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Kansas History - Winter 2012/2013

Kansas History, Winter 2012/2013

(Vol. 35, No. 4)

Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz, “‘The noble wife of the late champion of freedom’: Mary Brown’s 1882 Visit to Topeka and John Brown’s Legacy.”

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In November 1882 Mary Brown—the wife of abolitionist John Brown of Pottawatomie and Harpers Ferry fame—visited Kansas for the first time. A celebrity of a sort because of her husband’s notoriety, she remained famous in the decades after Harpers Ferry. During her visit to Topeka, she was hosted by Franklin G. Adams of the Kansas State Historical Society. Adams and a series of speakers that included sitting Governor John P. St. John celebrated Kansas’s connection to Brown and the state’s importance to the nation’s history. In this article, Dr. Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz, an assistant professor of history at Eastern Illinois University, highlights how, in the face of new revelations about John Brown’s role in the Pottawatomie Massacre and a growing determination amongst Americans to write slavery out of the history of the Civil War, Mary Brown’s appearance in Topeka offers a window into a critical contest over how Brown and the war would be remembered, in Kansas and the nation at large. Additionally, Professor Laughlin-Schultz examines the commemorative efforts of Mary Brown herself, in Topeka and beyond.

Loren Pennington, editor, “Becoming the ‘Greatest Generation’: Company B, 137th Infantry Regiment,” by Walter Hobson Crockett.

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Emporia’s Company B, 137th Infantry, Thirty-Fifth Infantry Division, was called into active duty in December 1940 and with varying membership served throughout World War II, first in the United States and then, after the invasion of Normandy, in Western Europe. After the end of hostilities in 1945, its members formed the Company B Association, which held annual reunions in Emporia through the late 1990s. Walter Hobson Crockett, who joined the company in 1937 at age sixteen, attended the first Company B Association reunion in 1946 and then left Kansas for most of the next twenty-five years. He returned to the state as a professor of social psychology at the University of Kansas, and once back in Kansas he frequently attended the company’s reunions into the 1990s. Dr. Crockett’s essay, edited for Kansas History by Loren Pennington, professor emeritus at Emporia State University, was first prepared for presentation at the company’s 1991 reunion.

Daryl W. Palmer, “Quivira, Coronado, and Kansas: A Formative Chapter in the Story of Kansans’ Collective Memory.”

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When Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and a small reconnaissance party of thirty elite riders crossed into present-day Kansas during the summer of 1541, they entered the kingdom of Quivira. Ancestors of the Wichita, the Quivirans lived abundant lives centered on farming and hunting. When Coronado and company returned home, they described the rich land along the Arkansas River and urged their contemporaries to settle it. In books, articles, fiction, paintings, poetry, museums, and pageants and on monuments and roadside markers, twentieth-century Kansans from every walk of life endeavored to remember Quivira and Coronado. Fascinating in their own right, according to Professor Daryl Palmer of Denver’s Regis University, these attempts at remembrance and commemoration also stand as a formative chapter in the story of Kansans’ collective memory.


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Empires, Nations, and Families: A History of the North American West, 1800–1860
by Anne F. Hyde
xii + 628 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index.
Lincoln: University Press of Nebraska, 2011, cloth $40.00.
Reviewed by James E. Sherow, professor of history, Kansas State University, Manhattan.

Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union
by William C. Harris
xii + 416 pages, illustrations, notes, index.
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2011, cloth $34.95.
Reviewed by William D. Hickox, graduate student in American history, University of Kansas, Lawrence.

Rebels on the Border: Civil War, Emancipation, and the Reconstruction of Kentucky and Missouri
by Aaron Astor
vii + 332 pages, illustrations, notes, index.
Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2012, cloth $47.50.
Reviewed by Brian Craig Miller, assistant professor of history, Emporia State University, Kansas.

The Woman Who Dared to Vote: The Trial of Susan B. Anthony
by N. E. H. Hull
xxiii + 210 pages, illustrations, notes, index.
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012, paper $17.95.
Reviewed by Kristin Celello, assistant professor of history, Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing.

Frontier Manhattan: Yankee Settlement to Kansas Town, 1854–1894
by Kevin G. W. Olson
x + 273 pages, illustrations, notes, index.
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012, cloth $29.95.
Reviewed by Derek S. Hoff, associate professor of history, Kansas State University, Manhattan.

Plessy v. Ferguson: Race and Inequality Jim Crow America
by Williamjames Hull Hoffer
ix + 219 pages, illustrations, notes, index.
Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2012, paper $34.95.
Reviewed by Rai Wilson, lecturer of sociology and history, University of California, San Diego.

Uniting the Tribes: The Rise and Fall of Pan-Indian Community on the Crow Reservation
by Frank Rzeczkowski
x + 292 pages, illustrations, notes, index.
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012, cloth $39.95.
Reviewed by Mack Scott, graduate student, Kansas State University, Manhattan.

Time’s Shadow: Remembering a Family Farm in Kansas
by Arnold J. Bauer
xviii + 156 pages, illustrations, notes, bibliography.
Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012, cloth $24.95.
Reviewed by Richard Lowitt, emeritus professor of history, University of Oklahoma, Norman.

Truman Capote and the Legacy ofIn Cold Blood
by Ralph F. Voss
ix + 246 pages, illustrations, notes, index.
Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2011, paper $34.95.
Reviewed by Patrick Quinn, writer, Lawrence, Kansas.

American Georgics: Writings on Farming, Culture, and the Land
edited by Edwin C. Hagenstein, Sara M. Gregg, and Brian Donahue
v + 406 pages, illustrations, bibliography, index.
New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2011, cloth $35.00.
Reviewed by Anne Effland, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C; the views expressed are the author’s alone.

Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street
by Todd Gitlin
xvi + 300 pages, illustrations, notes.
New York: It Books, 2012, paper $12.99.
Reviewed by Daniel Pope, emeritus professor of history, University of Oregon, Eugene.


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Buying America from the Indians: Johnson v. McIntosh and the History of Native Land Rights. By Blake A. Watson. (Norman:University of Oklahoma Press, 2012, xiiv + 494 pages, cloth $45.00.)

This study of the 1823 Johnson v. McIntosh U.S. Supreme Court decision, which created significant precedents governing Indian property rights or lack thereof, complements prior scholarship on the case by tracing how it sped up the sale of indigenous lands and further damaged Native property rights. Buying America is a thoroughly researched work that includes a critical look at the “doctrine of discovery” precedent established by Johnson, through which tribes became “wards” of the state and their land became U.S. property. The doctrine figured prominently in the 1830 Indian Removal Act, which forced the Illinois and Wabash tribes, among others, into Kansas, where they settled on the banks of the Marais des Cygnes River and remained until after the Civil War. The book closes with an investigation into the doctrine’s influence across the globe, highlighting how it diminished tribal sovereignty in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

The Farm at Holstein Dip: An Iowa Boyhood. By Carroll Engelhardt. (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2012, xii + 229 pages, paper $22.00.)

“For me,” Carroll Engelhardt writes in this engaging memoir set on a family farm in rural Iowa in the 1940s and 1950s, “Holstein Dip represented natural beauty, innocent childhood pleasures, and adult secrets” (p. xi). The author’s story is also the story of a generation that grew up under the influence of conflicting values. While Engelhardt’s parents stressed thrift and piety, a larger national culture marked by consumerism and modernization forever changed Holstein Dip. This transition is vividly detailed through descriptions of the mechanization of agriculture, the resultant loss of community cooperation, and the struggles of dying towns to attract business. Concluding with a bittersweet look at present-day Elkader, a nearby town, Engelhardt’s recollections translate historical generalizations into real life.

Lincoln and the Indians: Civil War Policy and Politics. By David A. Nichols. (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012, xviii + 223 pages, paper $16.95, e-book $9.99.)

First published in 1978 by the University of Missouri Press, Lincoln and the Indians has “stood the test of time,” according to scholars of the Civil War and the American Indian. It remains the most thorough treatment of the Lincoln administration’s Indian policy and its role in the infamous mass trial and execution of Native participants in the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862. Along with treatment of that case, in Lincoln and the Indians historian David Nichols gives careful attention to the inherently corrupt “Indian System” and to events in Kansas and the Indian Territory, from the ill-fated “invasion” to the refugee tragedy of 1861 and 1862. Without overemphasizing the attention given to these issues during the war, Nichols demonstrates that, for President Lincoln, “Indian affairs were inextricably enmeshed in a labyrinth of financial, political, social, and military problems” (p. 1).

State of War: The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1945–2011. By Paul A. C. Koistinen. (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2012, xiii + 313 pages, cloth $39.99.)

State of War is the final volume of a five-book study detailing the political economy of American warfare throughout the nation’s history. Focusing on the Cold War and post–Cold War years, Koistinen identifies the relationships between political,economic, and military institutions that have primarily determined how the nation harnessed its economic power for war. In the second half of the century, American industries could no longer suit the needs of the military in wartime because of increasingly sophisticated military technologies.These technological advances, Koistinen argues, led to the development of a powerful military-industrial complex, which,just as President Eisenhower feared in his farewell address, has crippled American political and economic institutions and the military itself.

8 Wonders of Kansas! Guidebook. By Marci Penner. (Newton, Kans.: Mennonite Press, Inc., 2011, 272 pages, paper $29.95.)

Perhaps in repudiation of the frequently made and erroneous assertion that “there’s nothing to see or do in Kansas,” Marci Penner, director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, has gathered overwhelming evidence to the contrary in The 8 Wonders of Kansas! Guidebook. This edited collection of 216 photographs by Harland Schuster, all introduced by detailed text, illustrates the results of a contest in which a hundred thousand respondents voted for the “wonders” in Kansas. Each of nine categories—overall, architecture, art, commerce, cuisine, customs, geography, history, and people—include eight wonders. “Overall finalist Wonders” are selected for each category. Wonder what is in it? Proof that indeed there is much today to do and see in Kansas.

Portrait of Murdock Pemberton: The New Yorker’s First Art Critic. By Sally Pemberton. (Enfield, N.H.: Enfield Publishing and Distribution Co., 2011, 408 pages, cloth $88.00.)

Born in Emporia in 1888, Murdock Pemberton was a reporter for William Allen White’s Emporia Gazette and a publicist for George Creel’s Committee on Public Information during World War I. After moving to New York, he helped form a well-known series of literary lunches known as the Algonquin Round Table and became the New Yorker’s art critic upon the magazine’s creation in 1925. In this portrait Pemberton’s granddaughter chronicles his seven years at the New Yorker through well-written text, lavish reprints of paintings, and reproductions of letters from leading artists such as Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe. The result is a beautiful coffee-table book and, because the author discovered much of the material in her mother’s attic only in 2009, an invaluable new resource for students of modern art.

Editor's Note

Letter to the Editors