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Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas

Kansas flagThe Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas have been honoring individuals since early 20th century who have made contributions to Kansas, the nation, and the world. The Native Sons was first organized in Topeka in 1902 to unite all native Kansans in “one harmonious body” to labor for the best interests of the state. This early organization dissolved shortly after its founding.

In 1915 the Native Daughters of Kansas was founded by Emma V. M. Nellis of Topeka. It was meant to preserve Kansas history, show loyalty to Kansas traditions, honor pioneer ancestors, and instill patriotism in youth. In 1918 the Native Sons became active, and in 1919 the two groups began holding joint meetings. Eventually they merged to form the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas.

One of the combined group’s early projects was championing a bill before the state legislature providing for an appropriation to improve John Brown Park in Osawatomie. The organization has since been involved in a number of projects that include designing a state service flag in honor of Kansas natives who served in World War I, and erecting a monument honoring pioneer women.

Annual meetings are held on the eve of Kansas Day and include the announcement of Kansan of the Year, awarded to notable people born in the state, and Distinguished Kansans, for the previous year. The annual meeting also includes an announcement of the winner of the annual story contest, which was begun about 1931 with a collegiate oratorical contest. In 1936 a high school essay contest was added. Today all Kansans are invited to participate.

Learn more about the Historical Society's Native Sons and Daughter of Kansas manuscript collections.  Visit the organization's website at Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas.

Kansans of the Year

2016 - Gale Sayers
2015 - Jim Hoy
2014 - Dayton Moore
2013 - No award
2012 - Marilyn Maye
2012 - Dick Davidson
2011 - Harold Stones
2010 - Deanell Reece Tacha
2009 - Robert M. Gates
2008 - Delano E. Lewis
2007 - Jim Richardson
2006 - Max Falkenstien
2005 - Martina McBride
2004 - Lynette Woodard
2003 - Bob Dole
2002 - Jack St. Clair Kilby
2001 - Ross Beach
2000 - Dean Smith
1999 - Shirley Knight
1998 - Pat Roberts
1996 - Robert Sudlow
1995 - Stan Herd
1994 - Samuel Ramey
1993 - John Brooks Slaughter
1992 - Steven A. Hawley
1991 - Marynell Reece
1990 - Jordan Haines
1989 - Robert Billings
1988 - Marianna K. Beach
1987 - Fred C. Bramlage
1986 - George E. Nettles, Jr.
1985 - Gordon Parks
1984 - Bernard W. Rogers
1983 - Olive White Garvey
1982 - Carl Nordstrom
1981 - Joe H. Engle
1980 - Keith G. Sebelius
1979 - Daphyne Smith Cauble
1978 - G.W. Tomanek
1977 - Emerson D. Yoder
1976 - J. Rex Duwe
1975 - Nyle H. Miller
1974 - Edward W. McNally
1973 - Lyle E. Yost
1972 - Robert L. Brock
1971 - Ray E. Dillon Sr.
1970 - Duane L. Wallace
1969 - Charles B. Rogers
1968 - Hugh F. Edwards
1967 - Debra Barnes
1966 - Jim Ryun
1965 - Debbie Bryant
1964 - Laurin W. Jones
1963 - Mary Hope (Williams) Koger
1962 - Rees H. Hughes
1961 - Harry Darby
1960 - Maurice E. Fager
1959 - Rolla A. Clymer
1958 - Mamie Boyd
1957 - Olive Ann Beech
1956 - Karl A. Menninger
1955 - Arthur D. Weber

Distinguished Kansans

2016 - James D. Latham
2015 - Jerry Farley
2014 - Harry Walter Colmery
2014 - Juan Sepulveda
2013 - Steve Doocy
2012 - No award
2011 - No award
2010 - Shelia C. Bair
2009 - No award
2008 - Bill Self
2007 - Marc Addason Asher
2006 - Richard Bergen
2005 - Marci Penner
2004 - Emery E. Fager
2003 - Ruth Garvey Fink
2002 - Richard Myers
2001 - George Brett
2000 - Jon Wefald
1999 - Pat Roberts
1998 - Bill Snyder
1997 - Elizabeth Farnsworth
1997 - Roy Williams
1993 - Donald C. Coldsmith
1992 - Patricia Brooks Carey
1991 - Ewing Kauffman
1990 - Jim Lehrer
1989 - Elizabeth Layton
1988 - Larry D. Welch
1987 - Wayne D. Angell
1985 - Richard D. Rogers
1983 - Bill Kurtis
1983 - Zula Bennington Greene
1982 - Bradbury Thompson
1981 - Georgia Neese Gray
1980 - Robert B. Docking
1979 - George M. Stafford
1978 - Nancy Landon Kassebaum
1977 - James A. McCain
1976 - Bob Dole
1972 - Henry A. Bubb
1971 - Ronald E. Evans
1969 - Alfred M. Landon

Special Citations

2015 - Washburn University
2014 - Amelia Rose Earhart
2014 - Susan Sutton
2014 - Wichita State University
2013 - Kansas State University
2013 - University of Kansas Center Center
2008 - Greensburg, Kansas
2007 - John William Carlin
2006 - Polly Roth Bales
2001 - Dan Glickman
2000 - Nancy Landon Kassebaum
2000 - June S. Windscheffel
1999 - Dwight D. Eisenhower
1998 - William H. Avery
1991 - John Steuart Curry
1989 - Dwight D. Eisenhower
1984 - Bob Dole
1980 - McDill "Huck" Boyd
1968 - Frank Carlson

Entry: Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: March 2012

Date Modified: February 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.