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Alvah and Mary Shelden collection

Call Number: RH MS 1018


The Alvah and Mary Shelden Collection contains their 1879 to 1885 journal of activities as residents of El Dorado, Kansas, as well as autobiographical and biographical accounts of their lives as early settlers and teachers in Butler County, Kansas. A typescript of their journal is included.


  • Creation: 1879 - 1885


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Alvah and Mary (Lamb) Shelden

Alvah Shelden was born January 15, 1849 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin to Benjamin and Louisa (Vaught) Shelden. In 1859, the family was living at Helena, Texas, when Alvah's father was shot and killed by a pro-slavery sympathizer. Louisa Shelden's brother, Martin Vaught, came to the family's aid, transporting them from Texas to the Chelsea Township of Butler County, Kansas. The family later lived for a time with Louisa Shelden's father in Illinois.

In 1868, the Shelden family returned to Kansas, soon settling again in the Chelsea Township, where Alvah began teaching school in 1872 and in 1876 was elected Butler County superintendent of schools. On January 28, 1877, he married schoolteacher Mary M. Lamb, with whom he had six children. Mary Shelden was a native of Ohio, whose parents had emigrated to the Butler County community of Douglass in 1869. The Sheldens made their home at Butler County's El Dorado community, where Alvah Shelden purchased the Walnut Valley Times in 1881, serving as the newspaper's owner and editor for thirty years. He died on December 17, 1911 at El Dorado.


.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 1018

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Doris M. Strawn, 1995

Guide to the Alvah and Mary Shelden Collection
Alvah and Mary Shelden collection
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2007 ; Finding aid encoded by mh, 2007
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in<language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
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Preferred citation
Alvah and Mary Shelden Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS 1018, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States