Reminiscences of Early Lawrence Kansas

“Reminiscences of early Lawrence” by Agnes Emery, self-published in 1955, offers a deeply personal and detailed account of the author’s experiences and observations in Lawrence, Kansas, during its formative years. Emery’s narrative blends historical details with a vivid recollection of community life, making it a valuable resource for understanding the local history of Lawrence and the broader societal changes of the time.

The strength of the manuscript lies in its rich descriptive quality and the intimate perspective it provides. Emery’s firsthand accounts of events like Quantrill’s raid and the Price’s threatened raid bring a human dimension to these historical episodes, enhanced by her discussions of day-to-day activities, social norms, and the physical landscape of the area. Her vivid descriptions of the natural environment, local flora, and the community’s response to adversity paint a compelling picture of pioneer life.

Moreover, Emery’s reflections on the role of women in the suffrage movement in Kansas, although brief, add an important layer to the narrative, showing her awareness of the broader social movements of her time. The manuscript is also peppered with mentions of notable individuals, which not only gives a sense of the community’s social fabric but also ties the local history to wider national developments.

However, the manuscript does have limitations. While rich in detail, it sometimes meanders through memories without a strong central thesis, which might challenge readers looking for a more analytical approach to history. Additionally, the absence of a critical perspective on certain social issues of the time, including discussions on race and indigenous peoples, might be seen as an oversight.

Overall, “Reminiscences of early Lawrence” is both a memoir and a historical document that provides an evocative look at life in 19th-century Kansas. It succeeds in making the past accessible and relatable, though it may benefit from a tighter narrative structure. This work will appeal especially to those interested in the history of Lawrence, genealogists, and readers looking for an in-depth, personalized account of American frontier life.

Table of Contents

Earliest Memories, p. 5
The Years on the Farm, p. 12
We Move Down Town, p. 23
The Years in School, p. 28
Questions, p. 63
Notes, p. 101

Info Box

Emery, Agnes, Reminiscences of early Lawrence, Lawrence, Kansas : self-published, 1955.




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