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James Malone Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 767




This collection contains correspondence and newspaper clippings, dated 1922 to 1926, written and collected by James Malone, Kansas state legislator, lawyer, and prominent Catholic. The material primarily regards the Ku Klux Klan and its activities in Kansas in the early 1920s.




0.2 ft. (1 box)


James Malone papers


Ms. collection no. 767



Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka)


James Malone was born on 22 November 1874 in Tecumseh, Nebraska. His family later were among the first homesteaders in Rawlins County, Kansas. At the age of twenty-one, he homesteaded a quarter section of land adjoining his parents. He married Mary Mentlick in 1899 and together they had one son, Clarence. Malone farmed until he was thirty, at which time he took over part ownership of Beaver Valley Roller Mills in Herndon, Kansas. In 1906 Malone was elected as a state representative from Rawlins County. He served until 1911, at which time he was elected to the state Senate, where he remained until 1921. In the 1913 session he was the first Democrat in the history of Kansas to serve as majority floor leader. During his tenure in the Legislature, Malone successfully sponsored a bill which established Columbus Day (October 12) as a state holiday. In 1920, he sold his share of Beaver Valley Roller Mills, was admitted to the Kansas Bar Association and moved to Topeka to practice law. Following his son's graduation from law school, the two were associated in the law firm Malone and Malone. He also served on the State Labor Commission from 1937 to 1939. For over forty years he was a member of the Kansas State Historical Society's Board of Directors and the state deputy of the Kansas Knights of Columbus. Malone also organized the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Topeka and served as its vice-chairman for over twenty-five years. In 1952, he was elected vice-president of the national organization. Archbishop Edward J. Hunkeler, in 1954, bestowed upon him the title of Knight of St. Gregory, which is the highest honor given by the Catholic Church to a layman. He retired that same year and returned to live on his farm in Rawlins County. James Malone died on 3 November 1963, at the age of eighty-eight.

Scope and Content

This collection contains correspondence both written and received by James Malone and newspaper clippings collected by him. The materials, dated 1922 to 1926, primarily documents the reaction of members of the Knights of Columbus and Catholic clergy and laity to Ku Klux Klan machinations within the state of Kansas to discredit the Catholic Church, as well as Catholic sentiment regarding the effort started in the early 1920s by Kansas Governor Henry J. Allen to drive the Klan from the state through legal maneuvering and processes. Factual accounts of these situations are given in the newspaper clippings.

The collection also contains material from an opposing viewpoint, because several of the clippings are letters to the editor and reprints of speeches delivered by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

The collection is organized into two series: Correspondence, and Clippings. Both series are arranged chronologically with partially dated and undated material placed at the end of each series. For preservation purposes all of the newspaper clippings and some of the correspondence have been photocopied onto acid-free paper; the original correspondence has been retained and filed separately. In accordance with Kansas State Historical Society policies, staff of the library and manuscripts collections separately copied and cataloged items for their collections. In this collection are unpublished items selected by manuscripts archivists. Printed items selected by the staff of those collections are accessioned, cataloged, and filed separately.

Contents List

Series Description

Archival records are typically organized by series, a group of records that has a common element or function and a distinct organizational structure of its own, for example Correspondence Files, arranged chronologically, or Registers of Military Enlistments, arranged by regiment. Within series, records may be further arranged into volumes, file units (folders), or items.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1922-1926. 5 folders.

This series consists of letters written and received by James Malone. The main correspondents were Luke Hart and William J. McGinley, who were, respectively, the supreme advocate and supreme secretary of the national organization of the Knights of Columbus. Malone would write for advice on how to deal with certain events in Kansas that were supposedly either conceived or sponsored by the Ku Klux Klan. These situations included anti-Catholic lectures delivered by ex-nun Sister Mary Ethel and Captain Stanley N. Dancey and the distribution of pamphlets that contained an altered version, known as the "Bogus Oath," of the oath given by Fourth Degree members of the Knights of Columbus. The officials of the Knights discouraged collective Catholic action be taken to counteract these events, but they highly encouraged a response on an individual basis. However, they were more aggressive in attacking distributors of the "Bogus Oath" and offered a reward to anyone who could prove that it was indeed correct. Additionally there are letters from various Catholic clergy and laymen that concurred with the official position regarding these situations. Also in the series are letters, by these same people, reacting to anti-Ku Klux Klan speeches given by Kansas Governor Henry J. Allen and his attempts to block the organization from receiving a state charter. The response to this was generally favorable among the letter writers.

Arranged chronologically with partially dated and undated material placed at the end.

File 1 (folder 1): 1922
File 2 (folder 2): 1923 Jan.—Mar.
File 3 (folder 3): 1923 Apr.—June
File 4 (folder 4): 1923 July—Sept.
File 5 (folder 5): 1923 Oct.—Dec.
File 6 (folder 6): 1924
File 7 (folder 7): 1925
File 8 (folder 8): 1926
File 9 (folder 9): [partially dated, undated]

Series 2: Clippings, 1922-1924. 2 folders

This series is composed of newspaper clippings and primarily documents the subjects discussed in the correspondence. The series contains items from a Catholic, a secular, and a Ku Klux Klan perspective. The clippings, primarily from Kansas newspapers, are advertisements for, and accounts and reprints of speeches given by Sister Mary Ethel, Dancey, and various members of the Klan. There are also articles about the activities of the Klan, such as parades and meetings. The series additionally contains letters to the editor and editorials of a generally anti-Klan nature.

Arranged chronologically with partially dated and undated material placed at the end.

File 1 (folder 10): 1922—1924
File 2 (folder 11): [partially dated, undated]


Related Records and Collections

Sloan, Charles William. “Kansas Battles the Invisible Empire: The Legal Ouster of the Ku Klux Klan from Kansas, 1922-1927.” Kansas Historical Quarterly. 40 (Autumn 1974), 393-409.

Topeka Daily Capital. 5 November 1963. KSHS newspaper microfilm T697.

Wade, Wyn Craig. The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987.

Related materials

William Allen White ms. collection, no. 87.

William Allen White Correspondence, 1899—1939. Selected documents from the William Allen White collection, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division (Washington, D.C.) KSHS microfilm MS 43—MS 51. Finding aid available; no interlibrary loan.

Records of the governor of Kansas, record group 252: Henry J. Allen administration (1919—1923) in the KSHS state archives holdings; finding aid available.

Materials cataloged separately

Printed materials other than the Clippings (series 2) included in this collection were removed and transferred to the Kansas State Historical Society's library collection, processed by other staff members, filed separately, and not included as a part of this collection.


“Malone, James.” in Topeka Public Library, “Kansas and Topeka Collected Bibliographical Clippings,” [n.d]; micro negative in Kansas State Historical Society (KSHS), Topeka. KSHS micro negative MN 103.1062. Also available at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library (Kans.)

Index Terms

Access Points

The terms listed below may include names, places, subjects, occupations, titles, and other words describing this collection. These terms are used in the ATLAS catalog used by the Kansas State Historical Society and affiliated libraries in Topeka, http://lib.wuacc.edu/search, as well as libraries and archives subscribing to OCLC, a national library/archives database. Searches on these words should produce a description of this collection as well as other books and collections that may be of interest.

Personal names (* denotes correspondents)

Allen, Henry Justin, 1868-1950.
Dancey, Stanley N.
Hart, Luke E. (Luke Edward), 1880-1964.*
McGinley, William J.*
Malone, James, 1874-1963—Archives.
Mary Ethel, Sister, 1890-

Corporate names (* denotes correspondents)

Kansas. Governor (1919-1923 : Allen)
Knights of Columbus. Supreme Council.*


Catholic Church—Controversial literature.
Catholic Church—Kansas.
Catholic Church—Societies, etc.
Knights of Columbus. Kansas State Council.
Ku Klux Klan (1915- )—Kansas.

Additional Information for Researchers

Acquisition information

David Bevens, gift, 1998; accession no. 1998—231.01

Custodial history

Materials written and collected by James Malone. After his death, Clarence, his son, gave the materials to David Bevens.

Restrictions on access


Copyright/publication rights

Any copyright owned by the donor to papers given to the Kansas State Historical Society was transferred to the agency at the time of donation.

Preferred Citation

[identification of individual item and/or series], James Malone papers, 1922-1926, ms. collection no. 767, Library and Archives Division, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka.


No additions to this collection are anticipated.

Processing information

Mss. processed by Holly Wright, Lela Barnes intern, 2000. Printed materials removed from this collection were processed by other staff members, filed separately, and not included as a part of this collection.