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KGI Online Library

The Kansas Government Information (KGI) Online Library
Kansas government publications, resources and information available from the State Library of Kansas

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Jun 26

Kansas Poor Farms

Posted on June 26, 2018 at 10:46 AM by Bill Sowers

During the 1930s many Americans lost everything they had and found themselves in dire straights.  Local, state and federal government scrambled to offer food, shelter and create jobs.  Within this structure of developing social service were the poor farms or poorhouses.  In Kansas these institutions, often run by county governments, had been around in some counties since territorial days.  They were called poor farms, poorhouses, county farms, etc.

In 1935 The Kansas Emergency Relief Committee published a report on poor farms reviewing the effectiveness of the system.  The report pointed out problems and the need to overhaul the social welfare system in the state.  The report starts with this statement:

"Herewith is presented a report on an old public problem, the county poor farm, which shows again that a public function without citizen attention degenerates."

You can view this booklet online at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library. A link is available below.  We're also supplying links to other Kansas Emergency Relief Committee publications at KGI and links to information/articles provided by the Kansas Historical Society and Kansas Genealogy Trails for those interested in further research.

Other publications by the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee in KGI

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KANSAS STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Publications by the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee online at the Kansas Historical Society's "Kansas Memory" website:

Bibliography on Poor Farms published online by the Kansas Historical Society:

"Over the Hill to the Poorhouse: Kansas Poor Relief" / by Marilyn Irvin Holt
Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains. 39 (Spring 2016): 2-15
(Article provided online by the Kansas Historical Society)

"Hard Times, Hungry Years: Failure of the Poor Relief in Southwestern Kansas, 1930-1933" / by Pamela Riney-Kehrberg
Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains. 15 (Autumn 1992): 154-167
(Article provided online by the Kansas Historical Society)

"Social Services in Kansas, 1916-1930" / by Mary Scott Rowland
Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains (Autumn 1984): 212-225
(Article provided online by the Kansas Historical Society)

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KANSAS GENEALOGY TRAILS

A List of Poor Houses/Farms/Asylums in Kansas
(Transcribed by Kansas Genealogy Trails)