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Ladies Literary League (Lawrence, Kan.) records

Call Number: RH MS 620


The Ladies Literary League of Lawrence, Kansas, was founded in 1882 as the Etesian Club, a women's reading club originally formed to promote culture and social intercourse. Within a few years, the group changed its name to the Ladies Literary League (LLL). This collection includes the club's records, correspondence, clippings, photographs, governance documents, yearbook/program books, secretary minute books, a recipe book, reminiscences, and histories and publications written by club members over the years.


  • Creation: 1882 - 2020


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 Ladies' Literary League

Five ladies of Lawrence, Kansas met in November 1882 to organize a "ladies social reading club for mutual improvement." Initially called the Etesian Club, the name was given to the group by Mrs. Ropes, one of the charter members with a classical education.

By 1894 the group changed its name to the Ladies Literary League but went by L.L.L. in an attempt to keep its real name a secret; membership claimed when asked that the letters stood for the Lovely Lawrence Ladies.

At first every first Tuesday of the month the group read Shakespeare aloud but stopped this tradition by the early 20th century. The group also introduced a critic for each individual reading a review of a book, which tradition lasted until the 1940s. The group met weekly until the late 1950s, when it began meeting every other week.

The league for several decades took on projects beyond a literary nature, including temperance and women's suffrage. Over time they limited their activities to strictly literary activities such as book reviews and discussions. A Program Committee guides what books will be discussed; membership takes turns serving on the committee, as well as taking turns hosting the meetings at their homes.

The club makes sure to celebrate the anniversary of its founding. From early on members were concerned about retention of their records; as early as 1964, they were considering housing them in the Kansas Room at the University of Kansas' library. The club has a tradition of providing a scholarship to a KU student and donating books in memoriam to the Lawrence Public Library when a member of the club passes away.

In 2017 members voted to become a more casual, social group, doing away with the constitution and bylaws.


4.25 Linear Feet (8 boxes + 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 620

Physical Location

RH MS 1297

Physical Location

RH MS 1384

Physical Location

RH MS R530

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Ladies Literary League, 1994, 1996, 2002, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2023.

Processing Information

Materials from RH MS 620 Box 3 are now located at RH MS 1297 Boxes 1-3.

Guide to the Ladies Literary League Collection
Ladies Literary League (Lawrence, Kan.) records
Finding aid prepared by mab, 1/17/2006. Finding aid encoded by mab, 2006. Finding aid revised by ea, 2013; cmp, 2022; eje, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Ladies Literary League (Lawrence, Kan.) records, RH MS 620, 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