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Clif Stratton Papers

Collection 18



Clifton Jairus Stratton was born in Reading, Kansas, on May 20, 1886. He was the eldest son of Jairus Litchfield and Martha Jane (Hultz) Stratton. Clif attended grade school and high school in Kansas City, Kansas. He received his high school diploma from Kansas City, Kansas, High School (now Wyandotte High School) in 1906. From there he went to Kansas State Agricultural College (now Kansas State University) where he graduated in 1911 with a B. S. in industrial journalism.

Although he gained his degree in 1911, Clif had considerable practical experience in the publishing world as he worked for the Kansas City Star and Times from 1900 to 1906. On December 1, 1911, he joined the Circulation Department of the Topeka Daily Capital. He remained in that department for one year and then was made a reporter. A few months later he became statehouse reporter for the Capital and served as such for four years until he left to enter the armed forces.

Clif entered the war as a first lieutenant of infantry and spent most of 1918-19 in France. He continued after the war with the National Guard until 1934 and by that time had achieved the rank of major and was made inspector general.

Upon returning from France in 1919, he resumed his duties as statehouse reporter for the Daily Capital. On December 1, 1926, he went to Washington, D. C., to head the Daily Capital’s bureau in that city.

Clif was very interested in agriculture and in the 1930’s he became Washington correspondent for a number of farm publications including The Kansas Farmer, The Missouri Ruralist, and The Ohio Farmer. As of 1936 he served in the same capacity for Capper Publications. In 1937 he began his own column in the Daily Capital under the byline “Clif Stratton Writes.”

Clif was a member of numerous clubs, societies, and associations both local and national. He was married in 1917 to Lenore Moore Monroe and together they had two children: Clifton J., Jr., and Lee Monroe. Clifton Jairus Stratton died on December 22, 1970. The Kansas State Historical Society acquired these papers through a donation by his wife in October of 1968. They are open without restriction.

Scope and Content

For the most part this collection contains correspondence between Stratton and his professional acquaintances and associates and between these acquaintances and associates themselves. The contents of these letters range from an 1892 letter endorsing the abilities of Arthur Capper as a young Kansas Republican to letters dealing with agriculture and public opinion of the United States involvement in World War II, and more. A large number of the letters in the collection are those of Arthur Capper while he was a U.S. senator. Within these letters everything from his personal business to advice, speeches, and public business are discussed. A large part of the collection is correspondence in relation to the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.).

The W.P.A. was founded in Kansas as a relief organization to provide jobs. Its main thrust was public improvement. Within the collection are papers describing the different projects undertaken by Kansans. Projects for the W.P.A. included everything from the Museum Assistance Project which indexed the censuses of 1855 and 1860 at the Kansas State Historical Society to the Public Health Project which was upgraded existing health services in Kansas. Along with these there are summary sheets of W.P.A. projects which give the location of the project, project number, amount of federal funds allotted for the project and the number of workers it employed as well as a brief description of the job. Capper was involved with W.P.A. and some correspondence between him and state administrators is within the W.P.A. sections of the collection.

Though the collection covers the years from 1892 to 1950 this is somewhat misleading as there is only one letter from 1892 and one letter from 1929; the bulk of the contents range from 1932 to 1949.

Of interest in the collection are some of the people with whom Stratton corresponded. Such notable people as Franklin D. Roosevelt, William Allen White, Alf M. Landon, and Congressman Clyde M. Reed all have letters in the collection. There are also notes relating to the autobiography of Arthur Capper, and a small book of minutes from meetings of the Good Government Club which covers the dates from September, 1901, to September 1903.

Other manuscript collections in the Kansas State Historical Society which may contain Stratton materials are the collections of Alf M. Landon and Arthur Capper.

Contents List

Folder 1:
Partial List of Letters

Folder 2:
Correspondence, 1892-1940

Folder 3:
Correspondence, 1941

Folder 4:
Correspondence, 1942-1946

Folder 5:
Correspondence, 1947-1950

Folder 6:
Correspondence, Undated

Folder 7:
Papers relating to Biography

Folder 8:
Papers relating to Biography

Folder 9:
Correspondence and papers relating to W.P.A.

Folder 10:
Correspondence and papers relating to W.P.A.

Minutes of Good Governor Club, 1901-1903
Notes for Autobiography of Arthur Capper