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Alice Nichols: A New Angle on Bleeding Kansas by Helen P. Hostetter

A K-State graduate is author of a book on Kansas territorial history that has been accepted for publication by the oldest publishing house in the world, Oxford Press. The book, "Bleeding Kansas," will be available in book stores in May.

The author is Alice Nichols '27. After her graduation with a major in journalism, Alice worked nearly a year for the Kingman (Kan.) Journal. Then Russell Lord summoned her to New York for work on Farm and Fireside magazine. There she started out on the mail desk "reading the slush" but was an associate editor before she quit to try her hand (unsuccessfully) at play writing.

Came next a U.S. Department of Agriculture job, helping spread the gospel of soil erosion control, then a return to Farm and Fireside, promotion work for Nation's Business, and editing Men's Wear.

During the war she managed the national nutrition and food conservation campaign of the USDA, and served as ghost writer for the head of the production and marketing administration. Later she edited the home section of Pathfinder, then served again as managing editor of Men's Wear.

For the last few years she has been editing children's books, among them the popular Golden Books, and Story Parade, a periodical for children. But she quit March 1 to help a bit with promotion of her book.

Asked how she happened to write this book on territorial Kansas she wrote:

"When I was a girl studying Kansas history I wondered how the Southerners could all have been so mean and the Northerners all so good. Then one night a New York friend ask, 'Why bleeding Kansas?' and I remembered that I had always intended to look into that period.

"So I started going back to original sources in the New York Library and in the Library of Congress.

"The chief value of my book, apart from the picture it gives of a colorful and crucial period, is that it does justice to the Southerners and exposes the rascalities of the Northerners."

Miss Nichols is a native Kansan, but her grandparents on both sides waited until the late '90's to migrate to this state. None came from the South.

Now that the book is almost ready for distribution she's a bit dubious about its reception in the Sunflower State. A friend who read the book in manuscript commented wryly, "I predict that if this book is published, Kansas will bleed again!"

Source: K-Stater, March 1954
Article appears here with permission from the K-State Alumni Association.
Any typographical errors are the result of retyping.