Archive for Friday, August 17, 2001

Search library, museum in quest for Quantrill

Artifacts, books, video, newspapers put raid in perspective

August 17, 2001


If you want treasures of information on William Clarke Quantrill, there are two main places to raid in Lawrence.

You can check out the Lawrence Public Library. And you can swing through the Watkins Community Museum.

If you walk the path between both buildings in downtown Lawrence, you'll travel over part of the area where Quantrill and his raiders road through downtown Lawrence in the early days of Aug. 21, 1863, setting fire to many buildings and shooting most of the men.

Many details of the raid are available in the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt., including books, old newspapers and even Hollywood movies.

"We have plenty to keep anybody busy," said Sandra Weichart, community relations coordinator and reference assistant at the library.

The library's resources should satisfy the serious historian as well as the casual reader, she said.

The library's Helen Osma Kansas Collection Room in the lower level includes all the Kansas Historical Society quarterlies, which feature many articles on the raid and Lawrence's early history.

"We have virtually all the books that have been written about Quantrill's Raid, including a nice collection of children's and young adult books," Weichart said.

If you want to get a sense of how the news was covered back in the time of Quantrill and in the years afterward, you can also find old newspapers on microfilm.

Weichart said the library's collection has a nearly complete collection of the Journal-World and all of its predecessors.

The library also has video tapes of Hollywood movies, including Ang Lee's "Ride with the Devil," "The Jayhawkers," starring Fess Parker, and "The Dark Command," featuring John Wayne.

The library also has a tape of KTWU public television's "Sunflower Journeys" series on "Ride with the Devil."

"We have shelves and shelves of Civil War materials," she said.

The library also has lists of material that has been housed at the Watkins Community Museum, she said.

"We have constant displays on Quantrill, because of the public interest," said Steve Jansen, director of the museum, at 11th and Massachusetts streets.

One of the exhibits shows items that were scorched or partially burned in the raid or associated with the raid, such as loot dropped by the raiders.

"We have a pocketwatch that was found d in the remains of a home south of Lawrence that was burned by Quantrill's raiders," Jansen said.

Other items of interest include molten glass from the burning of the Ridenour Bakery Grocery store, at 804 Mass, which now houses Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop.

"We've got 19 different Quantrill-related artifacts at the museum," Jansen said.

They also have files at the museum on a 24 major headings dealing with Quantrill's raid, including old newspapers, scholarly publications, legal claims after the raid seeking financial compensation and the involvement of blacks in the raid.

Related material also includes illustrations, plays, poem, films and the raid and raiders, different reminiscences, survivors, victims and reenactors.

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