Skip to main content

Kansas Republican Party records

Call Number: RH MS 923


This collection is comprised of the records of the Kansas Republican Party, the Kansas organization of the National Republican Party, and reflects the group's activities during the decades of the 1960s and 1970s. Records include subject and research files regarding legislation and political topics of interest to Republican constituents; copies of legislative bills; conference, convention, inaugural, and other event files; chronological files; campaign information; financial documentation; newspaper clipping files; audio-visual material and photographs; and other related materials.


  • Creation: 1960 - 1979


Conditions Governing Access

These materials are stored in the KU Annex off-site storage area.

All researchers interested in reviewing this material must consult Spencer Research Library Public Services staff (785-864-4334 or, 9-5 M-F CST) no less than three days in advance of a planned visit. Be advised that drop-in requests for this material cannot be accommodated.

Conditions Governing Use

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

History of the Kansas Republican Party

The Kansas Republican Party was officially founded on May 18, 1859 at a convention held at the Jillson Hotel in Osawatomie, coinciding with the time that the National Republican Party came to prominence as the main rival to the Democratic Party in the 1850s. Early issues in Kansas that the Republican Party faced and addressed were antislavery and alcohol prohibition. The issue of prohibition ultimately split the party into two factions in the late 1870s, with a group supporting total prohibition led by John St John, and a group opposed led by John Martin. The St John faction eventually won out, and St John was elected governor in 1878 and 1880, leading Kansas to impose prohibition several decades before national prohibition, in 1880. St John was defeated in the 1882 election when many Republicans who opposed Prohibition instead voted for a Democrat.

In 1884 the state party convention nominated John Martin as their candidate instead, hoping he would rehabilitate the party. He was elected in 1884 and again in 1886. As the party re-grouped, it became a national forerunner in social reform. In 1882, Kansas elected the first African American to statewide office when Republican Edwin McCabe became statewide auditor, and in 1888, Republican Alfred Fairfax of Chautauqua County became the first African American in the state legislature. In 1887, Kansas elected Republican Susanna Salter as mayor of Argonia, Kansas. She was the first woman ever elected to the office of city mayor, and most agree the first woman to serve in any executive office in the United States.

In the early 1900s, as the demographic and economic makeup of Kansas was transitioning, the Republican Party of the state again split into factions. The two major factions were the “Old Guard,” “Standpatters,” “Regulars,” or “the Bosses” - the older established party leadership – and the “Boss Busters” or “Insurgents,” later called the “Progressives,” who sought to bring about political and economic reform. Among Progressive reforms of the time were the 1912 amendment to the State Constitution that granted women’s suffrage, supported by both sides of the Republican Party. From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, the Kansas Republican Party lost vitality and was largely held together by U.S. Senator Bob Dole, a Russell native, University of Kansas graduate and donor, and WWII veteran. Dole became a major national Republican player, and he campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980, 1988, and 1996, when he won the primary but lost to incumbent Bill Clinton. After his defeat, he became a political celebrity and maintained strong national political influence until his death in 2021.

Other prominent Kansas Republicans include President Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. Senator (1996-2011) and Governor (2011-2018) Sam Brownback, Governor Arthur Capper (1915-1919), Governor Frank Carlson (1947-1950), Vice President Charles Curtis (1929-1933), Republican Chair John Hamilton (1936-1940), Senator John James Ingalls (credited with suggesting the state motto and designing its seal), Governor Alf Landon (1933-1937) and his daughter Senator Nancy Kassebaum (1978-1997), Senator James Pearson (1962-1978), Governor Andrew Schoeppel (1943-1947), and Governor Walter Stubbs (1909-1913). 28 of Kansas’ 33 U.S. Senators have been Republican, as have 32 of its 45 governors. The party has a local committee for each of Kansas’ 105 counties, and its state committee is located at 800 SW Jackson St., Suite 1120 in Topeka, KS.

[Information retrieved from the Kansas GOP website and Kansapedia by the Kansas Historical Society.]


95.5 Linear Feet (104 boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The collection is loosely organized in multiple alphabetical runs. Boxes are sometimes identified with a specific political figure in the Kansas Republican Party, notably Kansas Governors Robert Docking and Robert Bennett, U.S. Representatives William "Bill" Roy and Joe Skubitz, and Kansas Attorney General Vern Miller.

Topics that appear repeatedly in the collection include but are not limited to abortion, agriculture, bingo and gambling, consumers and consumer protection, education, ethics, the 1970s energy crisis, drugs and drug abuse, specific counties in Kansas, inflation, taxes, Vietnam, Watergate and Nixon, etc.

Physical Location

RH MS 923

Physical Location

Contact Spencer Library Public Services (Library Annex)

Other Finding Aids

Boxes 1-85 are described in the attached inventory: ksrl.kc.republicanpartykan.pdf.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Kansas Republican Party, 1982

Processing Information

This collection was reboxed from shipping boxes into cubic foot boxes, with the result that the original contents did not always fit into one cubic foot box. When this was the case, A, B, and very occasionally C boxes were created for a single box number to maintain the accuracy of the original inventory list. On attached Pdf listing, where "A/B" follows box number, box A and B must be paged if all of original box contents are to be represented.

Processing Information

Previously shelved at RH MS 351.

Guide to the Kansas Republican Party Collection
Kansas Republican Party records
Finding aid prepared by rh, 2007. Finding aid encoded by rh, 2007. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2016; kls and mwh, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Kansas Republican Party records, RH MS 923, 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