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Papers of the Lane Family

Call Number: RH MS 1201


This collection dates back to Senator James H. Lane and follows several family members that include his wife, Mary Elizabeth Baldridge Lane and his daughter Annie Lane Johnson. The collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and books.


  • Creation: 1857-197-?


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

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

History of the Lane Family

James Henry Lane (1814-1866) was a noted military and political leader of Kansas. He was active in his home state of Indiana, serving as a military commander in the Mexican War (1841) and later as Indiana's Lieutenant Governor from 1849-1853. Lane then entered national politics as a Democratic Congressman from Indiana, and served one term (1853-1855). The Free State Movement lured Lane to the Kansas Territory in April of 1855. He became an active leader in the Topeka Movement. In June of 1858, Lane's political career was suspended with his land dispute with Gaius Jenkins, whom Lane killed. Lane temporarily retired from politics. In 1861, the people of Kansas elected Lane as their first U.S. Senator. Upon arriving in Washington, he found the city in great fear of the advancing Southern forces. Lane quickly organized a Kansas "Frontier Guard" which bivouacked temporarily in the White House and won the respect of President Lincoln.

Lane was the real target of the event that became the Lawrence Massacre. On August 21, 1863, William Clarke Quantrill and some 450 Missouri bushwhackers rode into Lawrence looking for Lane and revenge. Quantrill’s men killed 183 men and boys, dragging many of them from their homes and executing them before their families. Lane, however, eluded them. He escaped the raid by racing through a cornfield in his nightshirt.

Over the years, Lane maintained a close friendship with the President and became one of his most respected confidants. In 1863, Lane recruited, under the President's command, a regiment of black soldiers to guard the Kansas borders. Senator Lane died on July 11, 1866 from a self-inflicted wound received ten days earlier.

In the fall of 1842, Lane married Mary Elizabeth Baldridge, a granddaughter of General Arthur St. Clair. Together they had four children, Annie, Thomas, James, and Ellie.


1 Linear Feet (3 document cases + 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Lane Family Collection materials range in date from 1857 to the 1970s and contain correspondence, newspaper clippings, deeds, photographs, and books. The largest number of letters are to James H. Lane, Jr, son of James and Mary Elizabeth Lane. A number items are related to Annie Lane Johnson, daughter of James and Mary Elizabeth Lane and include photographs, a childhood letter from Annie to an aunt, Annie and husband Amos' original wedding invitation, and correspondence between Annie's son Amos Johnson, Jr. and his parents.

Physical Location

RH MS 1201

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1201

Physical Location

RH MS Q323

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Hellmut and Marcy Golde

Separated Materials

Avey, Elijah. The Capture and Execution of John Brown: A Tale of Martyrdom. Chicago: Brethren Publishing, 1906. RH B2703

Blake, Minnie. The Quantrill Raid, with Introductory Poems. Lawrence, Kan, 1929. RH C11316

Connelley, William Elsey. James Henry Lane, the "Grime Chieftain" of Kansas. Topeka: Crane, 1899. RH B2706

Speer, John. A Life of Gen. James H. Lane, "The Liberator of Kansas." Garden City: J. Speer, 1896. RH C11317

Guide to the Lane Family Collection
Papers of the Lane Family
Finding aid prepared by skt, 2010; Finding aid encoded by skt, 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in <language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Lane Family Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS 1201, 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