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Chapman Center for Rural Studies

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Communities Archive

“This collection of town histories is a vivid portrait of Kansas, such as no other medium could ever portray it.”
      MJ Morgan, Research Director, in remembrance of Mark A. Chapman

Student authors explore the small villages of Kansas, most vanished but some still holding on to solid neighborhood connections and community spirit.  In 2004, Mark Chapman identified the importance of a lost place having a written history to keep it alive in memory and spirit. Chapman Center students began writing town studies and contributing them to a digital archive in 2009.

These documented histories cover every Kansas region and every decade, from 1840 through to the current day. All histories include archival or present-day images to help evoke the distinctive character of a community. Yet it is the words of student authors that bring a town to life:

“The people of Delia helped each other in good times and in bad which has kept the town together and formed them into the community they have become.  Their old Czech cultures influenced by the Anglo Culture has transformed the community into what it is today: a small town which has not lost its pride or identity.
” Richard Kirmer, “Delia, Kansas”

Kansas History and Life

Here you will find in-depth studies of diverse Kansas history topics. Each project is based on the interest and curiosity of the writers, from early newspapers to opera houses, from a female journalist to a minor league baseball player, or from Cheyenne raids to the fascinating Quivira Society of the early twentieth century. Discover things about Kansas you never suspected.

“'Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyli i mi, gwald beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri; ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mad, tros ryddid gollasant eu gwaed,' the congregation sang at the Presbyterian Church in Emporia, Lyon County, Kansas. It is the Welsh national anthem, sung by families of immigrants to celebrate the land of their fathers.  The language is strange and beautiful to this visitor’s ear." 
     Kathryn G. Jones, “A Comparative Study of Welsh Language and Culture”

Multicultural Kansas

This collection showcases the diversity of Kansas in ethnicity, race, language, religion, homeland and home state. It also reveals how interested undergraduate researchers are in writing about this diversity.   Chapman Center students have sought and discovered stories of sorrow and stories of joy, most hidden in the midst of the intense settlement waves of Kansas. Often, these stories explore what happened when extremely different peoples met for the first time. Browse in an unusual collection including original, student-created maps, archival images, oral history, and a passionate feeling for the complex past of Kansas.

“The fear held between German POWs at Lake Wabaunsee, Kansas, and the local population was quickly eroded through professional and casual interactions. Shared culture and mutual respect laid a strong foundation for unlikely relationships that often lasted a lifetime.”
     Jake Flynn and Adam Rosendahl, “Lasting Relationships Out of Unwarranted Fear: The POW Camp at Lake Wabaunsee, Kansas 1944-1945”

Thematic Exhibits

Map Projects