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Kansas Women in Literature   By:

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By Nettie Garmer Barker



"We are proud of Kansas, the beautiful queen, And proud are we of her fields of corn; But a nobler pride than these I ween, Is our pride in her children, Kansas born!"

Ellen P. Allerton

Or adopted. In this galaxy of bright women, the State has a noble pride for every name, be its owner Kansas born or adopted, is a mightier force for good than its "walls of corn."


The last place one would expect to find romance is in arithmetic and yet Miss Effie Graham, the head of the Department of Mathematics in the Topeka High School, has found it there and better still, in her lecture "Living Arithmetic" she has shown others the way to find it there. Miss Graham is one of the most talented women of the state. Ex Gov. Hoch has called her "one of the most gifted women in the state noted for its brilliant women. Her heart and life are as pure as her mind is bright."

She was born and reared in Ohio, the daughter of a family of Ohio pioneers, a descendant of a Revolutionary soldier and also, of a warrior of 1812. As a student of the Ohio Northern University and later as a post graduate worker at the University of California, Chicago University, and Harvard Summer School, she has as she says, "graduated sometimes and has a degree but never 'finished' her education."

Desiring to get the school out into the world as well as the world back to the school, she has spoken and written on "Moving Into The King Row," "Other Peoples' Children," "Spirit of the Younger Generation," "Vine Versus Oak," and "The Larger Service."

"Pictures Eight Hundred Children Selected," "Speaking of Automobiles," "The Unusual Thing," "The High Cost of Learning," and "Wanted A Funeral of Algebraic Phraseology;" also, some verse, "The Twentieth Regiment Knight" and "Back to God's Country" are magazine work that never came back. School Science & Mathematics, a magazine to which she contributes and of which she is an associate editor, gives hers as the only woman's name on its staff of fifty editors.

Her book, "The Passin' On Party," raises the author to the rank of a classic. To quote a critic: it is "a little like 'Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch,' a little like 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' but not just like either of them. She reaches right down into human breasts and grips the heart strings."

It is the busy people who find time to do things and the mother heart of Miss Graham finds expression in her household in West Lawn, a suburb of Topeka. Among the members of her family are a niece and nephew whose High School and College education she directs.


Every Kansan, homesick in a foreign land, knows the call of Kansas and every Kansan book lover knows Esther Clark's "Call of Kansas."

"Sweeter to me than the salt sea spray, the fragrance of summer rains: Nearer my heart than these mighty hills are the wind swept Kansas plains: Dearer the sight of a shy, wild rose by the roadside's dusty way Than all the splendor of poppy fields ablaze in the sun of May.

Gay as the bold poinsetta is, and the burden of pepper trees, The sunflower, tawny and gold and brown, is richer, to me, than these. And rising ever above the song of the hoarse, insistent sea, The voice of the prairie, calling, calling me.

Miss Clark was born in Neosho Co., Kansas, about twelve miles southeast of Chanute, on a farm. At seven years of age, the family moved to Chanute and her school days were spent at the old Pioneer Building, where her mother went to school before her. In 1894, she graduated here, later entering the University of Kansas for work in English.

In 1906, "Verses by a Commonplace Person" was published. "The Call of Kansas and Other Verse" came out in 1909... Continue reading book >>

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