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Governor Records - Huxman, 1937-1939

Walter A. Huxman Administration
Jan. 11, 1937 - Jan. 9, 1939

The records of Kansas Governor Walter A. Huxman consist of correspondence, subject files, appointments and oversized material during his term as governor from 1937 to 1939.

Scope and Content Note

The arrangement and description of the correspondence of the Governor's office is structured according to the arrangement, duties, functions and responsibilities of the Governor and the Executive branch of the Kansas state government.

The Correspondence Series is subdivided into an Alphabetical File; an Appointments File (because the Governor spent a great deal of time appointing people to official government boards, departments and other government offices); a State Agencies File; and a Subject File.

The State Agencies File contains routine correspondence to and from nearly all of the bureaus of the state government. This is the appropriate subseries for research of state agency activities and history.

The Subject File contains a wide array of files on any and every important subject matter at the time.

Researchers investigating important issues of any given era in Kansas' history (or national history) should examine the Subject Files of the Governors' Correspondence.

Unforunately, there was a great deal of documentation from the Huxman Administration that never made it from the governor's office to the state archives. This record group consists of less than two cubic feet of records. Scholars researching this administration will have to delve into many other records and primary sources in order to form a complete picture of the administration and the times of Governor Huxman.

Agency Sketch

The office of the Governor of the State of Kansas was established by the State Constitution of 1859 (the Wyandotte Constitution).

According to constitutional mandate, some of the more important duties, functions, responsibilities and bailiwicks of the Kansas Governor are as follows:

The supreme executive power of the State shall be vested in a Governor, who shall see that the laws are faithfully executed.

The Executive Department shall consist of a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Attorney General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction, who shall be chosen by the electors of the State at the time and place of voting for members of the Legislature, and shall hold their offices for the term of two years from the second monday in January, next after their election, and until their successors are elected and qualified.

He may require information in writing from the officers of the Executive Department upon any subject relating to their respective duties.

He may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the Legislature by proclamation, and shall, at the commencement of every session, communicate in writing such information as he may possess in reference to the condition of the State, and recommend such measures as he may deem expedient.

All commissions shall be issued in the name of the State of Kansas; signed by the Governor, counter-signed by the Secretary of State, and sealed with the great seal.

For a complete list of gubernatorial duties, see the Kansas State Constitution (1859), Article I -- Executive.

Biographical Sketch

Walter Augustus Huxman was born on February 16, 1887 near Pretty Prairie, in Reno County, Kansas. His parents were Augustus and Mary (Graber) Huxman. Augustus worked both as a farmer and as a preacher for the Church of the New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian).

Walter Huxman was educated in local public schools, Emporia State College, and at the University of Kansas. He received a law degree from the University of Kansas in 1914. After graduation, he established a law practice and also taught school for three winter terms. He also served as the Assistant County Attorney for Reno County, and later as the City Attorney for Hutchinson, for two years.

His first attempt at election to a public office was in 1928, when he tried unsuccessfully for a seat on the Kansas State Supreme Court. Two years later, Huxman managed the campaign for guberbatorial candidate Harry H. Woodring. Huxman was successful in managing this campaign. After the election, Huxman was appointed to the Kansas Tax Commission. While serving on the Tax Commission, he prosecuted a case against the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (KATY) Railroad. Huxman's victory in this case attracted considerable attention.

When the Democratic Party held its state convention in 1936, Huxman served as chairman and keynote speaker. He distinguished himself so admirably that the party drafted him as its candidate for governor. His election campaign concentrated on the need for social and economic reform. Huxman won this campaign, defeating Will G. West, the Republican candidate, by over 20,000 votes.

In 1938, the Democratic Party renominated Huxman for governor. However, running against Republican Payne Ratner, he lost this time, by about 52,000 votes. Huxman returned to his law practice in Hutchinson. Before long, President Roosevelt appointed him as judge of the 10th United States District Court in Topeka. He held this position until his retirement in 1962.

Walter A. Huxman died on June 25, 1972, of an apparent stroke that occurred on June twelfth. His body was buried in Memorial Park (present Penwell-Gabel) Cemetery, in Topeka.1


1Homer E. Socolofsky, Kansas Governors (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1990), and Robert Sobel and John Raimo, eds., Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, (4 vols., Wesport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978.)

Administrative Sketch

As governor, Huxman, a Democrat, dealt successfully with the Republican dominated legislature. One of the bigger issues that he dealt with was the implementation of a new sales tax. The new sales tax required that consumers purchase tokens, which they would pay to merchants when they purchased goods or services. These aluminum one mill, and zinc two mill sales-tax tokens, were commonly called "Huxies" or "money for the governor." Benjamin F. Hegler wrote to the governor offering his opinion concerning this new tax:

"Dear Governor:-

I hear a lot of complaint about the two mill tokens and not only hear this complaint from the merchants, but also from the consumer. Everybody is kicking because they must pay 4% tax on five cent purchases, and it is in excess of 2% up to a ten cent purchase.

It seems to be the easiest way to eliminate this source of dissatisfaction would be to issue a one mill token. The one mill token could be square with round corners so they could be readily distinguished from the two mill token. I think you should give the matter very serious consideration.

No doubt your Tax Commissioners can work out some way out of the difficulty.

I read in the newspapers that they were figuring on issuing some sort of paper or pasteboard tickets to take care of one mill transactions, but I think such a system would be a tremendous nuisance as long as we have the two mill tokens."

The governor did, in fact, advocate to the legislature a one per cent sales tax, which the legislature changed to two per cent. Most of the revenue raised from these revenue sources went to school aid, and social programs, specifically the Crippled Children's Commission.

During the age of Prohibition, Huxman was able to pursuade the legislature to recognize beer with an alcohol content of less than 3.2 per cent as being unintoxicating.

A major influence affecting not only Kansas, but most of the midwest and plains states, was the drought. Kansas, being an important agricultural state, was nearly devistated by the dry weather conditions. Cattlemen were forced to either send their cattle eastward to areas with more rainfall, or send for large amounts of feed grain. Forraging their cattle on local vegetation was nearly impossible. Considering the effect of the Depression, the cost of transporting cattle or buying and transporting feed grains constituted an overwhelming expense. The Kansas Livestock Association, and similar organizations in other states appealed to the railroads for more favorable shipping rates to help them get through the rough times. O. W. Lyman of the Kansas Livestock Association wrote to the governor, saying,

"I have been informed that a meeting with the railroads in an effort to secure drouth rates on livestock and feeds will be held in your office Monday.

The feed situation in western Pawnee and all of Hodgeman and Ness Counties is very acute. Most of the cow and herds of any size have been shipped to points east for wintering. Every farmer has a few head of cattle left at home and it is necessary that we help these farmers retain their cattle through the winter. They are composed almost entirely of cows and are needed for breeding stock. Most of the cow herds shipped east will be returned in the spring if we can secure a one way rate; otherwise they will be largely marketed.

The feeds on hand out here are mainly stacked thistles, some straw and feeds of low strength. Every man will have to feed cottom seed cake as a concentrate or there will be a severe loss of cattle before spring.

I certainly appreciate what the railroads have done in past years and I believe it will be to their benefit to grant rates again to some of these drouth stricken counties.

As a Democrat concerned with providing social programs for Kansas citizens, Huxman saw that World War I veterans would receive compensation and that there would be a new Textbook Commission within the Department of Education. His idea of establishing three districts within the state to work with federal irrigation, flood control and conservation, was defeated.


2State Agencies File: Tax Commission, Jan-Jun 1937, Records of Gov. Huxman, (location: 27-11-05-04 f2).

3Subjects File: Drouth, 1937-38, Records of Gov. Huxman, (location: 27-11-05-04 f14).

Series Outline

Series I: Correspondence Files

Subseries A: Appointments File

Subseries B: State Agencies File

Subseries C: Subject File

Series, Box, and Folder Listings

Series I: Correspondence Files

Subseries A: Appointments File

Box 27-11-05-01
1: Administration, Board of, 1937
2: Aide-de-Camp, Lieutenant Colonel, 1937
3: Architect, State, 1937
4: Bank Commissioner, 1937
5: Banking Board, State, 1937
6: Barber Board, State, 1937-38
7: Budget Director, State, 1937
8: Budget Director (Asst.) and State Accountant, 1937
9: Building and Loan Board, State, 1937
10: Children's Commission, Crippled, 1937-38
11: Chiropractic Examiners, State Board of, 1937-38
12: City Courts, 1937-38
13: Corporation Commission, State, 1937
14: Cosmetologists, Board of Registration for, 1937-38
15: County Coroner, 1937-38
16: County Sheriffs, 1937
17: Dental Examiners, State Board of, 1937
18: District Courts, 1937
19: Education, State Board of, 1937-38
20: Elections, Commissioner of, 1937-38
21: Embalming, State Board of, 1937-38
22: Engineers, State Registration and Examining Board for Professional, 1937-38
23: Entomological Commission, State, 1938
24: Forestry, Fish and Game Commission, 1937-38
25: Frontier Historical Park, Kansas, Bd. of Managers of the, 1937
26: Grain Inspector, 1937
27: Health, Kansas State Board of, 1937-38
28: Highway Commission, State, 1937-38
29: Highway Patrol, Superintendent, 1937
30: Inspections and Registration, Kansas St. Dept. of, 1937-38
31: Interstate Oil Compact Commission. State Representative, 1937
32: John Brown Memorial Park. Board of Trustees, 1937
33: Justices of the Peace, Jan.-Jun., 1937
34: Justices of the Peace, Jul.-Dec., 1937

Box 27-11-05-02
1: Justices of the Peace, Jan.-Jun., 1938
2: Justices of the Peace, Jul., 1938-Jan., 1939
3: Justices of the Peace, Resignations, 1937-38
4: Labor and Industry, Commission of, 1937
5: Librarian, State, 1938
6: List
7: Livestock Sanitary Commissioner, 1937-38
8: Medical Registration and Examination, State Board of, 1937-38
9: Municipal Accounting Board, State, 1937-38
10: National Exhibit of American Art, Kansas Committee for the, 1937
11: Notary Public Resignations, Jan.-Jun., 1937
12: Notary Public Resignations, Jul.-Dec., 1937
13: Notary Public Resignations, Jan.-Jun., 1938
14: Notary Public Resignations, Jul.-Dec., 1938

Box 27-11-05-03
1: Nurses, State Board for the Examination of, 1938
2: Optometry, Board of Examiners in, 1937-38
3: Osteopathic, Examination and Registration, St. Bd. of, 1937-38
4: Pharmacy, State Board of, 1937-38
5: Probate Judge, 1937-38
6: Regents, State Board of, 1937-38
7: Review, State Board of, 1937-38
8: Social Welfare, State Board of, 1937-38
9: Soil Conservation Committee, State, 1937
10: Soldiers' Home, Kansas. Board of Managers, 1937-38
11: Tax Commission, State, 1937
12: Treasurer, State, 1938
13: Vehicle Commissioner, State, 1937
14: Veterinary Examiners, State Board of, 1937-38
15: Western University, Board of Trustees, 1937-38

Subseries B: State Agencies File

Box 27-11-05-03
16: Agricultural and Applied Science, Kansas State College of, 1937-38
17: Bank Commission, State, 1937
18: Blind, Kansas Institution for the Education of the, Kansas City, 1937
19: Building and Loan Department, State, 1937
20: Cosmotologists, Board of Registration for, 1938
21: Forestry, Fish and Game Commission, 1937
22: Governor's Office, 1936
23: Health, State Board of, 1938
24: Highway Commission, State, 1937-38
25: Highway Patrol, Kansas, 1937-38
26: John Brown Mem. Park, Bd. of Trustees for, 1937
27: Labor Commissioner, State, 1937
28: Legislature, 1936-38
29: Library, State, 1936-37
30: Live Stock Sanitary Commission, 1937
31: National Guard, Kansas, 1937
32: Planning Board, State, 1937
33: Regents, Board of, 1937-38
34: Review, Kansas State Board of, 1938
35: Social Welfare, State Dept. of, 1937
36: Soil Conservation Committee, State, 1937
37: Soldiers' Home, Kansas, 1937

Box 27-11-05-04
1: Supreme Court, 1937
2: Tax Commission, State, Jan.-Jun., 1937
3: Tax Commission, Jul.-Dec., 1937
4: University of Kansas, School of Medicine, 1937
5: Vehicle Department, State, 1937
6: World's Fair, New York, Kansas Commission to the, 1937

Subseries C: Subject File

Box 27-11-05-04
7: Addresses by the Governor, 1937
8: American Red Cross, 1937
9: Building Program, 1937
10: Censorship, 1937-38
11: Child Labor, 1937
12: Crippled Children, Kansas Society for, 1937
13: District Courts, 1937
14: Drouth, 1937-38
15: Dust Bowl, 1937
16: Education, 1937
17: Elections - Special, 1938
18: Fairs, 1937
19: Grain, 1937
20: Industries, 1937
21: Institutes, State, 1937
22: League of Kansas Municipalities, 1937
23: Ludlow Amendment, 1937
24: Medical Society, 1937
25: Mortgage Moratorium, 1937
26: National Emergency Council, 1938
27: National Youth Administration, 1937

Box 27-11-05-05
1: Natural Resources, 1937
2: Press Releases, 1937
3: Property, State, n.d.
4: Race Relations, 1938
5: Rewards, 1937
6: Southeast Kansas Official Council, 1937
7: Taxation -- Gasoline, 1937
8: Traffic Safety, 1937
9: Tuberculosis, 1937
10: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Resettlement Administration, Farm Debt Adjustment, 1937
11: Wallace, Henry, 1937
12: Works Progress Administration, 1937-38

Huxman Oversized Material Inventory

Commission, March 8, 1937 as a Notory Public (location: 72-02-10-01)

Comparative Statement of Sales Taxes (location: 72-02-10-01)

Work Progress Report, Dec. 23, 1937 (location: 72-02-10-01)

United States Dept. of Agriculture Darm Debt Adjustment Activities (location: 72-02-10-01)