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Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor George H. Hodges (1913-1915)

Creator: Kansas. Governor (1913-1915 : Hodges)

Date: [created] 1912-1915

Level of Description: Sub-collection/group

Material Type: Government record

Call Number: See individual series

Unit ID: 310187

Restrictions: None.

Biographical sketch: 19th governor of the State of Kansas (Democrat), 1913-15; of Olathe.

Abstract: Correspondence files; an Index of letters received, 1914; an International Requisition No. 1121, 1913 Oct. 3; and other records from the George H. Hodges administration. Contains correspondence related to state departments; subject files; personal & political affairs including response letters, invitations by communities, applications for state positions, and other general & misc. correspondence. Additional records of Governor Hodges are in separate series common to several governors, described in the Contents section of this record.


Records specific to this administration:

Records that include this administration:

Space Required/Quantity: 17 ft. (42 boxes + 3 oversize vol.)

Title (Main title): Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor George H. Hodges (1913-1915)

Titles (Other):

  • Records
  • Kansas Governor George H. Hodges records
  • Records of the Office of the Governor of Kansas : George H. Hodges administration (1913-1915)
  • Kansas Governor George H. Hodges correspondence received
  • George H. Hodges administration, Jan. 13, 1913-Jan. 11, 1915
  • Correspondence received
  • Correspondence files

Part of: Records of the Kansas Governor's Office.

Language note: Text is in English.


Biog. Sketch (Full): George H. Hodges, the nineteenth and second Democratic governor of the State of Kansas, presided over the State from 13 January 1913 to 11 January 1915. He was born 6 February 1866 at Orion, Richland County, Wisconsin. George’s father, William W., a Virginia schoolteacher, was known for his snappy wit and moral fiber; the elder Hodges was also known as a grand mentor who influenced the character of many young people in the community. His mother, Lydia Ann Hodges--described as sweet, eloquent and homespun--reared three children and managed the home.

George Hodges exhibited many of his father’s character traits that surely enabled his later renowned success in the business community. George was only three years old in 1869 when the family relocated to Olathe, Kansas. Sadly, George’s father died soon after relocating due to an abrupt serious illness. There George would attend the public school system and reside for the remainder of his life.

Educated in the public schools of Olathe, the young man had a systemic yearning for entrepreneurial success. At age twenty, George went to work as a lumber yardman, and he distinguished himself by possessing the qualities of a hardworking laborer with attention to detail and dedication to duty and customer service. Before long he was promoted to yard manager. In 1889, George and his younger brother, Frank, set up a business of their own under the name of Hodges Brothers. In search of desperately needed financial support, George had secured a loan from a friend to purchase an out-of-service, dilapidated lumberyard. It proved difficult at first getting the business running with a steady flow of consumers.

After rethinking his business strategy in 1890, he decided to employ some new investments in first class advertising. Soon after the advertisements were set in motion, the lumber-hardware business finally took off. The firm had been officially in business since 1889; the brothers built a chain of eight stores and fourteen lumberyards. The company today is still operating in at least one location at Fort Walton Beech, Florida. George Hodges also advanced in the loan industry and became the director of the Fist National Bank of Olathe along with numerous other commercial enterprises. He was also the proprietor and editor of a newspaper, the Johnson County Democrat.

Around 1896 George begins his political career as city councilman of Olathe while at the same time his brother and business partner, Frank, was a two-term mayor of that city. After four years as the city councilman George served one term as mayor of Olathe. In 1904 he was elected Kansas State senator and served in that role until 1912. He also served as Chairman of the State Democratic Convention in 1906. As state senator he was always front and center in launching new progressive measures for the betterment of Kansas. In his typical forward-thinking nature he did not cast a single vote for anything other than progressive action on many legislative measures.

George Hodges won the 1912 gubernatorial nomination and subsequent election. He was sworn in as only the second democratic governor in the State of Kansas on 13 January 1913. His election to the governor’s office was in fact a reverberation of Woodrow Wilson’s landslide victories in the presidential election. Wilson’s victory was largely based on new and untested series of “progressive measures” that later in the 20th century proved disastrous for the United States. It was a political wind of classic change. Kansas followed the act by casting its electoral vote to Wilson, and five of its eight successful congressional candidates were also Democrats. Not only did the Democratic senatorial candidate win, for the first time in Kansas’ history, the Democrats captured both houses of the State Legislature. If there was an anomaly it was Hodges defeating Republican candidate Arthur Capper by a razor-thin margin of only 29 votes.

While a State senator he was very active on the Railroad Committee and led a veracious charge supporting progressive laws like negating arbitrary commissions that allowed freight rate reductions without fair cause by the shipper, to name one of many. Senator Hodges along with three other senators authored the Kansas public utilities law that was enacted in 1911. As governor, Hodges appointed the first Utilities Commission, and that was one of the first commissions appointed in the United States. Mr. Hodge’s loyalty to his Party’s ideals never wavered. He was often acknowledged in Democratic circles as “the man who made his party over” for his groundbreaking reforms, meaning more efficient forms of governing in the early twentieth century.

Governor Hodges also insured the passing of the State's first corporation tax levy. Progressing on women’s rights, the governor authorized a broader measure by amending the Kansas constitution to permit women’s suffrage. And the State's Board of Administration was granted full responsibility for overseeing all State agencies, as well as the advancement of women’s roles in State government. George Hodges gained nationwide notoriety with his idea of changing the machinery of government by abolishing the two-house legislature system and replacing it with a single and smaller governing body. He addressed the national political establishment and the press, making the argument for streamlining the government legislative process that was simply considered too big for the day.

Governor George Hodges achieved much in his two years as chief of State. His long-term experience in the State Senate had certainly greased the wheels of many of his successful accomplishments, most notable a top-notch State bottom-up business administration. Thirteen of the fourteen platform pledges on the docket were written into the statute books of the State of Kansas in the period 1913 to 1915, all thanks to George Hodges's progressive nature in both the State Senate and at the governor’s mansion. As part of this progressive mandate, Kansas’ voters approved an amendment to the State constitution granting women equal suffrage. Adding to the program of women’s rights, Hodges vastly increased the number of women in State government authority. In August 1913, Governor Hodges collaborated with Missouri Governor Elliott Major in a joint project coined “Good Road Days.” The two governors were actually seen in “khaki overalls” working side by side with many bistate citizens to improve the roads.

Governor George Hodges lost his reelection bid by large margin to Arthur Capper in 1915. He than returned to his beloved lumberyard and hardware business in Olathe and never returned to state politics. He did serve with the Red Cross in World War I with a courtesy title of major. He was also a member of the State Textbook Commission and later a member of the State Board of Regents. George Hodges remained a staunch Prohibitionist and was frequently on the Chautauqua circuit lecturing on the evils of drink.

Governor George H. Hodges died of natural causes on 7 October 1947 in Kansas City, Missouri; he was buried in Olathe Cemetery.

Administrative History

Administrative History:

The Wyandotte Constitution of 1859 established the office of the governor of the State of Kansas. The first to serve in the office of governor of the State of Kansas was Charles Robinson who succeeded the last territorial governor, George Monroe Beebe.

Some of the more important duties, functions, and responsibilities of the governor are to see that the laws are faithfully executed, to require written explanations from other executive officers—at that time the lieutenant governor, secretary of State, auditor, treasurer, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction—upon any subject relating to their respective duties, convene by the Legislature by proclamation on extraordinary occasions, communicate in writing such information as the governor may possess in reference to the condition of the State at the commencement of every legislative session, recommend such measures as he/she may deem expedient, and commission officers of the State.

No formal qualifications for the governor have been legislated, aside from the provision that no member of Congress or officer of the State, or the United States, can serve. The governor is elected by a plurality, not necessarily a majority of votes cast. The governor takes office the second Monday in January following election. The governor is authorized to hire a private secretary, pardon attorney, and other staff as appropriations permit.

At the beginning of George H. Hodges's term, the governor had the power to appoint Militia officers; members of part-time boards of directors, trustees, regents, or directors of a large number of State penal, educational, medical, custodial, and mission specific agencies and commissions. The governor was also an ex officio member of other boards, commissions, and committees.

During the two years of the Hodges administration, the position of State fire marshal, appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate, was created in 1913 as was a Hotel Commission, directed by a commissioner appointed by the governor. New agencies created that year included the Colby Branch Station of the Agricultural Experiment Station, Manhattan; State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, five members appointed by the governor; Board for the Examination of Trained Nurses, four of whose members were gubernatorial appointments; State Board of Osteopathic Examination and Registration, five members appointed by the governor; and the State Board of Fair Managers. A new Schoolbook Commission assumed the duties of the School Textbook Commission, which was abolished.

Scope and Content

Scope and content:

Records specific to the administration of Governor George H. Hodges consist of three series comprising approximately seventeen cubic feet in forty-four boxes and three oversize volumes. The series are International Requisition Number 1121, 1913 Oct. 13; Correspondence Files, 1913-1915; Index to Letters Received, 1914; and Minutes: Prison Investigation Commission, 1914.

Requisition Number 1121, Series 194089, was issued 10 October 1913 to the government of Canada. The envelope lists country, name, crime, county, agent name, and date issued. Inside the envelope are accompanying documents and an official warrant.

Items in the series Correspondence Files, 1912–1915, no. 195405, are primarily letters received by Governor Hodges; however there may also be proclamations and some petitions, reports, copies of letters sent, and other types of documents. The letters and proclamations are organized into three subseries: (1) State Departments File, (2) Subject Files, and (3) Personal and Political File sub-series. The Personal and Political File is subdivided into Invitations by Communities, Applications for State Positions, General Correspondence, and Miscellaneous Correspondence sub-sub-series. Some proclamations may have also been interfiled with other items received relating to the subjects of the proclamations. More detailed information about these records may be found in the series description, http://www.kshs.org/archives/195405 . Documents that may have been addressed to Governor Hodges but dated or pertaining to the time period after his term expired in 1915 may be filed with the records of his successor, Governor Arthur Capper.

The Minutes of the Prison Investigation Commission, 1914, Series 193783, consists of one volume arranged chronologically by meeting date. The records also contain letters regarding conditions of buildings and programs as well as ideas for possible future plans from outside experts.

Additional files that record the actions of the Hodges administration may be found in a number of series containing records of multiple governors. These are listed in the "Contents" section of this record.

Records of other offices of Kansas’s government — particularly the secretary of State, Record Group 622, and attorney general, Record Group 82 — give additional information about State activities during this period. Papers of other prominent political figures of the time, most of which are held by the Kansas State Historical Society, may also offer insights about Kansas politics and government during the Hodges administration.

The Kansas State Historical Society has collections of George Hodges’s personal papers, 1893–1922 (bulk 1893–1918), Manuscript Collection 58, http://www.kshs.org/archives/40058 , and records of his company, Hodges Brothers Lumber Company, 1888–1951, Manuscript Collection 59, http://www.kshs.org/archives/40059 .


Records specific to this administration: International Requisition Number 1121, 1913 Oct. 13, 0.3 cubic ft. (1 box), http://www.kshs.org/archives/194089 ‑‑ Correspondence files, 1912-1915, 16 ft. (41 boxes), http://www.kshs.org/archives/195405 ‑‑ Index to letters received, 1914, 0.2 cubic ft. (3 oversize vol.), http://www.kshs.org/archives/193464 -- Minutes : Prison Investigation Commission, 1914, 0.2 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193783.

Records that include this administration: Justice of the peace appointments, 1882-1949, 2 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193455 ‑‑ Requisitions from other states, 1886-1932, 1 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193814 ‑‑ KSP reports of prisoners discharged, 1896-1923, 0.5 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/196610 ‑‑ Criminal Justice Records : KSP reports of prisoners received, 1897-1923, 0.5 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/196609 ‑‑ Appointment files, 1900-1937, 4 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/195556 ‑‑ Reports of state agencies, 1901-1958, 4 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193467 ‑‑ Anonymous and crank letters, 1905-1927, 0.8 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193457 ‑‑ Final discharge of paroled prisoners, 1905-1913, 1 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193772 ‑‑ Final discharge of paroled prisoners, 1905-1924, 1 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193809 ‑‑ Reports of delinquent, dependent, and neglected children, 1907-1925, 0.7 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193764 ‑‑ Miscellaneous resignations, 1915-1934, 0.3 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193453 ‑‑ Paroles, pardons, and commutations : Kansas State Penitentiary, 1911-1918, 0.2 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193807 ‑‑ Commutation and citizenship pardons, 1913-1917, 0.3 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193800 ‑‑ Pardon and parole files : Womens' Industrial Farm, 1863-1919, 76 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193660 ‑‑ Applications for requisitions : Series I & II, 1874-1953, 37 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/194090 ‑‑ Citizenship pardons, 1876-1960, 8 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193802 ‑‑ Extraditions, 1877-1994, 163 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/191789 ‑‑ Record of pardons and commutations, 1887-1911, 0.7 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193793 ‑‑ Jail and State Reformatory pardons and commutations, 1897-1925, 0.2 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193801 ‑‑ Governor's citizenship pardons : chronological order, 1899-1919, 1 cubic ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193707

Portions of Collection Separately Described:


Locator Contents
027-07-02-05 to 027-08-01-03   

Related Records or Collections

Related materials:


Finding Aid Bibliography:

Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1918; Open Library website; https://archive.org/details/standardhistoryo00conn (viewed 23 July 2014).

Drury, James W. The Government of Kansas. 3d ed. Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas, ©1980. Available in the Kansas State Historical Society (KSHS) Reference Room: call no. K 350.7 D845 1980.

Harder, Marvin A. The Governor of Kansas: An Analysis of Decision-Making Opportunities, Constraints, and Resources. Topeka, Kans.: Capitol Complex Center, University of Kansas, 1981, ©1982. Available in the KSHS Reference Room: call no. SP 378 Z C172 pam.v.1 no. 1.

Socolofsky, Homer E. Kansas Governors. Lawrence, Kans.: University Press of Kansas, ©1990. Available in the KSHS Reference Room: call no. K BB So13.

Index Terms


    Kansas. Governor (1913-1915 : Hodges) -- Archives
    Kansas. Governor (1913-1915 : Hodges) -- Records and correspondence
    Kansas. Legislature
    Democratic Party (Kan.)
    Kansas -- Officials and employees
    Kansas -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950
    Governors -- Kansas -- Archives
    Governors -- Kansas -- Records and correspondence
    Civil-military relations -- Kansas
    Criminal justice, Administration of -- Kansas
    Criminals -- Kansas
    Finance, Public -- Kansas
    Government correspondence -- Kansas
    Justices of the peace -- Kansas
    Patronage, Political -- Kansas
    Public institutions -- Kansas
    Public officers
    Public records -- Kansas
    Public welfare -- Kansas
    State-local relations -- Kansas

Creators and Contributors

Agency Classification:

    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Hodges, George Administration.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Main Office.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Main Office. Pardon and Extradition Attorney.
    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Main Office. Pardon Attorney.

Additional Information for Researchers

Restrictions: None.

Use and reproduction:

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The user is cautioned that the publication of the contents of this microfilm may be construed as constituting a violation of literary property rights. These rights derive from the principle of common law, affirmed in the copyright law of 1976 as amended, that the writer of an unpublished letter or other manuscript has the sole right to publish the contents thereof unless he or she affirmatively parts with that right; the right descends to his or her legal heirs regardless of the ownership of the physical manuscript itself. It is the responsibility of a user or his or her publisher to secure the permission of the owner of literary property rights in unpublished writing.

Most documents created by governmental entities, including the State of Kansas, are considered in the public domain, although copyright to documents found in public records that were written by individuals or organizations and sent to government agencies may be owned by the writers or their heirs.

Add'l physical form: Selected items: Also available on Kansas Memory, electronic resource. Topeka, Kan. : Kansas State Historical Society, c2007-14; http://www.kansasmemory.org/locate.php?categories=4894-4796-4868&

Cite as:

Note: [document description], George H. Hodges administration (1913–15), Records of the Kansas Governor’s Office, Record Group 252, State Archives, Kansas Historical Society.

Bibliography: Kansas, Governor’s Office, George H. Hodges administration (1913–15), Records of the Kansas Governor’s Office, Record Group 252, State Archives, Kansas Historical Society.

Action note: Inventory written by David F. Manning, volunteer, 2010.

Accumulation/Freq. Of Use: No additional records are expected.

Holder of originals: State archives, Kansas Historical Society (Topeka).