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Postcard Front ExampleTweets 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. With over 300 early twentieth century postcards kept by one young man until his death in 1947, this collection is invaluable for teaching students about rural Kansas during the Golden Age of Small Towns -- just before World War I. Dave Redmon, a KSU alumnus, BA in history and MA in journalism, donated this collection with the request that the postcards be viewed and used in our classes. He loves the idea that students will be working with what amounts to a social medium from 100 years ago.

Mr. Redmon's perception is that these postcards flew back and forth between a young college student at KU, Vane Brown, and his family in Parsons, functioning as a form of texting, tweeting, and Facebook postings. Frequently, the cards contain but a single line of a scrawled message: "Will be in town this weekend" or "Did you get my last letter?"

Sent for a penny on a train out of Parsons, a card could reach Vane at KU in a day. The images and cultural messages of the postcards themselves contain rich information about values, concerns, and patterns of belief. Cards sold in pharmacies, hotels, and railroad stations for five cents deliver clear (and implied) commentary about everything from cigars to the newest automobile models to male and female stereotypes and treatments for head lice! The profound social changes beginning to affect rural Kansas are evident in these cards, which also showcase the growing passion for travel and sightseeing.

Our long-term goal is to digitize this collection, but it will also be available in photo album form for classroom use. Check back soon to read intern Griffin Page's carefully researched provenance on the collection. Who exactly was Vane Brown? Why did he hold on to these cards? How did Mr. Redmon come by them? And most important, what can such a diverse array of images and often earthy humor tell us about Kansans in 1912?

Postcard Back Example

The New CHS Website chronicling the different towns and counties across Kansas that our 2013 interns, Rebecca Hall and Billie Chesney, visited is finally live! Make sure you check it out. Chronicling Kansas Cooperatives Website.

Want to learn about Co-Ops? So do we! Watch this video and make sure to check out the CHS Intern's finished blog about their Co-op project!

Upcoming Blog Post!

The last blog post of the semester will be posted some time this week. It will discuss the end-of-the-semester wrap-up for the Center. Read more

Broughton Town Site Sign

Look forward to new Lost Kansas Communities Archive papers about the rural and lost towns of Kansas. In 2014 there will be at least two new papers uploaded every month. Stay tuned!

The latest papers were uploaded Friday, April 15.

In Loving Memory of Mark A. Chapman (1943-2014)

Mark Chapman

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.

K-State's College of Arts & Sciences and Kansas State University as a whole will miss Mark very much. We will miss his generosity, intellect, creativity, and sharp wit.

He brought us the Chapman Scholars Program, and our first full-ride Presidential undergraduate scholarship, the Chapman Center for Rural Studies, the Chapman Art Gallery in Willard Hall, the Chapman-Mellenthin Vet Med Plaza, and he helped give us the All-Steinway designation in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. One of his favorite projects was the window transformation in the Great Room at K-State Libraries.

He was instrumental in many programs and facilities improvements in Athletics as well, including the Coaches Workroom in the new Basketball Training Facility and the Athletic Department’s annual Powercat Choice Awards.

We have so many great memories of Mark Chapman, and he has clearly left an indelible legacy on the K-State campus. We miss him already.

Generations of Success, A Photographic History of Kansas State University

Generations of Success 150 Birthday Signing2013 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. In order to celebrate, K-State hosted a series of birthday bash events, including the signing of Hale Library's 3 millionth volume, Generations of Success: A Photographic History of Kansas State University 1863-2013which includes an introductory essay from our very own Dr. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow!

Dr. Jim Sherow's Manhattan, a Photographic Journey

Manhattan, the latest book by Dr. Jim Sherow, Editing Manager of Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains and Professor of History at Kansas State University, was published in September as a part of the "Images of America" series from Arcadia Publishing. It is now available in several locations around Manhattan and features a collection of 199 photographs and illustrations chosen from various local archives, including the Riley County Museum, the Special Collections Department at Hale Library, and the City of Manhattan. Gleaned from the thousands available, these carefully selected and arranged photographs provide a visual history of a unique and vibrant city nestled in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Check it out at Claflin Books and Copies and other businesses across Manhattan, such as West Side Market and Dillons!

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

Chapman Center Projects

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