MS 388 - Helen Kirk Randall and Walter Kirk Collection
|Title||MS 388 - Helen Kirk Randall and Walter Kirk Collection|
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.
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.
JOURNAL OF PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL GRANGE OF THE PATRONS OF HUSBANDRY.
MEETING ATTENDANCE LIST.
OFFICIAL ROSTER OF THE OTTAWA COUNTY POMONA.
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE OF WALTER F. KIRK
RESOLUTIONS OF RESPECT, SYMPATHY CARDS, LETTERS AND TELEGRAMS FOLLOWING DEATH OF WALTER F. KIRK
CORRESPONDENCE RELATING TO THE ESTATE OF WALTER F. KIRK
REPORTS OF THE GRANGE MUTUAL CASUALTY COMPANY.
GRANGE JUVENILE COMMITTEE REPORT.
KIRK FAMILY GENEALOGY.
DIARIES OF WALTER F. KIRK.
WALTER F. KIRK'S ESTATE PAPERS.
BUTTON AND ITINERARY.
PUBLISHED WRITINGS OF WALTER F. KIRK.
DIPLOMA AND PROGRAM--HONORARY DEGREE.
CERTIFICATES OF APPOINTMENT.