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Lilla Day Monroe Collection of Pioneer Stories

Creator: Monroe, Lilla Day Moore, 1858-1929

Date: [ca. 1920]-1929

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: MICROFILM: MS 1195-MS 1204
Manuscripts Collection 163 (Use microfilm: MS 1195-MS 1204)
Misc.: Monroe, L

Unit ID: 40163

Restrictions: Approved application required to use material other than typescripts of pioneer stories. Researchers should use microfilm copies or typed transcripts of material.

Biographical sketch: Women's advocate, journalist; of Topeka, Kan.

Abstract: Collection of 800 autobiographical memoirs from Kansas pioneer women or children of the late 19th century. The stories describe daily life and were solicited by Lilla Day Monroe & intended for publication. The essays were written as part of her efforts to collect reminiscences concerning the women's perspective in settling Kansas. Also included in the collection are index cards providing various access points to the collection, including by subject and by the author's county & church membership.

Space Required/Quantity: 8.70 cubic feet

Title (Main title): Lilla Day Monroe Collection of Pioneer Stories

Titles (Other):

  • Lilla Day Monroe collection of pioneer women's stories
  • The Lilla Day Monroe Collection of Pioneer Stories
  • Collection of Pioneer Stories
  • Pioneer women

Biography

Biog. Sketch (Full): Lilla Day Moore was born in Pulaski County, Indiana, and came to Kansas in 1884. She settled in WaKeeney, Kansas, at the end of the "frontier" era. She married Lee Monroe, an attorney in WaKeeney. In addition to raising four children, she pursued an interest in the law. She worked as a clerk in her husband's law office and studied law at home. She eventually passed the bar examination and was admitted to practice in the District Court on February 7 1894, and to the Kansas Supreme Court on May 7, 1895. Her family claimed she was the first female to have this distinction.

Lilla Day Monroe and her family moved to Topeka in 1902. Once in the state capital, Monroe became active in a number of causes. She was a member of the Kansas State Suffrage Association and served as its president for several years. From approximately 1908 through 1912, when Kansas passed an amendment for full suffrage for women, she was a familiar face to legislators urging them to support suffrage for women. In addition, she gave a number of public lectures on the need for expanded women's rights. She was a member of the Good Government Club of Topeka, an organization that lobbied on issues of interest to its members. Monroe served as the head of its lobbying efforts for 27 years.

Monroe also was a journalist. She established and edited The Club Woman and The Kansas Woman's Journal. She was a member of the Woman's Press Association, the State Federation of Clubs, the Business and Professional Women's Club, and the National League of American Pen Women.

While Lilla Day Monroe's suffrage efforts were part of an organized network of women, she alone was responsible for initiating a unique campaign in Kansas that had amazing results. Based on her pioneer experiences in western Kansas in the 1880s and 1890s, Lilla Day Monroe requested some reminiscences of women's experiences during the settlement of Kansas for an article to be published in the Kansas Woman's Journal. Her request in the 1920s struck a chord among Kansas women, and she began to receive unsolicited accounts of the adventure and perils of travel to Kansas settlers. Women who were children at the time their parents made the decision to move to Kansas described the settlement experience from a child's point of view.

As this project gained momentum, Lilla Day Monroe decided to make it a statewide campaign. She publicized the effort through her Kansas Woman's Journal and made this project the focus of her term as president of the Woman's Kansas Day Club. Some of the reminiscences were published in that magazine but the response was so overwhelming, that Monroe ultimately decided to devote all of her efforts to editing and publishing a collection of the pioneer sketches. Ultimately over 800 reminiscences were received.

While Monroe died in 1929 before she could complete this project, her daughter Lenore Monroe Stratton continued the project by typing and indexing the reminiscences. Lilla Day Monroe's great granddaughter Joanna Stratton finally completed the project with the publication of Pioneer Women in 1981. At that time, the reminiscences were donated to the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka.

Scope and Content

Scope and content:

Based on her pioneer experiences in western Kansas in the 1880s and 1890s, Lilla Day Monroe requested some reminiscences of women's experiences during the settlement of Kansas for an article to be published in the Kansas Woman's Journal. Her request in the 1920s struck a chord among Kansas women and she began to receive unsolicited accounts of the adventure and perils of travel to Kansas settlers. Women who were children at the time their parents made the decision to move to Kansas described the settlement experience from a child's point of view.



As this project gained momentum, Lilla Day Monroe decided to make it a statewide campaign. She publicized the effort through her Kansas Woman's Journal and made this project the focus of her term as president of the Woman's Kansas Day Club. Some of the reminiscences were published in that magazine but the response was so overwhelming, that Monroe ultimately decided to devote all of her efforts to editing and publishing a collection of the pioneer sketches. Ultimately over 800 reminiscences were received.



While Monroe died in 1929 before she could complete this project, her daughter Lenore Monroe Stratton continued the project by typing and indexing the reminiscences. Lilla Day Monroe's great granddaughter Joanna Stratton finally completed the project with the publication of Pioneer Women in 1981. At that time, the reminiscences were donated to the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka, where they now are available to researchers.



What is truly amazing about this project is the fact that this effort preceded the recognition of the need for "women's history" by 50 years. Monroe and the people who contributed their reminiscences recognized that women made significant contributions to the settlement of Kansas and they took a proactive stance in ensuring that their roles were documented. Kansas histories, up until that time, rarely included women except in relation to ongoing suffrage campaigns. They usually focused on the activities of the "great men" of the state. While it took several decades for historians to start including women's activities in main stream histories, Lilla Day Monroe and the women who contributed to her project documented their roles and these are now preserved as the Lilla Day Monroe Collection of Pioneer Women's Stories.

Contents: Roll 1 (MS 1195). Pioneer stories (typescripts) : A-B -- roll 2 (MS 1196). Pioneer stories (typescripts) : Cadd-Dunl -- roll 3 (MS 1197). Pioneer stories (typescripts) : Dunt-Hild -- roll 4 (MS 1198). Pioneer stories (typescripts) : Hildreth-Jones, E -- roll 5 (MS 1199). Pioneer stories (typescripts) : Jones, J (Mrs.)-Martin, C -- roll 6 (MS 1200). Pioneer stories (typescripts) : Martin, W (Mrs.)-Perigo -- roll 7 (MS 1201). Pioneer stories (typescripts) : Perring-St. John, A -- roll 8 (MS 1202). Pioneer stories (typescripts) : St. John, J (Mrs.)-Troutman -- roll 9 (MS 1203). Pioneer stories (typescripts) : Tu-Zz ; Pioneer Women's Memorial Statue ; writing about pioneer stories ; misc. correspondence -- roll 10 (MS 1204). Index to collection on microfilm ; author cards ; authors by county ; authors by church membership ; authors, subjects, photographs from The Kansas historical quarterly ; subject cards.

Locators:

Locator Contents
005-12-03-01 to 005-12-05-07   

Microfilm:

  • MS 1195: Pioneer stories (typescripts) : A-B 1920-1929
  • MS 1196: Pioneer stories (typescripts) : Cadd-Dunl 1920-1929
  • MS 1197: Pioneer stories (typescripts) : Dunt-Hild 1920-1929
  • MS 1198: Pioneer stories (typescripts) : Hildreth-Jones, E 1920-1929
  • MS 1199: Pioneer stories (typescripts) : Jones, J (Mrs.)-Martin, C 1920-1929
  • MS 1200: Pioneer stories (typescripts) : Martin, W (Mrs.)-Perigo 1920-1929
  • MS 1201: Pioneer stories (typescripts) : Perring-St. John, A 1920-1929
  • MS 1202: Pioneer stories (typescripts) : St. John, J (Mrs.)-Troutman 1920-1929
  • MS 1203: Pioneer stories Tu-Zz ; Pioneer Women's Memorial Statue ; writing about pioneer stories; misc. corr. 1920-1929
  • MS 1204: Index; author indexes ; photographs ; subject cards 1920-1929

Related Records or Collections

Finding Aids: A microfilm roll list available at the Kansas Historical Society (Topeka).

Indexes:
There is a searchable, on-line index to the stories available on the Kansas Historical Society website: http://www.kshs.org/p/lilla-day-monroe-collection-of-pioneer-stories/14090

There is a list by author giving information on the subjects of many of the essays (PDF file), based on a card index that is part of the collection.

Microfilm roll 10 (MS 1204): Index to collection on microfilm ; author cards ; authors by county ; authors by church membership.

Bibliography

Finding Aid Bibliography: "Lilla Day Monroe: Women's Advocate, Journalist. 1858-1929," Kansapedia, Kansas Historical Society website (http://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/lilla-day-monroe/12150, accessed 21 Mar. 2013).

Index Terms

Subjects

    Reminiscences
    Kansas -- History -- 19th century
    Monroe, Lilla Day Moore, 1858-1929
    Stratton, Joanna L -- Pioneer women
    Farmers -- Kansas -- History -- 19th century
    Farm life -- Kansas -- History -- 19th century
    Frontier and pioneer life -- Kansas
    Pioneer children -- Kansas
    Pioneers -- Kansas
    Women -- History
    Women -- Kansas -- History -- 19th century
    Women pioneers -- Kansas

Creators and Contributors


Additional Information for Researchers

Restrictions: Approved application required to use material other than typescripts of pioneer stories. Researchers should use microfilm copies or typed transcripts of material.

Use and reproduction: Copyright © by Joanna L. Stratton, 1982; all rights reserved. No copies (excepting typescripts of pioneer stories) without permission. No interlibrary loan. Only photocopies, transcriptions, and microfilmed copies are available to the public for scholarly research or educational purposes. See Kansas State Historical Society staff for full information.

Ownership/Custodial Hist.: Stories collected by Lilla Day Monroe and compiled by her daughter Lenore Monroe Stratton & great-granddaughter Joanna L. Stratton.

Add'l physical form: Microfilm. Topeka, Kan. : Kansas State Historical Society, 1984; rolls MS 1195-MS 1204, lab. no. 26550-26558; available for research.

Pioneer stories: Typescripts. [Topeka, Kan. : Kansas State Historical Society, 1982]; available in the Kansas Historical Society Research Room for reference use.


Selected items: Also available via Kansas Memory, Electronic resource. Topeka, Kan. : Kansas State Historical Society, 2007. http://www.kansasmemory.org/category/6560