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Lucille Byarlay Abel papers



Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Original Diaries


Copies of Oversized Maps and Photograph

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Lucille Byarlay Abel papers, 1928-1937 | Morse Department of Special Collections

By Rachel Karnowski, reviewed by Cliff Hight

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Collection Overview

Title: Lucille Byarlay Abel papers, 1928-1937Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Abel, Lucille Byarlay (1909-1993)

Extent: 0.74 Cubic Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Arranged by material type, and chronologically within each series.  The three series are 1) handwritten diaries and autograph books, 2) genealogical materials and diary transcriptions performed by Arlene Luchsinger, and 3) oversized materials.

Date Acquired: 12/23/2009

Subjects: Kansas life and culture, Kansas State University history

Languages: English


The Lucille Byarlay Abel papers include diaries of Lucille's time as a student at Kansas State Agricultural College and Kansas State College from 1928 to 1937.  Additional materials include transcriptions of the diaries, Kansas maps, genealogy charts, photographs, newspaper clippings, legal documents, and a name index.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Lucille Byarlay Abel papers include diaries of Lucille's time as a student at Kansas State Agricultural College and Kansas State College from 1928 to 1937.  She created the entries in the day books and collected comments and signatures in the autograph books from classmates, friends, and acquaintances.  Additional materials include transcriptions of the diaries, Kansas maps, genealogy charts, photographs, newspaper clippings, legal documents, and a name index.  Subjects include her courtship with Orval Abel, her teaching duties in Clay County, Kansas, rural social activities in the 1930s, and genealogy.

Biographical Note

Lucille Edith Byarlay Abel was born July 5, 1909 in Green, Clay County, Kansas. She was the middle daughter of Guy Hamilton and (Maria) Anna (Heinen) Byarlay, and graduated from Leonardville High School in Leonardville, Kansas.  She taught at Kansas county schools in Clay and Riley counties until her marriage to Orval Jack Abel in 1935.  Lucille Byarlay Abel died May 21, 1993, in Clay Center, Kansas.

Guy Byarlay’s family traced their origins to the arrival of Michael Beyerle, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from Rotterdam, Netherlands, on September 5, 1730.  Anna Heinen’s father came to the United States from Germany in 1853 and her mother arrived from Germany in 1855.  They met in Illinois and were married in 1868.  They came to central Kansas in 1872.

Lucille Byarlay was born with an eye birth defect and was blind in one eye.  She suffered from frequent migraines and took the train often to Kansas City, Missouri, for eye doctor appointments.  She graduated from Leonardville High School, and taught in Kansas county schools in Clay and Riley counties until her marriage to Orval Jack Abel in 1935.  Orval J. Abel was born April 21, 1909 in Emmett, Kansas, and died May 1, 1966 in Clay Center, Kansas.  Byarlay attended summer sessions at Kansas State Agricultural College during the summer break in the late 1920s.  In the 1930s she enrolled in summer school at Kansas State College, and met Orval during that time while he also was attending school.


1909  April 21, Orval Jack Abel born in Emmett, Kansas

1909  July 5, Lucille Edith Byarlay born in Green, Kansas

1927  Lucille Byarlay graduated high school in Leonardville, Kansas

1927  Orval Abel graduated from high school in Silver Lake, Kansas

1928  Lucille Byarlay taught at Union School, Riley County, Kansas

1928  Summer, Lucille Byarlay attended classes at Kansas State Agricultural College

1930  Lucille Byarlay taught at “Q” (Pleasant Valley), Clay County, Kansas

1930  Summer, Lucille Byarlay attended classes at Kansas State Agricultural College

1935  Lucille Byarlay married Orval Abel

1935  Orval Abel graduated from Kansas State College

1966  May 1, Orval Abel died in Clay Center, Kansas

1993  May 21, Lucille Byarlay died in Clay Center, Kansas

Subject/Index Terms

Kansas life and culture
Kansas State University history

Administrative Information

Repository: Morse Department of Special Collections

Alternate Extent Statement: 1 box – 20"x4"x16"

Access Restrictions: All materials are open for research.

Use Restrictions: The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Physical Access Note: Original materials available during open hours of repository and any digitized materials that are online are available with Internet access.

Acquisition Source: Arlene E. (Abel) Luchsinger

Acquisition Method: Donation

Preferred Citation: [item title], [item date], Lucille Bayarlay Abel papers, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

Processing Information: The papers were processed by Rachel Karnowski in the fall of 2011 as part of her archives practicum for the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University with the Morse Department of Special Collections.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Original Diaries, 1928-1937],
[Series 2: Transcription, 1930-1937],
[Series 3: Copies of Oversized Maps and Photograph, 1920, undated],

Series 1: Original Diaries, 1928-1937Add to your cart.
Item 1: Day book, 1930Add to your cart.
Day book (approx. 367 pages) with entries about daily activities, events and weather. Includes the summer Lucille Byarlay spent at Kansas State Agricultural College. Aggieville, 4-H, Alpha Tau Omega social fraternity, Rebekah Lodge, Student Union, Wareham (Movie Theatre in Manhattan), and Independent Order of Odd Fellows are organizations and activities mentioned within diaries. Courtship between Orval and Lucille starts. Lucille teaches in Clay County during the school year and includes school activities. Lucille Byarlay also mentions issues with her health as she was plagued by headaches. Lucille’s family and social life is the center narrative of this diary.
Item 2: 1932-1937 (“Five Year Diary”)Add to your cart.
Day book (approx. 365 pages) with brief entries on each page summarizing what happened that specific date for each year during the period. Social activities such as visiting family and friends:  playing cards, house dinners, going to the theatre, picking berries, family reunions, football games, Old Settlers meetings, Lady’s Aid, Epworth League, and going to church. Taught in Green Grade School, Clay County and involved in activities with the High School such as graduation and the annual Children’s Day Program. Orval and Edith’s relationship has problems. However their courtship continues and they plan a wedding in 1935. Struggling with her own sickness and visits to doctor in Kansas City as well as her Grandmother’s failing health. A visit to Michigan. Daily housework which seems to be effect by Dust storm. Brief descriptions of weather with a reference to flooding of 1935. The diary ends with Lucille’s pregnancy with daughter Arlene.
Item 3: Autograph book, 1928-1929Add to your cart.
Autograph book (approx. 75 pages) with brief entries and signatures from school mates and friends. Includes references to what classes she attended and who Lucille Byarlay socialized with. During the summer of 1929 she took a train to San Francisco and stayed there until mid-July to see her family. She also went Oregon and Washington before returning to Kansas. The autograph book includes notes from her relatives written during this visit.
Item 4: Autograph book, 1930-1933Add to your cart.
Autograph book (approx. 50 pages) with short entries from classmates, students, and friends.
Series 2: Transcription, 1930-1937Add to your cart.

Includes Diaries of Lucille Edith Byarlay Abel:  1930, [1931], 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, and portions of 1937 and 1937 transcribed and edited by Arlene Luchsinger. This document includes an introduction, forward, clues to the names in the diaries and the name index, maps of various Kansas locations, family tree genealogy charts (Heinen, Byarlay, Abel, Wilson, copies of photographs, transcribed diaries with extensive footnotes by Luchsinger, selected autograph album entries, and an appendix. The appendix includes copies of the dues she paid to Rebekah Lodge, the certificate that verified that she had “Normal-Training” and could teach school in Kansas, yearly contracts, “transcript” from Kansas State Agricultural College, Orval Abel’s college transcript, Orval and Lucille’s marriage License, and newspaper clippings about the country school cleaning, old settler’s reunion and Lucille and Orval’s wedding, and a copy of George Heinen Interview conducted by Arlene Luchsinger). This document is approximately typed 150 pages.

These volumes provide an interesting and historical perspective of a young woman growing up in rural Kansas (1928-1936) that includes personal accounts of her life in the home, as a student (which includes time at Kansas State Agricultural College), and a period in the life of a woman in her early 20s. Collectively, the items have scholarly value to researchers interested in rural life, women’s history, family history, American culture, education and other historical topics.

Folder 5: Luchsinger IntroductionAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Luchsinger, 1930Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Luchsinger, 1932-1937Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Luchsinger Autograph book and AppendixAdd to your cart.
Series 3: Copies of Oversized Maps and Photograph, 1920, undatedAdd to your cart.
Includes oversized copies of maps with notes included by Arlene Luchsinger:  Highland and Goshen Townships, Clay County 1920, railroad routes of Clay County and photograph of Byarlay home.
Folder 9: Oversized Maps and Photographs, 1920, undatedAdd to your cart.

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