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Charles and Karen Tidwell Collection

Call Number: RH MS 1287


The collection primarily documents Charles Tidwell's athletic achievements as a student at the University of Kansas. Materials in the collection include newspaper clippings, programs, publications, and photographs.


  • Creation: 1937 - 1995


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 Charles Tidwell and Karen K. (Burnett) Tidwell

Charles "Charlie" Tidwell was born 30 March 1937 to Harry and Verlean (Collins) Tidwell in Independence, KS. The eldest of his parents' five children, Charles excelled in all sports but particularly in football and track. His track capabilities made possible his matriculation at the University of Kansas in 1955.

Charles was a six-time All American athlete who captured four National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) titles. During his career at KU, Charles set four new world records in the 100-meter dash (10.1), 100-yard dash (9.3), 200-meter low hurdles (22.6) and the 200-yard low hurdles (22.7). His hopes of winning a place on the 1960 Olympic team were frustrated when he pulled a muscle in the Olympic trials held at Palo Alto, CA.

While at KU, Charles met Karen K. Burnett. Karen (Burnett) Tidwell was born August 5, 1940 to Paul and Helen Louise (Williams) Burnett in Cherryvale, KS. Charles and Karen had two children, Richelle Rene and Gina Rae.

After leaving KU, Charles tried unsuccessfully to win positions on two professional football teams, the Minnesota Vikings and the Denver Broncos. While in Denver, he fell in love with the city and he, along with his family, decided to stay.

Before his death in 1969, Charles worked for the Honeywell Electronics Company. He rose from an expediter on the assembly line to a planner of production in production control. He was also a member of Mount Gilead Baptist Church.


1.25 Linear Feet (3 document cases + 1 oversize box, 2 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Series List

The Charles and Karen Tidwell Papers date from 1955 - 1999 and are arranged in 8 series: Certificates, Correspondance, Identification Cards, Newspaper Articles, Newspaper Photographs, Photographs, Programs, and Publications.

Physical Location

RH MS 1287

Physical Location

RH MS Q369

Physical Location

RH MS R335

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, John Edgar Tidwell, 1995, 2017.

Related Materials

Verlean Tidwell Family Collection, RH MS 1286, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Guide to the Charles and Karen Tidwell Collection
Charles and Karen Tidwell Collection
Finding aid prepared by sen, 2013. Revised by awo, 2014; adc, 2018.
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 Collection Program Endowment Fund.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Charles and Karen Tidwell Collection, RH MS 1287, 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