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Walker family papers

Call Number: RH MS 587


The Walker family papers are those of one of the first African American homesteading families in Stafford County, Kansas. The family for several decades owned a successful farm.


  • Creation: 1880 - 1999


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 Walker Family

George Washington Walker was born in 1849 in Washington, D.C. In 1875, while living in Kentucky, he married Catherine Harris. There they had their first two children, Elizabeth and Georgia.

The family moved to Stafford County, Kansas in 1878, where they were among the first African American homesteaders. Their nine additional children (Adelaide, Josephine, Nellie, Emma, James, Edna, Calvin, Edward, and Richard) were born in Stafford County. Along with a growing family, the Walker farm tripled in acreage, consisting of 800 acres by 1917.

The farm's prosperity increased in 1938 when oil was discovered on the property. The family farm continued to prosper into the 1970s, after the deaths of Catherine (1940) and George (1943).


5.5 Linear Feet (8 boxes + 4 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Walker Family Papers date from 1880-1999 and are arranged in 5 series: Business Records, Letters, Personal Papers, Unattributed Material, and Greeting cards. While the collection contains documents from several generations, the bulk of the material relates to George W. Walker, his wife Catherine, and their eleven children.

The Business records pertain to various aspects of the farm and are chiefly those of George Walker and his sons Calvin and James.

The letters are generally incoming, are mainly between family members.

Personal papers include some Walker family information, including a short history of the family, as well as materials specifically related to individuals.

Unattributed materials consist of items related to the family, but cannot be traced to a specific person. These include such items as a recipes, booklets, and quilting patterns.

Greeting cards given between Walker family members are located at RH MS 1459 and are organied by holiday or other special event.

Folder arrangement within each series is generally alphabetical by topic, with chronological arrangement of items within each folder. Some original (sometimes faint) letters and other items are accompanied by photocopies, which immediately follow the original. The few outgoing letters have been incorporated within the senders' other letters. Many letters are accompanied by envelopes, which appear immediately behind the letter.

Photographs from the Walker Family Papers are located at RH MS-P 587 and RH MS-P 587 (f). Oversize materials from the collection are located at RH MS Q106 and RH MS R105 and are described at the end of each relevant series.

Series list

The Walker family papers are arranged in 6 series:

  1. Business Records, 1880-1958
  2. Letters, 1878-1979
  3. Personal papers, 1903-1989
  4. Unattributed materials, 1884-1999
  5. Greeting cards, 1941-1977
  6. Photographic materials

Physical Location

RH MS 587

Physical Location

RH MS-P 587

Physical Location

RH MS-P 587 (f)

Physical Location

RH MS Q106

Physical Location

RH MS R105

Physical Location

RH MS 1459

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Cynthia Elliott, 1988, 1989, 2004; Edith Walker, 2005; Susan Walker, 2012, 2014.

Related Materials

[Miscellaneous Publications about the George W. Walker Family of Stafford County, Kansas]. Kansas?: publisher not identified, 193?-1983. Located at Spencer Research Library at RH P735.

Guide to the Walker Family Collection
Walker family papers
Finding aid prepared by mbw, 2005, 2006; revised by skt, 2010. Finding aid encoded by mbw, 2005, 2006; revised by mbw, 2009; revised by skt, 2010, revised by adc, 2018.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in<language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
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
Walker family papers, Kansas Collection, RH MS 587, 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