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Kansas History - Spring 2005

(Vol. 28, No. 1)

Kansas History, Spring 2005

Christopher Childers, "Emporia's Incongruent Reformer: Charles Vernon Eskridge, the Emporia Republican, and the Kansas Republican Party, 1860-1900."

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Charles Vernon Eskridge was a late-nineteenth-century Kansas politico and newspaperman in Emporia, home of his more famous rival, William Allen White. In many respects the Eskridge story is typical for a man of his position during the so-called "Gilded Age," but there was more. As author Chris Childers demonstrates, "in the last years of his life, Eskridge was a harbinger of the progressive Republican reform agenda that changed Kansas politics in the first decade of the twentieth century." This important movement transformed the political debate and the face of Kansas politics and government in the early twentieth century, and, although Eskridge's life ended in tragedy as the new age dawned, the role of this unlikely reformer in its success is probably not insignificant.

Jim Hoy, "Chasing Cattle Thieves in the Flint Hills in 1899."

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The stuff of Western mythology, cattle rustling is, nevertheless, "as real today as it was during the last decade of the nineteenth century when a number of Flint Hills cattlemen met in Emporia . . . to organize the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA)," writes Jim Hoy, a professor of English at Emporia State University and a leading authority on cowboy lore and culture. One of the anti-rustling measures initiated by the KLA-an attempt to "infiltrate a suspected gang of cattle thieves in Chase County"-is the focus of "Chasing Cattle Thieves in the Flint Hills in 1899," an article built around the 1899 report of the Furlong detective agency of St. Louis, Missouri. The Furlong report "provides some fascinating insights into Flint Hills history."

Karen Manners Smith, "Father, Son, and Country on the Eve of War: William Allen White, William Lindsay White, and American Isolationism, 1940-1941."

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In her article on the Whites of Emporia, Kansas, a version of which was first published in the Kansas Historical Society's Tallgrass Essays (2003), Emporia State University professor Karen Manners Smith explores a complex father and son relationship at a seminal point in American history. Like the rest of Middle America, William Allen White was slow to accept the need for full U.S. participation in this second European war of his lifetime-ultimately, of course, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor converted him, as it did many others. "But throughout 1941, as Bill [William Lindsay] White and other war correspondents returned from Europe with attitudes tempered in the Great Fire, the heartland heard, in the voices of its own native sons, an increasingly urgent chorus of pro-British, anti-isolationist propaganda."

Eleanor L. Turk, "Germans in Kansas. Review Essay."

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This issue's review essay, contributed by Dr. Eleanor Turk, a retired professor of history at Indiana University East, examines the history of "the thousands upon thousands of Europeans, lured by the prospects of land and independence, who chose to leave their ancient homeland for the challenges of the American frontier." Focusing mainly on ethnic Germans, Turk looks at the rich literature that already exists and suggests areas in need of further study-the possibilities are especially rich for scholars interested in "European Germans," as opposed to the Germans from Russia who have received much more scholarly attention through the years.


Karl Bodmer's North American Prints
by J. Brooks Joyner et al.
xvi + 382 pages, illustrations, appendixes, notes, bibliography.
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004, cloth $150.00.
Reviewed by Lin Fredericksen, reference archivist, Kansas Historical Society.

The Oregon Trail: An American Saga
by David Dary
xiv +411 pages, appendixes, glossary, notes, bibliography, index.
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004, cloth $35.00.
Reviewed by Rick Ewig, associate director, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Laramie.

Blue Water Creek and the First Sioux War, 1854-185
by R. Eli Paul
xii + 260 pages, illustrations, maps, bibliography, index.
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004, cloth $34.95.
Reviewed by William A. Dobak, historian, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, D.C.

Runaway and Freed Missouri Slaves and Those Who Helped Them, 1763-1865
by Harriet C. Frazie
214 pages, photographs, appendixes, notes, bibliography, index. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Co., 2004, cloth $45.00.
Reviewed by Judy Sweets, audiovisual archivist, Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, University of Kansas.

Wilderness Journey: The Life of William Clark
by William E. Foley
xiv + 326 pages, notes, bibliography, index.
Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2004, cloth $29.95.
Reviewed by Eli Paul, director, Liberty Memorial Museum of World War One, Kansas City, Missouri.

A Common Humanity: Kansas Populism and the Battle for Justice and Equality, 1854-190
by O. Gene Clanton
xvi + 328 pages, notes, appendixes, bibliographical note, index.
Manhattan, Kans.: Sunflower University Press, 2004, paper $24.95.
Reviewed by Rebecca Edwards, associate professor of history, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York.

Isaac C. Parker: Federal Justice on the Frontier
by Michael J. Brodhead
xvii + 219 pages, illustrations, photographs, maps, appendixes, bibliographical essay, index.
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003, paper $34.95.
Reviewed by Michael H. Hoeflich, distinguished professor, University of Kansas Law School.

The Western Odyssey of John Simpson Smith: Frontiersman and Indian Interpreter
by Stan Hoig
256 pages, notes, bibliography, index, photographs.
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004, paper $21.95.
Reviewed by Mary Jane Warde, Indian historian, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

The New Town Square: Museums and Communities in Transition
by Robert R. Archibald
viii + 224 pages, photographs, notes, index.
Walnut Creek, Calif.: AltaMira Press, 2004, paper $24.95.
Reviewed by Anne Marvin, curator of collections and exhibits, Johnson County Museum of History, Shawnee.

Unaffected by the Gospel: Osage Resistance to the Christian Invasion 1673-1906: A Cultural Victory
by Willard Hughes Rollings
xi + 243 pages, notes, bibliography, index.
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004, cloth $45.00, paperback $22.95.
Reviewed by Kevin J. Abing, assistant curator of research collections, Milwaukee County Historical Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Book Notes

Remington Schuyler's West: Artistic Visions of Cowboys and Indians. Compiled by Henry W. Hamilton and Jean Tyree Hamilton.
(Pierre: South Dakota State Historical Society Press, 2004. ix + 113 pages, cloth $35.00.)

This attractive, beautifully illustrated volume features the writings and illustrations of a once popular early twentieth-century western artist, Remington Schuyler (1884-1955), who first visited the Rosebud Indian Reservation in 1903. "He was a Western illustrator, one of several who in the twentieth century defined the way the world continues to view the West," wrote historian Brian W. Dippie in the book's "afterword." "It is a mythic West, of course. . . . [but] It is long past time that we reinstate Schuyler to the ranks of those he called his peers and recognize his contribution to a mythic West that even at the beginning of the new millennium still exerts a substantial appeal."

Langston Hughes in Lawrence: Photographs and Biographical Resources.
By Denise Low and T. F. Pecore Weso.
(Lawrence, Kans.: Mammoth Publications, 2004. 116 pages, paper $15.00.)

The Lawrence of Langston Hughes's boyhood (1902-1915) was not a "citadel of freedom" and equality for all, but it was a place that impacted the poet/author's life, and Langston Hughes in Lawrence-a volume of photographs with extended captions documenting Hughes's life in the community-deserves the attention of anyone interested in Hughes and/or Lawrence, Kansas. Denise Low is a poet and chair of the English Department at Haskell Indian Nations University; T. F. Pecore Weso teaches history at Longview Community College.

Local Happenings in Lawrence, Kansas, 1921-1946.
By Carol Buhler Francis.
(Lawrence, Kans.: TransomWorks Press, 2004. vii + 135 pages, paper $15.00.)

Carol Francis's most recent book of local history, which begins with some additional information on her "House Building" and is illustrated with advertisements from the local paper and city directories, is a potpourri of historical information gleaned mostly from the Lawrence Journal-World, supplemented by a few other local sources. The year 1929, for example, begins, "The city received 174 fire alarms; Mrs. J. B. Watkins gave the Watkins bank building to the city for its new city hall; . . . Ice broke the dam in May; the city used emergency pumps for its water supply."

Images of America: Fort Riley.
By William McKale and Robert Smith.
(Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2004. 128 pages, paper $19.99.)

This handsome little photographic history of Fort Riley, Kansas, documents more than 150 years of military activity preparing troops for duty from the "battle" fields of Bleeding Kansas (1850s) to the deserts of the Persian Gulf (1990s-present). More than two hundred historic photographs and illustrations are nicely reproduced here, with captions, to tell the fort's colorful story from its frontier and cavalry post days through the two world wars and the interwar years to the "containment and peacekeeping" mission of the last half century. Diamonds in the Rough: The Untold History of Baseball. By Joel Zoss and John Bowman. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004. xiv + 437 pages, paper $17.95.) In the new epilogue for this Bison Books edition-Diamonds in the Rough was first published by Macmillan in 1989-Zoss and Bowman explain that the "overriding thesis" of their book "is that baseball reflects American history and society," a national "cultural barometer." Beginning with rather lengthy chapters on "Pop Culture" and "Creation Tales," the authors proceed to detail various aspects of the game's history, devoting considerable space to women, African Americans, umpires, music, and demon rum, among others, and to the myth and reality (e.g., "Abe Lincoln and Baseball") of the game. They continue to describe baseball "as a uniquely American game, . . . our national pastime," even though they devoted an entire chapter to "The International Game" in the original and acknowledge baseballs increasing popularity overseas in the current edition. Unfortunately, at least for the serious student of sport, Diamonds in the Rough contains no source notes or bibliography.

Native North American Armour, Shields, and Fortification.
By David E. Jones.
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004. xviii + 188 pages, cloth $55.00, paper $24.95.)

Although there is much we do not know or understand about the nature of North American Indian culture, according to David Jones, professor of anthropology at the University of Central Florida, one thing "stands strikingly clear: At the time of contact, warfare was endemic among the North American Indians." Native North American Armour, Shields, and Fortification, which devotes considerable attention to the "horse warriors" of the High Plains culture, seeks to fill a historiographical void by providing "a systematic survey from the Southeast to the Northwest Coast, from the Northeast woodlands to the desert Southwest, and from the sub-Arctic to the Great Plains" of ubiquitous "defensive technology-armor, shields, fortifications."

Life of the Marlows: A True Story of Frontier Life in Early Day.
Revised by William Rathmell, and edited by Robert K. DeArment.
(Denton, Tex.: University of North Texas Press, 2004. x + 206 pages. $27.95.)

Originally published in 1892 and revised by the author, William Rathmell, in 1931, Life of the Marlows was truly "the stuff of Old West legend"-it actually inspired the 1965 western The Sons of Katie Elder, starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, George Kennedy, and Dennis Hopper. This version is effectively introduced and annotated by historian Robert K. DeArment, who has published extensively on western outlaws and lawmen. The saga of the five Marlow brothers, which involves "diabolic" plots, shoot outs, ambushes, lynch law, and much more takes place mainly in Young County, Texas, in the late 1880s, but their story is really one of the Old West more generally that should be of interest to many readers of Kansas History.