Blogs @ Emporia State University

We've got your cure for "Kansas Day Syndrome"!

Feb 4, 2013

Tags: special collections

According to teacher, principal, superintendent, and 1920 Kansas State Normal School graduate L. Harold Caldwell, “Kansas Day Syndrome” was a condition in which Kansas schoolchildren were only taught about their state when it was time to celebrate Kansas Day in January.


To remedy this situation, Harold created Kolorful Kansas Films, which produced more than 40 titles covering art, emblems, famous people, history, and science.  Kolorful Kansas Films consisted of filmstrips and audiocassettes created for either primary or upper elementary-age children and were produced by Harold out of his Wichita, Kansas, home for more than 20 years.


The following information and images are courtesy of the L. Harold Caldwell Papers housed in Emporia State University’s Special Collections and Archives.


Emblems of Kansas
 The American Buffalo, more properly known as the American Bison, has   been the Kansas State Animal since 1955.  Plains Indians believed that a white buffalo was sacred.  Albino buffaloes are rare, appearing once in 5 million births.  The buffalo head nickel was issued by the U.S. Mint from 1913-1938.  A buffalo stamp was issued by the United States from 1923-1925.


State Bird: Western Meadowlark
 The Western Meadowlark. Kansas schoolchildren chose the state bird via vote on January 29, 1925.  The winning bird received 48,935 votes!   The Western Meadowlark officially became the Kansas State Bird in 1937.


State Flag and Banner

 A Kansas State Flag was provided by law in 1927. “Kansas” was not part of the original design. It was added to the flag in 1963.

   The Kansas State Banner was provided by law in 1925. In 1953, a brown center replaced the Great Seal in the sunflower.


State Flower: Helianthus
1903 law declared Helianthus, the wild native Sunflower, the State Flower of Kansas.


State Seal
Each image -- rising sun. log cabin, hand-held plow pulled by horses, steam boat, bison hunt, 34 stars and the state motto “Ad Astra Per Aspera” -- represents a part of the history of Kansas. The constitution of the state provided for a seal that was to be kept by the governor and used for official business.


State Tree: Cottonwood
 Cottonwood was designed the Official Tree of Kansas in 1937.  Only female trees produce cotton, which serves as a sort of parachute that helps the seed travel through the air.  The cottonwood is the fastest growing tree in North America.

Happy 152nd  Birthday, Kansas!

January 29, 2013

Access to the L. Harold Caldwell Papers (2005.0016) and other resources documenting the history of Kansas are available at the Special Collections and Archives in room 119 of the William Allen White Library. If you are interested in accessing our resources, our reading room is open Monday-Friday from 11-3p.m.  Special Collections and Archives staff may also be reached via e-mail ( or telephone (620-341-6431). We hope to see you soon!

~Shari Scribner

Assistant Archivist

Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives

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