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Louis Clark Mathis Papers, 1917-1941

1917 to circa 1941

Microfilm MF 293




Microfilm MF 293 (ms. collection 745)


2 in. (on partial roll of microfilm).


Louis Clark Mathis was born in Winslow, Missouri, in 1881. Little is known about his early life. By the time he reached adulthood, he acquired skills in telegraphy and began working for the Missouri Pacific Railway. He seemed to have spent most of his working career in the east-central region of Kansas, in the Quenemo - Lomax - Pomona - Burlingame - Ottawa area.

When the United States declared war on Germany in 1917, Mathis entered the U.S. Army at the Kansas City Enlistment Office on June 20, 1917. The Army inducted him as a sergeant first class and set him to work in the Signal Corps as a telegrapher, putting to use skills he acquired with the Missouri Pacific. According to Mathis’s service record, he never received any rifle or cavalry training and his communication posting kept him well out of harm’s way. Though this duty assignment may have been a safe one, it also lacked glory and excitement. By the end of the war, he had received no citations or decorations.

Not much is known about Mathis’s later life, except for the fact that he was discharged from the army in September of 1919. His service record as well as a letter of introduction describe his character as being “excellent.” He joined the Masons at one point in his life, and had an interest in cultivating roses. By 1926, Mathis was living in Ottawa, Kansas, on Oak Street with his wife Hattie. Mathis had resumed working for the railroad following the war.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a World War I journal, a scrapbook, and other items written or collected by Louis Clark Mathis.

The journal that Mathis kept denotes his experience in France in World War I. It begins on July 31, 1918, and ends of February 22, 1919. Unfortunately, Mathis recorded the journal in pencil and some of the pages have become blurred beyond legibility. Nevertheless, the remaining record reveals the life and activities of a telegrapher of the 408th Telegraphy Battalion during the “Great War.”

The scrapbook includes mostly a wide variety of newspaper clippings with no particular theme. Most of the clippings are of strange facts, oddities and curiosities. It also includes obituaries of a wide range of people, articles about railroad trains, and news reports of political events taking place in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. Also found in the scrapbook are a number of letters, arranged in chronological order on the microfilm, and a typed transcription of an investigation into an incident involving Louis Mathis while working for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The scrapbook seems to be a picture of the lifetime interests and personality of Louis Mathis.

Contents List

Item 1) 1917 May 23 Letter of introduction.
Item 2) 1917-1919 Journal kept in France.
Item 3) 1919 May 8 Letter concerning a railroad rule book and certification of examination.
Item 4) 1934 July 30 Letter to Mathis [from H. R. Osborn?].
Item 5) 1936 July 9 Typed transcription of investigation into an incident involving Louis Clark Mathis while employed with the Missouri Pacific Railway
Item 6) 1936 Nov. 14 Letter to Mathis from Robert Pyle, concerning rose cultivation.
Item 7) 1937 Aug. 16 Letter to Mathis from L.W. Baldwin.
Item 8) 1941 Jan. 8 Editorial sent to to the Ottawa Herald concerning the “grade seperation project” at 18th and Main Streets in Ottawa, Kansas.
Item 9) 1941 Jan. 12 Letter sent to Dr. W.E. Ashby of Arvada, Colorado, concerning native American burial sites in the Quenemo, Kansas area.
Item 10) 1941 Jan. 13? Letter sent to Joseph O. Menendez, Commander-in-Chief of the V.F.W., concerning the Chas. Jessup Post No. 2981 in Quenemo, Kansas
Item 11) Undated Poem “The Galloping Tea.”
Item 12) ca.1927-1941 Scrapbook.

Notes on This Microfilm Copy

Microfilm MF 293 contains the Louis Clark Mathis Papers, 1917 - ca. 1941, in their entirety. In order to preserve these papers, this manuscript collection has been microfilmed and only the microfilm is available to researchers; the microfilm may be borrowed through interlibrary loan. Each item is marked with a slipsheet which identifies it as well as to indicate to the researcher which frame on the microfilm the researcher is viewing. Used in conjunction with this manuscript guide, finding a particular item on this microfilm becomes more convenient.

Additional Information for Researchers


The Louis Clark Mathis Papers (1917-ca.1941) were donated to the Kansas State Historical Society in 1996 by Dorothy Stevenson.


Citations for this collection should include the Louis Clark Mathis Papers, 1917 - ca. 1941, Kansas State Historical Society microfilm MF 293.

Copyright Notice

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

The user is cautioned that the publication of the contents of this microfilm may be construed as constituting a violation of literary property rights. These rights are derived from the principal of common law, affirmed in the 1976 copyright act, that the writer of an unpublished letter or other manuscript has the sole right to publish the contents thereof for the duration of the copyright. Unless he or she affirmatively parts with that right, the right descends to his or her legal heirs regardless of the ownership of the physical manuscript itself. 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.

Processed by

Robert A. McInnes, 1996.