The State Library of Kansas today unveiled an online resource providing access to historical documents and essays for the study of Kansas history. “Kansas History, Territorial through Civil War Years, 1854-1865” is an expansive and unique collection of historical documents that include personal narratives and memoirs, pamphlets and political speeches, sermons and songs, legal treatises and children’s books.
“To commemorate Kansas’ 150th anniversary, GaleCengage Learning created a unique historical database for the State Library. This digital archive covers Kansas history from 1854-1865. These resources give readers an unparalleled opportunity to expand their understanding of the people, places, ideas, and events in Kansas history,” said State Librarian Jo Budler. “We are thrilled to have this database available for Kansas students and researchers, especially during the Sesquicentennial anniversary.”
Governor Brownback joined the unveiling and completed an online search.
“It’s a wonderful collection of materials that speak to our heritage as a state and as Kansans. The archive is a treasure trove for anyone interested in Kansas history,” Gov. Brownback said. “Plus, being online makes it easily accessible to Kansans across the state. I predict Kansans of all ages will find the information fascinating.”
The roots of this expansive archive are found in nearly 200 documents from the Sabin Collection licensed by GaleCengage. The materials are not digitally accessible elsewhere.
The collection is divided into five categories: The Land; Life on the Frontier; Kansas as a Territory; Kansas as a State; and a tutorial section on how to use and cite primary documents. Historical photos, antique maps and other scanned materials make the content interesting. Researchers will find the database easy to use as it is searchable by word, phrase, or year.
Each of the five general categories includes a contextual essay that gives the user background information to better understand the documents. Essayists known for their expertise in Kansas history contributed the introduction in each category. Essayists and the category they introduced, include: The Land, Rex Buchanan, Kansas Geological Survey, Lawrence; Frontier Life, Dr. Jim Hoy, English Dept., Emporia State University; Kansas as a Territory, Dr. Nicole Etcheson, Ball State University, Muncie, IN; and Kansas as a State, Dr. Bruce Mactavish, Associate Dean and Prof. of History at Washburn University. Dr. Mactavish also served as editor-in-chief.
The collection and database were developed and organized by GaleCengage Learning, a Michigan company that delivers information resources for Kansas libraries and others across the country. Many of the documents can be found in the Sabin Americana collection which includes 33,000 books, pamphlets, broadsides and other documents of North, Central, and South America, the Arctic and Antarctica and the West Indies.