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Wilburn family collection

Call Number: RH MS 1592


The Wilburn family collection includes Vicki Wilburn's school yearbooks and papers, work materials, art, and correspondence; as well as some papers from her parents, George and Birdie Mae Wilburn, some famly history papers, and a 1924 photograph of African American Masons in Topeka, Kansas.


  • Creation: 1960 - 2023


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

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

History of the Wilburn family

George Howard Wilburn (1905-1982) was born in Lawrence, Kansas, and lived most of his life in Kansas City, Kansas. He served in the Army during World War II and was a commander of the American Legion. He retired from the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1967 after 22 years of service. He was a Baptist and a Mason in the Widow’s Son Lodge No. 17 of Kansas City, Kansas.

Birdie Mae (Small) Wilburn (1916-2010) was born to George W. Small and Anna Jane King Small in Lexington, Tennessee. There she attended Montgomery High School and was a graduate of the Madam C.J. Walker College of Beauty. She lived in Lawrence, Kansas for 57 years after she and George divorced in 1967. She did domestic work for KU professors and later cooked for dorms and houses at KU. She was a member of the Ninth Street Missionary Baptist Church, a mother of the church and a one-time president of the Women’s Auxiliary. She was a member of the Montgomery Alumni Association, the American Legion Auxiliary-Argonne Post, the Friendship Club, and a lifetime member of the N.A.A.C.P.

George and Birdie Mae Wilburn had four children: Joyce E. (Haileselassie), Howard, Del, and Vicki Wilburn.

Vicki Wilburn (1949- ) graduated from Lawrence High in 1967 and from the University of Kansas (KU) in 1973 with a degree in personnel administration. In 1978 she attended classes in fair employment practices at Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Missouri.

Wilburn was interested in human rights, helping to form the World Affairs Study Program that hosted a debate on apartheid in South Africa while she was in high school. At KU she was a member of the International Club, the Latin American Club, and the Black Student Union (BSU). The BSU founded the Afro House and was involved with hiring Dr. Jacob Gordon, the first chair of the African and African American Studies department at KU, created in response to student protest.

In 1985, after holding positions at various companies, Vicki Wilburn began a 24-year career at the United States Postal Service (USPS). As a member of the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee, Wilburn created Hispanic Heritage and Black History Souvenir Booklets in 1989 and 1994 for the USPS Kansas City, Kansas Management Sectional Center. She recieved numerous promotions and commendations before retiring in October 2009.

After retirement Vicki Wilburn moved to Gainesville, Texas where her niece, Dr. Tsion Haileselassie, was raising her family. Wilburn has been a member of various organizations including the Mid-town Optimist Club, the Cooke County Democratic Party, the North Texas Polymer Clay Guild, the Cooke County Writer’s Guild of Texas, the Gainesville Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association, and the League of Women Voters.

[Information retrieved from collection materials and curator discussions with the donor.]


1.5 Linear Feet (2 boxes + 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 1592

Physical Location

RH MS Q510

Physical Location

RH PH P2850(ff)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Vicki Wilburn, 2022, 2023.

Processing Information

The Wilburn family collection was compiled by Vicki Wilburn. Spencer staff has arranged the materials in loose chronological order. Original folder titles were maintained when present. For unlabeled items, titles in [brackets] were created by Spencer staff based on their understanding of the content.

Oversize materials have been separated for preservation purposes and are housed at RH MS Q510 and RH PH P2850(ff).

Guide to the Wilburn family collection
Wilburn family collection
Finding aid prepared by eje. Finding aid encoded by eje.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Wilburn family collection, RH MS 1592, 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