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Velma L. Carson papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description



Magazines and Published Articles


Photographs and Drawings


Subject Series

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Velma L. Carson papers, 1886-1986 | Morse Department of Special Collections

By McKenzie Combes and Cynthia A. Harris

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Collection Overview

Title: Velma L. Carson papers, 1886-1986Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1920-1984

Primary Creator: Carson, Velma L. (1896-1984)

Extent: 14.0 Linear Feet

Arrangement: This collection is arranged into eight series: 1) Manuscripts; 2) Poems; 3) Magazines and Published Articles; 4) Correspondence; 5) Photographs and Drawings; 6) Biographical; 7) Subject; 8)Artifacts.

Date Acquired: 08/01/1984. More info below under Accruals.

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Velma L. Carson Papers comprises of correspondence, records, and photographs of her personal life, academic, and professional careers. The collection is divided into eight series: Manuscripts, Poems, Magazines and Published Articles, Correspondence, Photographs, Drawings, Biographical, Subject, and Artifacts.

The manuscripts of this collection contain scripts from plays, documentaries, and stories written by Velma Carson. Some of these manuscripts provide information regarding "Operation Democracy," a pageant called "Message to Feves," and orginal stories and essays written by Velma Carson. The poems in this collection are original poems written by Velma Carson about various topics throughout her lifetime. Magazines and Published Articles consists of newpaper and magazine articles and clippings from her life. There are also a few of her own publications and works that she published during her career as a journalist and writer. The largest portion of this collection is correspondence. This series is organized mostly in chronological order and consists of letters, cards, and postcards. The correspondence is mainly between Velma and her family and friends. The earliest letter is from 1915 and the latest is 1984. This covers her time at Kansas State in 1915 all the way to when she was awarded her degree in 1982. The photographs of this collection include a variety of photos of Velma Carson, her friends, and family over the course of her life. The drawings are several small pieces created by Velma Carson.  The biographical series includes nine folders of information on Velma, two folders of information on Winona Carson, and three folders on Viola and Edward Carson. The subject series is made up of four folders that include information on Belva Lockwood, Wayne Randall, Morganville United Methodist Church and Clay County taxes.  The artifacts include wallpaper and fabric samples, E. L. Carson's black leather wallet, stamps, a small toy monkey, a small puzzle, a copy of a Ten Dollar Confederate bill used as an advertisement for Joe Kay as Sheriff, and a Cigar Box.

Biographical Note

Velma Lenore Carson, the daughter of Edward Lincoln Carson and Viola Belle Petty Carson, was born in Kansas on April 30, 1896 and grew up on a farm southwest of Morganville, Kansas. During World War I, Carson attended Kansas State Agricultural College what later became Kansas State University. She majored in journalism and was involved in plays, literary societies, and oratory. While at K-State, she was involved in Theta Sigma Phi Journalism Society, the Ionian Women’s Literary Society, the Young Women’s Christian Association, Prix Leadership Honorary, and XIX outstanding Women Honorary. Carson also served as the editor of the Royal Purple yearbook, staff writer for the Collegian, and as president of her class. She did not receive her degree, however, until April of 1982 because of required course in kitchen gardening was lacking on her record. Carson received an honorary degree from K-State in 1982 after the head of the music department heard about her forfeiture of a degree in lieu of taking music appreciation. Although her lack of a degree never kept her from success, a letter from Carson to the dean of the university said, “It is wonderful to be getting through school at last!”

In 1922, she married Homer Cross, an electrical engineer and former class president at KSU. They moved to Pennsylvania where Cross had a job with Westinghouse. Later, they moved to New York City where Cross worked for the electric railway and Carson was a writer, authoring everything from advertising copy to short stories and poems. Carson also worked with Margaret Sanger, best known for promoting family planning through the use of birth control. Carson helped distribute unionizing information to Pullman porters during her travels. Her involvement then in such causes could result in jail time during that time.

Carson described her marriage to Cross as a bad one, although she didn't expand much on that subject. It ended in divorce in 1931. Daughter Cynthia was born in 1928. Carson told several people that Cynthia was adopted and documents always listed her name as Cynthia Carson.

Carson continued her journalistic career and later remarried. Second husband, Leonard Rennie, was a painter who worked for the federal government during the Depression. The marrieage did not last long and the couple eventually separated.

Velma's daughter, Cynthia, apparently attended school in Morganville, but like her mother, appears to have moved on without graduating. Colleges weren't very strict about those things then, and Cynthia attended Kansas State Teachers College - now Emporia State University. She graduated in 1950 with an emphasis in the same areas her mother had pursued at KSU. Cynthia taught for a year in Hoxie, Kansas before moving on to New York.

Velma Carson died in 1984, and her ashes were scattered on the grounds of the schoolyard where she had taught.

Administrative Information

Repository: Morse Department of Special Collections

Accruals: 01/11/2016

Access Restrictions: No restrictions.

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

Technical Access Note: The cassette tapes will require a player.

Acquisition Method: Donation

Related Materials: PC1988.19 Clementine Paddleford papers For more information please see http://www.lib.k-state.edu/depts/spec/findaids/pc1988-19.html.

Related Publications: Paddleford, Clementine.  "Kansas is good cooking country!", This Week Magazine, 1959 September 13.  Located in PC1988.19 Clementine Paddleford papers, Box 92, Folders 29-31.  This article mentions Velma Carson.

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

Processing Information: Prepared by Jessica Heuback, University Archives, Archon processing completed by Edward Nagurny, graduate research assistant, October 2014. Processor, Cynthia A. Harris, processed the addition to the collection in 2016.

Finding Aid Revision History: Three additional boxes were added to the collection in January 2016.  There were three additional series added with this addition.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Manuscripts],
[Series 2: Poems],
[Series 3: Magazines and Published Articles],
[Series 4: Correspondence],
[Series 5: Photographs and Drawings],
[Series 6: Biographical],
[Series 7: Subject Series],

Series 7: Subject SeriesAdd to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.
An informational article about Margaret Sanger, American birth control activist, sex educator, writer and nurse.
Box 8Add to your cart.

This box contains four file folders of the following subjects: Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood, Morganville United Methodist Church, Wayne Pearson Randall, and Clay County Taxes.

Belva Lockwood file contains information about Lockwood's life.  She was a teacher, lecturer, lawyer and suffragist.  She was left a widow at the age of 24 with one child.  To support herself she taught at Royalton, but received only half the salary granted to men.  After the American Civil War she studied law and received her law degree from the National University Law School in 1873.  She specialized in cases aginst the government and was the first woman admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.  Her activities centered about a life-long struggle for women's rights and she made her law office in her own house the meeting place for national leaders in the struggle to improve conditions for women.

The Morganville United Methodist Church file contains information on the first one hundred years of history of the church.  It includes a list of ministers who served the church from 1872 to 1986.  History of the church building is included from the erection of the building through each addition and upgrade and includes information pertaining to ladies groups.

The Wayne Pearson Randall file includes a 1975 autobiography.  Randall was born in Clay Center, Kansas, on August 10, 1893.  He entered Baker University in the fall of 1912. After college he worked in banking.

The Clay County taxes file (1957, 1979-1980) includes notes showing what Velma Carson and others paid to Clay County.  Sometimes Velma paid the taxes for the others and the amounts owed to her are listed.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Manuscripts],
[Series 2: Poems],
[Series 3: Magazines and Published Articles],
[Series 4: Correspondence],
[Series 5: Photographs and Drawings],
[Series 6: Biographical],
[Series 7: Subject Series],

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