Wednesday, August 26, 2009

News from the Kansas State Historical Society

Provided by Sara Keckeisen -

As you may have heard or read in the newspaper, the Kansas Historical Society (like all state agencies) was recently required to reduce budgetary expenditures to help the state achieve a balanced budget. At the Historical Society, that has meant a reduction in our professional staff (here in Topeka and at some of our historic sites) and in some of the services we are able to provide. We are, however, still striving to provide researchers, both in person and distance-researchers, with accurate and efficient reference help, and our facilities are still open their regular hours (Tuesday-Saturday from 9:00am-4:30) but we did lose one reference librarian in the recent cuts and we have had to raise our research fees. We can now do one obituary search (when the death date and place are known) for a $15.00 research fee. All other research requests for in-state patrons are $20.00 and for out-of-state patrons are $25.00. These fees are payable in advance and include 30 minutes of research and up to 5 pages of photocopying if we find anything. As of now, per-page photocopy charges and postage charges for copies above the 5 included copies are remaining the same. More complete information can be found on our website: or feel free to call the Reference Desk at 785-272-8681, ext. 117. There is still no charge to use our collections in person.

Part of the budget cuts has affected our ability to purchase new books and materials for the library research collections. So donations are more important and appreciated than ever! If you have been working on compiling a newspaper index or compiling cemetery inscriptions or transcribing vital record information from county records, please keep us in mind. We would love to have a copy of our work, even if it is not Kansas-related. If you have identified photographs of Kansas-related people and places, we’d love to consider them for our photographs collection. Nowadays, loaned-for-copying or donated photographs are digitally scanned (as well as having a preservation copy made) and most are uploaded to our swell Kansas Memory website ( You can find photographs on everything from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad to the St. Marys, Kansas pharmacy in the 1920s to the Greensburg tornado on this searchable database. And the images available there grow every day.
I want to highlight a couple of outstanding cemetery books that have recently been cataloged. Viola Schwind Gouvion’s St. Francis Hieronymo Parish Cemetery, St. Paul, Neosho County, Kansas not only covers interments there between 1852 and 2008 but Ms. Gouvion went beyond recording dates of birth and death and cemetery plot locations. She also, for many of the burials, went to the newspaper obituaries and funeral home memory cards and has published those additional sources of information in her book. This is such a valuable additional piece of research and will save the researcher precious time. This book also features an index.
Likewise, Von Rothenberger has compiled a 936-page compilation of Osborne County, Kansas Burials 1866-2000. His alphabetically-arranged work includes additional information for each name where it could be determined, like military service, cause of death, parents’ and childrens’ names, and burial locations. This massive work will be invaluable for Osborne County researchers. Bibliographical information on both of these books is available on our on-line catalog, ATLAS, which you can explore on your home computer.

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