Jump to Navigation

John D. Bower Papers

Collection No. 135



John David Bower was born in rural McLouth, Kansas, on December 17, 1911, to David Earl and Mabel Estella Kimmel Bower.  He graduated from McLouth High School in 1929 and McPherson College in Kansas in 1938 with bachelor of arts degrees in history and philosophy.  He served in the United States Army in 1942 and 1943.  Afterward, he worked the family farm, beginning in partnership with his father, where he settled with his wife, the former Maude Agnes Black, and two children, Ronald and Ruth (Edmonds); he and Agnes were married June 13, 1936.  He also was a conservation contractor.  Bower was an ordained minister and served as pastor of his local congregation from 1946 to 1970.

In 1952, he was elected to the first of twelve terms he would serve in the Kansas House of Representatives.  John Bower, a lifelong Republican, had never run for political office prior to 1952 when he sought the vacant seat in the 4th District (Oskaloosa, Valley Falls, and Tonganoxie) in northeast Kansas. By 1972, he emerged as the ranking Republican in the House with experience on the Education, State Affairs, Reapportionment, Governmental Organization, Rules and other committees.  He was most interested in education, water resources, and human rights, and he led opposition to loosening liquor and gambling restrictions.

He was a deacon of the First Baptist Church in McLouth and a member of the McLouth Kiwanis Club, Senior Citizens Friendship Club, Jefferson County and Kansas State historical societies, and the Heart of America Antique Steam Engine and Model Association.

His first wife, Agnes, died February 10, 1988.  He married Mary Frances Lacy Kimmel on February 25, 1989; she died July 23, 2009.

He died June 18, 2012, at his home in McLouth at the age of 100; he was buried in the cemetery there.

Scope and Content

The John Bower Papers reflect the political career and activities of Representative Bower during his tenure in the House from 1953 to 1976. While he was to serve twelve terms of office covering this period, the bulk of the papers deal with the later years of his service. There is little material from his early sessions in the 1950’s. This is a serious weakness of the collection. The collection is arranged alphabetically by subject heading in one series of papers. They are contained in10 record storage boxes. Subjects of interest to researchers in this period would be files of: Alcohol, Government Organization, Highways and Taxes. The vast majority of the collection represents Mr. Bower’s 24 year appointment to the House Committee on Education. Approximately 6.5 record boxes are comprised of “Schools” files which contain papers on the Education Committee’s activities, Finance, and School Reorganization. These files are the most extensive feature of the collection and contain the greatest value to researchers interested in Education and Representative Bowers contribution to the Kansas educational system.

The weakness of the collection is one of scope, as mentioned earlier. Additionally, there is little personal correspondence accompanying many of the subject areas. The majority of materials are comprised of statements, miscellaneous studies and reports, copies of bills, and published literature. The correspondence files themselves only cover the period from 1971 to 1975. While this weakness in correspondence negates sweeping assessments of the influence of Bower’s politics in many areas of the collection, it certainly is not too great a handicap to deny the usefulness of the collection as a source of information for political issues during his terms in office.

Contents List

Box 1

Agenda – (House of Representatives Committees – 1976)
Agriculture, State Department of
Cereal Malt Beverage Tax
Clippings and Literature
County Option
Private Clubs
Banks – State Deposits in 1973
Bills – Marked Copy
Bower, John D.
Campaign – 1972
Capital Punishment
Civil Defense
Civil Rights – Housing
Clippings – Memorabilia
Clippings – 1972
Coal Pipelines
Computation Center (University of Kansas) – Legislative Visit
Conflict of Interest
Correspondence – 1971 - 1973

Box 2

Correspondence - 1974
1975 (#1)
1975 (#2)
1975 (Post Session)
1975 (Reply Dictated)
Constituent Inquiries – Herrstrom, Walter
Robbins, Ray P.
County – Kansas Association of Counties
Jefferson County Health Planning Council
Jefferson County Extension
Court Reform
Credit Charges
Drug Abuse – San Francisco meeting
Box 2 (cont.) Drugs
Legal Control
Employees – Applicants
Energy – Exploration
Equal Rights Amendment
Finance - State
Financial Institutions – Consumer Finance

Box 3

Governmental Organization - Agriculture & Resources
Architects (State Building Programs)
Computer Center
Executive Order #1 (1973)
History of
Minutes (1973-1976)
Mined Land
Penal Reform
Health – Regional Planning Council
Highway Safety
Highway Taxes
Highways - Construction Funds (H.B. 1401)
County Bridge Bonds
County Road Funds
Leavenworth County
Homestead Exemption
Insurance – “No Fault”
Juvenile Matters – Special Committee (1973)
Children & Youth (1974)
Land Managements
Lane University
Law Enforcement
District Attorney
Legislative Digest - Budget Committee Bills

Box 3 (cont.)

Legislative Digest (cont.)
Kansas Association of School Boards
Legislative Index - Kansas Association of Commerce & Industry
Legislative Procedure – Printing of Bills & Resolutions
Legislative Reform
Legislators – Compensation
Legislature – 1976 (Highlights & Report)
Local Government – Finances
Meat Inspection
Medical Malpractice
Mental Retardation

Box 4

Newsletters – ca. 1962 – 1973
Nursing Education Project
Pages – Legislature
Policy Development – Farm Bureau
Poll – Public Opinion
Public Health – Gardner Hospital
RIECA – Research & Information Exchange: Care of the Aged
Recreation Programs
Republican Party
Requested Legislation
Retirement – Jefferson County
Revenue Sharing
Right to Work
Rules Committee
Safety – Driver Safety
Sanitation Control
Schools - Adult Education
Annexation (Surrounding states)
Better Schools Act, 1973
Bi-Lingual Language Testing
Boys Industrial School (Title I)
Box 4 (cont.) Schools (cont.)
Capital Outlay
Career Education
Collective Bargaining (Local Proposals & Agreements)

Box 5

Schools - Compact for Education (ECS)
Compulsory Attendance
Continuing Contract Laws
Driver Education
Education Committee (1965)
Education Committee (1967)
Education Committee (1968)
Education Committee (King Subcommittee)
Education Committee Minutes (1963)
Education Committee Minutes (1964)
Education Committee Minutes (1968)
Education Committee Minutes (1970)
Education Task Force
Educational T.V.
Eye Safety
Finance: Ad Valorem Tax Reduction Fund
Financing: Budgeting

Box 6

Schools - Finance: Conference Committee Reports
Finance: County Foundation Fund
Finance: Formulas
Finance: Fort Leavenworth
Finance: Foundation Program (S.B. 281)
Finance: Grandfather Clause
Finance: In other states
Finance: Junior Colleges
Finance: Property Taxes & Levies (Background
Finance: Property Taxes & Levies (California Supreme
Court Decision)
Finance: Proposals (1968)
Finance: Proposals (1973)
Finance: Transportation
Finance: S.B. 432 (1967)
Finance: P.L. 874 (1966-1967)
Finance: H.B. 1509 (1971)
Finance: S.B. 92 (1973)
Finance: S.B. 480 (1975)

Box 7

Schools - Finance: 1975 – 1976
Fort Leavenworth
Guidance Counselors (Elementary)
Handicapped Children’s Education Project
Impasse (Employer-Employee Relations)
Independent Colleges
Independent Colleges (McPherson College)
Independent Colleges (Scholarship Program)
Independent Colleges (Tuition Grants)
Junior Colleges
Junior College Finance
Kansas Association of School Board Bulletins
Kansas National Education Association
Kansas Technical Institute, Salina
Master Plan
Non-Public Schools

Box 8

Schools - Non-Public Schools (Voucher System)
Opportunity Schools
Permanent School Fund
Post – High – State School Finance
Practices Efficiency Committee
Private & Parochial
Professional Negotiations
Quarter System (Gary Condra)
Quarterly System
Recommendations of State Superintendents
Religion & Schools
Reorganization (Attendance Centers)
Reorganization (Educational Survey)
Reorganization (History)
Reorganization (History – Copies of Bills)
Reorganization (Red Rock)
Reorganization (Unification Study)

Box 9

Schools - Salaries
School Year
Senate Bills
Sex Education
Special Education
Special Education (Title VI Programs)
State Board Recommendations
Box 9 (cont.)
Schools - State Board (HCR 505)
State Department
State Scholarships
State Supervision
Statistics Student Loan Program
Teacher Certification & Retirement
Teachers (Due Process)
Teachers (Mini-grants)
Text Books
Trade Schools
Tuition Between States
Tuition Grants

Box 10

Schools - Unified Districts (Needed changes)
Vocational Education (Amendments: 1968)
Vocational – Technical Schools
Sewer Districts (H.B. 1082)
SRS – Title XX (Comprehensive Social Services)
State Finance
State House – Parking Regulations, etc.
Symbols – State Flower, etc.
Taxation – County comparisons
Taxes - Exemptions
Intangibles Tax
Kansas State Tax Facts
Oil and Gas
Property Tax
Property Valuations
Sales Tax
Tax Lid
Tenants Rights
Threshing Bee
Tuition Grants
Voting Record (1971 – 1972)
Water Resources (Historical)
Workmen’s Compensation