Madison and Melvina West Collection

Collection Summary

Title: Madison and Melvina West Collection
Call Number: MS 2016-11
Size: 3.0 linear feet (2 boxes and 4 OS folders)
Acquisition: Purchased from Dennis Coffey, 8-2008
Processed by: MPS, 5-2009; JZ, 4-2016
Restrictions: None

Literary Rights

Literary rights were not granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine the 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

This collection contains material documenting the professional roles and personal activities of Wichita journalist Madison West and his wife, Melvina, who worked with local school boards during the mid-1960s when integration became a controversial educational issue in Wichita. Record types include meeting minutes, newspapers, correspondence, administrative policies, professional manuals, artwork, and artifacts.

Biographical Note

Madison West was born in Deerfield, Kansas, on March 7, 1921. He graduated from Garden City Junior College in 1942 and began working for the Wichita Eagle the following year as a reporter and photographer. He served in various capacities for the City of Wichita, Greater Downtown Wichita, and KTCH (now KWCH) television before returning to the Eagle in 1966, becoming News Editor before his retirement in 1984. West enjoyed watercolor painting and playing music with a group, the Harmonica Hombres, which performed at various venues throughout Kansas. He married Melvina Ellis in 1944, a union which resulted in three children. Madison West died on March 24, 2009.

Melvina Ellis was born in Orlando, Oklahoma, on August 20, 1918. She attended Hills Business College in Oklahoma City from 1937 to 1941 before moving to Wichita to work for Beech Aircraft Corporation. After marrying Madison West, Melvina became a mother and housewife. She later worked for the Wichita Board of Education and served as president of the Brooks Junior High Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) for the 1965-66 academic year. In 1987 she joined her husband's musical group, which was renamed the Harmonica Hombres y Una Mujer. Along with statewide touring, this unit performed period music for twenty years at Wichita's Old Cowtown Museum. Melvina West died on January 26, 2013, survived by her daughter, Karen, and sons, Ellis and Gregg.

Detailed Description: Series Listing

Series 1 Box 1 FF 1, OS 1-3 Journalism. This series mainly consists of issues published by local pro-union newspapers which reported on a 1946 strike by Wichita-based American Newspaper Guild union members, including Madison West, who sought better wages from their employer, the Wichita Eagle. Also included in the series are two professional manuals used by West during his career.
Series 2 Box 1 FF 2-8 Education. This series contains correspondence, agendas, meeting minutes, and administrative records relating to Melvina's service on local school boards and organizations, 1963-1967. Of note are those documents reflecting the challenge of integrating Wichita public schools during this era. Material is arranged by organization.
Series 3 Box 1 FF 9-10, Box 2 FF 1-7 Artwork and Music. This series consists of Madison West's work with respect to visual art and music. An avid watercolorist, some of his efforts are present, along with a book he wrote which teaches the fundamentals of playing the harmonica, 1957-1989, n.d.
Series 4 Box 1 FF 11-15, Box 2 FF 8, OS 4 Other. This series primarily consists of items and artifacts collected by Madison or Melvina West. Of note is a research project by WSU student Mark Schock which provides further detail and background on the material in this collection.

Detailed Description: Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 ‒ Journalism

OS 1   The Eagle Striker (three issues), November and December 1946
OS 2   The Labor News-Press (five issues), November and December 1946
OS 3   The Plaindealer (one issue), December 1946
Box 1 FF 1 American Newspaper Guild Manual, 1944. The Associated Press Style Book, 1953.

Series 2 ‒ Education

Box 1 FF 2 Alcott-Carter-Fairmount Fair Treatment Committee, 1966
Box 1 FF 3 Brooks Junior High School ‒ Community Relations Committee and Subcommittee on Boundaries, 1965-1967
Box 1 FF 4 Brooks Junior High School ‒ PTA, 1963-1967
Box 1 FF 5 Brooks Junior High School ‒ Policies and general information, 1965
Box 1 FF 6 Wichita Board of Education, 1965-1967
Box 1 FF 7 Wichita Council of Secondary Schools Parent-Teacher Association, 1967
Box 1 FF 8 Wichita Public Schools ‒ Department of Homemaking and Family Life Education, 1965

Series 3 ‒ Artwork and Music

Box 2 FF 1 Fly Fisherman (watercolor), 1957
Box 1 FF 9 Sketching notepad of Madison West, early 1960s
Box 2 FF 2 Gourd Birdhouse (watercolor), 1963
Box 2 FF 3 Self-Portrait (graphite sketch), 1986
Box 2 FF 4 "Observer" (graphite sketch), 1986
Box 1 FF 10 "West on Harmonica," 1989
Box 2 FF 5 Rural Winter Scene (watercolor), n.d.
Box 2 FF 6 Portrait of a Woman (watercolor), n.d.
Box 2 FF 7 Rural Mountain Scene/Male Nude (watercolor), n.d.

Series 4 ‒ Other

Box 2 FF 8 My Weekly Reader (owned by Madison West), 1929, 1931-1932
Box 1 FF 11 Telegrams on Senate Bill 137 (collected by Madison West), 1963
OS 4   Duane West campaign sign (owned by Madison West), c. 1990
Box 1 FF 12 How to Speak Good English (owned by Melvina West), 1931
Box 1 FF 13 Rock Island depot metal etching, n.d.
Box 1 FF 14 Photographs of children's musical recital, n.d.
Box 1 FF 15 Student finding aid and report by Mark Schock, 2009