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Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Edward F. Arn (1951-1955)

Creator: Kansas. Governor (1951-1955 : Arn)

Date: 1951 Jan. 8-1955 Jan. 10

Level of Description: Sub-collection/group

Material Type: Government record

Call Number: See individual series

Unit ID: 440522

Restrictions: None.

Biographical sketch: 32nd governor of the state of Kansas (Republican), 1951-55; of Wichita.

Abstract: Correspondence files and proclamations & messages from the Edward F. Arn administration. Contains correspondence related to appointments to state positions, state agencies, and a large number of topics. Additional records of Governor Arn are in separate series common to several governors, described in the Contents section of this record.

Space Required/Quantity: 33 ft. (80 boxes) + 37 oversize items

Title (Main title): Records of the Kansas Governor's Office : administration of Governor Edward F. Arn (1951-1955)

Titles (Other):

  • Edward F. Arn administration, Jan. 8, 1951-Jan. 10, 1955
  • Kansas Governor Edward F. Arn records
  • Records
  • Records of the Office of the Governor of Kansas : Edward F. Arn administration (1951-1955)

Part of: Records of the Kansas Governor's Office.


Biog. Sketch (Full):

Edward Ferdinand Arn was born on May 19, 1906 to Edward F. Arn and Grace Bell Edwards Arn. Arn's father, a coal, feed, and building materials salesman, died when his son was only four months old. Edward was raised by his mother in Kansas City and Muncie, Kansas where he also attended school.

During his youth, Arn performed various jobs to earn his money for his education, doing such things as delivering groceries and newspapers, and working as a filling station attendant. In college, Arn attended Kansas City Junior College, the University of Kansas, and in 1931, he graduated from the Kansas City School of Law. He was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1930 and the Kansas Bar in 1931.

Early in his career, Arn worked as an investigator for the Kansas Highway Commission. Beginning in 1936 he practiced law in Wichita. During World War II, he served as a lieutenant and security officer on board an aircraft carrier in the U.S. navy.

In Republican Party politics, Arn was a nearly omni-present force as early as his university days. While still a freshman in college, Arn was chairman of the Wyandotte County Republicans. He was also a precinct committeeman for six years, and a chairman of a congressional district of Young Republicans for six years.

During the gubernatorial campaigns of both Payne Ratner and Andrew Scheoppel, Arn served as campaign chairman. In this capacity, Arn gained a statewide reputation with in the Republican Party.

In 1947, Arn was elected to the position of Attorney General. While Attorney General, Arn attempted to strictly enforce the state's prohibition laws, but concluded that successful enforcement would require legions of investigators and laws enforcement officials. In 1949, Gov. Carlson appointed Arn to fill a vacancy of the State Supreme Court, a position he held only briefly.

In 1950, Arn resigned from the State's highest court to run for governor. Arn won this election, defeating Kenneth T. Anderson by over 57,000 votes. Arn was re-elected in 1952, defeating the Democratic challanger, Tom Rooney.

In 1962, Arn tried for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, but lost to James B. Pearson.

In 1973, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appointed Arn to chair the Judicial Study Advisory Committee.

In his personal life, Arn first married Marcella Ruth Tillmore, and with her, had two daughters: Barbara Claire and Delores Louise. Following Marcella's death in 1966, Arn married Catharine Phillipi Ross.

Arn was a member of several legal associations, clubs and fraternal orders, such as the American Bar Association, the Kansas Bar Association, and the American Judicature Society. His fraternity was Delta Theta Pi. He was a member of the Masons, Lions International, Sojourners, Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion. His spiritual preference was Congregationalist.

Edward Arn died in 1998.

Administrative History

Administrative History:

The office of the governor of the State of Kansas was established by the State Constitution of 1859, the Wyandotte Constitution.

According to constitutional mandate, some of the more important duties, functions, and responsibilities of the Kansas Governor are as follows:

  • The supreme executive power of the State shall be vested in a Governor, who shall see that the laws are faithfully executed.

  • The Executive Department shall consist of a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Attorney General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction, who shall be chosen by the electors of the State at the time and place of voting for members of the Legislature, and shall hold their offices for the term of two years from the second monday in January, next after their election, and until their successors are elected and qualified.

  • He may require information in writing from the officers of the Executive Department upon any subject relating to their respective duties.

  • He may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the Legislature by proclamation, and shall, at the commencement of every session, communicate in writing such information as he may possess in reference to the condition of the State, and recommend such measures as he may deem expedient.

  • All commissions shall be issued in the name of the State of Kansas; signed by the Governor, counter-signed by the Secretary of State, and sealed with the great seal.

For a complete list of gubernatorial duties, see the Kansas State Constitution (1859), Article I -- Executive.

As with all gubernatorial administrations, international issues and issues affecting the nation also affected the state as a microcosm.

Internationally, some of the things going on at the time were the war in Korea; the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, whose empire was in the process of turning into a commonwealth; the Cold War, which was at its height; Israel, struggling to survive among hostile Arab neighbors; and the French, who were fighting to maintain their imperial possessions in Indochina. Documentation concerning some of these issues appear in the Governor's Correspondence.

Domestically, the effect of American troops fighting in Korea was manifested in a variety of ways; one of them took the form of concern for the well-being and adequate compensation of our fighting troops overseas. Some Kansans expressed their sentiments on this issue to Governor Arn.

Two related issues came out of the Korean War. One centered around the fact that eighteen year old men were being drafted for military service in Korea. Some thought that if men are old enough to be required for military duty, they should also be granted the right to vote. Another outgrowth of American involvement in Korea was the American-Korean Foundation which organized for the purpose of raising funds for the war ravaged civilians in that country.

Prominent issues of the day that affected the state as a part of the Union in addition to the Korean Conflict were McCarthyism and the booming post World War II economy.

Specific files exist in this administration's records for McCarthyism. During the 1950s, when the Cold War was most active, ordinary citizens reacted with alarm to any hint of anything un-American or leftist. In Washington, D. C., Senator Joseph McCarthy's influence was so powerful that his moniker identified the sense of forced conformism that characterized the age. In the early 1950s, McCarthy and his anti-communist campaign captured nearly all of the media spot light. However, by the spring of 1954, the tide had turned against him, and by December of that year, the Senate censured him from that house of Congress.

On the issue of the economy, with the conclusion of World War II, the return of millions of service men from the war front caused a huge demand for housing in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The overwhelming demand for housing, naturally, caused housing rental rates to escalate sharply. The situation was so severe that the federal government established the Office of Rent Stabilization. A file entitled "Rent Control" reflects the economic situation in America following World War II.

Issues originating in Kansas which exerted an influence beyond its borders include the renowned Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, Supreme Court case, and the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower of Abilene to the presidency.

A folder concerning school desegregation is found in the Subject File sub-series entitled "Segregation." Among a small amount of correspondence concerning this issue is a per curiam issued by the United States Supreme Court to the governor of Kansas. (Segregation file, Box 71, folder 16, 1952 Nov. 24)

When Dwight D. Eisenhower, hero of the Second World War, was elected president, Kansans were beaming with pride. Concerned and patriotic Kansas citizens petitioned the governor to recognize President Eisenhower's inauguration in some official capacity, which was done.

Issues particular to the State of Kansas during Arn's tenure include a flood of disastrous proportions in 1951. This cataclysmic event generated approximately two feet of letters, reports, studies and other documentation. Hundreds of letters bombarded the governor's office in 1951 and the ensuing years.

If that were not enough, a drought followed in 1953. This also generated a significant amount of records. Not only was Kansas affected by this situation, but so were neighboring states. Finally, President Eisenhower entered the scene to offer federal assistance.

The Kansas Territorial Centennial happened to take place while Arn was in office.

Scope and Content

Scope and content:

The arrangement and description of the correspondence of the Governor's office is structured according to the arrangement, duties, functions and responsibilities of the Governor and the Executive Branch of Kansas state government.

The Correspondence Series is subdivided into an Alphabetical File; an Appointments File (because the Governor spent a great deal of time appointing people to official government boards, departments and other government offices); a State Agencies File; and a Subject File.

The Alphabetical File contains routine correspondence from either the common, concerned citizen about unimportant subject matter; or from important correspondents, arranged by name.

The State Agencies File contains routine correspondence to and from nearly all of the bureaus of the state government. This is the appropriate subseries for research of state agency activities and history.

The Subject File contains a wide array of files on any and every important subject matter at the time. Researchers investigating important issues of any given era in Kansas' history (or national history) should examine the Subject Files of the Governors' Correspondence.

In nearly all record groups of Governor's Correspondence, there are oversize items. Oversize items are inventoried at the bottom of the Summary portion of this finding aid, giving their original folder location and the oversize storage location where they have been transferred. When examining the folders that held oversize items, the researcher will find a transfer form, identifying the item, and giving information on its oversize location.

Contents: Records specific to this administration: Correspondence files, 1951-1954, 40 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/193440 -- Proclamations and messages, 1951-1955, 1 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/442030 Records that include this administration: Pardon and parole files, 1863-1983, 215 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/193659 -- Applications for requisitions : series I & II, 1874-1953, 37 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/194090 -- Citizenship pardons, 1876-1960, 8 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/193802 -- Extraditions, 1877-1994, 163 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/191789 -- Prisoner cards, [ca. 1900]-1975, 7 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/193773 -- Reports of state agencies, 5 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/193467 -- Pardon and parole files for female inmates, 1921-1962, 4 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/196304 -- Conditional pardons : paroled prisoners, 1924-1958, 2 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/193810 -- Eligible lists for hearings : Kansas State Penitentiary, 1927-1957, 25 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/193786 -- Notary public resignations, 1927-1955, 2 ft., http://www.kshs.org/archives/193456 -- Weekly census reports, 1927-1954, 0.2 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/193778 -- Receipt books and deposit vouchers : fees collected, 1939-1973, 1 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/192243 -- Parole lists : State Industrial Farm for Women, 1953-1955, 0.1 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/193771 -- Renditions, [ca. 1955]-1995, 59 ft.; http://www.kshs.org/archives/191915.

Portions of Collection Separately Described:


Locator Contents
027-14-02-03 to 027-15-05-04  Non-oversize material 
072-05-09-01  Oversize items 
937-22-00-00  Press ; preliminary study, U.S. Highway 81 ; road maps (oversize items) 

Index Terms


    Kansas. Governor (1951-1955 : Arn) -- Archives
    Kansas. Governor (1951-1955 : Arn) -- Records and correspondence
    Kansas -- Officials and employees
    Kansas -- Politics and government -- 1951-
    Governors -- Kansas -- Archives
    Governors -- Kansas -- Records and correspondence
    Finance, Public -- Kansas
    Government correspondence -- Kansas
    Patronage, Political -- Kansas
    Public institutions -- Kansas
    Public officers -- Kansas
    Public records -- Kansas
    Public welfare -- Kansas

Creators and Contributors

Agency Classification:

    Kansas State Agencies. Governor's Office. Specific Administrations. Arn, Edward Administration.

Additional Information for Researchers

Restrictions: None.

Use and reproduction:

This material may be protected by copyright law (title 17, U.S. Code).

Government records are not normally covered by copyright law. However, due to the nature of the correspondence addressed to and emanating from the Governor's office, this record group could contain copyrighted material. It is the responsibility of the author or his or her publisher to secure permission of the owner of literary property rights in unpublished writing.

Cite as: Footnotes attributed to this record group should include Kansas State Historical Society, Kansas State Archives, Correspondence of the Governor: Arn administration, 1951-55.

Action note: Inventory written by Robert A. McInnes, 1998.