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Nicodemus history projects collection

Call Number: RH MS 1379


The collection is comprised of materials related to two distinct but related projects regarding the history of Nicodemus, Kansas: an oral history project, "Six Generations of Black Families in Rural Kansas," which was conducted under a grant from the U.S. Office of Education's Ethnic Heritage Studies Program by Ms. Antonia Pigno, Director of the Minority Research and Resource Center at Kansas State University; and a genealogical project conducted by Mr. James Rose documenting the Kentucky origins of some of Nicodemus's founders.


  • 1841 - July 28, 1979


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 Nicodemus

The town of Nicodemus, Graham County, Kansas, was founded in 1877 by a predominantly African-American town company and settled by African Americans who migrated from Kentucky and Tennessee. The town reached its most prosperous years by 1886, with the maturation of the area's agricultural production. However, the community began a long decline when a rail line built in 1888 bypassed Nicodemus, instead linking through the neighboring town of Bogue. The population is thought to have peaked in 1910, when the federal census reported 595 African American inhabitants in Graham County.

By 1950, only 16 residents were counted; the Post Office station closed in 1953. Nicodemus was designated a National Historic Landmark by the federal government in 1976, and became a National Historic Site operated by the National Park Service in 1996. The town is known for its long history, and its Homecoming and Emancipation Celebration that takes place at the end of each July.


.5 Linear Feet (1 document case + 1 35mm microfilm)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Nicodemus history projects collection material dates from a project conducted in 1978-1979 and consists of correspondence; printed flyers and brochures; hand written papers; photocopies; microfilm; microfilm printouts of historical newspapers; black and white and color photographs; color slides; and collected articles and research aids related to Nicodemus, Kansas and Georgetown, Kentucky. The collection includes copies of materials dating back from 1841 up to the 1970s. The papers are arranged thematically with the folder contents maintained in the creator's original order. Printed volumes are arranged by author's last name. The microfilm reel contains a compilation of reference sources.

Physical Location

RH MS 1379

Physical Location

RH MF 191

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Stephen Steinberg, 2014.

Related Materials

Nicodemus Historical Society Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS 545, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Manuscript on the history of Nicodemus Colony, Kansas Collection, RH MS D250, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Robert Hackenberg Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS D64 , Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Guide to the Nicodemus history projects collection
Nicodemus history projects collection
Finding aid prepared by het, 2016. Finding aid encoded by het, 2016.
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
Nicodemus history projects collection, RH MS 1379, 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