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Undergraduate Research on Display

Dr. MorganThis past December, after a intense semester of research, our interns presented their research findings to a room full of eager listeners. Individuals from around Kansas traveled to the Chapman Center to attend the open house and hear about undergraduate research. The focus of intern research was the discovery of an obscured Kansas history, the history of African-Americans in rural Kansas. Each intern met with differing degrees of success in their research, but they each succeeded in peeling back the layers of history to discover diverse and untold stories.

HaleyFall intern Haley presented her research on the founding of Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Junction City. She encountered obstacles at multiple layers of local and regional government, making her grass roots research incredibly difficult. Ultimately, her research into the park is ongoing as she discovers the challenges of rural research. Her main research project explored the life of Orchid Ramsey Jordan in Clay Center. Haley searched for brief references to Orchid in historic records and books. Haley discovered Orchid's rich story, which included membership in the Missouri state legislature. Haley has also been selected to present her research in Topeka at the Undergraduate Research Conference!

BlakeBlake Latchman presented his research on the Manhattan Bottoms, tracing the history of the African-American community that rose up in the Bottoms between 1880 and 1920. Blake accessed historic maps of Manhattan to discover the geographic dispersal of this community, circa 1909. Blake explored why the African-American population rose so sharply in 1890 and dropped off in the following decades. Blake traveled several times to the Bottoms in southern Manhattan to discover the story of this historic community.

JessicaJessica Hermesch presented her research on one of the western routes of the Underground Railroad, which snaked its way through Kansas, including a section called 'The Manhattan Spur.' Jessica set out discover just how far west the trails ventured into Kansas, tracing their routes through historic maps and old records. Jessica discovered that several 'conductors' had to take their trails out west of the main avenue, the "Lane Trial to Freedom." These 'spurs' went through Manhattan, Wabunsee, and Nemaha County before rejoining the Lane Trail further north.

MichaelFall intern Michael used a number of old plot and township maps and land records to present the history of African-American land ownership in Wabunsee county. Michael traced the history of five land-owning African-American men in the Mission Creek township. Michael was able to generate maps locating the specific plots of land owned by these men. Michael's research has also been accepted at the Flint Hills History Conference, "Culture and Conflict," this coming March!

Open HouseWe look forward to watching the continued success of our interns and eagerly await what the future holds for these bright young historians!

Have you visited our blog,"The Rural Telegraph," featuring original student research or swung by the Chapman Center for Rural Studies on Facebook and Twitter? #MakeHistory and come on by.


Adams' Collection Research Honors Family
This past summer, returning intern, Jessica Hermesch, began working with a specially donated collection of military records in the University archives to build a narrative of a family's history, beginning with the service of George Adams, Sr., in World War I. Read more...

Six Months of Research Pay Off
MJ Morgan and students presented to an interested audience at the High Plains Museum on October 18. Read more...

The Goodland Identity Project
An art student with a love of landscape photography, an agricultural business major, a graduate student in women's studies and public history, and a GIS grad student specialist from the geography department: these talented students have tackled the far western town of Goodland, county seat of Sherman County. Read more...

In Loving Memory of Mark A. Chapman (1943-2014)
We lost a very close member of the K-State family early on the morning of April 18, 2014. Mark A. Chapman passed away after suffering a stroke a few weeks before (April 5). Mark was 71. Read more...

Tweets from the Teens:
A College Student and His Family Keep in Touch, 1906-1912: the Dave Redmon Historic Postcard Collection. One of the most interesting projects to come to Chapman Center this spring is the Redmon Historic Postcard Collection. Read more...

Generations of Success, A Photographic History of Kansas State University
2013 marked Kansas State University's 150th year as the country's first fully operational land-grant university - and the first public university to open in Kansas. Read more...

The Chapman Center for Rural Studies is an undergraduate research-based center that provides hands-on experience in doing the real work of historians. We are located in 111 Leasure Hall in the heart of the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan, KS.

The office hours are Mon/Tues: 10:30am-5:00pm, Wed/Thur: 8:00am-2:30pm, F: 8:00am-12:00pm.

Call us at (785) 532-0380.

Search through the Chapman Center's on-going project, the Lost Town Digital Archive: Lost Kansas Communities.

For more information, e-mail us at or contact the director, Professor Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, at

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