Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Memories of the Prairie Lecture Series: Presentation Explores Kansas Frontier Photographer

The Dickinson County Historical Society in Abilene, Kansas along with the Jeffcoat Photography Studio Museum will host "Kansas Through the Lens of F.M. Steele," a presentation and discussion by Jim Hoy on Saturday, June 23 at 7:00pm at the Dickinson County Heritage Center located at 412 S. Campbell Street in Abilene.  Members of the community are invited to attend the free program, and can contact the Dickinson County Historical Society at (785) 263-2681 for more information.  This program is made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council.

In 1890, frontier photographer Francis Marion Steele set out from Dodge City to record cowboys, American Indians, wildlife, wheat harvesting, grain farming, sugar-beet factories, railroad building, community celebrations and festivals, small-town life, and studio portraits.  Hoy's presentation examines how Steele's work provides visual documentation of the Kansas character.

Jim Hoy is a professor of English and director of the Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University.  He is an authority on the folklife of ranching, a topic on which he has lectured throughout the world.  Hoy's publications include ten books and over one hundred articles, and he is co-author of "Plains Folk," a syndicated newspaper column.

"Francis Marion Steele arrived in Dodge City in 1890 and immediately set out onto the prairies in a dark-room-mounted buggy to take photographs of cowboys," shared Hoy.  "After the end of the open range he photographed everything from wheat farming to railroad construction to small-town life, providing in the process documentation of Kansas and the southwestern plains in the transition from the open range to crop agriculture."

"Kansas Through the Lens of F.M. Steele" is part of the Kansas Humanities Council's Speakers Bureau featuring presentations and discussions about Kansas and what it means to be a Kansan over time and across generations.

The Kansas Humanities Council conducts and supports community-based humanities programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to participate in their communities.  For more information about KHC programs contact the Kansas Humanities Council at (785) 357-0359 or visit online at

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