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Dr. C. Kermit Phelps papers

Call Number: RH MS 687


The Papers of Dr. C. Kermit Phelps are those of a native Kansan who became a leader in the field of clinical psychology.


  • Creation: 1955 - 1997


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 Dr. C. Kermit Phelps (1908-2002)

C. Kermit Phelps was born December 4, 1908 in Newton, Kansas to Clifford and Eva (Bradshaw) Phelps. He had two siblings, including a sister, Clementine (Phelps) Martin. Phelps attended the University of Kansas, where he earned his Bachelor's (1934), Master's (1949, Psychology), and Doctorate (1952, Psychology) degrees. In earning this last degree, Phelps became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from KU. He also attended the Menninger Foundation's Clinical Psychology Program.

Phelps later returned to KU as an Associate Professor of Psychiatry; due to this, he is considered the University's first African American faculty member. He also taught at Avila College, Marymount College, and Conception Seminary.

For 31 years, Phelps worked at the Kansas City, Missouri Veteran's Administration Hospital, rising to Chief of Psychological Services and Associate Chief of Staff for Education. He also had a private practice and began The Life Enrichment Series at the Shepard Center.

Phelps was active in numerous professional organizations, including the Missouri Psychological Association (of which he was president), the Advisory Committee for Professional Services of the Mental Health Association, and the Recreation for Handicapped Council (of which he was Vice Chairman). He served on the Board of various organizations, such as the Missouri Mental Health Association, St. Mary Hospital, and the Neurological Hospital Association. Phelps not only taught at but also served on the Board of Regents at Rockhurst College and St. Mary's College.

Phelps participated in various community organizations, including the Rotary Club, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the AARP. He served as a board member and as Chairman of the Board of this latter group. For his work with the AARP, a scholarship was established at the University of Southern California for those wishing to pursue geriatrics. Phelps received numerous awards and commendations for his work and public service, including the Veteran's Administration Civil Servant of the Year Award and the University of Kansas Distinguished Service Citation.

Phelps married Lucille Mallory. The couple had two daughters, Patricia and Constance. C. Kermit Phelps passed away in 2002.


1 Linear Feet (3 document cases + 3 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Dr. C. Kermit Phelps papers date from 1955 to 1997 and are divided into 4 series: Career Papers, Memberships, Personal Papers, and Photographs.

Career Papers include speeches, correspondence, and information on various programs with which Phelps worked. Memberships mainly include certificates and clippings. Personal Papers consist chiefly of award information. Within each series, folders arrangement is alphabetical. Photographs from the Dr. C. Kermit Phelps Collection are located at RH MS-P 687.

Oversize materials are located at RH MS Q151 and RH MS R140. The item in RH MS R140:1 and items 1-3 and 6 in R140:2 are framed and include glass so should be handled with care.

Physical Location

RH MS 687

Physical Location

RH MS-P 687

Physical Location

RH MS Q151

Physical Location

RH MS R140

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Dr. C. Kermit Phelps, 1991, 1995; Amber Reagan-Kendrick, 1996.

Related Materials

Phelps, C. Kermit. "An Investigation and Evaluation of Two Short Forms of the Rorscach Test." Thesis (M.A.), University of Kansas. Department of Psychology, 1949. Located at Thesis 1949 Phelps in KU Libraries.

Phelps, C. Kermit. "An Analysis of the Integrative Aspects of the Performance of Normal and Brain-Damaged Subjects on Specially Devised Motor Tests." Thesis (Ph.D.), University of Kansas. Department of Psychology, 1953. Located at Diss 1953 Phelps, Anschutz Library and Diss 1953 Phelps, Library Annex.

Guide to the Dr. C. Kermit Phelps Collection
Dr. C. Kermit Phelps papers
Finding aid prepared by mbw, 2006; revised by cl, 2010; revised by skt, 2010
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
Dr. C. Kermit Phelps papers, Kansas Collection, RH MS 687, 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