The stories of one of Topeka’s most famous and influential families are now available at the click of a mouse.
The history of the Menninger family, a household name in the world of psychiatry, can now be viewed by the entire world.
Archivist Marcella Wiget at the Kansas Historical Society explains just how big the collection is.
“My role was getting the intellectual control over the collection, figuring out this is this series, this is this series, this belongs to this person,” says Wiget.
A grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission helped Wiget and two others for the first time, open up each folder in the Menninger archives. They’re filled with stories about a family of several generations known across the world for their role in advancing psychiatry and medicine.
“This collection is huge,” Wiget says, “It’s a massive piece of history for psychiatry, in the us in the 20th century, it’s huge or topeka and kansas history because menninger was such a name, is such a name is psychiatry, and there’s so much to research in this collection.”
Wiget adds the collection is about 2,500 cubic feet.
The 2-year project is not only the deepest these people have dug into any collection of archives – it’s also the first time their findings have been posted in full detail online.
“For the past 10 years somebody would ask us, do you have this particular letter from this particular person or do you have this particular piece of info and we’d be like, um, maybe, let’s see if we can find it,” Wiget says. “Now it’s so much easier to say, let’s take a look and then there it is.”
Stories that could have been kept hidden in boxes are now available for anyone to explore.
“One that i particularly love is in the 60s, they actually for a very brief period had a van that kind of drove around town so kids could come to them and say, I’m having this problem with my parents, I’m having this problem with my brothers, all those kinds of things, really unique,” Wiget says.
To access the archives of the Menninger family, click here.
For an additional link to access the archives, click here.