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Robert Bontrager papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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Robert Bontrager papers, 1964-1978 | Morse Department of Special Collections

By Kari Bingham and Cliff Hight

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Collection Overview

Title: Robert Bontrager papers, 1964-1978Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Bontrager, Robert (1922-2014)

Extent: 6.5 Linear Feet

Arrangement: Materials are in original order, magazines and journals in alphabetical order followed by newspapers in alphabetical order.

Date Acquired: 09/29/2011

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

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).

Biographical Note

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.

Administrative Information

Repository: Morse Department of Special Collections

Access Restrictions: No 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: A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Acquisition Method: Donation.

Appraisal Information: Appraisal criteria included the uniqueness of the course and the breadth of the course materials.

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

Processing Information: In 2011, student assistant Kari Bingham processed the collection and university archivist Cliff Hight reviewed it.

Finding Aid Revision History: Project processor James Smith finalized the container list and added it in 2013.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],

Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Everybody, 1971-1973Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Judgment, 1968Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Sepia, 1970, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 4: The Black Messenger, 1970Add to your cart.

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4],
[Box 5],

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