Willard G. Ransom photographs collection
Most of the collection is glass negatives, though some prints have been made from some of the negatives. The collection consists of images of locations in Kansas, New Mexico, Mexico, and Central and South America and were taken by the donor's grandfather, an engineer who worked with the Westinghouse power machinery manufacturing company.
- approximately 1900-1940
Conditions Governing Access
Glass plate and flexible negative originals are only issued if the curator or head of Public Services gives permission.
Conditions Governing Use
Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.
History of the Ransom family
James Harvey (J. H.) Ransom was born in Chautauqua County, New York in 1836, the son of Dr. Willard Ransom. He moved to Kansas in 1868 and farmed, coal mined, served as postmaster, and otherwise worked in a handful of locations, mostly in Douglas County, before settling in what would become Ransomville, Franklin County in 1881. There he opened a general store and operated a coal mine, and the area was named after him. He later moved to Locust Street in Ottawa, the seat of Franklin County, and for several decades served as a contractor to the Santa Fe railroad building railroad track.
Ransom served two terms in the Kansas legislature from 1905-1909 and also served on the Ottawa city council. In 1862 he married Eunice Cornelia Glidden; she predeceased him, dying in the 1890s. They had two children, Myra (Ransom) Bennett, who married B. D. Bennett, and Willard G. Ransom. In 1901 J.H. married Edith Bradford Kissenger. J. H. Ransom died in October 1914.
Willard Glidden Ransom, J. H.'s son, studied electrical engineering at the University of Kansas and then Cornell University, graduating from Cornell in 1899. He worked as an engineer with Westinghouse, a major manufacturer of power machinery of the late 19th and 20th centuries. He spent time in both Mexico City and Bolivia managing some of their operations, amongst other locations in the United States and Central and South America. He also worked for Bettendorf Axle Company of Davenport, Iowa. Ransom additionally continued farming and operating other businesses in the Franklin County area and elsewhere in the United States, typically in partnership with others. Willard Ransom married Edna Lischer in 1911; they had four children: James, Willard, John Parke, and Marian. Willard G. Ransom died in March 1950 at the age of 75.
.5 Linear Feet (1 document case of prints + 20 card file boxes of glass plate and flexible negatives)
Scope and Contents
The collection includes glass plate negatives of images taken in Ellinwood, Great Bend, St. Johns, Ottawa, Ransomville, Russell, and Lane, Kansas; Davenport, Iowa; Rapid City and other locations in Illinois; New Orleans, Louisiana; Soccoro, Roy, Albuquerque, Raton, and other locations in New Mexico; Rabbit Ear Pass, Colorado; Yellowstone Park; and other (unknown) locations in the United States. Also included are images of Cordoba, Mexico City, Yucatan, and other locations in Mexico; Cuba; Panama; Ecuador; Lima, Arequipa, Cuzco, and other locations in Peru; and in Bolivia.
The images include people and landscapes, as well as cityscapes and manmade structures, such as bridges, factories, and railroad tracks, as well as images of those structures being constructed. The people in the images may be laborers, families, or Americans living in Central and South America, as well as family members and friends in Kansas and elsewhere in the United States. The collection has been organized into two series, A and B. Images in the A series are all from Mexico and Central and South America. Images in the B series are from the United States.
RH PH 54
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift, Dr. Willard G. Ransom, 1984.
- Guide to the Willard G. Ransom Collection
- Willard G. Ransom photographs collection
- Finding aid prepared by rw, 2008. Finding aid encoded by rw, 2008. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2018.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Finding aid written in<language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
- Finding aid permalink
- Preferred citation
Willard G. Ransom photographs collection, RH PH 54, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.