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Minnie Tamar Johnson & Virgil Hooker Grinstead Collection

Minnie Tamar Johnson[before 1923]

Manuscript collection no. 365

 

Introduction

Abstract

Papers of Minnie Tamar Johnson Grinstead, educator, temperance lecturer, first woman member of the Kansas Legislature; of Crawford County, Larned, Liberal, Kan. Included are 2 items of her husband, Virgil Hooker Grinstead, attorney, judge; of Elk City, Dighton, Kan.; Glasgow, Ky.

Documents primarily reflecting her work as lecturer for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) in Kansas and surrounding states. Included are names of acquaintances, some presumably met in her temperance work, in autograph albums, 1889-1901; memoranda, contacts, facts & information useful in W.C.T.U. activities in her account, and note book, 1902-1917; and entries of family, W.C.T.U., & community events in her Diary (1912-1913). Also included is an autobiographical essay (incomplete) describing campaigning for and serving in the Kansas House of Representatives as the first woman in the Legislature. In addition, the collection contains a journal by her husband, Virgil Hooker Grinstead, of his move from Elk City, Kan., to Glasgow, Ky., June-July 1878, and his certificate of appointment, Mar. 22, 1889, to a Kansas District court judgeship.

Dates

1878-[not before 1923]

Quantity

0.4 ft. (1 box)

Creator

Grinstead, Minnie J. (Minnie Johnson), 1869-1925.

Title

Minnie Tamar Johnson & Virgil Hooker Grinstead collection

Identification

Ms. collection no. 365 (MC 365)

Repository

Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka)

Biography

Minnie Tamar Johnson Grinstead

Minnie Tamar Johnson was born 30 September 1869, in Crawford County, Kansas, to Jonas M. and Martha Emerich Johnson. She started school at Walnut, Kansas, at age five and graduated from high school at the age of fourteen.

She wanted to teach, but because the law required that teachers be sixteen years of age, she helped her father on the farm and hired out as a farmhand to neighbors until she met the age requirement. She started teaching at age sixteen or seventeen, and in time earned a life teaching certificate from Kansas State Normal School of Emporia, now Emporia State University. She taught for eleven or twelve years, most if not all of them at Pittsburg, Kansas. For several years at the end of her teaching career she was also the principal of the East building in Pittsburg.

Minnie was baptized by her father, a Baptist pastor, and she joined that denomination. In November 1899 she was licensed by the Pittsburg Baptist church to preach. In later life she was pastor of the Bethel church northwest of Liberal, Kansas.

She ran as a Republican for Crawford County superintendent of public instruction in the 1896 election but lost in the Populist landslide of that year. She quit teaching the same year to become a lecturer for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.). The organization appointed her State evangelist in 1900; in addition, she went as a delegate to the W.C.T.U. national convention that year.

Minnie Johnson married Virgil Hooker Grinstead, an attorney and former Lane County judge and county attorney in Lane and Pawnee counties, on 31 October 1901 in Larned, Kansas. They had four children, but only two survived to adulthood. Grace Darlene, later Darlene Conover and Darlene Vance, was born 26 June 1906, and Milton Wayde was born 10 October 1907. In the fall of 1906 the family moved to Liberal.

A good orator, Minnie campaigned for prohibition in Missouri in 1910. She also crusaded for women suffrage and chaired the Seventh Congressional District Committee in the successful 1912 effort to amend the Kansas constitution to allow full voting rights for women. As a result, she was mentioned as a Republican nominee for the United States Senate in 1914.

She was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1918, the first woman to serve in the Legislature. She was re-elected in 1920 and again in 1922. While a legislator, she served on the Judiciary Committee, in 1921 the first woman in any State ever to have done so. She introduced a bill to award damages directly to women who sustained injury rather than having payments go to their husbands, but it did not pass. In 1923 she introduced legislation, ultimately unsuccessful, outlawing the sale of cigarettes in Kansas. Her legislative victories included a bill to require "auto-gates," or cattle guards, instead of wire gates where fences cross highways; a bill appropriating $500,000 to build housing for freshman women at five State colleges; a Free Library Bill allowing small towns to levy funds for libraries; and the Coverture Bill giving certain labor and legal rights to housewives.

In 1920 she was selected as an alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention. At the 1924 convention in Cleveland, she seconded the nomination of Calvin Coolidge for president.

She served on the first State School Code Commission in 1921 and 1922 which examined statutes related to education and recommended changes to the Legislature.

After Virgil Grinstead passed away 22 February 1924 Minnie declined to run again for the House, preferring instead to compete for the post of probate judge of Seward County. She was elected and served until she died on 24 Dec 1925. At the time of her death she was being considered by the Coolidge administration for the post of United States civil-service commissioner.

Virgil Hooker Grinstead

Virgil Hooker Grinstead was born 9 July 1848 on a farm in Metcalfe County, Kentucky, the son of Philip Wade and Angelina (Jones) Grinstead. He became a teacher in Kentucky. In 1869 he earned the degree of Master Mason in the Masonic Lodge. He married Laura Temple Shirley on 24 November 1870. In the early 1870s he was admitted to the Kentucky bar.

Soon thereafter he came to Elk City, Kansas, and practiced law there.

In 1878 he returned to his native State to be a deputy collector of internal revenue for the Second Collection District and because he thought Kentucky's climate might improve his wife's health.

He once again came west to Kansas in 1885, again hoping that the higher altitude and drier air of western Kansas would help Laura's condition. He helped establish Lane County and Dighton. The same year he was named the first probate judge of the county, and he was re-elected in 1887. In 1889 he was appointed the first judge of the 33rd Judicial District which included Greeley, Lane, Ness, Rush, Scott, and Wichita counties; the following year he was elected to the post. In all he served five years. Later he was Lane County attorney.

He moved to Larned, Kansas, in 1898 and became Pawnee County attorney. His wife Laura died 30 August 1899 in Lexington, Kentucky. They had no children.

He married Minnie Tamar Johnson on 31 October 1901 in Larned. They had four children, but only two survived to adulthood. Grace Darlene, later Darlene Conover and Darlene Vance, was born 26 June 1906, and Milton Wayde was born 10 October 1907.

In the fall of 1906 the family moved to Liberal, Kansas. Two years later he was elected Seward County attorney. After his service in that position he was named an assistant attorney-general, and he prosecuted liquor dealers.

He was a member and elder in the Christian church, now Disciples of Christ.

Virgil Grinstead passed away 22 February 1924 in Liberal.

Scope and Content

This collection provides a tantalizing but incomplete look at the life of Minnie Johnson Grinstead and her husband, V. H. Grinstead. Unfortunately the items that comprise this collection are only a fragment of the documentary record that the couple must have created in the course of their separate careers. Regrettably no correspondence from either of them has survived, aside from the one small series of letters concerning the potential admission of a Mrs. Anderson to the William Small Memorial Home in Leavenworth, Kansas (Subgroup I, series D).

The collection provides more information about Mrs. Grinstead's activities as an official of the Kansas Woman's Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) than it does for her three terms as the first woman member of the Kansas Legislature. The Autograph Albums, 1889-1901 (Subgroup I, series A), give names and sometimes addresses of her students, friends, and presumably some of the people she met in the course of her temperance work in Kansas and neighboring States. More significant, however, is the Account, and Note Book, 1902-1917 (Subgroup I, series B), which contains memoranda, names of contacts, facts that could be used in lectures, and other information she found useful as she traveled through Kansas and surrounding States on behalf of the W.C.T.U.

Mrs. Grinstead's "Diary," 1912-1920 (Subgroup I, series C), with entries covering the period from September 1912 through December 1913, provides an even more intimate look at her daily life. In it, she recorded her daily activities as she attempted to balance her professional and family lives. She wrote of her travels on behalf of the W.C.T.U., her husband's and children's activities, housework, her pregnancy and the delivery and burial of her stillborn child, and events in the community. It is unknown whether she kept other diaries.

The only document directly pertaining to her service in the Kansas House of Representatives is the essay "My Experience in the Kansas Legislature. Three Regular and Three Special Sessions" (Subgroup I, series E), presumably written following the expiration of the 1923 special session. It is a detailed discussion of why she ran, her election campaigns, her reception by other legislators, and bills she shepherded to passage. Unfortunately only the first two pages are extant.

There are only two items relating to the distinguished career of her husband, V. H. Grinstead: the Log of a Journey, June-July 1878 (Subgroup II, series A), describing his trip from Elk City, Kansas, to Glasgow, Kentucky, so he could take the position of deputy collector of internal revenue for the Second Collection District of Kentucky, and his certificate of appointment to the judgeship of the 33rd Judicial District, 12 March 1889 (Subgroup II, series B).

The journal is an interesting description of the towns, roads, campsites, and countryside in southeast Kansas, Missouri, southern Illinois, and western Kentucky. He traveled roughly east from Elk City to Nevada, Missouri; then northeast to Boonville, Missouri; from there eastward to Saint Louis; then southeast to Bowling Green, Kentucky; and east to his destination. Some of the entries, written in pencil, are badly smudged and are hard to read. Some individual pages may have been photographed several times at different exposures to enhance readability.

The appointment certificate was signed by Kansas Governor Lyman U. Humphrey and Secretary of State William Higgins. It appointed Mr. Grinstead the first judge of the newly-created 33rd district, which contained Greeley, Lane, Ness, Rush, Scott, and Wichita counties.

In the Woman's Kansas Day Club (WKDC) history collection, no. 659, Historians' Report, Seventh District, 1933-1934, is a document describing how the WKDC sponsored a bronze tablet honoring Minnie Grinstead in a Liberal, Kansas, park.

Mrs. Grinstead's Scrapbook is in the Library, call number K 040 G885. Biographical information about her in the Library includes biographical sketches, resolutions and memorials of the Legislature, articles describing early Kansas women legislators, and newspaper clippings; the Library also has additional biographical information about V. H. Grinstead. Researchers should consult appropriate catalogs and indexes.

Because of the paucity of material in this collection, those interested in a documentary history of Mr. or Mrs. Grinstead's life will have to consult other primary or secondary sources. Thankfully, source documentation on temperance in the Midwest and Kansas politics and government exists in a number of other manuscript collections, record groups in the State archives, and published sources. The "Additional Information" section, below, lists other potential manuscript sources.

Contents List

Organization of the Collection

These records are organized into two alphabetical subgroups, a larger one reflecting the activities of Minnie J. Grinstead and a smaller one containing the papers of her husband, V. H. Grinstead.

Description of the Collection

To request materials, give the box or folder number in (parentheses) above the description.

Subgroup I (007-07-05-03)
Minnie J. Grinstead.
Papers, 1889-[not before 1923].
6 folders (0.2 ft.)

Primarily documents relating to her work as a lecturer and State evangelist for the Kansas Woman's Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.). Included are Autograph Albums, 1889-1901, in which acquaintances penned sentiments; an Account, and Note Book, 1902-1917, containing considerable information about W.C .T.U. activities; a "Diary" (1912-1913), 1912-1920, describing how she balanced her personal and professional lives; correspondence, Jan. 18-20, 1920, relating to placing a woman in a home for the elderly; and the first 2 pages of an essay describing her political campaigns and service as the first woman State legislator in Kansas.

Organized into 5 series: A. [Autograph albums] 1889-1901.-- B.[Account, and note book] 1902-1917.-C. Diary (1912-1913), 1912-1920.-D. [Correspondence and pamphlet concerning the William Small Memorial Home, Kan.] Jan. 18-20, 1920.-E. My experience in the Kansas Legislature ... [not before 1923].

Series A (007-07-05-03)
[Autograph albums.] 1889-1901.
3 v. in 2 folders

Albums into which Minnie Johnson's students and acquaintances in all parts of Kansas and other States penned sentiments. Presumably some of the authors were people she met on W.C.T.U. speaking trips.
Arranged chronologically.

folder 1 (007-07-05-03)
v. [1], 1889-1891
folder 2 (007-07-05-03)
1893-1901, [2] v.
v. [2], 1893-1897
v. [3], 1899-1901

Series B (folder 3) (007-07-05-03)
[Account, and note book] 1902-1917.
1 v. (unpaged)

Pocket book into which Minnie Johnson Grinstead entered addresses, notes, expenses, and receipts. Most of the entries pertain to her W.C.T.U. activities in Kansas and surrounding States. The notes include sayings; a draft letter; statistics; information about proposed legislation; names of W.C.T.U. members & officers in various communities, contacts, and "converts"; reports & results of her work; members' pledges made to the organization; itineraries; subjects of sermons & lectures; recipes; and names of people recommended to the Governor's Office.

Series C (folder 4) (007-07-05-03)
Diary : 1912-1913, 1912-1920.
1 v. (unpaged)

Diary entries for the period September 1912-December 1913. Entries tell of her husband & children, daily life, guests, W.C.T.U. activities, pregnancy & stillborn child, birthday, and travels as well as church affairs, lectures & chautauquas, deaths, and weather in the community. Also included are memoranda for the period 1912-1920 including a note about an upcoming Sunday School organizational meeting, personal information, telephone numbers, accounts, lists, and a recipe.

Series D (folder 5) (007-07-05-03)
[Correspondence and pamphlet concerning the William Small Memorial Home (Kan.)]
Jan. 18-20, 1920.
2 items.

A letter to Minnie Grinstead from Mary Fitzwilliam Carney, corresponding secretary of the William Small Memorial Home for Aged Women, Leavenworth, Kan., stating the terms of admission to the home and enclosing rules & an application. In addition, there is a letter from Mrs. Grinstead to J. N. Evans, Liberal, Kan., forwarding the rules and application for the potential use of a Mrs. Anderson.

Arranged chronologically.

Series E (folder 6) (007-07-05-03)
My experience in the Kansas Legislature : three regular and three special sessions, [not before 1923.]
2 leaves (incomplete)

The first 2 pages of an essay describing her campaigns for and service in the Kansas House of Representatives. She discussed how she campaigned, lived in Topeka, worked with other legislators, and chaired the Public Welfare Committee; she also tells of bills she introduced that passed. The remainder of the manuscript is missing.

Subgroup II
V. H. Grinstead.
Papers, 1878-1888.
2 items.

Original journal and an abridged transcript of his trip from Elk City, Kan., to Glasgow, Ky., June-July 1878, and his appointment certificate as judge of the District court, Mar. 12, 1889.

Organized into 2 series: A. Log of a journey, June-July 1878.--B. Kansas. Governor, 1889-1893 (Humphrey). [Certificate of appointment] Mar. 12, 1889.

Series A (folder 7) (007-07-05-03)
Log of a Journey, June-July 1878.
2 documents

Original pocket diary and abridged transcript (typewritten) ([5] leaves) of his trip from Elk City, Kan., to Glasgow, Ky.; the transcript is titled "Diary of V. H. Grinstead, 1878." The journal tells of the condition of roads, names towns & campsites, and describes his observations along the way. He traveled via Sedalia, Columbia, St. Charles, & St. Louis; Mo., and Madisonville & Bowling Green, Ky. The original includes full entries, mileages of this trip, and memoranda related to his law practice that does not appear on the transcript.

Organized so that the original volume precedes the transcript.

Grinstead's daughter, Darlene (Grinstead) Conover, edited the diary and published it as "Goodby to Kansas, Log of My Father's Wagon Trip to Kentucky in 1878" in The Kansas Magazine, 1936, pp. 53-55, Kansas State Historical Society Library call number K 050 K13 1936. This published edition is also an abridgement of the original but differs from the transcript in the collection.

Series B (oversize) (073-05-09-01)
Kansas. Governor (1889-1893 : Humphrey).
Certificate of appointment : DS, Lyman U. Humphrey, Topeka, Kan., to V. H. Grinstead, Mar. 12, 1889.
1 p.

Certificate appointing V. H. Grinstead judge of the 33rd Judicial District. Countersigned by William Higgins, secretary of State.

Related Materials

Kansas Woman's Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.)/Mary Evelyn Dobbs collection, no. 170

Legislature history collection, no. 614

"Temperance and Prohibition Papers," series III (selected rolls), containing Annual Meeting Minutes, 1853-1892 and 1897-1905, and Correspondence, 1858-1882, of the national W.C.T.U., microfilm rolls MS 1362—MS 1368, available through interlibrary loan

Temperance history collection, no. 645

"Woman Suffrage History, Collection No. 656, 1867-1911," microfilm roll MF 1049, available through interlibrary loan

Woman's Christian Temperance Union history collection, no. 657

Researchers may also want to examine the printed records of the Kansas Legislature and publications of the W.C.T.U. in the historical society's Library and the records of the governor and the Legislature, record groups 252 and 428 respectively, in the holdings of the State archives, part of the historical society.

Index Terms

Access Points

The terms listed below may include names, places, subjects, occupations, titles, and other words describing this collection. These terms are used in the ATLAS catalog used by the Kansas State Historical Society and affiliated libraries in Topeka, http://lib.wuacc.edu, as well as libraries and archives subscribing to OCLC, a national library/archives database. Searches on these words should produce a description of this collection as well as other books and collections that may be of interest.

Corporate names

Kansas. District Court (Thirty-third Judicial District)
Kansas. Legislature. House
Woman's Christian Temperance Union, Kansas.

Genre/Physical characteristics

American diaries
Autograph albums-West (U.S.)
Diaries.
Essays.
Journals (Accounts)

Geographical names

Kansas.
Kansas-Elections-1918.
United States, Central (local term)

Occupations

Educators.
Judges.
Lawyers.
Legislators.
Lecturers.
Prohibitionists.

Personal names (other correspondents)

Grinstead, V. H. (Virgil Hooker), 1848-1924.

Subjects

Temperance-West (U.S.)
Women legislators-Kansas.

Additional Information for Researchers

Acquisition information

The Account, and Note Book, 1902-1917 (Subgroup I, series B); "My Experiences in the Kansas Legislature" [not before 1923] (Subgroup I, series E); and Virgil Grinstead's Log of a Journey, June 27-July 29, 1878 (Subgroup II, series A), were donated in 1948 to the Kansas State Historical Society by the Woman's Kansas Day Club which had been given the items by V. H. and Minnie Grinstead's daughter, Darlene (Grinstead) Conover, later Darlene (Grinstead) Conover Vance. The remainder of the collection was given directly by Mrs. Vance in 1978.

Restrictions on access

None

Copyright/Publication rights

The Kansas State Historical Society does not own literary property rights to these records. The subject of copyright was not addressed when these papers were donated to the society, consequently we presume that the heirs of Virgil Hooker and Minnie Tamar Johnson Grinstead or their assigns own the copyright to these papers.

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (title 17, U.S. Code). The user is cautioned that the publication of the contents of this microfilm may be construed as constituting a violation of literary property rights. These rights derive from the principle of common law, affirmed in the copyright law of 1976 as amended, that the writer of an unpublished letter or other manuscript has the sole right to publish the contents thereof unless he or she affirmatively parts with that right; the right descends to his or her legal heirs regardless of the ownership of the physical manuscript itself. It is the responsibility of a user or his or her publisher to secure the permission of the owner of literary property rights in unpublished writing.

Preferred Citation

Minnie Tamar Johnson & Virgil Hooker Grinstead Collection, 1878-[not before 1923], ms. collection no. 365, Library and Archives Division, Kansas State Historical Society.

Accruals

No additions to this collection are anticipated.