TRUMAN STATE UNIVERSITY Pickler Memorial Library Truman State University


Ms Collection K3

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When Mrs John R Kirk turned her husband’s papers over to the College Archives shortly after his death, she included some family photos and documents among the professional documents.  This collection, primarily photographs and the Kirk children’s diplomas, was given to the University to supplement those personal items in the Kirk Presidential Papers.  The majority of items were the gift of the Kirks’ grandson, John R Kirk Jr, in 1998. Subsequent donations occurred in 2012.

The John R & Rebecca Kirk Family
Seated: John, Charles (on John's lap), Rebecca, Todd; Standing: Victor, Elsie, Mary & Pauline (or Pauline & Mary), Jessie, Robert

John Robert Kirk (1851-1937), the son of George W & Mary Jane (Reid) Kirk, was President of the First District Normal School for 26 years, 1899-1925. He completed a Bachelor of Pedagogy at the Normal in 1878, and from then until he returned as President 21 years later, practiced law, was a teacher and administrator in several Iowa & Missouri school systems, and served as Missouri State Superintendent of Schools, 1894-99. After retiring, President Emeritus Kirk became a student again, earning both a BSEd and an MSEd; he was 79 years old when he completed the Masters.

His wife, Rebecca Idella Burns (1855-1941), daughter of James D and Maria (Gilbreath) Burns of Iowa, was also a school teacher. They married in 1875 and became the parents of six children, all of whom graduated from the Normal and went into the teaching profession.

Robert L Kirk (1877-1969) was a high school teacher, football coach & principal in South Dakota, Kansas & Oregon before retiring in 1949.  Robert was married twice, first to Jessie Wright, with whom he had a son Charles G., then to Zetta Galbraith (1895-1985).

Elsie Lucretia Kirk (1878-1976) served as her father’s secretary and Normal School Registrar, 1899-1912.  After completing her Masters she taught in San Francisco until retirement.  Elsie did not marry but did adopt a daughter, Haw Chan.

Todd J Kirk (1882-1956) taught and coached at DePauw University for a few years then at Kirksville High School for around twenty.  He and wife Catharine Johnson (1895-1980) were the parents of John Robert Jr and Dorothy Elizabeth.  Catharine was also an NMSTC graduate and school teacher.

Victor Kirk (1889-1959) served as assistant football coach while a student at the Normal, directing the “Bull Pups” for a time. He spent his whole career, 1916-1958, teaching & coaching in St Louis High Schools.  He married Cecilia Kennedy (1888-1978) of Wellsville, MO in 1915.

Laura Pauline Kirk (1893-1940) taught high school art & music in Missouri, Indiana & West Virginia before taking the position of Associate Professor of Music at Ball State Teachers College in Indiana.  She retired because of ill health & returned to Kirksville in 1935.

Mary Elizabeth Kirk (1893-1977) was a Home Economics teacher in Illinois until her marriage to Warner H Newcomb, MD (1894-1972) in 1920. Both Mary and her twin, Pauline, were talented potters and pottery collectors.  Mary’s collection was donated to the University and is on exhibit in Pickler Memorial Library.

Note: The few newspaper clippings included in this collection have been photocopied on acid-free paper & originals discarded.

K3/0   Administrative Documents
    ◙ List of newspapers (Normal School Index & Kirksville Daily Express) among the donated items that were multiples of issues already in the University Archives or Missouriana; after consultation with the donor, some of these duplicates were forwarded to other members of the Kirk family and the rest discarded ◙ Copies of obituaries & other biographical information for John & Rebecca Kirk & their children ◙ Copy of this finding aid
K3/1   John Robert & Rebecca Idella (Burns) Kirk
  1:1 Photographs of John R Kirk
    ◙ At the north entrance of Kirk Auditorium, 1924-25 (2) ◙ On players’ bench, Normal football field, nd ◙ Thirty-eight (38) formal studio portraits (24 poses), late 1880s-1930s; sizes ranging from 4x6” to 11x14”; some mounted, matted, in folders; identified photographers: DP Thomson, Kansas City; Solem, Thompson, Weir & Moore, Kirksville ◙ John R Kirk grave site, Maple Hills Cemetery, Kirksville, taken shortly after his funeral, November 1937
  1:2 Photographs of Rebecca Kirk
    ◙ Formal studio portrait ◙ In her wicker rocker on the lawn of her Kirksville home, 6 Jul 1938 ◙ Three (3) seated in her living room, knitting ◙ With unidentified woman in her wicker lawn chair ◙ One photo each of John & Rebecca standing by Seagull Monument, Salt Lake City, July 1920
  1:3 Photographs of the Family
    ◙ John & Rebecca with grandchildren Dorothy & John R Jr in their wicker lawn chairs, ca 1930;  “Mary and Warner from Elsie” in Elsie’s handwriting on back” ◙ Rebecca, Elsie, Mary & Pauline ◙ Rebecca & Elsie seated on the porch of the Kirksville house ◙ John & Rebecca with family and/or friends in the yard of the Kirksville house on their Golden Anniversary, 15 July 1929; Kathryn; 3 other women unidentified (faces in shadow) ◙ Bethany School Reunion, 3 Sept 1933; photo by Kansas City Star (see clipping in folder 1:4); identified Kirks: John R, Rebecca, Dorothy, Todd & Kathryn, John’s brothers George & Morris ◙ John & Rebecca seated in their lawn chairs with rest of family: Charles (toddler), Todd, Victor, Elsie, Mary, Pauline, Jessie, Robert ◙ Cecilia, Todd & Pauline, Baker Oregon, Dec 1918 ◙ Todd & one of the twins with 3 other unidentified women
  1:4 Documents
    ◙ Quote from “The Schoolmaster’s Creed” with John R Kirk signature & KSNS logo on gray card; w/ envelope ◙ “Lincoln, The Man of the People” by Edwin Markham: An Appreciation by John R Kirk (1927) ◙ Biography of John R Kirk removed from unidentified publication (pgs 3-8; cites 1910 Normal School Bulletin) ◙ The Story of A Pioneer Teachers College in the “Seventies” by John R Kirk (1936) ◙ What Have Religion and Philosophy Done to Prevent War Among Nations and Peoples?, Kirk’s address to Kirksville Rotary Club, 18 Nov 1931 ◙ Menu & Program, Kiwanis-Rotary Luncheon in Honor of John R Kirk, 1 Nov 1923 ◙ George Peabody College for Teachers Commencement program, 6 June 1930 (JR Kirk among Masters candidates) ◙ Letter from President Emeritus EL Hendricks, Central Missouri State Teachers College, 25 Oct 1937, re Central’s upcoming Homecoming & Inaugural ◙ Newspaper articles ▪ John & Rebecca Kirk’s 50th Wedding Anniversary (2); St Louis Daily Globe Democrat, 15 July 1925, & Kirksville Daily Express, 16 July 1925; ▪ School reunion, Bethany, MO; Kansas City Star, 17 Sept 1933 ◙ “In Memory of Doctor John R. Kirk”, Official Bulletin of the Kirksville Rotary Club [Nov 1937] ◙ Receipts removed from one of the wallets in folder 1:5 ▪ Horace Mann League dues for 1937 ▪ Missouri State Driver’s License, application No 660028, 30 Sept 1937 ◙ Formal visiting card for Mrs John Robert Kirk ◙ Picture postcards ▪ the Kirk home ▪ Kirk Auditorium ◙ Photographs ▪ the Kirk home ▪ Kirk Auditorium under construction
    Documents Relating to Kirk Memorial on NMSTC Campus
    ◙ “In Honor of Our Late Presidents”, Bulletin of the Northeast Missouri State Teachers College 38:5 (May 1938); flyer re plans for construction of the John R Kirk Memorial; pledge card on last page completed by John R Kirk Jr in the amount of $5 & signed Dec 3, 1938; accompany note, “Dec 3 is my B’day – funny, I don’t remember this / JK” ◙ Mimeographed form letters (2) to Alumnus from President Walter H Ryle & GH Jamison, Director Kirk Memorial Campaign, 1 June 1938, w/enclosed flyer explaining fund raising campaign
  1:6 John Robert Kirk’s Pocket Notebooks (oversize box)
    ◙ Pocket-size Book of Psalms; “Grandpa’s, which he read daily to the last” (note by John Jr on first page) ◙ Daily Pocket-size Diaries, Memoranda & Address Books (9) containing daily expenditures, appointments, addresses & miscellaneous notes & statistics, personal & business ▪ 1882-88 ▪ 1889-93 ▪ 1892 ▪ 1892-94 ▪ 1895 (2) ▪ 1897 ▪ 1911-12 ▪ 1923 ◙ 1887-89 Bank Book for account with C Crossan Bank, Bethany, MO ◙ Address Book ◙ Black leather wallets (2)
K3/2   Elsie Lucretia Kirk
  2:1 Photographs
    ◙ Formal studio portrait, ca 1910; Solem Studio, Kirksville ◙ At work in Normal School office, ca 1908 ◙ Seated on the bank of Normal Pond ◙ On front walk of Pierce St house, Kirksville ◙ With daughter Haw Chan, ca 1924 ◙ On roof of her apartment building, San Francisco, Oct 1931
  2:2 Documents (gift of Elaine Wegner 2012)
     ◙ Letter from John Kirk to "Aunt Elsie," October 18, 1934
K3/3   Todd J Kirk
  3:1  Photographs
    ◙ Formal portrait by Abernathy, 1906 ◙ Formal portrait ca 1936 ◙ In University of Illinois football sweater, 1905 (2c) ◙ University of Illinois Sigma Alpha Epsilon Chapter, 16 Sept 1906 ◙ Son John Robert Jr, 1926 ◙ Daughter Dorothy Elizabeth ▪ age 5 mos, 1929 (2c) ▪ At age 3-4, ca 1933
  3:2  Correspondence
    ◙ To Father from Todd, Chanute Field, IL, 1918 ◙ Re Estate of John R Kirk ▪ Todd’s carbon copy of Robert’s letter to Elsie, Mary & Victor re estate matters, 4 Oct 1940 ▪ Four (4) notes from Elsie assigning personal items from Estate to Todd & children, Aug 1941 ▪ Seven (7) letters to Todd from Robert, re the house in Kirksville, 6 Sept-20 Oct 1941 ◙ To Todd from Walter H Ryle, President Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, 19 July 1946 ◙ To Todd from Victor, St Louis(2) ▪ 18 Sept 1941 ▪ 30 Aug 1957, w/ envelope ◙ Military Service ▪ From War Department, Director of Finance re claim of pay as aviation candidate 1 Jul 1919, w/ blank claim forms & envelope ▪ Premium notice & receipt for War Risk Insurance policy, 1920 ▪ Form letter, w/ envelope, to Mrs Catharine Kirk re 1957 Memorial Day observances Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery (where Todd is buried)
  3:3 Diplomas & Transcripts
    ◙ Transcripts ▪ Record of Summer Session 1923, University of Illinois ▪ High School & College credits for work completed 1916, Northeast Missouri State Teachers College (2 forms) [note: NMSTC was First District Normal School when Todd attended; see diplomas] ▪ Graduate work, 1928-29, University of Missouri (2 forms) ◙ Diplomas ▪ Bachelor of Science in Education, Mathematics Course, First District Normal School, 1916 ▪ Bachelor of Science in Education, Science Course, First District Normal School, 1916 ▪ Master of Arts, University of Missouri, 1929 ◙ Copies of four (4) letters of recommendation, undated (written at end of third year as Coach, DePauw University)
  3:4 Miscellaneous Documents
    ◙ Notice of Voter Registration, Board of Election Commissioners, Kansas City, 1944 ◙ Notice of Separation, Unemployment Compensation Commission of Missouri, 21 Sep 1945 ◙ Directory, Illinois Beta Chapter, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, 1950 ◙ Newspaper Clippings ▪ re University of Illinois football games in which Todd is a primary player (2), The Illini, 5 & 19 Nov 1905 ▪ re military flight training, The Daily Palladiam, Pana, IL, 18 Nov 1918 ▪ re Todd panning for gold in the Yukon, Teachers College Index, 28 Feb 1928
K3/4   Victor Kirk
  4:1 Photographs
    ◙ Formal portraits (3) ca 1910; one by Moore Studio, Kirksville ◙ In front of ivy covered wall of the Kirksville High St house, by Patterson Studio
K3/5   Laura Pauline Kirk
  5:1 Photographs
    ◙ Formal studio portraits, various ages child to adult (6) ◙ Formal studio portraits by Atelier von Behr, New York City (3 from same sitting; one signed “Love from Pauline, Xmas 1937”) ◙ Formal studio portrait (2c of 2, same sitting); ID uncertain: “Pauline?” written on back, but may be Mary ◙ In cap & gown, 1913 (3c) ◙ By a rose bush, Kirksville house, 1910s ◙ In snow on front walk of Kirksville house ◙ Three (3) in unidentifiable locations  ◙ With Jean Scott, Fairmont WV, Easter 1924; 2nd copy of Pauline alone clipped from same shot ◙ On steps of brick building (Normal School?) (2) ◙ Seated on a sofa, Muncie, IN, 1929 (2 shots - one has top left corner, including top of Pauline’s head, torn off) ◙ Seated on a large rock on a California beach, late 1930s
  5:2 Diplomas
    ◙ Bachelor of Pedagogy, Advanced Art Course, First District Normal School, 1912 ◙ Bachelor of Pedagogy, Advanced Arts Course, First District Normal School, 1913 ◙ Master of Arts, University of Chicago, 1921 ◙ Master of Arts, New York University School of Education, 1934
  5:3 Miscellaneous Documents
    ◙ Newspaper clipping re Pauline speaking to Kirksville PEO Chapter, nd ◙ Photo of an unidentified young man signed “To Pauline with best regards, Mack” ◙ Pauline’s Normal School enrollment card for Spring Quarter 1913 (Note: this card was not part of the donated collection; it was found in one of her father’s books and placed with this collection since student enrollment cards are not maintained by the University Archives and there is no other place a single item about Pauline would have relevance)
K3/6   Mary Elizabeth (Kirk) Newcomb
  6:1 Photographs
    ◙ Formal studio portraits (43, 2c of one) ◙ In cap & gown, 1913 (2c) ◙ On the porch of a log cabin, July 1920 ◙ Standing beside a car in Baker, OR, ca 1917-18 ◙ By ivy covered wall of the Kirksville High St house ◙ By a tree w/ an unidentified woman; ID uncertain: “Possibly? Mary Kirk” on back, but may be Pauline ◙ Warner Newcomb ◙ Groups of unidentified young men & women (2); Warner Newcomb may be in each ◙ Sidney Newcomb (Warner’s sister) ◙ Group of school children seated on steps of building, labeled in childish handwriting “Warner Newcomb, Gibson City, Ill, May 27 -02” ◙ Group of slightly older children seated on steps of same building, not labeled (Warner’s class a few years later?)
  6:2 Diplomas, Transcripts & Certificates
    ◙ Bachelor of Pedagogy, Advanced Art Course, First District Normal School, 1913 ◙ High School Life Certificate to teach Home Economics, State Teachers’ Training Board, State of Indiana, 1919 ◙ State Teachers College Transcript of Record & Tabulated Courses of Study, 1905-18 ◙ Typed certification of credits record, State Teachers College, dated 10 Apr 1926 [note: this was at one time glued to cover of transcript but has come loose] ◙ Grade card for 4th grade, Training Department, State Normal School, 1901, w/ envelope ◙ Teachers’ Temporary Certificate (Substitute in Elementary Schools—Domestic), Public Schools of Chicago, 1921-22
  6:3 Kirk-Newcomb Wedding, 5 June 1920, Chicago, IL
    ◙ Minister’s certificate & printed text of marriage service in folder tied w/ satin bow ◙ Ribbons & heart-shaped base of Mary’s bouquet ◙ Clipping of wedding announcement from the Kirksville Daily Express, 8 June 1920 ◙ Snapshots (7) of Mary & Warner with members of the Kirk family on their wedding trip to Kirksville, 19 June 1920
K3/7   The Twins: Laura Pauline & Mary Elizabeth Kirk
  7:1 Photographs of the Twins Together
    Note: Pauline & Mary were identical twins; there is no indication as to “which is which” written on these photos; the girls are dressed alike in all of them ◙ As toddlers, by Carpenter Photographic Rooms, Kansas City ◙ As toddlers, by Luden Studio, Jefferson City ◙ Formal studio portrait, about 7-8 years old ◙ Playing with the Brotherton children, Jefferson City, 1896 ◙ Formal studio portrait as adults ◙ On the front walk of the Kirksville house 
K3/8   Miscellaneous
  8:1 Unidentified Photos
    ◙ Formal portrait of unidentified woman (possibly John’s mother), Star Studio, Gibson City, IL ◙ Formal portrait of two unidentified women, Holler Studio, San Francisco ◙ Male infant in long dress (possibly John R Kirk), R Fenwick Studio, Bloomington, IL ◙ Female toddler (possibly John R Kirk’s sister), Wilsey Studio, Gibson City, IL ◙ White frame house w/ ice-laden tree in front yard ◙ Unidentified young African-American man standing by table
  8:2 Ephemera
    ◙ Rebecca’s 14” white silk & bone fan ◙ Normal School souvenir paperweight; 4x2.5x1” clear glass block w/ portrait of John R Kirk showing thru from the bottom ◙ Small (1/5x1/75”) gold oval desk frame; photo of unidentified woman (face shadowed by hat), possibly one of the twins ◙ John R Kirk Jr’s official Boys Scouts First Aid Kit; his initials on front; in canvas pouch w/ belt loop; contains original First Aid Guide and 2 Band-Aids; also John’s note “This was my Kit.  I don’t remember any Tragedies in childhood that would have emptied this Kit.  JK 7/13/98” ◙ Bank deposit bags (2), Citizens National Bank, Kirksville
  8:3 Addenda: Miscellaneous Photographs
    While cleaning out a store room in 1994, EM Violette Museum staff found a box of Kirk family pictures in a stack of unrelated items.  Most are snapshots, many of which were obviously vacation pictures of (primarily) unidentified scenery. Those that include family members, even those of uncertain identity, have been added as a supplement to this collection.
    ◙ Robert ▪ In cap & gown ▪ Army, WWI (2) ▪ With his guns ◙ Elsie ▪ Seated at her desk ▪ In a Pony Cart ▪With three unidentified friends ▪ With Marion Leeper ▪ Daughter Haw Chan lying on the beach ◙ Kirk Brothers, Robert, Todd and/or Victor (24) individually or with each other, their wives & children or friends (unsure of ID) ◙ Elsie, one of the twins, one of the brothers & others on the lawn of the Kirksville house (2) ◙ The Twins (one or the other or both) ▪ As children with one of their brothers ▪ On lawn of Kirksville house ▪ In the snow in front of the house ◙ Burns Family: ▪ Mrs JA Ruth (Rebecca Kirk’s sister); Family reunion at Burns farm, Ft Dodge, IA, ca 1903: Ben Burns, Paul Uren, Clara Wilburn (school chum of Jazel’s), Jazel, Rose Albee (later Ben’s 2nd wife), Grace (Ben’s 1st wife), myself, Father, Mother (“Myself” who wrote the ID on the back is not identified) ▪ Ben F Burns & family: Bert in (WWI) Navy uniform, Rose & Clara’s names written on face of  photo ◙ The Kennedys (Cecilia’s family) in Vancover, BC (3); includes Larry, Gus Loures & an unidentified man ◙ Cecilia on vacation ▪ Windsor, Ontario ▪ (w/ Mrs Tim Gill), San Antonio, 1943 ▪ With Margaret Banks & unidentified woman, Tiajuana, Mexico (2) ▪ On the ferry in New York City (2)

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