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Papers of Dr. Kathryn Rainbow-Earhart

Call Number: RH MS 1294


Dr. Kathryn Rainbow-Earhart (1921-2011) was a long-time psychiatrist who lived and worked in Topeka, Kansas for much of her life. This collection includes academic and career-related papers.


  • Creation: 1938-2011


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 Kathryn Adeline Rainbow-Earhart (1921-2011)

Kathryn Adeline Rainbow was born in 1921 in Wheeling, West Virginia to John Henry and Addaline Holly Rainbow. She attended high school in West Virginia at Lincoln High School, finishing her senior year at Oberlin High School in Ohio. Upon graduation, Rainbow attended Fort Valley State College in Georgia, receiving a B.S. in 1942. She went on to Meharry Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee where she received an M.D. She completed residencies at Harlem Hospital in New York, Mercy-Douglass Hospital and Children's Hospital in Pennsylvania, and Freedman's Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Following the completion of her education, Rainbow started a private practice in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, the hometown of her then husband, Frederic Bryant. She then became staff physician (1954) and later superintendent (1960) of Lakin State Hospital in West Virginia.

Rainbow left West Virginia to attend the Menninger School of Psychiatry in Topeka, Kansas in 1962, completing her studies in 1965 and becoming the first African American female to become a psychiatrist in Topeka, Kansas. Subsequently, she worked at the Topeka State Hospital and, later, the Shawnee Community Mental Health Center (1979). In 1981, Rainbow-Earhart (her name changed in 1966 after her marriage to William Earhart) took a job at the Kansas State Department of Corrections, retiring in 1983.

Dr. Rainbow-Earhart was a member of many organizations, among them the West Virginia Medical Society, the American Medical Association, the Kansas Medical Society, the American Psychiatric Association, the Black Psychiatrists of America, St. John A.M.E. Church of Topeka, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Links, Inc., Quota International, and the NAACP. She also served on the boards of many organizations.

Dr. Rainbow-Earhart married twice and had two boys, Frederic Jr. and Holly, from her first marriage to Frederic Bryant in 1950. She married William Earhart in 1966. Rainbow-Earhart passed away in 2011 at the age of 90 in Topeka, Kansas.


2.25 Linear Feet (4 boxes + 3 oversize boxes, 11 cassette tapes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Dr. Kathryn Rainbow-Earhart collection dates from 1938 to 2011 and is divided into three series: Papers (with subseries for Education and Career); Photographs; and Audiovisual materials.

Folder arrangement within each subseries is alphabetical with chronological arrangement of items within each folder. Education Papers include materials from Lincoln High School, Oberlin High School, Fort Valley State College, Meharry Medical School, and residencies in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. Career Papers include materials from North Carolina, West Virginia, and Topeka, Kansas. Oversize materials associated with the Career subseries have been physically separated and are located at RH MS Q372 and RH MS R342.

Photographs from the Dr. Kathryn Rainbow-Earhart collection are located at RH MS-P 1294. Items are arranged alphabetically with chronological arrangement of items within each folder. Audiovisual materials are located at RH Cassette Tape 62 and KC AV 100 and include both personal items and Rainbow-Earhart's verbal autobiography.

Physical Location

RH MS 1294

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1294

Physical Location

RH MS Q372

Physical Location

RH MS R342

Physical Location

RH Cassette Tape 62

Physical Location

KC AV 100

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Frederic B. Bryant, Jr, 2012.

Guide to the Dr. Kathryn Rainbow-Earhart Collection
Papers of Dr. Kathryn Rainbow-Earhart
Finding aid prepared by sda, 2013. Finding aid encoded by sda, 2013. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Support for the processing of this Collection was provided by the Dana and Sue Anderson African American Collecting Program Endowment Fund.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Dr. Kathryn Rainbow-Earhart papers, RH MS 1294, 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