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Papers of Harry Darby

Call Number: RH MS 1345


Harry Darby was an American politician from Kansas and served as a United States Senator for Kansas from December 2, 1949 to November 28, 1950. Darby also owned and operated the Darby Steel Corporation in Kansas City, Kansas, which built Landing Craft, Tanks (LCTs) used by the U.S. military during WWII. This collection includes business documents and correspondence, awards and honorary degrees, speeches, newsprint, correspondence between family members and politicians, event programs and invitations, artwork, scrapbooks, books, and photographs.


  • Creation: 1878 - 2008


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Access

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

Biography of Harry Darby

Harry Darby was born in Kansas City, Kansas on January 23, 1895. He attended the University of Illinois for engineering and served in the United States Army during World War I. In 1917, Darby married Edith Cubbison (1894-1980). The pair had four daughters: Harriet Gibbson, Joan Edwards, Edith Marie Evans, and Marjorie Alford. Darby served on the Kansas State Highway Commission from 1933 to 1937.

During WWII, Darby established the Darby Steel Corporation in Kansas City, Kansas. The plant created materials for America's military during the war and built most of the Landing Craft Tanks (LCTs) that were used in amphibious invasions. Due to the company's help with the war effort, it was awarded the Army-Navy "E" Award in 1943.

From 1940 to 1964, Darby served as the Kansas National Committeeman for the National Republican Convention. On December 2, 1949, Darby was appointed United States Senator upon the death of Clyde M. Reed. He served in this position until November 28, 1950.

Darby was a friend of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The pair corresponded until Eisenhower's death in 1969. Darby was a supporter of the Eisenhower Presidential Library, helping to fundraise and attend Library events. Due to Darby's political status, he was invited to and attended many political functions and events, including National Conventions, political rallies, and a delegation trip to Venezuela in 1959. He also received numerous awards and honorary degrees for his work both with his company and as a politician. Darby remained loyal to his farming roots by supporting the American Royal, the Cowboy Hall of Fame, and numerous other farming-related groups throughout his life.

Harry Darby died in Kansas City, Kansas on January 17, 1987.


18.5 Linear Feet (19 boxes + 9 oversize boxes, 5 scrapbooks, 3 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Harry Darby collection includes materials related to the Darby Steel Corporation, Darby's personal/family life and education, his political affiliations and work with the Republican Party, the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Eisenhower Centennial celebrations of 1990, honors and awards Darby received, and other related topics of interest to Darby. Types of materials include copies of speeches, copies of and original correspondence, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, invitations and related event materials and ephemera, magazines, architectural drawings, photographs, and other related materials. Correspondents represented in the collection include amongst others Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope, Lyndon B. Johnson, and the Eisenhower family.

Oversize materials have been physically separated from the collection and can be found at RH MS Q446 (plaques and other awards), RH MS R369 and RH MS R370 (mostly newsprints), and RH MS S38 (architectural drawings). Photographs have been removed to RH MS-P 1345, with oversize photographs located at RH MS-P 1345(f). Volumes not fitting in boxes have been located at RH MS D289 and RH MS E204.

Physical Location

RH MS 1345

Physical Location

RH MS Q446

Physical Location

RH MS R370

Physical Location

RH MS R369

Physical Location


Physical Location

RH MS D289

Physical Location

RH MS E204

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1345

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1345 (f)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Harry Gibson, 2012; transfer from University Archives, 2018.

Related Materials

Darby Corporation records, MS. collection 812, State Archives & Library, Kansas Historical Society.

Harry Darby Papers, 1916-1987, University of Illinois Archives.

Harry Darby Papers, 1925-1985, National Archives and Records Administration, Office of Presidential Libraries, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library.

Guide to the Harry Darby Collection
Papers of Harry Darby
Finding aid prepared by aam, 2014. Finding aid encoded by aam, 2014. Finding aid revised by anm, 2018.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Harry Darby Collection, RH MS 1345, 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