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Papers of the Menninger Family

Portions of this material may be available on Kansas Memory


Agency Classification

Organizations/Corporations. Menninger Foundation Archives. Family. Menninger Family. Organizations/Corporations. Menninger Foundation Archives. Family.


Date: 1713 - 2001 (bulk 1885 - 1990)

Level of Description: Sub-collection/group

Physical Description: Circa 650 cubic feet

Unit ID: 225988

Restrictions: Certain materials in some family members' collections, such as Drs. C.F., Karl, and Will, may be access restricted due to personal health information for identifiable individuals.

Descriptive Information

Abstract: The most extensive collections of papers for individual family members come from Drs. Karl and Roy Menninger, followed by Dr. Will and his wife Cay. Other Menninger family members whose personal papers can be found in the Menninger Archives include C. F. and his wife Flo, Edwin, Philip Bratton, Jeanetta Lyle, William Walter, and Robert Gaines, representing three generations of the Menninger family. There are also two series of materials related to miscellaneous family members, including genealogical and biographical material and photographs.

Individuals' papers typically provide information regarding their personal and professional interests, hobbies, and other activities. The collections often include diaries and photographs and almost always include correspondence, manuscripts, and other materials. Collectively, this sub-component of the Menninger Archives provides a wide breadth of information about the Menninger family members who were instrumental in creating the Menninger Foundation, and about those closest to them.


Biog. Sketch (Full): Charles Frederick and Flo Vesta Knisely Menninger's families both originated from German states before emigrating to the United States in the mid-19th century. C. F. and Flo met in rural Kansas and married in 1885, moving a few years later to Topeka, Kan. to raise their three sons Karl (born in 1890), Edwin (born in 1896), and William Claire (born in 1899).

C. F. wished for his sons to join him in a medical practice, and in the late 1910s after Karl finished schooling and residencies back East, he joined C. F. in such a joint practice. Slowly father and son began seeing strictly psychiatric cases--though C. F.'s professional interests lay more in internal medicine--and by 1925 Will, who had also earned his medical degree, joined the other two family members. They opened the Menninger Sanatorium and other related institutions, including the Southard School for children, over the years. Eventually, by 1946, they incorporated all the individual entities into the Menninger Foundation. Middle son Edwin did not join the family practice, instead establishing himself in Florida as a newspaper editor and expert on flowering plants.

The next generation followed in their fathers' and grandfather's footsteps. Karl's son Robert, for example, held a variety of clinical and administrative positions. Will's sons Roy and Walter both served as President of the Foundation after holding other clinical and administrative positions, and his son Phil served in a variety of administrative capacities. Dr. Will died relatively young in a long-lived family, in 1966; both Karl and Edwin survived to the first half of the 1990s.

Contents List

Items in this list may appear in the format Description (beginning year - ending year). Sometimes dates appear as part of the Description and the phrase [Date not given] appears in the date area.

Index Terms


  1. Family archives -- Kansas -- Topeka
  2. Family records
  3. Menninger, Catharine Wright, 1902-1994
  4. Menninger, Charles Frederick, 1862-1953
  5. Menninger Clinic
  6. Menninger, Edwin Arnold, 1896-
  7. Menninger family -- Archives
  8. Menninger, Flo V., b. 1863.
  9. Menninger Foundation
  10. Menninger, Jeanetta Lyle, 1901-1994
  11. Menninger, Karl A. (Karl Augustus), 1893-1990
  12. Menninger, Philip Bratton, 1928-
  13. Menninger, Robert Gaines, 1922-
  14. Menninger, Roy W., 1926-
  15. Menninger, William Claire, 1899-1966
  16. Menninger, W. Walter

Creators and Contributors

  1. Menninger family

Additional Information for Researchers

Restrictions: Certain materials in some family members' collections, such as Drs. C.F., Karl, and Will, may be access restricted due to personal health information for identifiable individuals.

Ownership/Custodial Hist.: Most of the materials found in this sub-collection of the Menninger Archives were donated in 2003 with the entirety of the Menninger Archives. Some materials came earlier to the Kansas State Historical Society and have either remained separate or have been integrated into this collection. Materials that have come later, notably those from Drs. Roy and Walt Menninger, have been incorporated into the larger collection. Further accretions from family members are possible.

The results displayed here have been compiled from a number of databases that may contain variations, inconsistencies, and inadvertent errors in the detailed information presented. For small collections and records series, only basic data is included at the present time. Other descriptions may be less complete than desired; however, we are working to improve them. For more information, please contact our reference staff.