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Personal Papers of Kate I. Hansen

Call Number: PP 19


Logan, Kansas native Kate I. Hansen (1879-1969) served as the Dean of the Miyagi College Music Department, Miyagi College, Sendai, Japan. Hansen received Bachelor of Arts (1905) and Bachelor of Music (1913) degrees from the University of Kansas. This collection of her papers reflects these activities, as well as her personal and family history, and includes professional and personal correspondence, personal records, newspaper clippings, and photographs.


  • Creation: 1882-2009 (bulk 1882-1968)


Language of Materials

English, Japanese, Danish

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 Kate I. Hansen

Kate Ingeborg Hansen was born July 5, 1879 in Logan, Kansas to Peter Hansen (1846-?) and Alpha Ama Gray (1858-1957), who were married September 1, 1878 in Phillipsburg, Kansas. In 1896 she graduated from Beloit High School, Beloit, Kansas, and went on to earn her teaching license. Her first teaching position was at a rural school just east of Marvin in Phillips County, Kansas in 1896. The following year, 1896-1897, Kate taught and served as assistant principal of the grade school in Logan. In 1899, Hansen moved to Lawrence, Kansas and began to attend the University of Kansas. After earning a music teacher's certificate in 1901, Kate took a teaching position in the Denver, Colorado public schools where she taught both music and German. Hansen returned to the University of Kansas in 1902, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1905. She was active in religious organizations, particularly the Young Women's Christian Association. In February 1905, she was awarded a Phi Beta Kappa Key. After graduating, she returned to Denver to teach until she qualified as a missionary teacher.

Kate, with her friend and college classmate, Lydia Lindsey, were appointed by the Reformed Church in the United States to teach at a girls' school in Japan. They left the United States in 1907 to travel to Miyagi Girls' School in Sendai, Japan, 200 miles north of Tokyo, the capital city. They were to be connected with this school for 45 years, and were to help it grow from a high school into a fully accredited Liberal Arts College with a Conservatory of Music.

Hansen returned to the University of Kansas in 1912 and received her Bachelor of Music degree in 1913. Back in Japan, she organized a conservatory course in music, and served as dean of that department until her retirement. She was also acting president of Miyagi College for the years 1916-1918, 1925-1926, and 1934-1935. In 1926 she entered the graduate school of the Chicago Musical College and received her Masters of Music with honors in 1927.

In 1941 Hansen and Lindsey returned to the United States on the last boat to reach an American port before the attack on Pearl Harbor. During World War II, Hansen lectured and researched in the U.S. In 1947 she and Lindsey returned to Japan to continue teaching in Miyagi Conservatory. During this post-war period Hansen spent a great deal of time doing relief and reconstruction work. Miyagi College had lost seven buildings in the American bombing of Sendai.

Kate Hansen and Lydia Lindsey were honored in 1951 when the Emperor of Japan conferred on each of them a Citation and the Fourth Order of the Sacred Treasure for outstanding work in women's education. In 1955 the University of Kansas and the University of Kansas Alumni Association honored each of them with the citation of Distinguished Service.

Kate Hansen and Lydia Lindsey returned to Hansen's hometown of Logan, Kansas in 1951, where Hansen died in 1969.


24 Linear Feet (29 boxes + 7 oversize boxes )

Scope and Contents

The personal papers of Kate Hansen date from 1882-1986 and have been kept largely in the order in which they were received by the University of Kansas. Correspondence is the largest portion of the collection at 5 linear feet (5 boxes). It predominately covers the years 1895 to 1967, and primarily consists of Hansen's letters home. Other primary correspondents include Lydia Almira Lindsey, dated 1904 to 1949; Roxanna (Roxie) Oldroyd, dated 1889 to 1967; letters from Hansen and Lindsey's students, dated 1908 to 1967; and the Evangelical and Reformed Church (Originally Reformed Church of the United States) from 1925 to 1965. There are also a large number of Hansen's drafts of letters. There are quite a few letters written to family and friends on lengths of decorative rice paper. These are made up of smaller sheets of paper that Hansen attached together. Materials reflecting Hansen's education in Beloit High School and at the University of Kansas include high school grade cards, student papers, and notebooks from Hansen's time at the University of Kansas, including courses in Zoology, Botany, and Music.

Materials relating to Miyagi College make up 3 linear feet (3 boxes) and include course plans and lecture notes, academic schedules, music notebooks, music compositions, Miyagi school catalogs, and student papers (in both English and Japanese). There are also publications about the history of Miyagi College from the time of its foundation through the time when Hansen and Lindsey taught there.

Kate Hansen kept diaries throughout her life. The collection contains 1 linear foot (1 box) of these diaries from the years 1928 to 1966, covering much of the time she lived in Japan. There are also numerous newspaper clippings kept with each diary.

The photographs make up 2 linear feet of the collection (3 boxes). They have been primarily separated from the collection and organized into groupings of identified and unidentified people and places. These groupings have been arranged alphabetically. Photographs include Hansen family pictures, Miyagi Girls' School and Miyagi Girls' College photographs, missionary and church pictures, theatrical productions [Miyagi?], tourism, and pictures of Kate Hansen and Lydia Lindsey while in Japan and traveling. Box 1B contains contact sheets of the collection's photographs.

There is a collection of approximately three thousand postcards (1 linear foot, 1 box) with subjects that range from advertisements and greetings, to tourism and travel. There are also a number of postcard albums, which originally displayed some of the collection.

Physical Location

PP 19

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Polly Bales, 1983-1985

Separated Materials

Official printed program of the installation of Frank Strong as Chancellor at the University of Kansas removed to Frank Strong materials in Archives.

Mensendiek, C. William. A Dream Incarnate: The Beginnings of Miyagi Gakuin for Women. Sendai, Japan: Miyagi Gakuin, 1986. Located in Spencer Research Library at Ua C2007.


Bales, Dane G. and Polly Roth with Calvien E. Harbin. Kate Hansen: The Grandest Mission on Earth From Kansas to Japan, 1907-1951. Lawrence: University of Kansas, 2000.

Processing Information

Box numbers 29-31 not used.

Guide to the Kate I. Hansen Collection
Personal Papers of Kate I. Hansen
Finding aid prepared by skt, 2008. Finding aid encoded by skt, 2008. Finding aid revised by skt, 2010; 2013, skt; eear, 2015; mwh, 2016.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Support for processing portions of this collection was provided by the G. Baley Price Spencer Research Library Fellowship Fund.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal Papers of Kate I. Hansen, University Archives, PP 19, 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