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William Whites Graves papers

Call Number: RH MS 922


The papers of St. Paul, Kansas newspaper editor and historian William Whites Graves contain research files from which he authored books concerning the history of the Catholic Church in early Kansas, including the history of Osage Mission (which later became the community of St. Paul), the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, and the Greenbush Parish of Crawford County, Kansas. Included are Graves' correspondence files, which include family correspondence, memorabilia, and photographs.


  • Creation: 1857 - 1951


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 W. W. (William Whites) Graves, 1871-1952

William Whites Graves was born on October 26, 1871 near Loretto, Marion County, Kentucky to James Paul and Minerva Ann (Ballard) Graves. In 1881, he became a resident of Kansas, graduating from the St. Francis Institution at Osage Mission, Kansas in 1891. On April 30, 1895, he married Emma C. Hopkins, daughter of Joshua and Cherrille (Peck) Hopkins. She died July 30, 1936 at St. Paul, Kansas. The given name of Graves' second wife was Susie.

Graves was newspaper editor of the St. Paul Journal from 1895 to 1925 and again from 1935 to 1945. He also was editor of the Anti Horse Thief Association News from 1902 to 1925, and for many years was employed as an insurance agent. He was a member of the Royal Neighbors of America, and was a leader of the Neosho County Historical Society and Knights of Columbus. As an active historian, he authored many books regarding St. Paul and Neosho County history and the early history of Jesuits in Kansas, including histories of Neosho County's Osage Mission, various Jesuit leaders in early Kansas, the Kickapoo Indians, and St. Aloysius Church of Greenbush, Crawford County, Kansas. He died July 22, 1952 at St. Paul.


3.25 Linear Feet (7 boxes + 1 volume, 1 folder)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The W. W. Graves papers contain many of Graves' research files concerning the history of the Catholic Church in Kansas, including Jesuit leaders, the history of Osage Mission (later St. Paul in Neosho County, Kansas), the Kickapoo Native Americans, and the Greenbush Parish of Crawford County. Most of Grave's correspondence files (including his career correspondence as well as family correspondence) are located in Box 1. Correspondence related to his research also appears in his research files, which otherwise include source notes, clippings, and many full-text transcriptions of sources consulted by Graves.

Included with family correspondence in Box 1 are letters to Emma (Hopkins) Graves from her mother Cherrille (Peck) Hopkins, as well as Cherrille Peck's 1857 scrapbook containing labeled (often woven) locks of hair from family, friends, and herself. In Box 6 is Graves' handwritten ledger of financial records for participants in the Royal Neighbors of America, founded in the 1890s as a fraternal benefit insurance society. The collection's photographs, which include portraits of W. W. Graves, are at RH MS-P 922. A minute book for the Royal Neighbors of America is located at RH MS C2.

Physical Location

RH MS 922

Physical Location

RH MS-P 922

Physical Location


Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Smoky Hill Booksellers, 1980 [and another date].

Processing Information

Previously shelved at RH MS 309.

Guide to the William Whites Graves Papers
William Whites Graves papers
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2007. Finding aid encoded by mh, 2007. Finding aid revised by cl, 2010; mwh, 2021, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
William Whites Graves papers, Kansas Collection, RH MS 922, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

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

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States