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John Mercer Wright papers

Call Number: RH MS P790


The John Mercer Wright papers are those of a longtime Kansas resident who worked for Shawnee County for over fifty years, including service as chief deputy county treasurer.


  • Creation: 1928 - 1945


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 John Mercer Wright

John Mercer Wright was born April 29, 1866 in Calvin, Michigan to Lloyd F. and Sarah (Bird) Wright. The family moved to Lawrence, Kansas, where Wright graduated from high school. He took a special course in accounting at the University of Kansas. In 1888 Wright moved to Topeka. He worked as a teacher at Washington School for two years (1889-1890) and then, when he accepted a post for seven months in 1894, he became one of the first African American clerks in the Topeka post office. Wright was elected Shawnee County Clerk for two terms between 1897 and 1903. He then served as city treasurer for two years before returning to the county clerk's office as first deputy. In both 1929 and 1937, the County Commissioners appointed Wright to serve out the departing county treasurer's unexpired terms.

During World War I, Wright served as executive secretary of the Camp Grant YMCA's War Council. He was also active in a number of organizations including the Masons, the Kansas Republican Party, the Episcopal Church, and the NAACP. Wright served as President of the Topeka Sunday Afternoon Forum and the Interstate Literary Association of Kansas and the West, and as Chair of the latter's Executive Committee. In 1944, Wright was nominated for the NAACP's Spingarn Medal.

Wright married Josephine Rivers of Kansas City.


4 folders

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The John Mercer Wright papers date from 1928 to 1945. They consist chiefly of correspondence regarding Wright's nomination for the Spingarn Medal and clippings. Folder arrangement is alphabetical.

Physical Location

RH MS P790

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, McBlain Books, 2007

Guide to the John Mercer Wright Collection
John Mercer Wright papers
Finding aid prepared by mbw, 2007; Finding aid encoded by mbw, 2007
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
John Mercer Wright Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS P790, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States