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University of Kansas Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies records

 Record Group
Call Number: RG 35


The Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies (LSI) was created in 1990 from the 67-year-old University of Kansas Bureau of Child Research. Today it is one of the largest and most highly regarded human development and disabilities research centers in the country. The LSI brings together scientists of diverse disciplines including gerontololgy, psychology, psychiatry, speech pathology, sociology, education, biology, pharmacology, physiology and medicine to study human development from its genetic origins through the final stages of life. The LSI supports basic and applied research, treatment and assessment clinics, service coordination and delivery, consultation, and training—notably, training of the next generation of scientists. The Life Span Institute’s 13 centers and Peruvian affiliate have more than 150 programs and projects active at any one time in Kansas as well as other states and Peru. This collection of records includes artificial records, news releases, historical materials, and correspondence.


  • Creation: 1923 - 2010


Conditions Governing Access

Some series in this record group will require permission from the office of origin before use. Personnel and student records are closed in accordance with applicable law. All equests are subject to review by the Archives staff to determine accessibility.

Conditions Governing Use

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

History of Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies

The Kansas legislature provided for establishment of a Bureau of Child Research at the University of Kansas in 1921 (1922?), leaving organizational structure to the university administration. The bureau was not activated until the 1930s when budgetary problems made it short-lived. Reactivation came in June of 1954 with Dr. Ethan P. Allen, director of the Governmental Research Center, serving as bureau director until it could be reorganized as an independent division. Others included on staff at that early period were Donald Pilcher, assistant director of non-clinical research, and B. W. Tucker as a part-time research associate.

New emphasis on activities of the Bureau of Child Research came with the appointment in 1956 of Dr. Richard L. Schiefelbusch as director. He was to provide coordination of effort among the dozen K.U. divisions in Lawrence and at the Medical Center in Kansas City that were already concerned with research, training, and state service for children in Kansas. The new organizational pattern would also intensify and enlarge K.U.’s contribution to the statewide Institute for Exceptional Children.

The policy making arm of the bureau was a coordinating staff, representing the university divisions directly concerned with the welfare of children. The co-coordinating staff members were from the home campus: Dr. Joseph F. Meisels, acting chairman of the Department of Social Work; Dr. Erik Wright, director of the Psychological Clinic; Dr. Gordon Collister, director the Guidance Bureau; Dr. Robert W. Ridgway, assistant professor of elementary education; Dr. Alfred H. Moore, assistant professor of special education; Dr. Edna Hill, chairman of the Home Economics department, child welfare; and Dr. Richard L. Schiefelbusch, speech and hearing and from the K.U. Medical Center: Dr. Cornelius P. Goetrzinger, assistant professor of hearing and speech; Dr. C. Arden Miller, assistant professor of pediatrics; Dr. H. David Francisco, instructor in orthopedics: Dr. George Frankl, assistant professor, child study unit; Edward Tuttle, social service. Joining the group after return from sabbatical were June Miller, associate professor of hearing and Dr. Harry Gianakon, assistant professor of pediatrics and child study.

A consulting staff was assembled from members of the faculty who would have important contributions to make to the bureau’s activities. These included from Lawrence: Dr. Roger G. Barker, psychology; Dr. Ethan P. Allen, political science; Dr. Herbert A. Smith, education; Dr. cloy S. Hobson, education; Prof. Quintin Johnstone, law; Prof. Luella M. Foster, home economics: Dr. Lawrence S. Bee, home economics and sociology; Dr. Carroll D. Clark, sociology, and from the Medical Center: Dr. Herbert C. Miller, pediatrics; Dr. James B. Heaver, orthopedics; Dr. G. O. Proud, otorhinolaryngology; Dr. Donald L. Ross, physical medicine; Jeanne Holman, nursing; Dr. David W. Robinson, plastic surgery.

A central office for the bureau was provided in the remodeled Bailey Hall, new home of the School of Education.

By the 1970s the Bureau of Child Research had grown into the largest research organization of the University. The Bureau administered a combined national center for research in mental retardation and related aspects of human development and a university affiliated clinical training center. The Bureau had laboratories and training sites in Kansas City (KUMC), in Parson (Parsons State Hospital and Training Center), and on the University campus in Lawrence. Programs included various research efforts with children with developmental disabilities in laboratory as well as in community settings, an international program featuring close and continuing cooperation with member nations of the Organization of American States (OAS), nationally and internationally distributed film and print media products, and an outreach project that provides services in the field to children with developmental disabilities and their families. Emphasis was upon methods and materials for the care and treatment of children with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities and the professional training of students for careers of service to clients with disabilities.


388.25 Linear Feet (406 boxes)

Language of Materials


Series List

Series list for this record group. Materials in 35/0 are arranged chronologically.

Accounting Records
Working Papers
Artificial Records
Beach Center on Families and Disabilities
Ross Copeland's correspondence
Kansas Mental Retardation Research Center
Richard L. Schiefelbusch
Kansas Early Childhood Research Institute
Research and Training Center on Independent Living
Educational Systems Associates
International Programs
Gerontology Review
Gerontology Center
AOA Phase 5: Intakes and Service
Rhonda Montgomery
Grants' Correspondence
United Together
John Throne
Juniper Gardens
Jean Ann Summers
Institute for Research in Learning Disabilities
Work Group on Health Promotion and Community Development
Zamarripa, Ed
Gatlinburg Conference
Merrill Advanced Studies Center
SEEM Center

Physical Location

RG 35


University Archives continues to add material to this collection on a regular basis

The Collection Description was complete as of December 9, 2010.

Related Materials

Photographs and Serials may be available at the same record group (RG) number.

Guide to the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies Records
University of Kansas Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies records
Finding aid encoded by jeb; Finding aid encoded by jeb, 2005.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in <language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
University of Kansas Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies records, University Archives, RG 35, 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