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Personal papers of Barbara and Davida Olinger

Call Number: PP 247


This collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, clippings, and photographs, mostly related to Davida Olinger and her travels around the world for work, including to Iran (Persia), Japan and Korea, and various parts of Kansas and Missouri.


  • Creation: circa 1910s-1974, 2020


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.

Biography of Davida Charlotte Olinger (1902-1991)

Davida Charlotte Olinger was born January 9, 1902 in St. Paul, Nebraska. Her parents were the Reverend Doctor Stanton J. Olinger (1868-1921) and Anna Cook (Cooper) Olinger (1872-1974). She was the middle child of three, having an older sister named Barbara Ruth Olinger (1900-2000) and a younger brother named Dwight Stanton Olinger (1907-1984).

Reverend Stanton Olinger had a long association with the University of Kansas as both student and minister. He received degrees from KU in 1895 and 1916, as well as graduating from Highland College in Highland, Kansas and receiving his divinity doctorate from Princeton University.

The family moved around Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas while the children were young, following Olinger's ministerial career. From 1911-1917, Olinger served as University Student Pastor at KU in Lawrence, Kansas. In 1920, the family moved to first Philadelphia and then New York for Olinger's work serving on a general board of education for the Presbyterian Church.

Anna Olinger and her children returned to Lawrence, Kansas after the death of Reverend Olinger in 1921. Anna Olinger served as house mother, acting associate director, and in other roles at Westminster Hall for several years. Westminster Hall was a Presbyterian meeting place and female student residential hall near KU campus.

Davida Olinger attended the University of Kansas, graduating with a bachelors in psychology in 1924. While studying, she trained horses to pay tuition. She later did some graduate study at KU and at the Colorado State Teachers College.

Davida Olinger had a varied career around the world. She was briefly head of girls' physical education at Wichita Falls, Texas's high school, where she organized a girls' pep squad. She traveled to Cuba in 1930 and was a teacher in Hamadan, Iran (Persia) from 1932-1935. Olinger worked briefly at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas later in the 1930s before joining the staff at Stephens College from 1938-1944. At the end of and after World War II, she worked for the U.S. Army in Japan and Korea, returning to Stephens College in 1948 and remaining there until 1967. She was then briefly in Reno County, Kansas.


.75 Linear Feet (2 document cases)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

PP 247

Physical Location

Annex (Contact Spencer Library Public Services)

Related Materials

The papers of Anna Olinger, mother of Barbara and Davida Olinger, are located in the University Archives at PP 113.

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Processing Information

Barbara Olinger's papers formerly located at PP 233.


Guide to the Barbara and Davida Olinger Collection
Personal papers of Barbara and Davida Olinger
Finding aid prepared by ad, 2005. Finding aid encoded by ad, 2005. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Barbara and Davida Olinger, University Archives, PP 247, 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