Kansas Day is celebrated annually by the people of Kansas. It commemorates the day the state became the 34th state of the Union. Kansas Day provides a specific time and date for Kansans to learn about their state’s history and to participate in a celebration that continues to induce patriotism into the hearts of many just as it did many years ago when Kansas Day came to be.

General Facts about Kansas Day

Date Type Alternative names National holiday
January 29 Historical No other known names. No

What Is Kansas Day?

Kansas Day is celebrated annually on January 29 to commemorate that in 1861 Kansas was the 34th state admitted to the union. Main topics of the day that was first celebrated in 1877, include geography, history, and learning about the state’s resources.

 

By 1882, it was decided that a “small pamphlet” would be assembled to serve as a sort of standard operating procedure for future celebrations. Later that year the Kansas Day booklet was published. The 32-page booklet contained important information such as songs, a brief summary about the state, and examples of speeches that were appropriate for the celebration of the day.

The History of Kansas Day

How It All Started

Kansas Day was first celebrated on January 29, 1877. Then, a group of students who had been studying the battle of New Orleans realized that exactly 62 years prior Kansas had been at battle for its independence from the British. Due to the patriotism that was awakened and the pride that was shown by his students, Alexander LeGrande Copley set aside an afternoon to celebrate Kansas’ statehood and to allow the people of Kansas to show pride in their state of residence.

For two weeks the students prepared for the celebration. They asked questions of parents and anyone else around town in order to assemble a historical account of the state. They scoured books and put together statistics, interesting facts, and other valuable information about Kansas. When the day finally arrived, the pupils had nearly covered the blackboard that extended three-quarters of the way around the classroom. There were carefully made renderings of the state seal, hand-drawn maps of the state, counties, and townships. Also included on the board were two Kansas songs: Whittier’s Song of the Kansas Emigrant and Lucy Larcom’s The Call to Kansas.

The day was comprised of speeches given by a few students, a question and answer session about the history of Kansas. There was also a list of first things in Kansas, such as first printing press, first school, and first railroad. The was a complete success except for one detail. The venue chosen was the classroom. Yet it was too small to hold everyone who wanted to be a part of the celebration!

What Happened Next

Copley went on to become the superintendent of schools in Wichita which insured the day was appropriately observed there. Copley was also very active in attending the county and state teacher’s association meetings. There he would encourage teachers to continue the annual celebration of Kansas Day.

The Kansas Educationist published a description of Copley’s celebration. Newspapers from all over state described the celebration as an institution. These things along with the insistence of the Northwestern Teacher’s Association led to the publishing of the Kansas Day booklet. It was used as a classroom textbook for some time in the school at Emporia. The celebration has continued to grow for over years.

Kansas Day Celebrations

It is a common occurrence for publications in Kansas to print some sort of list of facts about Kansas. For example, one year in observance of the holiday, the Wichita Eagle produced lists concerning ten movies that were set in Kansas, five famous songs with Wichita lyrics, five celebrities from Kansas, as well as a list of a few times that Kansas was publicly “dissed”.

The facts published by this newspaper are interesting and entertaining. Most of the activities are centered around museums, historic sites, schools, and the Kansas State Capitol. Everyone is invited to learn about the state’s history and even to vote for their favorite famous Kansan.

Summing Up

Kansas Day is not a national or state holiday. Most businesses, banks, offices, and schools operate on normal schedules. Nonetheless, the day is a special day for Kansans to learn about and understand the history of the state.

While many years have passed since the first time Kansas Day was celebrated. However, the reason for the celebration has never been forgotten. Kansas Day is celebrated to remind the residents of Kansas how it became a state and keep the many years of history alive throughout generations to come.