Kathleen Kersting Memorabilia

Collection Summary

Title: Kathleen Kersting Memorabilia
Call Number: MS 98-14
Size: 0.25 linear feet
Acquisition: Purchased from Watermark West
Processed by: DG, 5-13-1998; SMC, 11-18-1998; MN, 1999; MN, 12-6-2011
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

Kathleen Kersting (1908-1965) was an internationally known soprano opera singer who spent her early childhood in Wichita. The collection contains photographs, unsigned affidavits attesting to her heritage, articles about her, and memorabilia of her performances in Wichita.


Kathleen Kersting was an international known opera singer in the mid-20th century. She was born in Enid, Oklahoma, in 1908, and her family moved to Wichita the following year. In 1922, she was discovered by Madam Emma Calvé, an well-known opera teacher, and moved to Italy to train with her. She returned to Wichita for a sold out performance in 1928. She returned again in 1930 with the Chicago Civic Opera Company.

Ms. Kersting moved to Germany in 1932. After the rise of the Nazis she was refused permission to perform until she had proved she was not of Jewish heritage. She remained in Germany throughout World War II, a fact which led to the U.S. government seizing her father's estate when he died in 1945. She returned to the United States and taught at the Wichita School of Fine Arts until 1950. During the 1950s she served the United States State Department as a cultural attaché to Germany. She died in Salzburg, Austria, in 1965.

Detailed Description: Series Listing

Series 1 Box 1 FF 1 Memorabilia of Wichita performances
Series 2 Box 1 FF 2-3 Documents related to her residency in Germany
Series 3 Box 1 FF 4 Photographs
Series 4 Box 1 FF 5 Articles
Series 5 Box 1 FF 6 Ephemera

Detailed Description: Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 ‒ Memorabilia of Wichita performances

Box 1 FF 1 Brochure from Kathleen Kersting's Homecoming Concert at the Wichita Forum in 1928. Flyer from the 1930 Annual tour of the Chicago Civic Opera Company which featured a stop in Wichita.

Series 2 ‒ Documents related to her residency in Germany

Box 1 FF 2 Two unsigned affidavits attesting that Kathleen Kersting is not Jewish, April 1933.
Box 1 FF 3 Letter from Cordell Hull to Arthur Capper dated April 28, 1933 concerning Kathleen Kersting.

Series 3 ‒ Photographs

Box 1 FF 4 Four photographs of Kathleen Kersting taken by Daguerre of Chicago.

Series 4 ‒ Articles

Box 1 FF 5 Parsons B & PWC (Business and Professional Women's Club) Convention Booster. Wichita-Sedgwick County Arts and Humanities Council Newsletter, June 1995.

Series 5 ‒ Ephemera

Box 1 FF 6 Chicago Public Library Card, 1932. Guest card to Crestview Country Club, Wichita.