Janet Owen Laws Collection


Collection Summary

Title: Janet Owen Laws Collection
Call Number: MS 2010-02
Size: 15.0 linear feet
Acquisition: Donated by Leonard, Kenneth and Gregory Laws
Processed by: PAK, with assistance of EAC and LMM: 10-13-2010
Restrictions: None

Literary Rights

Literary rights were not granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research.


Content Note

The Janet Owen Laws Collection documents the re-emergence of interest in Native American culture throughout North America, particularly in Kansas and the Southwest, and shows the flourishing art and culture of Native Americans in the second half of the twentieth century. The collection also includes the memoirs of Janet and those of her husband Leonard, Janet’s correspondence with Shirley Andrews, and images of her and Leonard’s artwork, handicrafts and sculpture. The collection is comprised of scrapbooks, images, newspaper clippings, travel guides, museum brochures, publications, and other writings.


Biography

Janet Owen Laws was born on March 15, 1924, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and her husband Leonard Laws was born on December 29, 1917, in Pocasset, Oklahoma. They met in 1942 while Leonard was President of the Wesley Foundation and a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota. Janet was an undergraduate student there and they were married the following year, on August 29, 1943. While in college, Janet became interested in fiber art and began weaving bags in the style of the Great Lakes tribes. In 1953, the Laws moved to Winfield, Kansas, where Leonard became the Dean-Registrar of Southwestern College. After two years in that position, Leonard resigned and became a full-time mathematics professor at the college. While there, Leonard carved Heritage Rock, a sculpture that stands on the Southwestern campus. In 1964, Janet became involved in the Girl Scouts through her daughter and remained active in the Scouts for the next thirty years. During her time in Kansas, she served four years as a docent at the Mid-America All-Indian Center. Janet died on January 19, 2008 in Winfield, Kansas, and Leonard died on September 8, 2010, in Winfield, Kansas.


Series Listing

Series 1

Box 1-Box 9

Scrapbooks

Series 2

Box 10 FF1-3

Memoirs

   Series 2.1

Box 10 FF 1

Janet Owen Laws’ Memoirs

   Series 2.2

Box 10 FF 2

Leonard Laws’ Memoirs

   Series 2.3

Box 10 FF 3

“Letters to Shirley [Andrews]”

Series 3

Box 10 FF 4-Box 11 FF 5

Artwork

   Series 3.1

Box 10 FF 4-20

Native American Artwork

   Series 3.2

Box 10 FF 21-Box 11 FF 5

Janet and Leonard Laws’ Artwork

Series 4

Box 11 FF 6-8

Powwows and Religious Life

Series 5

Box 11 FF 9-Box 12

Education and Indian Colleges

   Series 5.1

Box 11 FF 9-11

Educational Programming for Native Americans

   Series 5.2

Box 11 FF 12-Box 12

Reading Lists, Internet Resources, and Other Educational Materials

Series 6

Box 13 FF 1-7

Museums

   Series 6.1

Box 13 FF 1-4

Mid-America All-Indian Center and Docent Program

   Series 6.2

Box 13 FF 5

National Museum of the American Indian

   Series 6.3

Box 13 FF 6-7

Other Museums

Series 7

Box 13 FF 8-16

Newspaper Clippings, Articles, Brochures, and Government Documents

 


Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 -- Scrapbooks

 

Box 1

FF 1

Scrapbook 1. 186 pages, 1972-1982. This material consists of newspaper and magazine clippings as well as pamphlets and brochures. It documents Native American history and culture throughout the United States, particularly Kansas and Minnesota, as well as Native American “attractions.” The main focus is the Mid-America All-Indian Center (MAAIC) and the problems it has faced as a Native American-run facility. It also includes articles on such topics as Native American art and sculpture, including Blackbear Bosin, sculptor of “Keeper of the Plains” in Wichita.

Box 1

FF 2

Scrapbook 2. 98 pages, 1966-1982. This material consists of newspaper clippings, images, and pamphlets. The main focus is the lawsuits filed by Native American tribes against the federal government. It also includes articles on various topics such as the Cherokee alphabet, the Big Creek Massacre, the death of Blackbear Bosin, a pamphlet from the Winfield Art Center, and a list of American Indian tribes and their pronunciations.

Box 2

FF 1

Scrapbook 3. 100 pages, 1981-1985. This material consists of newspaper articles, particularly from Kansas and the Southwest. It documents the continuing problems of MAAIC and the death of its executive director, Jay Hunter. It also includes articles on Blackbear Bosin and subjects dealing with the Southwest, and Central and South America.

Box 2

FF 2

Scrapbook 4.118 pages, 1984-1988. This material consists of newspaper articles. The main focus is Indian gaming. It also includes articles on various topics, including the Indian burial pits near Salina, an article on a change of the Sedgwick County seal from General Sedgwick to “Keeper of the Plains,” and Cherokee leadership in Oklahoma.

Box 3

FF 1

Scrapbook 5. 95 pages, 1987-1988. This material consists of newspaper articles. The main focus is Native American rights and the problems on reservations. It also includes articles on such topics as movies and novels about Native Americans, American Indian archaeological sites, artist Woody Crumbo, a Peruvian “King Tut,” and an article alleging that Geronimo’s skull was stolen by Prescott Bush, father of President George H.W. Bush.

Box 3

FF 2

Scrapbook 6. 102 pages, 1977-1989. This material consists of newspaper clippings and images. It documents the controversy surrounding Indian burial sites throughout the United States. It also includes articles on such topics as “Ad Astra,” the sculpture at the top of the Capitol Dome in Topeka, WSU professor Donald Blakeslee’s attempt to find the trail of the Mallet brothers, and the sesquicentennial of the Trail of Tears.

Box 4

FF 1

Scrapbook 7. 100 pages, 1973-1990. This material consists of newspaper and magazine articles. The main focus is American Indian sculpture, primarily in Kansas, the Southwest and California. It also includes articles on such topics as “Ad Astra,” the re-burying of the remains at the Salina Burial Pits, and a plan to rebuild “Keeper of the Plains” as the tallest structure in Wichita.

Box 4

FF 2

Scrapbook 8. 82 pages, 1979-1993. This material consists of newspaper clippings. The main focus is the Navajos. It also includes such articles as the motion picture “Dances With Wolves,” the Little Bighorn battlefield and General Custer, a pit excavation near Winfield, a Navajo-owned zoo in Arizona, and a New Mexico cave showing that humans inhabited the Americas earlier than previously thought.

Box 5

FF 1

Scrapbook 9. 100 pages, 1991-1992. This material consists of newspaper clippings. It documents a tax war between the Kickapoo tribe and Kansas Attorney General Bob Stephan. It also includes articles on such topics as a local high school Native American artist, the film “Dances With Wolves,” the renaming of Custer Battlefield to Little Bighorn Battlefield, the 500th anniversary of Columbus landing in the New World, the largest American Indian populations in the United States, Canada’s giving the Inuits about 20% of Canadian territory, and the pardoning of two Christian missionaries who protested Georgia’s removal of the Cherokee.

Box 5

FF 2

Scrapbook 10. 101 pages, 1992-1994. This material consists of newspaper clippings. The main focus is Indian gaming and casinos. It also includes articles on such topics as a mysterious, unidentified illness on the Navajo Reservation, the controversy surrounding a MAAIC Board of Trustees election, the controversy surrounding the arrest of American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, a revolt in Mexico, an attempt to make Wichita a first-day issuance city for “Wild West” postal stamps, and the birth of a white buffalo.

Box 6

FF 1

Scrapbook 11. 144 pages, 1966-1995. This material consists of newspaper clippings and photographs. It documents attempts by members of the Tonkawa tribe of northern Oklahoma to bring in money from a nuclear waste dump. It also includes articles on such topics as the political correctness of Disney’s animated film “Pocahontas,” murals in Hominy, Oklahoma, Native American demographics, photographer Edward S. Curtis, and photographs taken from the Red Earth Day Festival in Oklahoma in 1994.

Box 6

FF 2

Scrapbook 12. 120 pages, 1975-1999. This material consists of newspaper clippings and photographs. It documents attempts to change the name of Wichita North High School’s mascot, the “Redskins.” It also includes articles on such topics as activist Leonard Peltier’s incarceration, tribal sovereignty, controversy surrounding a KU student’s request to wear tribal dress to graduation, Indian gaming, the Hominy murals, corruption among the leaders of the White Earth Chippewa tribe of Minnesota, museums thefts in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, controversy over a proposed American Indian memorial at Little Bighorn, and a Lakota ceremony to bless a B-1B bomber.

Box 7

FF 1

Scrapbook 13. 142 pages, 1996-1999. This material consists of newspaper articles. The main focus is Native American sovereignty and treaty rights. It also includes articles on such topics as tourism, Indian gaming, musician Brent Michael Davids, the Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota, and the Taíno, the group that Columbus first encountered in the Americas.

Box 7

FF 2

Scrapbook 14. 160 pages, 1994-1998. This material consists of newspaper articles. The main focus is on powwows. It also includes articles on such topics as the Wichita Indians, archaeology, the Wichita North High School “Redskin” controversy, nose art on a KC-135 airplane, a plan by an Oklahoma tribe to build a casino on Kansas burial grounds, a 9300 year old skeleton appearing to have European features, and a plan to add 9 acres to Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita for an Indian village on the site.

Box 8

FF 1

Scrapbook 15. 152 pages, 1999-2000. This material consists of newspaper articles. It mainly documents the Wichita North High School “Redskin” controversy. It also includes articles on such topics as Koch Industries stealing oil from American Indians, activist Leonard Peltier, Pocahontas, and the burial of the last “full-blooded” Kaw.

Box 8

FF 2

Scrapbook 16. 174 pages, 1999-2003. This material consists of newspaper articles. The main focus is the sculpture “Ad Astra.” It also includes such articles as the American Indian mascot controversy, activist Leonard Peltier, a University of Arizona plan to place a telescope on Mount Graham, Indian gaming, the Kaw Nation’s return to Kansas, Northwestern Coast art, an ancient meat processing site in southwestern Kansas, the Sand Creek Massacre, the last Indian raid in Kansas, the custody battle over Jim Thorpe’s body, and a missing massacre marker in Victoria, KS.

Box 9

FF 1

Scrapbook 17. 199 pages, 2002-2007. This material consists of newspaper articles. It documents the MAAIC and “Keeper of the Plains.” It also includes articles on such topics as Indian gaming, the Seminole purchase of the Hard Rock franchise, the Grand Canyon skywalk, the near extinction of bison in the last Ice Age, former Vice President Charles Curtis, and Dull Knife’s exodus across Kansas.

 

 

 

Series 2 -- Memoirs

 

Series 2.1 -- Janet Owen Laws' Memoirs

 

 

 

Box 10

FF 1

Janet Owen Laws’ Memoirs, n.d.

 

 

 

Series 2.2 -- Leonard Laws' Memoirs

 

 

 

Box 10

FF 2

Leonard Laws’ Memoirs, n.d.

 

 

 

Series 2.3 -- “Letters to Shirley [Andrews]”

 

 

 

Box 10

FF 3

“Letters to Shirley [Andrews],” 1988-1998.

 

 

 

Series 3 -- Artwork

 

Series 3.1 -- Native American Artwork

 

 

 

Box 10

FF 4

Weaving. This file includes general information and images, particularly on Navajo rug making.

Box 10

FF 5

Jewelry. This file includes general information on silver jewelry from the Southwest.

Box 10

FF 6

Beadwork. This file includes general information on beadwork art made by Native American artists.

Box 10

FF 7

Pottery. This file includes general information and images on pottery of the Southwest and Central American regions.

Box 10

FF 8

Painting. This file includes general information on Native American paintings and painters, including Grey Cohoe and R.C. Gorman.

Box 10

FF 9

Other Media. This file includes information on other media, including rock drawings, photography, interior decorating, printmaking, folk art, gourd art, cradle making, and theatre.

Box 10

FF 10

Allan Houser. This file includes general information about Houser and his art.

Box 10

FF 11

Dan Namingha. This file includes general information about Namingha and his art.

Box 10

FF 12

Martha H. Streuver. This file includes general information about Streuver and her art.

Box 10

FF 13

Cha’ Tullis. This file includes general information about Tullis and his art.

Box 10

FF 14

Other artists. This file includes information and images by Svevo Brooks, R.C. Gorman, the Nez Perce artists, Blackbear Bosin, Dorothy Ann Sullivan, Mary Waconda, John Sloan, Hoarce Poolaw, Don Crowley, Edward S. Curtis, Gregg Bourland, Roxanne Swentzell, Fred Meyers, Joe Pachak, Tony Abeyta, John Hoover, Jeanne Walker Rorex, Cheryl Davis, Ed Mell, R. Carver, and Maynard Dixon.

Box 10

FF 15

Calendars. This file includes calendars featuring Native American art, 1998-2006.

Box 10

FF 16

Cards and Postcards. This file includes cards and postcards received and collected by Janet Owen Laws featuring Native American art.

Box 10

FF 17

Government-commissioned artwork. This file includes information and images on government-commissioned artwork, the Buffalo Silver Dollar, the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, and the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.

Box 10

FF 18

Gilcrease Institute. This file includes information and images on the Gilcrease Institute in Tulsa, OK.

Box 10

FF 19

Galleries and Art Shows. This file includes information on art galleries and art shows in Kansas at Prairie Edge, MJF Galleries, Red Stone Gallery, In The Spirit Gallery, Bah-Kho-Je Gallery, White Buffalo Gallery, and The Gallery Wall.

Box 10

FF 20

Books Lists and Catalogues. This file includes a book list and catalogues, including one on missing art and artifacts.

 

 

 

Series 3.2 -- Janet and Leonard Laws' Artwork

 

 

 

Box 10

FF 21

Heritage Rock. This file includes images of Leonard Laws standing in front of Heritage Rock, his sculpture at Southwestern College.

Box 10

FF 22

Laws’ art descriptions. This file contains descriptions of the art by Leonard and Janet Owen Laws written by Leonard and their son Kenneth.

Box 10

FF 23

Laws’ Art 1. This file includes a compact disc (CD 1 of 7) of images of the artwork of Janet and Leonard Laws, printouts of the images, and a list of the images on the CD. Examples include “Praying Hands” and “Semi-Victorious Warrior,” both sculptures by Leonard Laws.

Box 10

FF 24

Laws’ Art 2. This file includes a compact disc (CD 2 of 7) of images of the artwork of Janet and Leonard Laws, printouts of the images, and a list of images on the CD. Examples include “Young Storks” and “Instant Fossil,” both sculptures by Leonard Laws.

Box 11

FF 1

Laws’ Art 3. This file includes a compact disc (CD 3 of 7) of images of the artwork of Janet and Leonard Laws, printouts of the images, and a list of images on the CD. Examples include “Abstraction #1,” a carving by Leonard Laws, and “Bag #3,” a weaving by Janet Owen Laws.

Box 11

FF 2

Laws’ Art 4. This file includes a compact disc (CD 4 of 7) of images of the artwork of Janet and Leonard Laws, printouts of the images, and a list of images on the CD. Examples include “Snail,” a carving by Leonard Laws, and “Water Flowers,” a weaving by Janet Owen Laws.

Box 11

FF 3

Laws’ Art 5. This file includes a compact disc (CD 5 of 7) of images of the artwork of Janet and Leonard Laws, printouts of the images, and a list of images on the CD. Examples include “Rooster” and “Kansas Twister,” both sculptures by Leonard Laws.

Box 11

FF 4

Laws’ Art 6. This file includes a compact disc (CD 6 of 7) of images of the artwork of Janet and Leonard Laws, printouts of the images, and a list of images on the CD. Examples include “Small Decorative Pieces,” weavings by Janet Owen Laws, and “Delight Maker #1,” a sculpture by Leonard Laws.

Box 11

FF 5

Laws’ Art 7. This file includes a compact disc (CD 7 of 7) of images of the artwork of Janet and Leonard Laws, printouts of the images, and a list of images on the CD. Examples include “Harmonious Veteran,” a sculpture by Leonard Laws, and “Janet’s Tipi,” a tipi decorated by Janet Owen Laws.

 

 

 

Series 4 -- Powwows and Religious Life

 

 

 

Box 11

FF 6

Powwows. This file includes information on powwows, 1976-2008.

Box 11

FF 7

Kachinas. This file includes general information and images on Kachina dolls.

Box 11

FF 8

Religious life. This file includes general information on peyote, Methodist missionaries, and Native American versions of Christian prayers.

 

 

 

Series 5 -- Education and Indian Colleges

 

Series 5.1 -- Educational Programming for Native Americans

 

 

 

Box 11

FF 9

Oglala Lakota College. This file includes pamphlets, newsletters, annual reports, and other publications on Oglala Lakota College in Kyle, South Dakota.

Box 11

FF 10

Newsletters and mailings. This file includes newsletters for St. Joseph’s Indian School (Chamberlain, SD), Cook College and Theological School (Tempe, AZ), and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, as well as mailings from the American Indian Education Foundation, the Native American Scholarship Fund, Red Cloud Indian School (Pine Ridge, SD), and St. Labre Indian School (Ashland, MT).

Box 11

FF 11

Cowley County Community College. This file includes information on Native Americans taught in a cultural studies workshop at Cowley County Community College, August 9-10, 1993.

 

 

 

Series 5.2 -- Reading Lists, Internet Resources, and Other Educational Materials

 

 

 

Box 11

FF 12

Reading Lists. This file includes book lists issued by publishers on various Native American topics, including exploration, the fur trade, and the Civil War.

Box 11

FF 13

Reading Lists. This file includes book lists issued by publishers on various Native American topics, including Navajo rugs, art, the Indian Wars, and American history.

Box 11

FF 14

Internet resources. This file includes information about online discussion groups on Native American culture and history received by Janet Owen Laws.

Box 11

FF 15

Booklets and stories. This file includes booklets explaining Wichita and Apache history, statistics for Indian Education for 1971, stories to teach Native American children about their culture, and an article on making Indian dolls.

Box 12

 

Other educational material. This file includes two pins, a Girl Scout pen, a postcard with the Cherokee alphabet, and a cornhusk doll kit.

 

 

 

Series 6 -- Museums

 

Series 6.1 -- Mid-America All-Indian Center and Docent Program

 

 

 

Box 13

FF 1

Mid-America All-Indian Center (MAAIC). This file includes event programs and newsletters for the MAAIC museum, 1976-1979.

Box 13

FF 2

Mid-America All-Indian Center. This file includes event programs and newsletters for the MAAIC museum, 1980-2003.

Box 13

FF 3

MAAIC Docent Program. This file includes docent training materials, memos, and exhibit labels for the MAAIC docents, 1965-1989.

Box 13

FF 4

MAAIC Docent Program. This file includes docent training materials, memos, and exhibit labels for the MAAIC docents, n.d.

 

 

 

Series 6.2 -- National Museum of the American Indian

 

 

 

Box 13

FF 5

National Museum of the American Indian. This file includes newsletters and mailings from the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and a letter from Senator Nancy Kassebaum to Janet Owen Laws, 1992-2005.

 

 

 

Series 6.3 -- Other Museums

 

 

 

Box 13

FF 6

Institute of American Indian Arts. This file includes an annual report, pamphlets, images, and mailings for the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, 1991-2006.

Box 13

FF 7

Other museums. This file includes pamphlets, programs and images from other museums throughout the United States and Canada, primarily in Kansas, Oklahoma and Minnesota, such as the Wichita Art Museum, the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, OK, and the Amerind Foundation in Dragoon, AZ, 1977-1998.

 

 

 

Series 7 -- Newspaper Clippings, Articles, Brochures, and Government Documents

 

 

 

Box 13

FF 8

Government Documents. This file includes pamphlets from government organizations, copies of several congressional bills, and a letter from Representative Joe Skubitz, 1978-2002.

Box 13

FF 9

Rare articles. This file includes rare children’s publications about Navajo children, 1955-1956.

Box 13

FF 10

Casino articles. This file includes articles on the fight for casinos in Kansas, 1991-1993.

Box 13

FF 11

Art articles. This file includes articles on various art topics, including painting, weaving, and sculpture, 1955-1999.

Box 13

FF 12

Notable Native Americans articles. This file includes articles on well known Native Americans, including Sitting Bull and Wilma Mankiller, the first female Cherokee chief, 1987-2005.

Box 13

FF 13

Archaeology articles. This file includes articles and brochures on archaeology and various archaeological sites, primarily in the Southwest, 1973-1996.

Box 13

FF 14

Tourism articles. This file includes Janet Owen Laws’ notes and articles on tourism and tourist sites in the United States and Canada, 1974-1978.

Box 13

FF 15

Tourism articles. This file includes Janet Owen Laws’ notes and articles on tourism and tourist sites in the United States, 1978 -2004.

Box 13

FF 16

General articles. This file includes articles on a range of topics, including cooking Native American dishes, Jamestown, and poaching, 1934-2007.

Box 14

 

Oversized articles. This file includes articles from such publications as the Wichita Eagle, the Kansas City Star, the Palo Alto Weekly, and the Native Monthly Reader, 1957-2004.

 


For information, please contact us at:
Special Collections and University Archives
Wichita State University Libraries
1845 Fairmount, Wichita, KS 67260-0068
E-mail: specialcollections@wichita.edu
Telephone: 316-978-3590