Hidden history of Kansas, Deborah Barker’s retirement to be featured at the 81st Annual Franklin County Historical Society Meeting

Kansas’ history runs deep, and author Adrian Zink will explore that hidden history during his presentation at the 81st Annual Meeting of the Members of the Franklin County Historical Society on Sunday, January 28, 2 p.m. at Neosho County Community College in Ottawa, Kansas.

While working at Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site, Adrian Zink found himself following historical bread crumbs in his research. Hidden History of Kansas is a collection of those little bits of history. Tornados, the Donner Party, a mass grave discovered near Great Bend, the Brenham meteoroid impact crater, Knute Rockne’s plane crash, the utopian society of Franklin County’s Silkville, and how a young boy’s amputated arm led to the rise of the Sprint Corporation are all covered in Zink’s book.

Born and raised in Larned, Kansas, Adrian Zink holds bachelor’s degrees in history and political science from the University of Kansas, a master’s of library science from the University of Maryland, and a master’s in history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Zink currently works at the National Archives-Kansas City. Following his presentation, Zink will sign books, which will be available for sale during the event.

This year’s annual meeting will also honor Deborah Barker, who is retiring after 27 years of service as executive director of the Franklin County Historical Society. During her tenure, Barker helped FCHS evolve from a collection sometimes referred to as the “community attic” to a professional organization that strives to adhere to best practices as to how artifacts and archives are stored, displayed, recorded, and organized. Thanks to her tireless grant writing and advocacy, the historical society and museum received more than $1.75 million in grant funds and estate gifts.

Barker has given hundreds of lectures and presentations on different aspects of Franklin County history, including those voices that are often underrepresented. She has co-produced historic driving tours of the county and the 680-page book The History of Franklin County Vol. 1, and she has written two other books: The Feast of Franklin County and Images of America: Ottawa.

The January 28 program will begin at 2 p.m. with a short review of 2017 FCHS activities. Adrian Zink’s presentation and book signing will begin at 3 p.m., followed by a short reception for Deborah Barker from 4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. This program is free and the public is invited to attend any and all portions of it. In the event of inclement weather, the program will be held Sunday, February 4, 2 p.m. at NCCC. This program is cosponsored by the Franklin County Visitors Center.

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