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Clifton Crain Otto collection of the Western Insurance Companies records

Call Number: RH MS 1146


This collection of the records of the Western Insurance Companies of Fort Scott, Kansas was compiled by Clifton Crain Otto, former President and Chairman of the Board of said companies. The records include annual reports, company histories, correspondence, event programs, newspaper and journal articles, photographs, and items of memorabilia bearing The Western's name and logo including a large road atlas.


  • Creation: 1921 - 1998


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 Clifton Crain Otto and The Western Insurance Companies

Clifton Crain Otto was born March 1, 1911 in Bates County, Missouri. In 1917, the Otto family moved to Fort Scott, Kansas, where Mr. Otto graduated from public schools. In 1928, he became an employee of The Western Insurance Companies, with home offices in Fort Scott.

Following a series of promotions in succeeding years, Mr. Otto became President of The Western Insurance Companies in 1955. During the fourteen years of his presidency, The Western quadrupled in size, growing from a small company to one of the nation's premier casualty insurance carriers. A new $1.1 million addition to the Fort Scott headquarters was completed and occupied in 1967. In 1969, Mr. Otto was elected Vice Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee Chairman. He then served as Chairman of the Board from 1972 until his retirement in 1976. His history of The Western, titled The Western Story, was published in 1976. In 1986, Mr. Otto was named to the Kansas Insurance Education Foundation's Hall of Fame. He died at Fort Scott on June 6, 1997.


3.25 Linear Feet (7 boxes + 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

These career papers of Clifton Crain Otto contain records of the Western Insurance Companies of Fort Scott, Kansas, where Otto was employed from 1928 to 1976, serving for many years as President and then as Vice Chairman and as Chairman of the Board. Included are histories of the Western Insurance Companies, as well as annual reports, company publications, event programs, news and journal articles regarding The Western and Mr. Otto, photographs, and other memorabilia bearing the Western Insurance Companies's name and logo. The records date chiefly from Mr. Otto's period of employment and leadership with the Western Insurance Companies, but also include a 1921 signed original letter from the founder, Oscar Rice. Also included are records of honors received by Mr. Otto post-retirement, as well as his 1997 obituary. Collection arrangement is largely chronological. With few exceptions, the collection's photographs are at RH MS-P 1146. At RH MS Q295 are covers and tear sheets of an atlas bearing full-cover advertising by the Western Insurance Companies.

Physical Location

RH MS 1146

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1146

Physical Location

RH MS Q295

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Dr. David A. Otto and Elizabeth B. Otto of Fort Mill, SC

Gift, Marie Annette (Otto) Kliewer and Duane J. Kliewer of Omaha, NE

Gift, Nancy Richards, 2020.

Guide to The Western Insurance Companies Collection
Clifton Crain Otto collection of the Western Insurance Companies records
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2008; ; Finding aid encoded by mh, 2008; revised by, cmh 2011, eje 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
The Western Insurance Companies Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS 1146, 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