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Russell Randolph Hays papers

Call Number: RH MS 564


The papers of Russell Randolph Hays, a graduate of the University of Kansas, reflect his wide-ranging careers as a writer, inventor, ceramicist, oilman, farmer, environmentalist, and one-time professional wrestler. Included are his writings as a published author of pulp westerns and science fiction, his many research papers and patents as an inventor of helicopter rotors and hydraulic devices, and his photographs of native plants that he propagated on his Douglas County, Kansas farm.


  • Creation: 1889-1990 (bulk 1922-1989)


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 Russell Randolph Hays, 1904-1989

Russell Randolph Hays was born February 19, 1904 on his father’s family farm near Black Jack (Douglas County), near present-day Baldwin City, Kansas. His parents were Harry Herbert and Estelle (Cowgill) Hays. He attended schools in Oklahoma Territory and Washington State and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas at Lawrence in 1927. In that same year, he married college classmate Adele Weidner.

From 1929 to 1934, Hays lived in California where he wrote pulp magazine westerns and railroad adventures as well as science fiction, supplementing his income as a professional wrestler. From the 1930s to the 1980s, Hays engineered and patented many mechanical inventions, including rotor improvements for helicopters and autogiros, and hydraulic devices for oil well drilling.

Upon his father's death in 1935, Hays returned to his family farm at Black Jack, where he raised livestock, drilled oil wells, and established the Tauy Oil Company. During the 1940s and 1950s, he worked part-time for the Kansas Geological Survey as a ceramicist, locating and evaluating clay deposits in eastern Kansas. In farming, Hays practiced land conservation and environmental protection--propagating, documenting, and photographing native prairie grasses and wildflowers.

Hays donated land to the state of Kansas for a roadside park commemorating the historic Battle of Black Jack and sold to Douglas County, for purposes of a nature preserve, an adjoining twenty acres of original prairie containing historic Santa Fe Trail wagon ruts. Russell Randolph Hays died at Lawrence (Douglas County), Kansas on June 4, 1989.


8.25 Linear Feet (17 boxes + 2 oversize folders)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Russell Randolph Hays papers are arranged in five series. Collection content dates from 1889 to 1990, as it includes related papers contributed by his daughter that extend beyond Hays' death.

Papers at RH MS 564 and RH MS 1138 consist primarily of Hays’ typescripts and related notes and drawings from his wide-ranging pursuits as a western and science fiction writer, inventor, and environmentalist. Each series contains a small quantity of related correspondence. In "Literary Works and Related Publications" are pulp westerns and science fiction authored by Hays, as well as copies of his correspondence with science fiction writer and Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and published writings by Hubbard.

Papers at RH MS 564 contain many photographs and photographic negatives that form an integral part of Hays' research papers and correspondence. At RH MS-P 564 are many additional photographs and photograph albums, together with a small quantity of color slides and picture postcards (the latter featuring Russell Hays). Oversize design drawings of Hays' inventions are at RH MS S7 and RH MS R76.


This collection has been arranged into five series:

Physical Location

RH MS 564

Physical Location

RH MS 1138

Physical Location


Physical Location


Physical Location

RH MS-P 564

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Barbara Hays Duke.

Separated Materials

The Hays collection's Jayhawker yearbooks of the University of Kansas for years 1926 and 1927 have been added to holdings of the University Archives (see LD 2697.J3, Spencer Library Reference)

Duke, Osborn. Sideman, a novel. Located at PS3507.U42 S53 1956, Music & Dance Library-Rare Book Room, University of Kansas Libraries.

Guide to the Russell Randolph Hays Collection
Russell Randolph Hays papers
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2004; revised by mh with additions, 2008; revised by cl, 2010. Finding aid encoded by mh, 2008.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Russell Randolph Hays papers, Kansas Collection, RH MS 564, 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