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The Helen Kirk Randall-Walter Kirk Collection - MS 388

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series DescriptionInventory

Introduction

The bulk of the Helen Kirk Randall-Walter Kirk Collection covers the period of 1928 to 1941 when Mrs. Helen Kirk Randall's father, Walter F. Kirk of LaCarne, Ohio, was Master of the Ohio State Grange. The collection, which was deposited with the Center for Archival Collections on October 25, 1984, totals approximately one linear foot and consists of Grange proceedings, correspondence, legal and financial documents, photographs, and printed materials, including articles by and about Walter Kirk during his Grange career. Of particular interest are a series of editorials by Kirk that were published in the Ohio State Grange Monthly. These editorials provide insights into this respected Ohio agriculturalist's opinions and worldview as well as into the concerns of rural Americans, and especially, Ohioans.

Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public and duplication for the purpose of preservation and scholarly research is permitted. The register was prepared by Daniel Ward in May 1985.

Biographical Sketch

Walter F. Kirk (1880-1941) was Master of the Ohio State Grange from 1928 to November 1941, when he was fatally injured in an automobile accident. A native of LaCarne, near Port Clinton in Ottawa County, Ohio, Mr. Kirk was born at his family's farm on October 8, 1880. He was educated at Baldwin-Wallace College, and, upon graudation, returned to operate the family farm and to teach school at Port Clinton,which he did for several years. In 1905, he married Ida Brown of Deerfield, Michigan. They raised two sons, Edsel and Dean, and a daughter, Helen.

As a young man, Walter Kirk was active in the Grange in Ottawa County. In 1917, his professional career with the Grange began when he was appointed State Deputy by Louis J. Taber,who was State Master at the time. After more than a decade of service to the State Grange, Kirk was elected State Master in 1928 and served in that capacity until his death in 1941. He served on a number of committees in the National Grange including agriculture, finance, foreign relations, and taxation.

In addition to his Grange activities, Walter Kirk served two terms in the State Legislature, from 1921-1924. After 1929, he was a member of the Ohio Conservation Council. A deeply religious man, Kirk was twice a delegate from the Ohio Conference to the General Conference of the Methodist Church and was a member of the National Board of Temperance of the Methodist Church. He also was a member of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, and served on the Board of Directors for the Ohio Farmer's Grain and Supply Association, the Producer's Livestock Credit Association, Flower Hospital of Toledo, Ohio, and the American Bank of Port Clinton, Ohio. In his final year, he was appointed a trustee of Baldwin-Wallace College and received an honorary degree from Bowling Green State University.

During Walter F. Kirk's career in the State Grange, he worked for the betterment of Ohio farmers and increased membership from 70,000 to 90,000 at a time when farm population was decreasing. He was instrumental in founding the Grange Mutual Casualty Company in 1935 and served as its president and director until his death.

Scope and Content

The Helen Kirk Randall-Walter Kirk Collection consists of proceedings, correspondence, reports, literary productions, appointment diaries, legal documents, financial documents, newsclippings, printed materials and photographs documenting the career of Walter F. Kirk. The collection was established by Helen Kirk Randall of Port Clinton, Ohio with Betty Neidecker, who acted as field representative of the Center for Archival Collections. The bulk of the collection is comprised of the surviving papers of Walter F. Kirk, Mrs. Randall's father and former Master of the Ohio State Grange.

The strength of the collection is contained in its broad coverage of Mr. Kirk's professional career with the State Grange as it was recorded in proceedings, news coverage, and in his own writings. One weakness is that much additional material was disposed of prior to the donation of the collection.

Researchers interested in the history of the Ohio State Grange during Mr. Kirk's tenure as Master will find his correspondence and his editorials to be of particular interest as they offer insights into the issues concerning the Grange at that time and Mr. Kirk's clear defined opinions on those issues. The proceedings of the National Grange, although incomplete for the years 1929-1940, do provide detailed information on agricultural statistics and issues on a state-by-state basis. Other documents such as programs, certificates, photographs and correspondence provide information on Kirk's service career with the Ohio Conservation Council, the American Bank of Port Clinton, Ohio, and the Methodist Church.

Kirk family papers not related to Mr. Kirk's career are also of some interest. Included here are an account book kept by his father, I. L. Kirk between 1887 and 1895, and an account/patient book which lists payments as well as diagnosis and treatments administered (1907-1908) by a "possible doctor" who practiced herbal cures.

Series Description

PROCEEDINGS

JOURNAL OF PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL GRANGE OF THE PATRONS OF HUSBANDRY.
1929, 1930, 1934, 1935, 1939, 1940.
Arranged chronologically
Includes lists of officers, order of business, lists of members of committees, addresses and reports of officers and committees, and other proceedings of the annual lmeetings of the National Grange.

MEETING ATTENDANCE LIST.
1936.
List of meeting attendees, possibly for a State Grange meeting, apparently separated from a bound volume.

OFFICIAL ROSTER OF THE OTTAWA COUNTY POMONA.
1929.
Includes listings of officers of the Ottawa County, Ohio Pomona, seven subordinate Granges and two juvenile Granges.

CORRESPONDENCE

GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE OF WALTER F. KIRK
1929, 1931, 1932, 1935-1941.
Arranged chronologically
Includes both incoming and outgoing letters, most of which are concerned with Walter F. Kirk as Master of the Ohio State Grange. Often the letters refer to specific events such as speaking engagements, meetings, and Walter F. Kirk's honorary degree from Bowling Green State University.

RESOLUTIONS OF RESPECT, SYMPATHY CARDS, LETTERS AND TELEGRAMS FOLLOWING DEATH OF WALTER F. KIRK
November 1941-May 1942, n.d.
Arranged by format, then chronologically
Includes condolences and resolutions providing information on Kirk written to Kirk's family after his death.

CORRESPONDENCE RELATING TO THE ESTATE OF WALTER F. KIRK
December 1941-1942.
Arranged chronologically
Includes letters and enclosures to Ida E. Kirk, widow of Walter, concerned with life insurance policies, claims for compensation, federal taxes and inventory of the estate.

REPORTS

REPORTS OF THE GRANGE MUTUAL CASUALTY COMPANY.
1949, 1960.
Arranged chronologically
Includes an illustrated report presenting the new offices of the Grange Mutual Casualty Company and another celebrating the Company's 25th Anniversary. Both reports mention Walter F. Kirk as a former director and president and contain Mr. Kirk's portrait.

GRANGE JUVENILE COMMITTEE REPORT.
1941.
Includes recommendations for strengthening the Juvenile Grange and signatures of six committee members including Ida Kirk.

LITERARY PRODUCTIONS

MANUSCRIPT MATERIALS
n.d. (ca. 1936-1941)
Includes carbon copies of writings of Walter F. Kirk on issues such as education, sportsmanship, debt adjustment, taxes, safety, freight costs, legislation, Mother's Day, and rural life in general. Some of these essays have been published. Also included are handwritten manuscripts of editorials published in the June 1941 Ohio State Grange Monthly which is included elsewhere in this collection.

OBITUARY.
1941.
Typescript of the obituary of Walter F. Kirk.

KIRK FAMILY GENEALOGY.
1941.
Includes a partial genealogy and an invitation to a family reunion.

DIARIES OF WALTER F. KIRK.
1931, 1935, 1938, 1939.
Arranged chronologically
Includes appointments recorded for four years and some recording of expenses.

POEM.
n.d.
Unattributed poem, possibly by Walter F. Kirk.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS.

ORIGINAL DEED.
1835.
Deed of property in Bucyrus District of Ohio to John Kirk of Sandusky, County, Ohio.

WALTER F. KIRK'S ESTATE PAPERS.
1941, 1942.
Arranged chronologically
Includes death certificate, grave digger's receipt, invoices for funeral service and for grave marker, Probate Court bill, State Grange affidavit certifying discharge of indebtedness against estate.

FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS.

EXPENSE JOURNAL.
December 1937-December 1940.
Arranged chronologically
Includes Walter F. Kirk's expense journal as State Grange Master.

PROMISSORY NOTE.
October 13, 1941.
Payable to the American Bank of Port Clinton, Ohio and signed by Kirk.

ACCOUNT BOOK.
1887-1895.
Account book of I. L. Kirk (Walter's father) with H. H. Hesselbart and Company (general store) of Port Clinton, Ohio.

ACCOUNT BOOK.
1907-1908.
A (doctor's?) account book listing payments as well as diagnosis and treatments administered, mostly herb cures.

SCRAPBOOK MATERIALS.

NEWSCLIPPINGS.
1931-1941, 1965, n.d.
Arranged chronologically
Includes clippings related to the career of Walter Kirk, his family and the Grange, as well as a file of obituaries.

BUTTON AND ITINERARY.
1923.
Includes a membership identification button of Walter F. Kirk and the itinerary for the 1923 Ohio Legislative Reunion.

PRINTED MATERIAL.

GRANGE MATERIALS.
1929, 1933, 1934, 1940, 1941, n.d.
Arranged chronologically
Includes menus, flyers, single newsletters, and other miscellaneous printed materials relating to the Grange and its events.

PUBLISHED WRITINGS OF WALTER F. KIRK.
Includes an incomplete series of editorials from the Ohio State Grange Monthly of which Kirk was Editor-in-Chief during the time he was Master of the State Grange. Additional materials include a book of poetry by Kirk, entitled, "Life", a poem in a church program, an essay on hazards and advantages of country living, and a minority report on unemployment insurance from the time of Kirk's term in the State Legislature.

DIPLOMA AND PROGRAM--HONORARY DEGREE.
June 1941.
Includes honorary doctorate granted to Kirk by Bowling Green State University. Also includes related printed program and invitation.

CERTIFICATES OF APPOINTMENT.
1929, 1939.
Arranged chronologically
Includes two certificates of appointment to the Ohio Conservation Council and the Ohio Conservation and Natural Resources Commission.

MISCELLANEOUS CERTIFICATES/PROGRAM.
1923, 1937, 1940, 1941, n.d.
Arranged chronologically
Includes 25 year membership in Grange certificate, certificates of contribution to the 1941 Grange Diamond Jubilee, certificate of cooperation on planting the Louis Taber Forest (Ohio), Kirk's business cards, and a program of the Ohio Gridiron Dinner.

BOOK.
1837.
Copy of Ray's Arithmetic owned by Artebane Kirk.

MAGAZINES.
1941, 1942.
Arranged chronologically
Includes two issues of the Ohio State Grange Monthly: a partially cut apart November 1941 issue and a complete January 1942 issue dedicated to Walter Kirk.

PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL.

POSITIVE PRINTS.
1922, 1930s, 1941, n.d.
Arranged by subject.
Includes photographs of Walter Kirk, his family, Grange members and offices, Kirk and the Conservation Council and the American Bank of Port Clinton, Ohio, the unveiling of the Walter F. Kirk Memorial Fountain in Columbus, Ohio, various travel photographs and some unidentified photographs.

Inventory

Box 1

Folders

  1. Journal Proceedings of the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, 1929, 1930, 1934, 1935, 1939, 1940
  2. Meeting attendance list, 1936
  3. Official roster of the Ottawa County Pomona, 1929
  4. Correspondence--Walter F. Kirk, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1935-1941
  5. Correspondence--letters relating to the death of Walter F. Kirk, November 1941-May 1942, n.d.
  6. Correspondence--telegrams relating to the death of Walter F. Kirk, November-December 1941
  7. Correspondence--Walter F. Kirk's estate, December 1941-1942
  8. Reports--Grange Mutual Casualty Company, 1949, 1960
  9. Report--Grange Juvenile Committee, 1941
  10. Literary Production--manuscripts of Walter F. Kirk, n.d. (c. 1936-1941)
  11. Literary Production--obituary of Walter F. Kirk and Kirk family genealogy, 1941
  12. Literary Production--diaries of Walter F. Kirk, 1931, 1935, 1938, 1939
  13. Literary Production--unattributed poem from scrapbook, possibly written by Kirk, n.d.
  14. Legal Document--original deed, 1835
  15. Legal Documents--Walter F. Kirk's estate, 1941, 1942

Box 2

Folders

  1. Financial Documents--expense journal/promissory note, December 1937-December 1940, October 1941
  2. Financial Documents--account book (I. L. Kirk), 1887-1895
  3. Financial Documents--account book (doctor's), 1907-1908
  4. Newsclippings, 1931
  5. Newsclippings, 1932
  6. Newsclippings, 1933
  7. Newsclippings, 1934
  8. Newsclippings, 1935
  9. Newsclippings, 1937
  10. Newsclippings, 1938
  11. Newsclippings, 1939
  12. Newsclippings, 1940
  13. Newsclippings, 1941
  14. Newsclippings, n.d.
  15. Newsclippings--obituaries of Walter F. Kirk, 1941
  16. Newsclippings--Ida Kirk, 1965
  17. Scrapbook Material--ID button/itinerary, 1923
  18. Printed material--Grange materials, 1929, 1933, 1934, 1940, 1941, n.d.
  19. Printed material--published writings of Walter F. Kirk, 1933, 1936-1941, n.d.
  20. Printed material--honorary doctorate, June 1941
  21. Printed material--certificates of appointment, 1929, 1939
  22. Printed material--miscellaneous certificates/program, 1923, 1937, 1940, 1941, n.d.
  23. Printed material--Ray's Arithmetic, 1837
  24. Printed material--Ohio State Grange Monthly, 1941, 1942
  25. Photographs--portraits of Walter F. Kirk and Grange members, photographs of Grange offices (13 items), 1922, 1935, 1937, n.d.
  26. Photographs--Walter F. Kirk and 50th Anniversary of American Bank, receiving honorary degree at BGSU, at Methodist Episcopal General Conference, Ohio Delegation, on Conservation Council (8 items), c. 1930, 1936, 1941.
  27. Photographs--travel photographs and unidentified photographs (30 items) n.d.

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