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Oscar E. Learnard papers

Creator: Learnard, Oscar Eugene, 1832-1911

Date: 1850 - 1911

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: Manuscripts Collection 415

Unit ID: 40415

Biographical sketch: Oscar Eugene Learnard was born 14 November 1832 in Fairfax, Vermont. He attended Bakersfield Academy but had to interrupt his studies due to ill health, spending some time traveling. Eventually he completed his degree at Albany Law School and after completing his studies in 1855 moved to Lawrence, Kansas territory. In the spring of 1857 he helped to locate and lay out the town of Burlington in Coffey County, where he built the first mill, the first business house, and a building used for school and church purposes. He was a member of the Council in the first free-state Legislature (1857); president of the convention that met at Osawatomie on May 18, 1859; and organized the republican party in Kansas. After the state government was established, he became judge of the 5th Judicial Circuit.

With the outbreak of the civil war, Learnard resigned his position on the bench and entered the 1st Kansas, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He held this rank until 1863 when he resigned his commission, though in 1864 he fought during Price's raid of Kansas, the battle of the Blue, and at Westport, Missouri.

He served two terms in the State Senate; was superintendent of the Haskell Institute for one year; was for 25 years special attorney and tax commissioner for the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis Railroad Company; and in 1884 bought the Lawrence Daily Journal, which he published until it was succeeded by the present Journal Company. Oscar Learnard died at Lawrence on 6 November, 1911.

Abstract: The collection mostly consists of incoming letters and typed transcript copies of the same to Oscar Learnard, as well as letters to and from him involving his immediate family, including his wife Mary. Other materials in the collection include documents relating to the Lawrence Land & Water Power Company in 1877 and to two railroads from the 1880s: Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Gulf Railroad; and Kansas City, Memphis, and Springfield Railroad Company. There are also some warranty deeds and other legal instruments and documents, and other similar materials.

The bulk of the letters date from 1850-1866 and come from friends and classmates and other such individuals. Topics included slavery and abolitionism, politics, school and study, travel throughout the United States, the weather, news of other friends and family members, religion, events in the territory particularly regarding the border troubles, business and legal matters, and other such topics. George Wood, Charles Cleveland, L. F. Burdick, and John K.L. Maynard were frequent correspondents; Learnard spent some time in Granville, Ohio and in Tennessee before moving to Kansas territory.

Space Required/Quantity: 1.00 cubic feet

Title (Main title): Oscar E. Learnard papers

Scope and Content


Locator Contents
007-01-05-08 to 007-01-06-01   

Index Terms


    Burlington (Kan.) -- History -- 19th century
    Granville (Ohio)
    Kansas -- History -- 1854-1861
    Lawrence (Kan.) -- History -- 19th century
    United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
    Learnard, Oscar Eugene, 1832-1911 -- Archives
    Learnard, Oscar Eugene, 1832-1911 -- Correspondence
    Learnard, S. T.
    American letters

Creators and Contributors