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Herd family papers

Call Number: RH MS 1374


These are the family papers of Harold Shields Herd, former Kansas Supreme Court Justice, and his wife, Margaret "Midge" Zoe Rich Herd. Included are extensive correspondence and photographic files from her father, Horace "Hod" Hakes Rich, and considerable material about life in Comanche County, Kansas. The Herd family has several branches in southwestern Kansas.


  • Creation: 1817 - 2013


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

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

History of the Herd family

Horace “Hod” Hakes Rich attended the University of Kansas and Washburn University Law School, going into partnership with his father, Dick Rich, in Coldwater, Comanche County, Kansas, where they also farmed and invested in land. His education was interrupted by U.S. Army service in World War I, which was cut short by the Armistice; he went no further than Camp Sherman in Chillicothe, Ohio. There, his Ambulance Company was hard-hit by the influenza, delaying training and killing many recruits. Hod himself never caught it.

Hod married a fellow KU student, Charlotte Scruton, just before leaving for boot camp at Fort Riley, Kansas, in August of 1918. From Arkansas City, Kansas, Charlotte had played center for the 1914 High School State Champion Girls Basketball team. Charlotte’s ancestors include both a Union soldier named Snyder and Confederates named Scruton. Some Civil War papers in the collection reflect her family background.

Hod and Charlotte's only child was Margaret “Midge” Zoe Rich, born in Lawrence, Kansas in 1920. Midge married Harold Shields Herd after a long high school and college courtship. She was the chief chronicler of the family’s history and fortunes, and most of the credit for the great depth and breadth of the materials in this collection goes to her.

Midge and Harold Herd had six children: Pamela Sue [born 1945], Harold Rich “Hal” [1948-2005], Malcolm Dick “Mac” [1950], James Horace “Skip” [1952], Margaret Zoe “Margie” [1956], and Michael Douglas [1957]. Midge was educated at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri and remained a lifelong loyal alumna. Midge joined and led a wide variety of local civic groups including the Research Club, Kensington Club, P.E.O., Order of the Eastern Star, and others. Both she and her husband were active in the Democratic Party. Her husband and sons were active Masons.

Harold Shields Herd, like his father-in-law, graduated from the Washburn University School of Law, though was exempted from taking the Kansas Bar Exam by his military service in the U.S. Navy in World War II. After Midshipman training at Columbia University in New York City, he was assigned to a series of fleet service vessels in the Pacific. By 1946, he had risen to command the U.S.S. Cache, an oil tanker on which he had survived in January 1944 being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The U.S.S. Cache earned 8 Battle Stars and was part of the fleet to enter Tokyo harbor in September, 1945, to receive the formal surrender. The collection includes letters from Japan, Japanese currency, and photographs of Tokyo.

After the war, Harold went into partnership with his father-in-law in Coldwater. In politics, he was elected Mayor of Coldwater, a Kansas State Senator as a Democrat in a largely Republican district, and made a failed attempt to run for the U.S. Senate in 1966. Appointed by Governor John Carlin, he served as a Kansas State Supreme Court Justice from 1979 to 1993, and taught law classes at Washburn, including Constitutional Law. He also wrote on gun control.

Hod Rich, Midge’s father, created Rich Rose Ranch and Lake Pamela, near Coldwater. Hod’s thousands of rose varieties were known widely, and his annual Open House was a major tourist attraction. His “Green Thumb” essays featured regularly in The Western Star, the local newspaper. Stan Herd, the internationally known crop artist, is a cousin and grew up near Coldwater, in Protection, Kansas. He appears in this collection in a few newspaper articles and in photographs with Bernice Shields Herd, Harold’s mother, who lived to be 106 years old.


37 Linear Feet (37 boxes + 47 volumes, 7 oversize boxes, 2 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Herd family papers include 28 boxes of correspondence and other papers at RH MS 1374; 8.25 linear feet of photographs, including one box of negatives, at RH MS-P 1374; and one oversize folder of panoramic photographs at RH MS-P 1374 (ff). Oversize material has been separated from the main collection and is housed at RH MS Q407, RH MS R383, and RH MS R382. There are also 47 scrapbooks housed separately from the main collection: one at RH MS D299; five at RH MS E205; thirty-four at RH MS G85; four at RH MS DK 14; and three at RH MS EK 6.

Materials were processed in the order they were found, which means that bound bundles of letters, often from the same source, can be found in sequence, while other correspondence of the same time period may turn up several boxes away. Terminology, and some personal names, will also vary from item to item. Every effort has been made to keep with the original usages found throughout the collection.

The civic life of Coldwater, Kansas, is well documented, and there are many glimpses into the business of farming, the law, and real estate investment. Photographs, in particular, indicate several excursions into a wild and rough Colorado nearby; the yields from both hunting and fishing seem to have been large. Basketball, both for men and women, was clearly quite popular in the first quarter of the 20th century, as was football, both at the high school and college level.

Although the Herds lived through the Dust Bowl, there are relatively few references to it in their correspondence. Diary notes may include more information, and weather is often mentioned, especially the chronic need for rain to benefit crops. The material from WWI and WWII has almost nothing to say about combat or campaigns, but provides detail about training, camp life, routine, education levels, and internal discord and complaint, including Harold Herd’s shipboard work on court martials.

Some of the family’s tourist travel involved foreign countries, or study abroad, in the case of Pamela Sue Herd Brink. In addition to wartime material from the Pacific and Japan, there are materials from Canada, Mexico, Paraguay, Brazil, and Europe. The weddings, wedding anniversaries, and funerals of Comanche County, Kansas, are also heavily documented.

Physical Location

RH MS 1374

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1374

Physical Location

RH MS Q407

Physical Location

RH MS R382

Physical Location

RH MS R383

Physical Location

RH MS D299

Physical Location

RH MS E205

Physical Location


Physical Location


Physical Location


Physical Location

RH MS-P 1374 (ff)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Herd family, 2012.



Guide to the Herd Family Papers Collection
Herd family papers
Finding aid written by lmb. Finding aid encoded by lmb.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Herd family papers, RH MS 1374, 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