Center for Kansas
Fall 1994 Newsletter
SPEAKING OF KANSAS
Washburn Center for Kansas Studies Newsletter
Center Continues Reprints Series
By Thomas Averill
The Center for Kansas Studies announces the publication of "As Grass," short stories by Edythe Squier Draper. This is the fourth volume in a series of reprints of important Kansas literature that is out of print.
Draper, a well-published short story writer from the 1920s to the 1940s, spent most of her adult life in Oswego. At the age of 60, she became the Oswego correspondent to the "Parsons Sun," writing a daily column up until her death at age 82. Draper was unique for the literary quality of her writing, and because she wrote about the poor, the dispossessed, and the abused--all those people who were not given a voice in mainstream periodicals. "As Grass" is being used in Washburn's Kansas Literature course. A fine introduction by free-lance writer Jeffrey Ann Goudie puts Draper's fiction in the context of her long life. The book sells for $6 and is available through the Center of Kansas Studies, or through the Washburn University Bookstore.
Other books in the series include: "That Trick of Silence, poems of the Flint Hills," By Steven Hind ($5); "The Kansas Poems, poems of the Dust Bowl," by Kenneth Wiggins Porter ($5); and "Dust and Short Works," the best of the writing of Emanuel and Marcet Halderman-Julius ($12).
Kansas History offer Spring 1995
By Dr. Bill Wagnon
HI 322 Kansas History is offered in the 1995 Spring semester and expanded to three hours credit. Robert Richmond former state archivist and assistant executive director of the Kansas State Historical Society, will teach this course.
Richmond created one of the first educational television programs for KTWU on Kansas History and wrote "Kansas: A Land of Contrast," now in its fourth edition and widely used as a text on other campuses.
In the course, Richmond covers the state's development from prehistory to the present. He examines a variety of social, political and economic, movements, as well as groups and individual, leaders and common folks. Richmond maintains Kansas is a land of contrast and so named his history of the state.
He organizes the course around his lectures and outside reading assignments, which require written reviews. Students are examined three times during the semester, identifying terms covered in the course and writing essays on important questions posed during the semester. Kansas History is one of several courses which may count toward a minor in Kansas Studies at Washburn.
By Dr. Loran Smith
Students interested in minoring in Kansas Studies have the opportunity to enroll in an internship PO 307, coordinated by Dr. Loran Smith, is restricted to juniors and seniors who meet certain academic requirements and whose total class load during the internship semester will not exceed 12 hours.
Students are interviewed and are placed with various governmental and quasi-governmental agencies for a semester. Over the years, interns have been placed with city, county, and state executive agencies, the state legislature, lobbyists, community action groups, and the U.S. Congress.
The Washburn University Center of Kansas Studies began in January 1988 with the formation of a committee of interested, interdisciplinary faculty members. Capitalizing on our resources and provide information about Kansas resources at Washburn and around the state; offer programming and courses on Kansas topics; and provide outreach programs on Kansas, its past, present and future.
During the 1993-94 academic year, we continued to sponsor Kansas in the Classroom Series which helped to bring six speakers/performers to campus.
Our Kansas Day 1994 speaker was John E. Tidwell, Langston- Hughes professor at the University of Kansas. The Center also financed the publication of "As Grass," a collection of short stories by Edythe Squire Draper.
We invite you to attend our scheduled activities:
SMOKEY MCKINNEY "What Kansas Means to Me"
January 26, 1995, 4 p.m., Kansas Room in Memorial Union
KEVIN YOUNG reading from his poetry "Mos' Way Home,"
March 28, 1995, 7 p.m., Memorial Union
CHRISTOPHER COKINOS-"Revising, Editing and Publishing Poetry"
April 4, 1995, 7 p.m., Mulvane Art Museum
Cokinos Wins Robert Gross Award
By Thomas Averill
The Woodley Press, a small literary press dedicated to publishing the work of Kansans, announces the publication of "Killing Seasons": "The poems declare repeatedly Cokinos' devotion to the world in which he lives and his unwillingness to see it destroyed. The poems assert as well his gift for language and his care for technique."
Cokinos teaches at Kansas State University in Manhattan, where he is actively involved in political and environmental issues.
From "Loggerhead Shrike":
Wind waves of broomsedge and bluestem."Killing Seasons" is available for $7.00 from Woodley Press, MO 300, Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas 66621, or from the Washburn University Bookstore.
Each movement of the prairie grass, each movement
of the shrike--a wing lifted
For the bill to pick a mite--
each movement like a silent vocable
in the world's as-yet-unending sentence.
A Funnie Place, No Fences
A Book Review By Wilma Rife
From the cover photograph showing John Houser and Clarence O. ("Red") Haywood sitting in a tree in Ford County nearly a century ago, on through letters and diary excerpts of more than a dozen teenagers who came to Kansas with their families between 1867 and 1900, "A Funnie Place, No Fences" is an authentic, revealing and highly readable history. Two immediate realizations come to the reader from these entries: the extraordinary amount of physical labor that was done by most of these young people and the degree of socializing that was--along with the work--a part of life in the "empty" heartland.
The writers were observant and explicit. Bertie Canfield, 14, writes, "It looks very funnie to us, for there is no fences, when we have come from New York State where they have the land fenced off into fields."
Jennie Eliza Milton, 15, carefully records daily mileage on the family trip by covered wagon from Storm Lake, Iowa, to Prescott, Kansas: 15 3/4 miles one day, 18 miles another, with river crossings noted, towns named, extraordinary sights remarked on, "We camped for dinner in Leavenworth. Saw a Chinaman."
Ned Beck, April 3, 1886, comments on the Kansas weather,"...land of surprises and variety of weather...The snow is 6 inches deep and still falling."
There is D. C. Grinnell's impressive litany of activities, "...raked oats...hauled 7 loads of manure and went swimming,...broke prairie,...plowed corn," and on his way to Hill's mill on the Neosho, a surprising burst of purple prose, "...the Effulgent rays of the celestial Orb of Day was hidden from my sight and darkness mantled the Lamp of heaven." Pretty high-flown rhetoric from a hauler of manure!
There are frequent accounts of church going, family and neighbor visits, even dances lasting until 4:00 a.m., alongside the somber details of sudden and early death, "Alf's little baby was buried at 3 o'clock...They buried him under the box elder bush..."
The youthful accounts are supplemented by several entries written by adults looking back on their early lives. Among them are William Allen White's memories of his El Dorado High School years.
Photographs from the Kansas Collection of the University of Kansas libraries and drawings by Sandra Jarvis add to this vivid portrayal of Kansas life in the last decades of the nineteenth century, as seen through the eyes of a few of the remarkably energetic young people who lived it and some adults who remember how it was.
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