Diaz, which invited atendees into the department’s secure, climate controlled storage room. This room features 3 miles of moveable shelves that house the entirety of the collections on-site. As an added bonus, all guests had the opportunity to enter a drawing for a homemade cheesecake baked by the Curator.



In all, it was a great opportunity to share information about our resources and services with the ESU and Emporia communities and to meet new people! If you are interested in accessing our resources, our reading room is open Monday – Friday from 11-3pm. Please feel free to drop in!

Mystery Photo #1

Sep 20, 2012


Tags: mystery photo archives

Do you recognize any of the people in this picture? Can you help us better understand what they’re doing? Please share your comments with us to help shed light on this mystery of ESU history!


Bloomer Veterans’ Hall of Honor

Nov 2, 2012


Tags: special collections Brigadier General Bloomer exhibits events Bloomer VHOH

On Thursday October 11th the newly renovated Bloomer Veterans’ Hall of Honor filled with members of the Emporia State University community to dedicate the space to its benefactor and namesake, retired Brigadier General William A. “Art” Bloomer ‘55.



Renovations include fresh paint and carpeting, as well as a number of exhibit cases to display some of the artifacts and memorabilia that exist in the Brigadier General William A. Art Bloomer Collection, held by ESU’s Special Collections and Archives.



Artifacts included Bloomer’s Marine Corp Service “C” uniform, flight suit, insignia, airplane and helicopter flight helmets, and flight bags.



Other featured items included General Bloomer’s leather flight jacket, model planes, name tags, desk plates, medals, awards, tools, diplomas, photographs and correspondence.



A particularly poignant aspect of the exhibit is a letter Bloomer sent to his family while on duty in Vietnam in April 1975. At that time his squadron was aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Midway for Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. This letter, paired with a number of photographs he took of the event, relay his unique firsthand view of the historic evacuation.



General Bloomer attended Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia from 1951 to 1955. While in college in Emporia, Bloomer majored in mathematics and physics. He was a member of Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity, and was a varsity letterman in the K-Club for four years in both football and basketball.



Following graduation, Bloomer began a career with the Marines that would last 31 years. During that time, Bloomer became a pilot; he flew reconnaissance aircraft and served a tour of duty in Vietnam in 1968/1969 that included 330 combat missions. His military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V,” and 17 air medals. In the later years of his Marine career Bloomer served as an assistant to two Secretaries of the Navy, and eventually retired as a Brigadier General.In 1985 Emporia State University Alumni Association named Bloomer a Distinguished Alumnus and was a featured speaker at ESU’s 2009 Commencement.


Please stop by the Bloomer Veterans’ Hall of Honor in the Memorial Union to see the display honoring General Bloomer, and if you are interested to learn more about this distinguished alumnus and the Brigadier General William A. Art Bloomer Collection be sure to contact the Special Collections and Archives, located in room 119 of White Library!

Mystery photo #2 – A Sunhat, Canoeing and Watermelon!

Nov 2, 2012


Tags: mystery photo archives

Take a look at our second mystery photo. If you recognize any of these people or the location of the photo, please let us know!


Celebrating the Glory of Fall

Nov 8, 2012


Tags: exhibit special collections veterans day

The Special Collections and Archives welcomes visitors to experience our latest exhibit Celebrating the Glory of Fall, which pays homage to both the natural beauty of fall and the triumph of American veterans remembered officially each November 11th.



The exhibit begins by featuring a number of items from the May Massee Collection. In particular are three illustrations from Miss Hickory, a book written by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett and published by May Massee in 1946

Hiss Hickory, illustrated by Ruth Gannett     











Miss Hickory shows the magic of a New England winter from the perspective of woodland creatures.  Readers will certainly enjoy experiencing how the many creatures of the woods and farm handle the winter and the changing of the seasons. Occasionally funny, no doubt charming, this unusual little book is worth a read.

Our exhibit continues the fall theme with cats and nature featuring a few of Kate Seredy’s books, Finnigan II, Gypsy and The Open Gate. While researching Seredy one soon learns that she thought of herself as an illustrator first, explaining that she thought in pictures and was not fond of her own writing.

                             Open Gate, written and illustrated by Kate Seredy


In The Open Gate Seredy ties the lessons of life into the world of nature and takes the reader back to simpler times. Written right after the attack on Pearl Harbor it ties in nicely with the Veterans’ Day theme carried on in our exhibit. The family works with the Farm Bureau and raises cattle and crops for the government, eventually banding together to help the community through the tough times.


The exhibit then segues into a focus on Veterans’ Day and Emporia’s important role in the holiday’s history. Local resident Alvin J. King wanted to pay tribute to his nephew and other war veterans with a holiday for all who had served. With much work this became a reality in Emporia in 1953 and became official nationally in June of 1954 when President Eisenhower signed it into law. In 2003, on the 50th anniversary of the first celebration, Emporia was declared the founding city of Veterans’ Day. Visitors can see a variety of sources which illustrate the unfolding of Alvin J. King’s great feat!



Emporia State University has supported Veterans’ Day as long as can be remembered and we have resources to show it. Once such illustration are the Vet City display panels that tell the story of campus more than 60 years ago. An example from The Flint Hills Oral Histories project is shown as well so visitors can see the valuable resources available to them from our Special Collections and Archives.



Please be sure to stop by room 119 of White Library between now and Wednesday, November 21st to see the exhibit and learn more about the resources Special Collections and Archives has to offer!

Mystery Photo #3 – We got Villa!

Nov 9, 2012


Tags: mystery photo special collections

Here’s this week’s mystery photo. Do you have any input regarding what is going on in this picture? We would love to hear your thoughts!


Fall Semester in the Special Collections and Archives

Nov 13, 2012


Tags: special collections exhibits rare books

This blog post was contributed by Kylie Lewis ’12, an Information Resources Studies student who spent her practicum in the William Allen White Library between Public Services, Tech Services and the Special Collections and Archives. Thanks for all your hard work this semester, Kylie!

~Ashley Todd-Diaz


This semester, for me, has been a crazy journey.  I have been all over the library during the course of my internship.  My final place for my internship has been here in the archives.  Over the last six weeks, I have been working on several projects of varying degrees.  The first project I worked on was helping put together the Bloomer Veterans’ Hall of Honor.  All I did was scan pictures and design the labels, but don’t let that fool you that it was boring.  It was a great creative process that helped me understand what kind of information needed to be presented to understand an archival display.  That was a bit of a whirlwind project because it needed to be done really quickly.  After that, I took a bit of a break and studied Describing Archives: A Content Standard to help me get prepared for my larger project.  I had a few choices of what I could do, but I chose to work with the May Massee Collection of children’s literature and illustrations.

 The May Massee Collection books before the reordering project began.  May Massee Collection, close-up of books before being reordered.


A previous student had organized the books within the collection by donor.  It had really great provenance but it made it nearly impossible to find what you were looking for easily.  Instead, I was asked to reorganize the collection by year.

Project in progress, lots of book trucks! The last few books that need to be reordered.

There were some very interesting books in the collection.  Some of my favorite finds were the books that were printed in foreign languages.  There is one book about Abraham Lincoln in Burmese.  Being down here in the archives has really helped reaffirm that I want to go for an archival emphasis in grad school.  The archives here at ESU are great….if cold.

“The Normal Yell is in the Air”: A Day at the Game, April 25, 1911

Nov 20, 2012


Tags: archives Kansas State Normal baseball College of Emporia sunflower

April 1911:  A cold breeze blows over a baseball field on which two rival squads compete.  It is the annual battle between Kansas State Normal School and the College of Emporia, and the stands are filled with shivering supporters for each squad.

A cheer erupts from the KSN fans:

Our boys are on the baseball field,

They’re ready for the fray,

The Normal yell is in the air,

We’ve come to win the day.


Robert Berning Pennants, 2005.0020

Leather, undated.

We’ll win this game of baseball

From our friends across the way,

While we are yelling for Normal.


Hurrah, hurrah!  for Normal’s got the ball,

Hurrah, hurrah!  for College has to fall;


We’ll win this game of baseball

Or there’ll be no game at all

While we are yelling for Normal.

(To the tune of “Marching Thru Georgia)


Pennants wave wildly from fans on the other side of the field:

Robert Berning Pennants, 2005.0020

Leather, undated.

Inning after inning, the cheers continue to soar as the teams battle for victory.  C of E’s first batter scores the first run of the game; KSN answers in the second inning to tie the game.  As the pitchers fight for supremacy, more cries can be heard:

1,2,3,4, Who you going to yell for?

Who for?  Why for? 

Who do you suppose for?



Then shouted five times in a row, with increasing speed, the “Locomotive”:

Hip-hoo-rah!  Hip-hoo-rah!

Normal, Normal, Rah! Rah! Rah!


The College of Emporia players catch fire in the sixth inning, filling the bases then scoring four runs.  A change of pitchers finishes the inning with three strike-outs, but the damage was done.


Kansas State Normal School




College of Emporia





Kansas State Normal School baseball team, 1911

Student Publications: Sunflower, ESU003.004.004.002


College of Emporia baseball team, 1911

Alla Rah yearbook

This story is but one of many told by the Emporia State University and College of Emporia records held by Special Collections and Archives.  An account of this game is reported in The Normal Bulletin, April 25, 1911.  The cheers which may have been used during the game, and many other student songs and yells, are located in the Normaliana Collection (Np:1b.3).  Robert Berning, a 1974 graduate of Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia with a Master of Library Science degree, donated the leather pennants, and the baseball team pictures were published in the 1911 Sunflower and Alla Rah yearbooks. Visit the Special Collections and Archives in room 119 of White Library to access these materials and see what other resources we have to offer!

Mystery Photo #4 – Exercise Time!

Nov 20, 2012


Tags: archives mystery photo

Please help us identify this picture! Let us know if you recognize anyone or know what they’re doing!


A Christmas Lesson, by Thomas M. Iden, December 14, 1901

Dec 19, 2012


Tags: special collections Emporia Gazette Christmas

This is how the upper floor of the Emporia Gazette building at 511 Merchant appeared on weekdays in 1901.  On Saturday nights this room was transformed into The Upper Room Bible Study, hosted by professor Thomas M. Iden of the Kansas State Normal School and attended by young men who were college students or simply lived in town.  The weekly class was established in Emporia on November 19, 1898.
The popularity of the class is apparent in these words, penned by Iden in an annual letter mailed December 31, 1902:  The Upper Room Bible Class has never been so large nor has its influence ever been so far-reaching.  You will recall that a year ago we set ourselves the task of adding one entirely new name to our roll for every day in the year.  This has been done.  Last year the New Year’s letter went to thirteen hundred young men, this year it will be mailed to sixteen hundred and seventy bona fide members of the class.  Our room is too small.  We must soon seek larger quarters.  Within the last school year our enrollment reached five hundred and sixty.  Counting the different individuals enrolled between Jan. 1, 1902 and Jan. 1, 1903 – including a part of two school years – the number is about seven hundred.  


Iden issued a hand-written, hand-decorated, multi-page leaflet for each lesson.  These were regularly mailed to students who were unable to attend that week’s class and to former students.  It was common for students to save their leaflets and have them bound at the end of the year. Below are some of the features of a leaflet dated December 14, 1901, found within the Iden Meditation Upper Room Collection (NA1996.001).

“The Young Men’s Bible Class

Every Saturday Evening

 In the Upper Room

511 Merchant Street

All young men are most cordially invited.

Hour 7:30-8:30″

  “On Saturday evening, Jan. 4, 1902, the hour will be spent in answering questions.  You are asked to prepare these questions and pass them in next Saturday night, Dec. 21, or at least before you go home for the holidays.  Let them be questions concerning your own difficulties as young men, your trials, your temptations, your doubts if need be, concerning life, duty, Christianity.  Ask any question the answer to which might help you in your living, in your understanding of the Scriptures.  Your leader does not promise to answer them all satisfactorily, but he will do the best he can.  He longs to be able to help you in any possible way.  Do not hesitate to ask for just what you would like to know.  If it is not proper to answer the question publicly, or rather if he thinks it advisable not to do so, he will be happy to speak to you personally.  This ought to be one of the very best meetings of the New Year.”

Study guide for

“A Christmas Lesson – Story of a Birth”


December 14, 1901.

  The earth has grown old with its burden of care,

But at Christmas it always is young.

The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair,

And its soul full of music breaks forth on the air

When the song of the angels is sung.


It is coming, old earth, it is coming tonight!

On the snowflakes which cover the sod

The feet of the Christ-child fall gentle and white,

And the voice of the Christ-child tells out with delight

That mankind are the children of God.


The feet of the humblest may walk in the field

Where the feet of the holiest have trod.

This, this is the marvel to mortals revealed

When the silvery trumpets of Christmas have pealed

That mankind are the children of God.


Phillips Brooks (uncredited)


The Iden Meditation Upper Room Collection consists of 12 boxes, 2 oversize folder files, and 29 books and bound serials that document Thomas M. Iden, the Upper Room Bible Class, the Thomas M. Iden Scholarship, the Upper Room Bible Class reunions, the Iden Upper Room Scholarship, and the establishment of the Iden Meditation Upper Room at Emporia State University in 1964.

Access to these materials and other resources documenting the members of the Upper Room Bible Class is available at Special Collections and Archives in room 119 of the William Allen White Library.

~ Shari Scribner

Illustrating the Holidays

Jan 18, 2013


Tags: special collections May Massee

 The Special Collections and Archives welcomed students, faculty, staff and community members Tuesday, December 18th, for the opening reception of “Illustrating the Holidays.” The exhibit showcases a sampling of holiday greetings sent to publisher May Massee by artists featured within the May Massee Collection of children’s illustrations and literature. The exhibit includes original artwork representing various styles and media by Boris Artzybasheff, Berta and Elmer Hader, Maud and Miska Petersham, Robert Lawson, and James (Jimmie) Daugherty, among others.

Vistors enjoying the exhibit.


May Massee was responsible for establishing two of the first three “junior books” divisions within major American publishing houses: Doubleday, Page and Co (1923) and Viking Press (1932). During her time there, she published memorable titles such as Make Way for Ducklings, Madeline and the Gypsies, Corduroy, Pippi Longstockings, and The Story of Ferdinand. In many cases, May Massee had a strong relationship with the authors and artists she worked with. A good example of this is the range of original greeting cards she received from Berta and Elmer Hader. Although the holiday cards from Berta and Elmer Hader are not dated, the sheer number of cards Massee received from this couple reveals the strength and endurance of their relationship over an extended period of time.

 May Masee (1883-1966)  Handmade holidays greetings by Berta and Elmer Hader.


As you might imagine, artists were not always able to make a living by illustrating children’s books alone.

Many of the illustrators featured in the May Massee Collection sold artwork in other areas such as greeting

cards, posters, and promotional or advertising goods. This exhibit also includes a few of these commercially printed cards. Another interesting item featured in the exhibit is a Crèche, or Nativity scene, that accompanied Maud and Miska Petersham’s book The Christ Child (1943). Drawing on artwork used in the book, this pop-up piece of art is meant to act as a centerpiece or decoration for Christmas gatherings.

Pop-up Creche that accompanied the Petersham’s book, The Christ Child.


In addition to the greetings, the exhibit highlights the artwork of two holiday books from the May Massee Collection: The Christmas Anna Angel and The Long Christmas. Although both are written by Ruth Sawyer, the books are illustrated by Kate Seredy and Valenti Angelo, respectively, and it is captivating to see how each artist brings life to Sawyer’s words and the spirit of Christmas. Angelo’s illustrations are two-color and feature more straight lines and an air of realism, whereas Seredy’s illustrations are four-color and tend to be more ornamental and fanciful.


 Curator of Special Collections and Archives Ashley Todd-Diaz, Dean of Libraries and Archives John Sheridan and Dean of Teacher’s College Ken Weaver, discussing the artwork.


This exhibit is available for viewing Monday-Friday 8-5, and will be up through Friday, January 25, 2013.To learn more about the May Massee Collection and to peruse the many holiday greetings and other pieces of artwork that are not currently on display, please visit the Special Collections and Archives between 11-3, Monday-Friday.

Looking Back to the Beginning

Jan 25, 2013


Tags: university archives special collections

 Kellogg, 1865



In 1863, just two years after Kansas became a state, Kansas State Normal School was founded. Lyman B. Kellogg began the first class on February 15, 1865 as the only faculty member. The school, boasting a total of eighteen students, was operating in a temporary location with borrowed furniture and very limited resources. Kellogg brought the only two books the school had on that first day: a Bible and a dictionary. Emphasizing Latin and English, he taught from a classic background.Mary Jane Watson and Ellen Plumb were the initial graduates at the first commencement held June 28, 1867.


Kellogg led the early development of the school by expanding the faculty, moving the school into its own building, and attracting more students.  Kellogg left Kansas State Normal school in 1871 going on to become a member of the State Legislature, later a probate judge, and eventually Attorney General of Kansas.

 Kellogg, c.1907


From January 28th through the month of February, the artifacts that were present at the humble beginnings of Kansas State Normal School will be on display at the Special Collections and Archives. Visitors are invited to experience the beginning through the eyes of Lyman B. Kellogg, getting to know him through his journals, sketch books, speeches, documents, photographs and relics. A speech given in 1914, where he shares his hopes for the future of Kansas State Normal, will be prominently displayed. We invite you to join us as we pay tribute to the beginning of our institution and inspire thoughts for a hopeful future.


~ Michelle Franklin

We’ve got your cure for “Kansas Day Syndrome”!

Feb 4, 2013


Tags: special collections

According to teacher, principal, superintendent, and 1920 Kansas State Normal School graduate L. Harold Caldwell, “Kansas Day Syndrome” was a condition in which Kansas schoolchildren were only taught about their state when it was time to celebrate Kansas Day in January.

To remedy this situation, Harold created Kolorful Kansas Films, which produced more than 40 titles covering art, emblems, famous people, history, and science.  Kolorful Kansas Films consisted of filmstrips and audiocassettes created for either primary or upper elementary-age children and were produced by Harold out of his Wichita, Kansas, home for more than 20 years.

The following information and images are courtesy of the L. Harold Caldwell Papers housed in Emporia State University’s Special Collections and Archives.

Emblems of Kansas
 The American Buffalo, more properly known as the American Bison, has   been the Kansas State Animal since 1955.  Plains Indians believed that a white buffalo was sacred.  Albino buffaloes are rare, appearing once in 5 million births.  The buffalo head nickel was issued by the U.S. Mint from 1913-1938.  A buffalo stamp was issued by the United States from 1923-1925.


State Bird: Western Meadowlark
 The Western Meadowlark. Kansas schoolchildren chose the state bird via vote on January 29, 1925.  The winning bird received 48,935 votes!  The Western Meadowlark officially became the Kansas State Bird in 1937.


State Flag and Banner
 A Kansas State Flag was provided by law in 1927. “Kansas” was not part of the original design. It was added to the flag in 1963.  The Kansas State Banner was provided by law in 1925. In 1953, a brown center replaced the Great Seal in the sunflower.


State Flower: Helianthus
1903 law declared Helianthus, the wild native Sunflower, the State Flower of Kansas.


State Seal
Each image — rising sun. log cabin, hand-held plow pulled by horses, steam boat, bison hunt, 34 stars and the state motto “Ad Astra Per Aspera” — represents a part of the history of Kansas. The constitution of the state provided for a seal that was to be kept by the governor and used for official business.


State Tree: Cottonwood
 Cottonwood was designed the Official Tree of Kansas in 1937.  Only female trees produce cotton, which serves as a sort of parachute that helps the seed travel through the air.  The cottonwood is the fastest growing tree in North America.

Happy 152nd  Birthday, Kansas!

January 29, 2013

Access to the L. Harold Caldwell Papers (2005.0016) and other resources documenting the history of Kansas are available at the Special Collections and Archives in room 119 of the William Allen White Library. If you are interested in accessing our resources, our reading room is open Monday-Friday from 11-3p.m.  Special Collections and Archives staff may also be reached via e-mail ( or telephone (620-341-6431). We hope to see you soon!

~Shari Scribner

Assistant Archivist

Emporia, Kansas: From the Beginning

Feb 25, 2013


Tags: special collections archives

Photograph of a map of the city of Emporia, Kansas, 1878. The Walter M. Andersen Collection

Photograph of a map of the city of Emporia, Kansas, 1878.

The Walter M. Andersen Collection


Emporia, Kansas, was founded on February 20, 1857, by The Emporia Town Company.  Emporia was named after an ancient Greek market center located south of Carthage, in North Africa, in  hopes that the town would become a thriving business community. Emporia was part of Breckinridge County (Kansas Territory) before becoming the seat of the newly established Lyon County in 1860.

Mail for the area was put into a hollow tree near the Neosho River.  A post office was established in Emporia after the postmaster in Columbia, Kansas, a town 3 miles south of Emporia, resigned in the fall of 1857.

Preston B. Plumb was the only member of The Emporia Town Company to make his home in Emporia.  The other members consisted of George W. Brown, president, General George  W. Deitzler, secretary, Lyman Allen and Columbus Hornsby, all from Lawrence, Kansas.  The Emporia Town Company purchased land in Section 10, Township 19, Range 11 for $5000.

Originally, the town site was between what is currently Sixth & 18th Avenues and East & West Streets.  In 1858 the southern boundary was extended to South Avenue.

Rail service was an early topic of conversation for Emporians, with the first meeting on the issue held in July 1857. A railroad line was built through the town in 1869.

Industries in early Emporia included grist mills, sawmills, and furniture stores.  Stores and hotels also provided services to the young community.  The first issue of the Kansas News newspaper was published July 6, 1857.

A water well was dug on the town site in 1858 and the first school opened on October 11, 1858.  Kansas State Normal School was established February 15, 1863.  The first bank opened in March 1865.


Emporia, Kansas, Commemorative Handkerchief, circa 1954-1964.


These highlights of the development of Emporia, Kansas, are courtesy of multiple collections located in Emporia State University’s Special Collections and Archives.  The Walter M. Andersen Collection contains approximately 12,000 photographs and 20,000 negatives created or collected by Walter M. Andersen from circa 1950-1990.  A History of the Early Settlers of Emporia (NAxxxx.0024) consists of a speech given by Judge Roscoe Graves to the Emporia Forum Club and the Emporia Rotary Club in 1961 and 1964, respectively.  The Emporia, Kansas, Commemorative Handkerchief (2007.0005) was created by the Franshaw company circa 1954-1964 and highlights many Emporia landmarks of that time period.  The Virginia Welch Forbeck Papers (NA1997.0001) consists of research materials and a thesis titled The Early History of Emporia, Kansas.

Additional materials relating to the history of Emporia and Lyon County, Kansas, are available at Special Collections and Archives in room 119 of the William Allen White Library.  If you are interested in accessing our resources, our reading room is open Monday-Friday from 11-3 p.m.  Special Collections and Archives staff may also be reached via e-mail ( or telephone (620-341-6431).


~Shari Scribner

Authors’ Tea

Mar 18, 2013


Tags: special collections May Massee Emporia

On January 31, 2013 the 5th – 8th grades at Turning Point Academy welcomed Ashley Todd-Diaz, ESU’s Curator of Special Collections and Archives, and Bev Buller, a successful author, for an authors’ tea. This event was planned in conjunction with a project some of the students are working on to publish a book of short stories. The students invited Bev and Ashley to speak to them about the writing and publishing process.


 Ashley Todd-Diaz, discussing May Massee.

Ashley introduced the students to May Massee, a prominent children’s book publisher who founded two of the first three children’s publishing divisions. She worked at Doubleday, Page and Co and then Viking, publishing classics like Make Way for Ducklings, Madeline and the Gypsies, and Mop Top. The ESU’s Special Collections and Archives houses the May Massee Collection, and Ashley utilized resources from the collection to provide insight into the publishing process during the 1940s and 50s. In particular, she shared images of Massee’s manuscript record; correspondence and telegrams between Massee and authors and illustrators discussing editing, pairing illustrations with text and design details; and illustrations that inform the publishing process. Ashley used the archival materials to highlight how important it is for authors and illustrators to have confidence and perseverance because the publishing process may be long and complicated from manuscript submission to published product.


 Bev Buller, sharing her books.

Bev shared her experiences successfully researching, writing and publishing two books, From Emporia: The Story of William Allen White and A Prairie Peter Pan: The Story of Mary White. She discussed visiting many libraries and archives, including the State Library and ESU Special Collections and Archives, during the course of her research in order to learn more about her subjects and identify historic documents and artifacts to include in the books and make them as real as possible for the reader. She also discussed her new book on William Allen White’s granddaughter. Bev emphasized the effort that goes into writing and organizing a book, but also the reward of seeing it completed and enjoyed by readers. Bev closed the Authors’ Tea by holding a book signing for interested students.


If you would like to learn more about the May Massee Collection or the William Allen White Collection, please contact the ESU Special Collections and Archives at or (620) 341-6431.

Stormy Weather: A Jazz Celebration

Mar 29, 2013


Tags: special collections archives jazz jazz ensemble

April showers do bring May flowers, but the rain won’t last forever. So scat to the downbeat, come on and groove, just move your feet, as we endure this Stormy Weather.


April is Jazz Appreciation Month. The Special Collections and Archives would like to invite you to our Stormy Weather exhibit. Stormy Weather is a jazz standard song composed by Harold Arlen and written by Ted Koehler and created for the singer and bandleader Cab Calloway. In 1943 this song was turned into a musical movie starring well known jazz artist Lena Horne, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, and tap dancer, actor Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.


Our exhibit features many of the jazz artists who have graced Emporia State University with their presence in concerts and workshops. Names that you will find on our wall are clarinetist Pete Fountain, singer Janice Borla, the Bob Montgomery Jazz Quartet, Chicago Jazz Quintet, trombone player Urbie Green, Bass player Count Basie, singer Diana Reeves, Jazz drummer Roy Burns and the KSTC Jazz band.


You will also find a mural with great jazz artists such as bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding who was the first jazz artist to win Best New Artist at the 53rd Grammy’s, phenomenal powerhouse singer Ella Fitzgerald, pianist and fly dresser Duke Ellington’s Orchestra who have made their way on one of the Emporia State University stages and also vibist Bobby Hutcherson who has done jazz workshops here at ESU.


The exhibit opened Monday, March 18th, 2013 and will be up through Friday, April 26th. Please stop by the Special Collections and Archives in William Allen White Library room 119 to learn more about ESU’s Jazz history and the various Jazz-related materials held in our collections.


~ Shalyssa Mitchell

A Tale of Two Rabbits

Apr 19, 2013


Tags: special collections

Once upon a time there was a little girl who grew up in England.  She didn’t go to school, instead being

educated by a governess and spending long hours playing with animals.  She had a Belgian male hare named Mr. Benjamin H. Bounce, whom she described thus:  “At one

moment amiably sentimental to the verge of silliness, at the next, the up-setting of a jug or tea-cup which he immediately takes upon himself, will convert him into a demon, throwing himself on his back, scratching and spluttering.  If I can lay hold of him without being bitten, within half a minute he is licking my hands as though nothing had happened.  He is an abject coward, but believes in bluster, could stare our old dog out of countenance, chase a cat that has turned tail.  Benjamin once fell into an Aquarium head first, and sat in the water which he could not get out of, pretending to eat a piece of string.  Nothing like putting a face upon circumstances.”


Later she acquired a new rabbit, Peter Piper, who, she claimed, “really is good at tricks when hungry, in private, jumping (sticks, hands, hoop, back and forward), ringing little bell and drumming on a tambourine.”

This girl loved drawing and illustrating, and, because she had ample opportunity to closely observe various animals’ habits and behaviors, recorded their characteristics in great detail.   Her drawing skills improved, and she decided to write a book.  It was rejected by publishers because the pictures weren’t colorful enough and so she self-published 250 copies.  The next year, 1902, Frederick Warne & Co. published 28,000 copies of the book.

 The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter   The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, by Beatrix Potter


Beatrix Potter created 28 animal characters that were incorporated into 23 children’s books, including The Tale of Benjamin Bunny in 1904, which featured Benjamin Bunny and his cousin, Peter Rabbit. These and other books by Beatrix Potter are available from Emporia State University’s Special Collections and Archives.  The Tale of Peter Rabbit, published by F. Warne & Co., is available in English, Italian, Latin, German, Welsh, French, Swedish, French, and Dutch language editions as part of the Ruth Garver Gagliardo Collection.  The quotes describing Benjamin and Peter were taken from pages 300 and 400, respectively, of The Journal of Beatrix Potter from 1881 to 1897 (RGG P851j).  28 china character figures created by Beswick Pottery between 1955 and 1968 comprise the Beatrix Potter Beswick Figurines collection (NAxxxx.0046).

 Peter Rabbit  Benjamin Bunny

Access these collections by visiting the Special Collections and Archives reading room, which is open Monday-Friday from 11-3 p.m.  Special Collections and Archives staff may also be reached via e-mail ( or telephone (620-341-6431).

Arbor Day: A Celebration of Trees

Apr 22, 2013


Tags: special collections archives bulletin arbor day

In 1854, J. Sterling Morton and his wife left Detroit, Michigan, for the Nebraska Territory.  Trees and other plants were needed to beautify the land and, more practically, to keep soil from blowing away, provide fuel & building materials, and for shade.  Morton proposed an Arbor Day in 1872, and it is estimated that more than one million trees were planted on April 10 of that year.  In 1885, Arbor Day became a legal holiday in the State of Nebraska, to be celebrated annually on Morton’s birthday, April 22.

Arbor Day may have first been celebrated in Kansas in the city of Topeka.  All interested citizens were invited to plant a tree on the capital grounds on April 23, 1875, and over 800 trees were planted that day.  Governor George W. Glick set aside April 25, 1883, as Arbor Day.  The State of Kansas currently celebrates Arbor Day on the last Friday of April.

In 1901, Kansas State Normal School student Katherine Morrison received the following post card featuring an Arbor Day message.

Postcard to student Katherine Morrison "Miss Katherine Morrison, Emporia, Kans. / (Please [Fwd.])
 Address side of postcard received by Katherine Morrison


"You would better harvest / your / millet / which was sown Arbor Day on the campus / at K.S.N.S. / B.F. Martin, C.M. Ware, C.H. Mull, / J.W. Blood, John Brown, O.F. Grubbs, / Ben Bowers, V.E. Postma, Mr. Meyers. / Emporia, Kansas, September 2, 1901.
 Backside of postcard

The Bulletin, KSNS student newspaper, reported that in 1921, 2 rows of trees were planted in celebration of Arbor Day.  The following text is from an article, “Arbor Day Exercises at Chapel Friday”, published April 21:

"Arbor Day Exercises at Chapel Friday," Bulletin, April 21, 1921
 “Arbor Day Exercises at Chapel Friday,” Bulletin, April 21, 1921

On April 26, 2013, Emporia State University will combine one of its sesquicentennial celebrations with Arbor Day as a number of trees and other plants & perennials are added to the campus grounds.  All faculty, staff, and students are invited to participate in this Arbor Day & Campus Beautification Celebration at 1:00 p.m.  This event is sponsored by the Associated Student Government, Campus Beautification Committee, Community Hornets, Environmental Club, and Sigma Alpha Lambda.

Katherine Morrison’s postcard (NA1963.0001), The Bulletin (ESU003.004.004.001) and other Kansas State Normal School memorabilia is available from ESU’s Special Collections and Archives.  Access these collections by visiting the Special Collections and Archives reading room, which is open Monday-Friday from 11-3 p.m.  Special Collections and Archives staff may also be reached via e-mail ( or telephone (620-341-6431).

Online resources for Arbor Day history include the National Arbor Day Foundation, Inc. ( and Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History/Arbor Day (

Hot diggity — dogs!

Jul 3, 2013


Tags: special collections William Allen White William Allen White Book Awards

I’ve always thought that children liked books about dogs.  This was true for me growing up; many hours were spent reading (and re-reading)  books that featured dogs, including The Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London and  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

The 2013 William Allen White Children’s Book Award (WAWCBA) winners are books that include the word “dog” in their titles:  Guinea Dog by Patrick Jennings and Ghost Dog Secrets by Peg Kehret.  These books are currently on display at ESU’s Special Collections and Archives, as well as two posters which highlight the WAWCBA winning books from 1952-2008.  This annual award is bestowed by schoolchildren across Kansas, who vote for their favorite book from a master list culled by the William Allen White Children’s Book Award selection committee.  As I perused the displayed posters, it seemed that books about dogs had often been chosen by Kansas schoolchildren for this honor, and so I thought it would be interesting to see if my impression was correct.  Here is what I discovered:

Since 1952, children in grades 3-8 have chosen 74 winners from 1,238 books.  26 of the master list books have been about dogs, which means that only 2% of the books chosen annually by the WAWCBA selection committee feature dogs.

WAWCBA Master List Books (1952-2013): Books about dogs (26); Books about subjects other than dogs (1212)

Of the 74 books which have received the William Allen White Children’s Book Award, 8 have been primarily about dogs.  This short list includes Old Yeller by Frank Gipson, Kavik the Wolf Dog by Walt Morey, Dominic by William Steig, Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, A Dog’s Life: The Autobiography of a Stray  by Ann M. Martin, How to Steal a Dog : A Novel by Barbara O’Conner, and Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata.  (The “primarily about dogs” designation was determined by the term “dogs” being used as a subject heading in the book’s catalog record.)  12 books include “dog” or “dogs” or “dog’s” in their titles, including one of this year’s winners, Guinea Dog, which is really about a guinea pig.  23 books include “dog” or “dogs” or “dog’s” in descriptive notes.


WAWCBA Winners (1952-2013): Books about Dogs (6); Books about subjects other than dogs (66)

Let’s look at the numbers:

  •  Books primarily about dogs have won 10.8% of the awards.
  •  Books with titles that refer to dogs have won 16.2% of the awards.
  •  Books in which dogs play an important role have won 31% of the



So, what do you think?  Is it true that children, or at least Kansas schoolchildren, enjoy reading books about dogs?  And, since only 2% of the books chosen for the WAWCBA master lists are about dogs, yet that small group has won over 10% of the awards, does writing a book about dogs increase an author’s chance of winning a William Allen White Children’s Book Award?



To access these 1,238 books, please ask for the William Allen White Children’s Book Award Master Lists record group (ESU003. when you visit Special Collections and Archives in Room 119 of the William Allen White Library.  Additional records about the William Allen White Children’s Book Award, including the award ceremonies and information about the winning authors, are located in record group ESU003.006.001.001

Walnut School visits to learn about Make Way for Ducklings

Nov 22, 2013


Tags: special collections university archives May Massee elementary school

A few weeks ago the Special Collections and Archives welcomed the third graders from Walnut Elementary School to learn about ESU’s one-of-a-kind, original artwork from Robert McCloskey’s Caldecott-winning book, Make Way for Ducklings (1941). The students spent a few hours at the ESU Libraries and Archives learning about the differences between libraries and speical collections, viewing the original artwork, taking a virtual trip to the book’s setting via Google Earth, and playing games that drew on foreign language skills and knowledge of the book. The students had such a good time, they were kind enough to contribute to our blog:

“During our trip to ESU we had the time of our lives!  The illustrations were amazing.  We could not believe he used a pencil on most of the artwork.  When Mrs. Summey used Google Earth to show us the journey that the ducks took over Boston it made the story feel real.  We thought it was very interesting to see how hard it was to make a movie back then.  It was fun to learn that he used his daughters as ideas for his books.   The Fairy Tale room was a great place to play the games especially when we found out that a girl that went to Walnut painted the pictures on the walls.  The game where we tried to guess the languages of the books was fun.   We could not believe that ESU had May Massee’s office and that the same person who designed the President’s office designed hers.  We felt like we were in Robert McCloskey’s place.  It was a variety of coolness.  Thank you ESU!

Mrs. Keck’s and Mrs. Pena’s 3rd Grade Classes”

Our response: We’re glad you guys had fun, and we can’t wait to welcome you back in the future!

To learn more about the Make Way for Ducklings program, the May Massee Collection, or other manuscript collections and one-of-a-kind resources the Special Collections and Archives has to offer, email us at or call us at (620) 341-5034.