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McGinnis/Perstein family papers

Call Number: RH MS 1498


This collection contains papers, journals, books, photographs, and other materials that belonged to the Crissey, McGinnis, and Perstein families. Several journals were written by William E. Crissey as a means to teach his children about their ancestors.


  • Creation: 1649-2009 (bulk 1860s-1970s)

Conditions Governing Access

Audio visual materials are stored in the KU Annex off-site storage area.

All researchers interested in reviewing this material must consult Spencer Research Library Public Services staff (785-864-4334 or, 9-5 M-F CST) before a planned visit; staff will respond within three days, though materials may not be available in that timeframe. Access to audio visual materials may require digitization first. Be advised that drop-in requests for this material cannot be accommodated.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Crissey, McGinnis, and Perstein families

This collection contains materials that belonged to members of several generations and family branches (McGinnis, Crissey, Fitch, Bennett and Perstein) dating back to the early 1800s. William E. Crissey was born 1840 in Lewisboro, New York and relocated to Warrensburg, Missouri in 1865 after being honorably discharged from his service in the Civil War. He married Mary Elizbeth Doty (born 1841 in Sheridan, New York) in Johnston, Michigan in 1866, and they had six children, including Nellie (Crissey) McCaskill, Mary Elizabeth, who died of scarlet fever in 1910, Maude Doty, and Ethel Doty. Both the Crisseys and the Dotys settled in the American colonies in the 17th century.

Maude Doty Crissey married Howard Fitch and relocated to Minnesota, where they had three children. Their daughter Mabel Fitch, born in 1892 in Minnesota and died in 1985 in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, has papers found in this collection, as does her relative Nelle Crissey Fitch, who was a set designer for the theatre in the 1930s.

Nellie Crissey married Charles Wallace McCaskill in 1898. She traveled around Europe and the Middle East in the early 1920s and died in 1928 in Beatrice, Nebraska.

James Crain McGinnis, born 1830 in Pulaski County, Kentucky, permanently relocated to Missouri in 1858. He married Sophia Debenham (born 1836) in 1857, and they had one child, Clive McGinnis, born in 1877 in St. Louis, MO. James Crain McGinnis served in both the Mexican-American War and the Civil War before holding office in the Missouri state legislature, in both the house and senate, until his death in 1893. Dr. Clive Sidney McGinnis served in World War I and was later superintendent of the State Hospital for Epileptics in Parsons, Kansas during the 1920s and 1930s. He died of a heart attack in 1937.

Ethel or Ethyl Doty Crissey (born in Warrensburg, Missouri) married Clive McGinnis in 1918 at Camp Funston, Fort Riley, Kansas. They had a daughter, Elizabeth McGinnis, who went by the name of Timmie or Timi throughout her life. Elizabeth (Timmie) McGinnis married Earl Fred Bennett in 1942. They had two children: Michael Bennett (born in 1943 in San Francisco, California and dying as a young adult) and Pieter Bennett. Timmie divorced Bennett in 1949 and in 1951 remarried to Millard Perstein. They had one daughter, Angela Perstein, who donated this collection of family papers. Timmie and Millard divorced in 1962, though it appears she continued to go by Timmie Perstein. Timmie was a teacher in special education after learning painting under Thomas Hart Benton at the Kansas City Art Institute.

[Information retrieved from collection materials, notes provided by donor, and]


5 Linear Feet (6 boxes + 3 document cases, 2 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder, 14 audio cassettes)

Language of Materials



Items in this collection have been grouped by the family from which they came. For some materials, it is unclear from whom they came, and these are grouped together by general/unidentified family items. Most materials are from Crissey, McGinnis, and Bennett family members.

There are several volumes in the collection, both manuscript journals and printed items that were heavily annotated by family members. Many of these volumes also had loose items inserted into them; these items were removed to a folder behind the journal during processing.

Materials relating to Elizabeth (Timmie) Perstein have been grouped according to when they were created, either before or after her marriage to Millard Perstein.

Physical Location

RH MS 1498

Physical Location

RH MS Q463

Physical Location

RH MS R505

Physical Location

KC AV 108

Physical Location

A/V items at Annex (Contact Spencer Library Public Services)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Angela Perstein, 2018, 2020, 2021.

Separated Materials

Crissey, William E. Warrensburg, Missouri: A History with Folk Lore. Warrensburg, MO: Star-Journal, [1924]. Available at Spencer Research Library at RH C12379.

Carleton, Will. Farm Ballads. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1873. Available at Spencer Research Library at RH C12380.

Missouri State Board of Agiculture. 36th Annual Report of the State Board of Agriculture of the State of Missouri. Jefferson City, MO: Missouri State Board of Agriculture. Available at RH Ser C1158.

Doty, Ethan Allen. The Doty-Doten Family in America: Descendants of Edward Doty, an Emigrant by the Mayflower, 1620. Brooklyn, NY: E.A. Doty, 1897. Available at Spencer Research Library at RH C12621.



Guide to the McGinnis/Perstein Collection
McGinnis/Perstein Family papers
Finding aid prepared by bnd. Finding aid encoded by bnd.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
McGinnis/Perstein family papers, RH MS 1498, 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