Archive for Monday, October 24, 2011


Lawrence Magazine offers last-minute costume

October 24, 2011


Need a costume for Halloween, but you’re not exactly the type to go all-out? Lawrence Magazine may have just the solution for you.

The magazine commissioned Lawrence artist Jason Barr to create a disguise steeped in Kansas history — John Brown’s beard. The magazine also features a John Brown Cut Out Doll Disguise Kit.

Download the abolitionist’s facial hair, print it and cut it out. You’re set as one of the state’s controversial historical figures.

John Brown’s beard can be downloaded free here.


npettengill 6 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for the mention, Go! The beard and paper doll disguise kit are part of an article where writer Amber Fraley asked local John Brown scholars to evaluate John Brown's legacy and consider what John Brown would do if he somehow returned to modern Kansas. The online version of that story is available at this link:

Regards, Nathan Pettengill Editor, Lawrence Magazine

npettengill 6 years, 3 months ago


Kansas opened for white settlement in 1854. John Brown arrived to Kansas in 1855. Perhaps no white settler could be considered a "Kansan" at that time, but Connecticut-born Brown seems to have had as much or more right to the title as any other settler.

As for the label domestic terrorist, that certainly is a title he's been given over the years and one popularized by Ken Chowder's recent film. Another interpretation that is reflected by some panelists in our article is that against the backdrop of guerrilla warfare and Bleeding Kansas, John Brown was no more or no less violent than many people around him at the time. He never burnt Lawrence to the ground.

Some of the panelists in our article, and many contemporary historians, argue that the main reason John Brown was considered a "madman" was because his defenses and raids grew from his belief that whites and blacks were equals. He even integrated his family dinner table with black and white guests--an action that was anathema to slavery supporters and even beyond the understanding of many Free-Staters of the time. John Brown's stance on racial equality still colored the perception of many American historians through to the late 1900s.

We seem to be undergoing a John Brown film/biography revival, probably because of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War period--and our article was an attempt to apply this conversation to the Lawrence experience. Thanks for your opinion, Reticent_Irreverent.

npettengill 6 years, 2 months ago


I understand your assessment of John Brown and I seek neither to disagree with nor to support it in this forum.

My intention in posting was to provide a summary of the views presented in our article on John Brown, some of which leaned toward some points in your assessment. But I also think it's important to note that most of our panelists had a very different interpretation. Their arguments are presented in our article or reflected in recent books such as Evan Carton's Patriotic Treason.

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