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Deane Emmet Ackers papers

Call Number: RH MS 237


This collection of Deane Emmet Ackers papers contains official papers, certificates, and medals from Ackers' military service in World War I; two scrapbooks which document Ackers' long civilian career as a leader in the utility industry; and records of Ackers' death and funeral service.


  • Creation: 1912 - 1966


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biography of Deane Emmett Ackers, 1893-1966

Deane Ackers was born September 22, 1893, in Abilene, Kansas. He attended schools in Abilene, where he was a classmate of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ackers enrolled at the University of Kansas in 1912, interrupting his studies in 1916 to work as assistant engineer for construction of a new concrete arch bridge across the Kansas River at Lawrence. He graduated from KU in 1917 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in civil engineering and enlisted in the Army.

From 1917-1919, Ackers served in World War I and was a member of the 16th Infantry of the American Expeditionary Forces' (AEF) First Division. For bravery in combat, Ackers was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the French Croix de Guerre.

In 1920, Ackers joined the United Power & Light Corporation, which later became the Kansas Power and Light Company (KP&L). In 1934, he was named president and director of the Kansas Power and Light Company, and from 1956-1966 served as its chairman of the board.

From 1941 to 1949, Ackers also served as president and director of the North American Light & Power Company and was a director of the Northern Natural Gas Company, the Missouri Power & Light Company, the Blue River Power Company, the McPherson Oil & Gas Development Company, and the Kewanee Public Service Company.

Among his many service activities within the state, Ackers served as chairman of the Kansas Emergency Relief Administration, president and director of the Kansas Free Fair Association, chairman and commissioner of the Kansas Industrial Development Commission, chairman of the State of Kansas Crusade for Freedom, and as vice president and trustee of the Menninger Foundation of Topeka. He also served as director of the National Association of Electric Companies and of the Edison Electric Institute.

Ackers received the KU Alumni Association's distinguished service citation in 1948 and the KU Chapter of Sigma Tau's meritorious service award in 1954. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Washburn University of Topeka in 1962.

Deane Ackers died on April 18, 1966. A bequest from Deane Ackers and his wife, Vinnie Drake Ackers, endowed three professorships in KU's School of Engineering, which has since 1971 named scholars and teachers to Deane E. Ackers Distinguished Professorships.


1.75 Linear Feet (5 boxes + 2 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

Papers in the collection include official papers, certificates, and medals from Ackers' military service in World War I. There are two scrapbooks documenting Ackers' long civilian career as a leader in the utility industry; and records of Ackers' death and funeral service. Aside from an occasional form bearing Ackers' signature, documents in the Ackers collection are incoming documents only and consist almost exclusively of documents relating to Ackers' career activities and military service, in general excluding personal and family correspondence.

Arrangement of folder contents for the materials located at RH MS 237 is chronological. Several framed awards, certificates, and citations, as well as some unframed similar items, are available at RH MS Q47 and RH MS GK1.

Physical Location

RH MS 237

Physical Location


Physical Location


Physical Location

RH MS-P 237

Physical Location

RH MS-P 237(f)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, KU Endowment Association, 3 November 1969; KU Executive Secretary Rick Von Ende, 1977; Dean David C. Kraft, KU School of Engineering, 9 October 1979.

Separated Materials

The collection contained three World War I souvenir publications regarding activities of the 16th Infantry of the First Division of the American Expeditionary Forces. These have been catalogued separately Spencer Research Library and can be found at call numbers RH C9065, RH CK326, and RH E619.

Guide to the Deane Emmett Ackers Collection
Deane Emmet Ackers papers
Finding aid prepared by chh, 1977. Finding aid encoded by skt, 2006. Finding aid revised by mrm, 2009; mwh, 2019.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Deane Emmett Ackers papers, Kansas Collection, RH MS 237, 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