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Photographs of Flo Menninger

 Collection — Folder: 1
Call Number: RH PH P28


Three photographs of Flora Knisely Menninger (1863-1945), creator of the Menninger Bible Study course, sometimes with other teachers from Campbell University in Holton, Kansas. Also in the collection is a photocopied news article about Campbell College, later Campbell University.


  • Creation: 1886-1888, undated

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 Flora Knisely Menninger (1863-1945)

Flora Vesta Knisely was born on 23 April 1863, the eldest of six children. Her family were of German ancestry who had moved to Pennsylvania. When Flo was ten years old, her father died of cancer, leaving his family impoverished. Flo's mother Amanda, rather than allowing her family to be broken up and her children sent to live with family friends, moved the family to Industry, Kansas (not far from Abilene), and began working her own farm. Flo raised her younger siblings from an early age.

Following in her mother's footsteps, Flo took up the cause of prohibition. She taught in Clay Center to help raise family income, and while teaching roomed with a woman who was trained in medicine. After this, Flo enrolled for classes at Campbell College in Holton, KS.

While Flo was attending classes, Charles Frederick Menninger was teaching at Campbell. Menninger began joining Flo and her brother Elmer in their rooms to study, and in January 1885 Charles and Flo married. Thereafter, C.F. began studying medicine in Chicago, and Flo continued teaching in Holton. Eventually the couple moved to Topeka, where C.F. opened his medical practice and Flo continued teaching until the birth of her first child.

The couple had three children in the 1890s: Karl, Edwin, and William Claire. In 1898 Flo began organizing a Bible study class for any woman in Topeka, after the class she had been attending became exclusive to unmarried women. She developed an extensive outline for a four-year course, which became the basis for both her in-person classes and for long-distance courses for women requesting to study from the outline. Eventually Flo's Bible studies course was taught nationwide in Young Women Christian Associations (YWCAs).

The Bible course remained a central part of Flo's identity for the rest of her life. In 1939, with the help and urging of her sons, Flo published an autobiography focusing on her early life, entitled Days of My Life. Flo Vesta Knisely Menninger died on 9 February 1945.

[Information retrieved from biographical sketch for Papers of Flora V. Menninger, Kansas Historical Society,]


1 folder

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The three modern reproduction prints included in the colection show Flora Menninger, age 25 (photographer: George Downing, Topeka, Kansas); women on a creek bank at Campbell University in Holton, circa 1886 (identified from left to right as Mrs. Mayers--Dormitory Chief; Mrs. Flo Menninger; Eva Halstead--English teacher; Mrs. J. H. Miller--wife of president; Mrs. C.C. Cook--wife of County Superintendent); and Holton, Kansas schoolteachers from 1886-1887. The back row in this last image is identified left to right as Belle Waylos; Anna Barbutt; Florence Young; H. M. Johnson; Mrs. Leittlefiels, Miss Rohls, Mrs. Menninger; Bertha Canary; Addie Adair; C. Y. Roop, George Moore; Flora Ellis.

The news article about Campbell College discusses C.F. Menninger and Flo Menninger meeting there.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift copied from originals held in the Menninger Foundation Archives, February 1982.

Existence and Location of Originals

Originals are part of the Menninger Foundation Archives now housed at the Kansas Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas.

Guide to the Flo Menninger Photograph Collection
Photographs of Flo Menninger
Finding aid prepared by lt, June 1982. Finding aid encoded by mwh, 2020.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Photographs of Flo Menninger, RH PH P28, 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