Jump to Navigation

Kansas History - Forthcoming issue

Volume 37
Autumn 2014

Justine Greve, “‘All Tings Vot Haf der Cherman Label’: German Language Instruction and the Nuances of Nationalism in Two Kansas Universities, 1917–1919.”

Before the United States entered the First World War, the German departments at Baker University, Baldwin City, and Bethel College, North Newton, were thriving. Some Baker students enthusiastically learned German as a second language, while many Bethel students grew up speaking German in their homes. Once the war broke out, German became an easy target for nationalist hostility. Speaking German—even learning it as a second language—could call one’s loyalty into question, explains historian Justine Greve in “All Tings Vot Haf der Cherman Label.” This anti-German sentiment led both Kansas schools (and many others around the country) to effectively eliminate German language programs. “Patriotism” can superficially explain this change, but the motives and reality varied with each school’s circumstances. At Baker pro-war enthusiasm led students to abandon their studies of German; at Bethel the ban on German was driven by fear and the school’s perceived need to prove its national loyalty. Baker and Bethel represent two models of the “patriotic” rejection of German: one apparently lighthearted and the other involuntary. Yet as with most binary categories, the distinction is not actually so clear-cut.

Peter M. Nadeau, “Microcosm of Manhood: Abilene, Eisenhower, and Nineteenth-Century Male Identity.”

In “Microcosm of Manhood,” Peter Nadeau, a PhD candidate at Oklahoma State University, examines the dutiful manhood that proliferated in nineteenth-century rural towns such as Abilene, Kansas. Despite the new emphasis placed on masculine power in the cities, Nadeau argues that rural areas largely rejected the new paradigm in favor of traditional concerns with male virtue. Abilene in the late 1890s provides a miniature example of the persistence of this model of manhood, and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s upbringing demonstrates how one generation passed this gender conception onto the next. Differentiating understandings of maleness at the turn of the century is critical for understanding the competing constructions of maleness in the twentieth century. Understanding male identity in Abilene gives us a better understanding of gender relations across nineteenth-century Kansas and their reverberations throughout the nation in the succeeding century.

Jorge Iber, “An Overview of the Early Life and Career of Topeka’s Mike Torrez, 1946–1978: Sport as Means for Studying Latino/a Life in Kansas.”

The early life and career of Topeka native Mike Torrez and his path to the Major Leagues offers the historian a splendid opportunity to examine “sport as means for studying Latino/a life in Kansas.” In addition to his individual and familial story (Torrez was the son and grandson of Mexicano railroad workers), the essay sheds light on the significant role of sport in the day-to-day existence of the Mexican American community in the Oakland neighborhood (and elsewhere in Kansas). The topic of sport is a well-developed element for the study of community life, the maintenance of ethnic pride, and resistance against the majority population’s stereotyping of other ethnic and racial groups. But, explains Jorge Iber, a professor in the Department of History at Texas Tech University, sport has only recently begun to generate academic and popular attention as a vital component of Latino life and history throughout the United States.

John Hart, editor. “Under Moonlight in Missouri: Private John Benton Hart’s Account of Price’s Raid, October 1864.”

John Benton Hart, Eleventh Kansas Cavalry, served under General James G. Blunt and Colonel Thomas Moonlight in the series of engagements that put an end to the massive Confederate invasion under General Sterling Price 150 years ago. In a belated memoir dictated to his son between 1918 and 1923, Hart recalled the stresses and also the lighter moments of a tissue of battles and exhausting marches stretching over a two-week period before, including, and after the Battle of Westport on October 23. “Under Moonlight in Missouri,” edited by historian and author John Hart, a great grandson of the Price’s raid veteran, is the first publication of these excerpts from a much longer manuscript.