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[Original Art]

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Accession Number: 1949.22.23

Entitled: Second Regiment K.S.M. Leaving Topeka, Kansas

Physical Description: Hand painted glass lanternslide in a handmade rectangular wooden frame with two separate pieces of glass. The window of the frame is circular and at the left side of the frame. A notch in the wood continues from this circle to the edge of the frame. The front piece of glass is painted with a fort in the center, a cabin to its right, and a tree to its left. This is held in place with paper, gray paint, and three metal notches around the outside of the circle. Attached to the front of the glass is a piece of brown paper cut to possibly represent the ground. The title is handwritten in pencil to the right of the window. Back piece of glass is slightly longer than the wood frame to allow a section that can be pulled. The back of the frame is cut to fit the glass pieces. This section is cut diagonally at one end. Painted on glass is a progression of soldiers on horseback, seven sets of four and two soldiers sitting on a tractor pulling a cannon. Two pieces of leather are nailed to the wood at top and bottom to hold the sliding glass in place. One leather piece is about 6 cm wide and attached to the center. The other is a strip about 1 cm wide, at the right end of the frame.

History of Object: Lanternslide painted by Samuel James Reader of Indianola, Kansas, and given to the donor by daughter Elizabeth Reader. Samuel Reader moved to Kansas in 1855 when he was 19 years old and lived in Indianola, a town north of Topeka, until his death in 1914. Primarily a farmer, he also was a Civil War soldier, artist, trustee for the township and Rochester Cemetery, and built two of his own houses. Reader kept a diary with nearly daily entries from age 13 until July 22, 1913. This diary makes up fifteen volumes. According to diary entries, Reader began making lanternslides on January 12, 1866. He created his first magic lantern out of a nail keg with a spyglass, but the image was very blurry. After a few months he tried to convince his aunt Eliza of the need to purchase a proper magic lantern, arguing that he saved money by not purchasing alcohol or tobacco. On June 30th, 1866, Reader received by mail order a magic lantern tube and chromotrope (the latter gave the appearance of a kaleidoscope when a lever was moved up and down.) Reader continued to purchase new and improved magic lantern equipment for many years. According to a letter from his daughter, Elizabeth Reader (dated December 1, 1942), their house was crowded with neighbors watching lanternslide shows on winter evenings. She noted that her father also held shows at country schoolhouses and churches to raise money for the community. He used a pocketknife and saw to make the slides. Reader noted in his diary that he laid out the slides on the roof for the paint to dry. Reader often painted lanternslides with scenes from the Civil War. He mustered in to the 2nd Kansas State Militia in September 1863 as a Quartermaster and 2nd Lieutenant. Reader wrote briefly in his diary about the day depicted in this slide. He rode his horse, Fox, to Topeka to meet up with the rest of his regiment. The next day they progressed to Camp Grant. He writes that Fox was so excited he rode past the whole regiment to the front with Colonel George Veale. Reader did not bring his diary with him to battle, but recorded everything he remembered when he returned home.

Date: Between 1866 and 1913

Dimensions (in cm): 10.20 (H) 30.80 (W) 1.50 (D)

Marks/Inscriptions: [Handwritten on right side of frame] 2ond. Reg?t K.S.M. leaving Topeka, Kans. / Oct. 12th 1864 for the front. ||

Index Terms

Associations and Subjects

    Origin, Place of: Indianola (Kan.)
    Individual: Reader, Samuel James, 1836-1914
    Event: Civil War, 1861-1865
    Event: United States History Civil War, 1861-1865
    Business / Organization: Second Kansas Militia
    Event: Big Blue, Battle of, Jackson County, Mo. 1864
    Business / Organization: 2nd Kansas Militia
    Business / Organization: Militias
    Business / Organization: Kansas. Militia. Regiment, 2nd
    Origin, Place of: Topeka (Kan.)
    Origin, Place of: Shawnee County (Kan.)
    Event: Battle of Big Blue, 1864
    Event: Big Blue, Battle of the, Mo., 1864

Creators and Contributors

    Reader, Samuel J.

Status: Cataloged

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