Category Archives: Library

New Items: Wichita Eagle Ledgers

When the Wichita Eagle was cleaning out its building in preparation for the big move, the staff found some old ledger books.  They looked interesting, so they offered them to us, and we eagerly accepted them.  They offer a detailed, financially-nerdy look into the operation of our local paper.

  • General ledger 1929-1947, 1948-1953, 1960.  These books show the everyday revenues and expenses for the paper.  There are pages for Marcellus and Victor’s personal expenses and pages and pages of information on what it cost to license comics, set type, engrave pictures, and supply street newsstands.
  • Assets and Equipment ledger (1955-1964.) This ledger records all the purchases, modifications, repairs, etc for the buildings, vehicles and equipment.  Here you can find out that they bought a Brown Copper Etching machine in 1944 and that they used Hoe presses to print the paper.
  • Payroll ledgers (1956-1960.) These ledgers record the payroll for the army of people who created and distributed the paper.  Want to know how many women worked for the paper?  How many people worked in the mail room?  Now you can find out!

At the moment, we have no plans to digitize these ledgers, but you are welcome to work with them here at the library.  They’re upstairs in the vertical file room.

New Items: The Sunflower, by Winter General Hospital, 1944

We were recently gifted two issues of The Sunflower, a little magazine published by Winter General Hospital in Topeka during WWII.   Winter was opened in 1943 to provide medical care to serve soldiers from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and the Dakotas. The veteran’s hospital specialized in patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders.

The July 22, 1944 issue includes:

  • a description of the medical clinic operation,
  • a story about the first D-Day casualties to arrive at the hospital (Pfc. Guy D. Hamar, Pfc. Boyd Cummingham, Pfc. Charles Avery and Staff Sgt George Kohler)
  • gossip about the patients and staff
  • a profile of “personality of the week” T-5 Jesse D. White
  • a profile of “this week’s interesting patient,” T-4 Kenneth V. Turner
  • and a marriage announcement for Frances Streit and Pfc. Wayne Culburtson

The August 5, 1944 issue includes:

  • a description of the new laundry service — with photos!
  • the names of the 12 performers in the upcoming USO show (Stubby Kaye, Joan Lee, Donna Jean Exline, Jo Clarice Humphrey, Charlotte Ray, Connie Bie, Marlowe Quick, Beverly Peterson, Gloria Gove, Suzanne Wright, Helen Anderson, Jean Broshears, and Rosemarie Beishir)
  • a profile of a “crocheting patient,” Cpl Vincent Mersolias
  • a profile of “personality of the week” S-Sgt Frank McWhirter
  • more gossip
  • introductions to two new Red Cross staff members, Marion Brewer and Helen Huttig
  • a profile of “this week’s interesting patient,” Pvt. John Darcy
  • and a marriage announcement for Mae Blaylock and Pfc. Bill Basye

Good stuff in here!  Come to the library if you’d like to take a look.   And, now that we know they exist, we’d love to have some more of these nifty little magazines!

Living in a Digital World

If you haven’t noticed, the digital world is huge in genealogy these days.  Through the magic of digitization, people and organizations are making records, photographs and documents available to researchers around the world, 24 hours a day.  At MHGS, we want to be a player (albeit a small one) in this exciting segment of the genealogy environment.  And so, we have added a new section to our website, called MHGS Digital Collections.  (Catchy it’s not, but we couldn’t come up with anything better. Suggestions welcome.)

The MHGS Digital Collections section operates on a professional-grade software platform that will let us build a database of digital images that are fast to load to your computer screen,  searchable and downloadable, and can be found through Google and other search engines.  It’s also really easy to use, both for website users and our librarians.  To see it, go to and click on Digital Collections in the menu on the left side of the screen (or click here.) Click on one of the recently added items, and you will be taken to the information screen for that item, which includes little previews of the digital item (mostly photographs at this point) and as much information as we have about the item, including the subjects, the location, the date, and the photographer, if we know them.  Click on one of the preview pictures and you will see a full screen view of the item.

Our goal is to fill this section with photographs and records that are interesting and useful for our members and other researchers.  We will, of course, be digitizing the photographs, records and other documents in our collections in the library.  We have also started working with other local groups to make their archives available as well; we are especially interested in groups that have a rich history in the Wichita area but don’t have the resources, experience or interest in digitizing or hosting a website, such as local churches, clubs and community groups.

Of course, to do all this digitizing, we need a good scanner that can handle documents, printed photographs, and photographic negatives and slides of any size.  After purchasing one, we realized there were a lot of other things we need as well, so we have outfitted a desk in the library as our scanning station, complete with archival storage supplies, scanning tutorials, and even white cotton gloves!  This scanning station is available for anyone to use any time the library is open, so come on down and let us give you a tour.  And if you’d like to contribute a digital copy of your item to the Digital Collections, even better!