Jump to Navigation

Frank Carlson - 1946 Campaign Papers

Frank CarlsonManuscript Collection No. 245



The papers of Frank Carlson’s 1946 gubernatorial campaign were found in the records of his gubernatorial administration in the state archives holdings of the Kansas State Historical Society. The assistant state archivist, Terry Harmon, and the assistant curator of manuscripts, Bob Knecht, decided it was best to separate Carlson’s pre-inaugural papers and organize them as a separate manuscript collection.


Frank Carlson, the son of Swedish immigrants, was born January 23, 1893. Prior to entering politics he made a living as a farmer in his native Concordia, Kansas. Anecdotally, Carlson was in a wheat field, cutting wheat, when four businessmen approached him in 1928 urging him to run for the Kansas House of Representatives. He won that election and served two terms. Following his tenure in the Kansas Legislature, he ran for election for the U. S. House of Representatives, winning three elections in twelve years. From there, Carlson turned his sights on the Kansas governor’s office, winning in 1946 and in 1948. After four years as governor, Carlson continued his political career in the U. S. Senate, serving there for eighteen years. In all, Carlson won thirteen out of thirteen elections and spent thirty-four years in public office.

While governor, Carlson presided over the removal of prohibition in Kansas. “I’m a teetotaler,” claimed Carlson. “I don’t smoke or drink, but I have no quarrel with those who do. I’m a great believer in letting the people decide.”

When U. S. Senator Clyde Reed died in 1949, Governor Carlson appointed Harry Darby, a prominent Kansas City industrialist, to fill the vacancy.

Carlson’s administration as governor was known for extensive highway building programs, rural health programs, and reforms and improvements to Kansas’ mental hospitals. Prior to Carlson’s administration, Kansas had been rated as being in fortieth place nationally in terms of the condition of its mental hospitals. By the summer of 1950, Kansas jumped to eleventh place as a result of Carlson’s efforts to improve Kansas’ state mental health facilities.

While in the U. S. Senate, Carlson served on the committee that investigated the tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy, censuring him in 1954. Carlson developed a reputation as being opposed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs and supportive of President Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights legislation.

Carlson attributed his success to his serious attitude in handling matters of state and having a “common touch” in dealing with people.

Following his death in 1987, Governor Mike Hayden remarked that Carlson was “one of [Kansas’] finest statesman and citizens.” Senator Bob Dole claimed that Carlson “wrote the book when it came to class,” and former Kansas governor and presidential candidate Alf Landon said that Carlson was “an outstanding Kansan, a faithful and dedicated public servant.”

Scope and Content

The Frank Carlson 1946 Campaign Papers include a wide variety of documentation covering the activities and political platform of the Republican Party for the 1946 Kansas gubernatorial campaign.

This collection is divided into two series. Series 1 is dedicated to the various individuals who were either directly or indirectly involved in the Republican campaign. Series 2 is dedicated to various issues or functions of the Carlson for Governor Committee.

These papers originally came from the archival records of the Kansas governor’s office for the Carlson administration. Those papers predating Carlson’s inauguration were separated and transferred to the manuscripts collection of the Kansas State Historical Society (KSHS). Other campaign materials pertaining to Carlson’s second gubernatorial campaign are integrated within the records of Carlson’s gubernatorial terms in the state archives holdings of the KSHS. Frank Carlson’s records as a United States senator are in a separate manuscript collection, no. 92.

Contents List

Series 1   Records Relating to Individuals
folder 1 Brown, Quenton.
  2 Capper, Arthur.
  3 Carlson, Frank - Correspondence.
  4 Carlson, Frank - Speeches.
    Claussen, Arthur, see Series 2, Speakers Bureau, folders 27 and 28.
  5 Colmery, Harry W.
  6 Denious, Jess C.
  7 Friend, Carl.
  8 Glenn, Charles R.
  9 Lambertson, William P.
  10 Landon, Alf.
  11 Pierson, Ray S.
  12 Ratner, Payne.
  13 Reed, Clyde M.
  14 Slocum, John.
  15 Stafford, George Millard.
Series 2   Records Relating to the Functioning of the Campaign
folder 16 Chairman of Republican State Central Committee.
  17 Civil Service.
  18 Delegates to the National Convention, 1933-1944.
  19 Form Letters used in the Campaign.
  20 Itinerary.
  21 Labor.
  22 Miscellaneous.
  23 News Releases.
  24 Platform, Republican Party.
  25 Publicity.
  26 Schools.
  27 Speakers Bureau (1 of 2)
  28 Speakers Bureau (2 of 2)
  29 Workman's Compensation.
  30 Young Republican Club.

Linear feet of shelf space: 0.4

Additional Information for Researchers


There are no restrictions on its use.

Preferred Citation

Citations referring to these collections should include the Frank Carlson 1946 Campaign Papers, Library and Archives Division , Kansas State Historical Society.

Processed by

Robert A. McInnes