The Peabody Historical Society received a grant from the Kansas Humanities Council in 2009 for a project to preserve the history of women in Peabody.
Members proposed a series of interviews and recordings with numerous women they felt had played a big part in the community history compiled on CD. Some of the women chosen were already living in a nursing home and, indeed, several women died before the project was completed. However, interviews were concluded with Joan Berns, Betty Walker, and Francis Kottwitz before their deaths.
Some of the stories have been compiled by recollections from relatives and friends and pictures have been collected from many of the interviewees.
The CDs will provide a recall of the voices although a few recordings were not completely transcribed due to complications such as the hiss of an oxygen tank competing with what was being said by the interviewee.
Many of the photographs are in color. The original list of women was expanded to include brief sketches of many additional women in the community.
Some of the stories are taken from tape recordings done by Marilyn Jones in the 1980s and ‘90s. They include interviews with Margaret Keiler, Dorothy Tate, Shirley Worthem, and Alice Litton.
Historical Society board members, Carmen South and Marilyn Jones recently took the collection of information to Mennonite Press in Newton for ideas and a price quote. The company indicated it will be possible to produce a high quality publication, in color, with a laminated and stitched cover to complete the project.
People interviewed will receive a book, plus a CD of their own interview. The entire portfolio will be placed at the Kansas State Historical Society Library, Wichita State Library Women’s Collections, The Peabody Museum, Peabody Carnegie Library, and Peabody City Hall for use by the public.
The Peabody Museum board hopes to have the books and CDs available for sale by Memorial Day. Funds will support the Peabody Museum and Peabody Historical Society.