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Records of the Adjutant General's Office of the State of Kansas

Creator: Kansas. Adjutant General's Dept.

Date: 1856 - 1992

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Government record

Call Number: Unavailable

Unit ID: 215740


Space Required/Quantity: ca. 415 cubic ft.

Title (Main title): Records of the Adjutant General's Office of the State of Kansas

Administrative History

Administrative History:

The Adjutant General’s Department was one of the initial cabinet level departments organized when Kansas became the 34th state on January 29, 1861. The department had previously been formed in 1855 as a territorial entity. Its purpose was to organize, equip, train and control militia companies organized in various communities across the state. Provision was made in the Constitution for the organization of a Militia, with the Governor as commander in chief. The Governor had supreme command of the military forces of the State while in the service of the State, or until they were ordered or accepted into the services of the United States.


In 1865, the Paymaster General was made Inspector General with the rank of Brigadier General. The Adjutant General was appointed by the Governor and served at his pleasure. From 1879 to 1885, the executive clerk in the Governor’s office was acting Adjutant General (Session Laws of 1879, chapter 166, section 3). In 1885, the office of Adjutant General was recreated, with the rank of Colonel; appointed by the Governor, by and with the consent of the Senate. In 1901, he was given the rank of Brigadier General and made Chief of Staff.

The militia was organized into units of the Kansas Army National Guard in 1885 and a State / Federal quasi contract continued until 1903. After the U. S. Congress passed the Militia Act of 1903 (a.k.a. the Charles Dick Act), the department operated as a State / Federal program under mandates stated in Article 8, Constitution of Kansas, and Article 1, Section 8, U. S. Constitution.

In 1905, the Adjutant General’s term of office was designated to be not more than four years. From 1921 to the present date, s/he serves at the pleasure of the appointing Governor. The Adjutant General appoints an Assistant Adjutant General, Paymaster General, and a Judge Advocate General. In 1953, the Adjutant General was given the rank of Major General. The Adjutant General is a member of the Kansas Armory Board, Soldiers’ Compensation Board, and the Kansas Safety Council.


The Kansas Legislature organized the militia in 1861 and provided for the appointment of staff officers by the Governor with the consent of the Senate. In 1885, the Legislature divided the militia into two classes; one consisting of those who enlist in the active militia of the State, known as the Kansas National Guard; and the other, those subject to military duty, but not included in the National Guard, active or enlisted militia; the latter class is known as the Kansas Reserve Militia. The Adjutant General is chief of staff. The Kansas Military Board acts as an advisory board to the Governor, who serves as commander in chief.

--The Kansas National Guard consists of those who enlist in the active militia of the State, and is composed of such regiments, corps and other units as the Governor may from time to time authorize to be formed, all are formed and organized in accordance with the laws governing the regular army of the United States and the regulations issued by the Secretary of War.

--The Kansas Reserve Militia consists of all those who are subject to military duty, but who are not included in the active or enlisted list known as the Kansas National Guard.


The Kansas Military Board, created in 1885 as an advisory board to the Governor on military matters, is authorized and empowered to prepare rules, provisions, and regulations, subject to the approval of the Governor. The Board consists of the Adjutant General, who is recorder, the Judge Advocate General, and three senior line officers. Two additional members may be appointed at the discretion of the Governor.

The nine-member Kansas Military Advisory Board was also created in 1885. The board consists of the Adjutant General, Staff Judge Advocate, four senior commanders of the Kansas National Guard, and three members appointed by the Governor. Authorities are defined by K.S.A. 48-214 et seq. Recommendations of the board’s studies on military matters are forwarded for the Governor’s approval.

The nine-member Kansas Armory Board was created in 1947. The Governor, the Adjutant General and Staff Judge Advocate are ex officio members. The Governor appoints six members (one from each congressional district) and one at large member for four-year terms. Authorities are defined in K.S.A. 48-315 et seq.

The Division of Emergency Preparedness (DEP), established as the State Civil Defense Agency in 1951, became a division of the Adjutant General’s Department in 1955 and was re-designated as the Division of Emergency preparedness in 1975. The division is charged with the responsibility of providing an effective, immediate response to man made and natural disasters to prevent, minimize, and repair injury and damage. The division’s functions include administration, radiological defense, crisis relocation planning, shelter planning, communications and warning, disaster preparedness, and response to hazardous material incidents. The division likewise provides training and assistance to local public safety organizations and coordinates with other county, state, and federal agencies on planning and operational matters relating to emergency preparedness. It is responsible for coordinating the training of the state’s citizens in all aspects of emergency operation and survival through local emergency preparedness organizations, and continues to distribute associated training literature throughout the state. Further, the division provides information to the citizens of Kansas concerning plans and actions that may be taken to mitigate loss of life and destruction of property caused by any type of disaster; provides planning and training assistance in forming organizations and acquiring skills to effectively conduct disaster recovery operations; and assists political subdivisions in obtaining equipment to cope with disasters.

The five-member Kansas Military Disability Board, created in 1968, is appointed and serves at the pleasure of the Governor. The board determines benefits of members who are injured or die from causes suffered while on State Active Service.

Scope and Content

Scope and content:

The agency's records consist of both original materials and microfilm copies of original materials that were either retained in the State Archives or returned to the Adjutant General's Office. While there is some overlap between original and microfilmed materials (i.e., the State Archives may have both the originals and a microfilmed copy of those originals), the microfilmed materials are, by and large, copies of original materials that were returned to the Adjutant General's Office after microfilming was completed.

The records comprise more than 415 cubic feet of materials and contain over 135 years of Kansas military history. These include muster rolls, payrolls (with regimental and company histories), rosters, descriptive rolls, clothing books, consolidated morning books (roll calls), enlistment papers, veterans benefits enrollment, and correspondence. They are organized by document type, within the appropriate Wartime and Peacetime subgroups. For example, the section in the Adjutant General's Office finding aid that identifies Civil War materials describes holdings organized alphabetically by title within document type (i.e., all Civil War era clothing books, then all consolidated morning reports, correspondence, descriptive rolls, etc.). Within the online database system, the same records are organized by unique unit IDs, regardless of dates (i.e., the date ranges for each document type may span both war and peacetime periods).

The twelve primary series are:

#190199 - Muster Rolls and Payrolls (1861-1918) 74 cubic ft.
#190417 - Returns and Reports (1861-1981) 189 cubic ft.
#190419 - Correspondence (1861-1918, 1923-1941, 1944-1952) 21 cubic ft.
#190429 - Enlistment Papers (1862-1869, 1917-1918) 4 cubic ft.
#190431 - Descriptive Rolls (1861-1912) 5 cubic ft.
#190432 - Federal Index of Kansas Volunteers (1861-1865) 1 cu. ft.
#190435 - Rosters (1861-1864) 36 cubic ft.
#190438 - Index of Kansas Militia Officers (1861-1864) 0.01 cu. ft.
#190462 - Veterans Benefits Enrollment (1883, 1889, and 1930) 47 cubic ft.
#192332 - Clothing Books (1861-1867) 20 cubic ft.
#192333 - Consolidated Morning Reports (1861-1865) 6 cubic ft.
#192347 - Officer Commission Registers (1861-1919) 12 cubic ft.

A list of all series in this record group may be found at http://www.kshs.org/dart/units/search/creator:Kansas.%20Adjutant%20General's%20Office/mattype:A/level:C,D

Units are composed of one or more sets of unique materials. Each set is identified by a 5-digit control number. For example, unit #192332 (Clothing Books) contains two sets of materials:

#02332 - Kansas Volunteer Regiments and Batteries, 1861-1867 (39 v.)
#02334 - 2nd and 3rd Regiments, Indian Home Guard, 1862-1865 (2 v.)

Some units contain one set of materials, some contain a great many sets. The finding aid associated with the Adjutant General's Office agency records is organized by individual sets sorted into roughly chronological order by wars and peacetime periods. In this database, all of the muster rolls and payrolls sets are found within a single unit (#190199). In the AGO finding aid, however, you'll find individual sets of muster roll materials (identified by unit #190199 and a unique 5-digit control number) organized by title and date range.

All of the Adjutant General's Office materials are thoroughly described in the Adjutant General's Office finding aid. Each set of materials is located in the finding aid by searching for its title, location, or control number, as identified in the DaRT file's Shelf Location fields. See the finding aid's "Finding Aid to DaRT Crosswalk" section for how to navigate (crosswalk) between the finding aid and DaRT's organizations of the agency's records.


No Locators Identified

Related Records or Collections

Other Finding Aid/Index: A complete finding aid for this record group can be found at the repository or online at http://www.kshs.org/research/collections/documents/govtrecords/ago_finding_aid_082010.pdf (large file in PDF format).

Index Terms


    Kansas. Adjutant General's Dept. -- History
    Kansas. Adjutant General's Office -- Records and correspondence
    Kansas. Militia
    Kansas. National Guard
    Emergency management -- Kansas
    Military history -- Kansas
    Military service, Voluntary -- Kansas
    Militia -- Kansas

Creators and Contributors

Agency Classification:

    Kansas State Agencies. Adjutant General's Department.
    Kansas State Agencies. Adjutant General's Department. Multiple subunits/subunit not defined.

Additional Information for Researchers