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Records of the Kansas Governor's Office

Creator: Kansas. Governor

Date: 1861-[ongoing]

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Government record

Call Number: RG 252

Unit ID: 219001

Restrictions: Per K.S.A. 75-104, as of 1991, records of former governors who are still alive are closed until their deaths, unless the governor orders that the records be opened. Certain records may still remain closed due to falling under K.S.A. 45-221, the Open Records Act, or under other such statutes that generally or specifically affect the openness of public records.

Abstract: The records of the Kansas Governor, as arranged at the State Archives, are divided into the Main Office, including the office of the Pardon Attorney or Pardon and Extradition Attorney; and into individual administrations. The Main Office records transcend individual administrations, and many of these records focus on the governor's power to pardon criminals and to grant parole and sentence commutation. Other records found in these general series include proclamations, executive messages and orders, and writs of election; letterpress books consisting of copies of outgoing correspondence; the selection and appointment of state and local officials to office; and the records of the Governor's Committee on Criminal Administration, which existed briefly in the latter half of the twentieth century. Correspondence series of individual Kansas governors up until the late twentieth century are generally organized into the following sub-series: 1) Alphabetical files, containing general constituent correspondence; 2) Appointment files, arranged by state agency; 3) State Agency files, documenting the activities and policies of Kansas state agencies and their interactions with the governor's office; and 4) Subject files, pertaining to relevant issues of the time. Some series of governors' records also include separate series of proclamations and messages. Later governors' records, starting in the 1960s, were divided into more series as the records became more voluminous. These records continue to follow the general trend of earlier governors with materials documenting state agency policies, appointments made by the Governor, constituent correspondence, etc.; as well as providing financial and other information about the governor's office. Subjects appearing consistently through the years include local units of government, education, relations with the federal government, liquor laws, taxation, politics, and economic conditions.

Space Required/Quantity: ca. 3000 cubic ft.

Title (Main title): Records of the Kansas Governor's Office

Titles (Other):

  • Records of the Office of the Governor

Administrative History

Administrative History:

The Wyandotte Constitution of 1859 established the office of the governor of the State of Kansas, as ratified by Congress on January 29, 1861. Some of the more important duties, functions, and responsibilities of the governor are to see that the laws are faithfully executed, to require written explanations from other executive officers--at that time the lieutenant governor, secretary of State, auditor, treasurer, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction--upon any subject relating to their respective duties, convene the Legislature by proclamation on extraordinary occasions, communicate in writing such information as he may possess in reference to the condition of the State at the commencement of every legislative session, recommend such measures as he may deem expedient, and commission officers of the State.

No formal qualifications for the governor have been legislated, aside from the provision that no member of Congress or officer of the State of Kansas or United States can serve. The governor is elected by a plurality, not necessarily a majority, of votes cast. The governor takes office the second Monday in January following election. He was authorized to hire a private secretary. In subsequent years, the Legislature passed laws providing for additional staff.

Governors were limited to serving two-year terms until a constitutional amendment changed to allow four-year terms beginning in 1974. Most of the governor's duties are outlined by a variety of state statutes rather than the constitution. A great deal of the governor's power comes in the form of the appointments he fills to head state agencies. By 1960, governors had the power to appoint staff to 274 positions. Another power of gubernatorial jurisdiction exists in the form of fiscal control. As the chairman of the Finance Council, the governor is the leading member in the development of the state budget. In addition, the governor is the state commander-in-chief and appoints an adjutant-general as the head of the Kansas National Guard.

Governors of Kansas since it became a state have included (in chronological order from 1861): Charles Robinson; Thomas Carney; Samuel Johnson Crawford; Nehemiah Green; James Madison Harvey; Thomas Andrew Osborn; George Tobey Anthony; John Pierce St. John; George Washington Glick; John Alexander Martin; Lyman Underwood Humphrey; Lorenzo Dow Lewelling; Edmund Needham Morrill; John Whitnah Leedy; William Eugene Stanley; Willis Joshua Bailey; Edward Wallis Hoch; Walter Roscoe Stubbs; George Hartshorn Hodges; Arthur Capper; Henry Justin Allen; Jonathan McMillen Davis; Ben Sanford Paulen; Clyde Martin Reed; Harry Hines Woodring; Alfred Mossman Landon; Walter Augustus Huxman; Payne Ratner; Andrew F. Schoeppel; Frank Carlson; Frank L. Hagaman; Edward F. Arn; Fred Hall; John Berridge McCuish, Jr.; George Docking; John Anderson, Jr.; William H. Avery; Robert B. Docking; Robert F. Bennett; John William Carlin; John Michael (Mike) Hayden; Joan Finney; William Preston (Bill) Graves; Kathleen Sebelius; Mark Parkinson; and Samuel Dale (Sam) Brownback.

Scope and Content

Scope and content:

The Main Office records transcend individual administrations, and many of these records focus on the governor's power to pardon criminals and to grant parole and sentence commutation. Other records found in these general series include proclamations, executive messages and orders, and writs of election; letterpress books consisting of copies of outgoing correspondence; the selection and appointment of state and local officials to office; and the records of the Governor's Committee on Criminal Administration, which existed briefly in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Correspondence series of individual Kansas governors up until the late twentieth century are generally organized into the following sub-series: 1) Alphabetical files, containing general constituent correspondence; 2) Appointment files, arranged by state agency; 3) State Agency files, documenting the activities and policies of Kansas state agencies and their interactions with the governor's office; and 4) Subject files, pertaining to relevant issues of the time. Some series of governors' records also include separate series of proclamations and messages. Later governors' records, starting in the 1960s onwards, were divided into more series as the records became more voluminous. These records continue to follow the general trend of earlier governors with materials documenting state agency policies, appointments made by the Governor, constituent correspondence, etc.; as well as providing financial and other information about the Governor's office.

The greatest significance of the Kansas governors' records are that they reveal the organization of the state government, provide evidence concerning the decisions and actions of the governor and other state officers, and document important non-government issues of the day at a local, state, regional, and national level.

Because of the blurred nature of records related to the Governor's office, broader searches within several series may be necessary in both the Main Office records and under specific administrations in order to find the necessary information.

Contents:
Applicants For Appointments Registers (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193469)
Appointment Files (http://www.kshs.org/archives/195556)
Appointments registers (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193462)
Copies of telegrams received and sent (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193459)
County organization censuses (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193451)
Criminal Justice Records- KSP Reports Of Prisioners Received (http://www.kshs.org/archives/196609)
Death sentence warrants (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193781)
Executive proclamations (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193450)
Executive record (official record) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/195968)
Executive record (secretary's minutes) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193458)
KSP Reports of Prisoners Discharged (http://www.kshs.org/archives/196610)
Letter press book (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193397)
Letter register (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193463)
Miscellaneous Volumes (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193470)
Pardon, parole, and extradition records (http://www.kshs.org/archives/304804)
Record of death sentences (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193782)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Charles Robinson (1861-1863) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/224836)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Thomas Carney (1863-1865) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/224923)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor S. J. Crawford (1865-1868) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/225014)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Nehemiah Green (1868-1869) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/228920)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor James Madison Harvey (1869-1873) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/225708)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Thomas Andrew Osborn (1873-1877) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/229046)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor George Tobey Anthony (1877-1879) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/229151)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor John Pierce St. John (1879-1883) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/306047)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor George Washington Glick (1883-1885) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/307136)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor John Alexander Martin (1885-1889) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/307217)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Lyman Underwood Humphrey (1889-1893)(http://www.kshs.org/archives/226134)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Lorenzo Dow Lewelling (1893-1895) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/307944)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor E. N. Morrill (1895-1897) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/308731)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor John Whitnah Leedy (1897-1899) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/309139)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor William Eugene Stanley (1899-1903) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/309498)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Willis Joshua Bailey (1903-1905) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/309726)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Edward Wallis Hoch (1905-1909) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/309867)
Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Walter Roscoe Stubbs (1909-1913) (http://www.kshs.org/archives/310074)
Reports Of State Agencies (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193467)
Requisitions from other states (http://www.kshs.org/archives/193814)

Related Records or Collections

Other Finding Aid/Index: Finding aids for many individual administrations are available in paper copy at the repository or online at links from http://www.kshs.org/p/kansas-governors/11702

Related materials:
Records of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Record Group 446 (http://www.kshs.org/archives/216229)Records of the Office of the Secretary of State, Record Group 622 (http://www.kshs.org/archives/216312)
Records of the Adjutant General's Office of the State of Kansas, Record Group 34 (http://www.kshs.org/archives/215240)
Personal papers of individual governors, many in the Kansas Historical Society's mss. collection

Index Terms

Subjects

    Kansas. Governor -- Archives
    Kansas. Governor -- Records and correspondence
    Kansas -- Economic conditions
    Kansas -- Officials and employees -- Selection and appointment
    Kansas -- Politics and government
    Governors -- Kansas
    Administrative agencies -- Kansas
    Bureaucracy -- Kansas
    Community information files -- Kansas
    Education -- Kansas
    Federal government -- Kansas
    Government correspondence -- Kansas
    Liquor laws -- Kansas
    Public records -- Kansas
    Taxation -- Kansas

Creators and Contributors


Agency Classification:

    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Main Office.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Main Office. Pardon and Extradition Attorney.

Additional Information for Researchers

Restrictions: Per K.S.A. 75-104, as of 1991, records of former governors who are still alive are closed until their deaths, unless the governor orders that the records be opened. Certain records may still remain closed due to falling under K.S.A. 45-221, the Open Records Act, or under other such statutes that generally or specifically affect the openness of public records.

Ownership/Custodial Hist.: Records of the George Docking administration (1957-62) were destroyed at the end of his term. Records of the Robert Docking (1967-75) and Robert Bennett (1975-79) administrations were given by them to the University of Kansas libraries (Lawrence). Otherwise, records from the office were typically an inter-agency transfer to the Kansas State Historical Society.