News & Events
Chapman Center Presents Alan Winkler with Bruntzel Award
The Chapman Center for Rural Studies is pleased to announce Alan Winkler, retired Wabaunsee County Historical Museum Curator, as the recipient of the 2015 Bruntzel Award. Named for Kansas author and first award recipient (2012), Melvin Bruntzel, this honor recognizes “excellence in preserving the people, places, and stories of Kansas Territory and the State of Kansas.” (photo at left: Melvin Bruntzel and Alan Winkler)
Mr. Winkler, a long-time resident of McFarland in north central Wabaunsee County, Kansas, has devoted hours of personal time to assist Chapman Center researchers. He collaborated with Chapman Center researchers to create a traveling museum exhibit on African-American Settlers of Wabaunsee County, to research and develop the Center’s Filling the Larder book, invaluably assisted in identifying key primary research materials for a number of projects, and has published articles about Chapman Center researchers in the Museum newsletter.
Chapman Center Research Director, Dr. MJ Morgan, nominated Mr. Winkler for the recognition. February 10, Dr. Morgan and Chapman Center Director, Dr. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, presented him with the award before a scheduled meeting of the Wabaunsee County Historical Board as he was surrounded by family and friends.
“Alan’s interest in local history developed when he compiled the book, McFarland: the First Hundred Years, for the town’s 1987 centennial celebration. Alan graduated from Alma Rural High School and attended Washburn University. He is a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict and worked three years for the Rock Island Railroad. He then worked for Goodyear Tire and Rubber for 35 years. He has served in several capacities for the City of McFarland and two terms as a Wabaunsee County Commissioner.”
A Rediscovered Legacy
Thanks to diligent research by Chapman Center Intern Michael Spachek, the once forgotten history of a substantial group of black farm families has been brought to life. Michael conducted research on African American land ownership in Wabaunsee County this past fall, discovering the complex stories of success and failure surrounding these remote tracks of land in the Flint Hills.
Michael's research uncovered the stories of twenty-six landowning African American families in Wabaunsee County near the turn of the 20th century. Michael recently traveled to these remote farmsteads with Dr. Morgan to photograph the land and gather more information. Through his research, Michael learned how to work effectively with large databases of census records and deed records. Much like finding a needle in a haystack, Michael discovered small pieces of information and skillfully turned it into an accurate narrative of these landowners' lives.
I was drawn to the topic because of the chance to discover stories about a group of people that disappeared and with little published work on them.
Michael's research was previously presented at our first annual Chapman Center Open House. We are also excited to congratulate him on the acceptance of his research to the Flint Hills History Conference, "Culture and Conflict," where he will present his research in March!
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.
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In Loving Memory of Mark A. Chapman (1943-2014)
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.
Office hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Call us at 785-532-0380.
Search through the Chapman Center's on-going project, the Lost Town Digital Archive: Lost Kansas Communities.