Robert Bontrager papers, 1964-1978
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Brief Description: This collection includes serial publications from African-American publishers throughout the nation between 1964 and 1978.  Robert Bontrager used these materials to teach his "Black Press in America" course from 1970 to 1989.  There is representation from national publications like Ebony Jr! and The Journal of Negro Education, as well as smaller publications like Sepia (Fort Worth, Texas) and The Facts (Seattle, Washington).
Held at:
Morse Department of Special Collections
Email: libsc [at]
Created by: Bontrager, Robert (1922-2014)
Volume: 6.5 Linear Feet
Acquired: 09/29/2011.
Arrangement: Materials are in original order, magazines and journals in alphabetical order followed by newspapers in alphabetical order.
Biographical Note for Bontrager, Robert (1922-2014) :

Robert Bontrager was the only professor at Kansas State University to teach the course "The Black Press in America."  He sought to open the minds of students concerning the "struggles and achievements of the Black minority."

Bontrager received his Ph.D. in Mass Communications in 1969 from Syracuse University with a dissertation titled An Investigation of the Black Press and White Press Use Patterns in the Black Inner City of Syracuse, New York: A Field Survey.  He then became a professor in the journalism department at K-State until 1989.  Other departmental duties included being the Journalism and Mass Communications acting department head in 1972-1973 and 1979-1980, chairing the journalism school's graduate studies program from 1971 to 1989, and serving as the associate director of the journalism school from 1986 to 1989.  He was the Cruise Palmer professor of Journalism and Mass Communications for the 1984-1985 academic year.

Other duties outside the university included serving on the board of directors of Laubach Literacy International, being a judge in the national Unity Media Awards, and serving in various capacities with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

In the 1970 fall term, Bontrager began teaching the first Black press course at K-State.  While teaching this course, he primarily focused on Black press materials from the Kansas City Call, particularly the editorials, and two titles from the Johnson Publishing Company, Ebony and Jet.

Bontrager retired in May 1989 and later moved to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1992.

He was born in 1922, and was a 1945 graduate of Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, where he met Mable Busch, whom he married the following year.  Between 1948 and 1965, the Bontragers were missionaries in the Congo, after which they adopted two boys, Thomas and Timothy.  Mable died in Lewisburg in January 2011.

Access Restrictions: No access restrictions: All materials are open for research.
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.
Physical Access Notes: Original materials available during open hours of repository and any digitized materials that are online are available with Internet access.
Acquisition Notes: A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication  Donation.
PreferredCitation: [Item title], [item date], Robert Bontrager papers, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.
Finding Aid Revisions: Project processor James Smith finalized the container list and added it in 2013.