One-Way Ticket to Kansas, the autobiography of Frank M. Stahl, as told and illustrated by Margaret Whittemore. University of Kansas Press, 1959.


Frank Stahl's autobiography, published 22 years after his death, was based largely on his own notes. It is not certain when those notes were created but Connelley's Standard History of Kansas and Kansans (1918) has an entry for Frank that covers many of these same events and probably relied on what Frank had written earlier. Outside sources confirm almost everything he recounts (with the exception of the Jack Dempsey episode in chapter 17), so most of what he wrote seems accurate.

Other resources add to what is in the book. State and federal censuses have additional information about many of the people referred to, as do digitized historical newspapers. The Topeka papers in particular have several stories about Frank's years as sheriff. The Santa Fe Trail Association's interactive map has details on many of the trail waypoints that he mentions in the book. Territorial Kansas On-Line has letters, photographs, and documents that bring the state's early years to life. Finally, materials at the Kansas Historical Society (including Kansapedia) also complement the information provided here.

The drawings from the original published edition are the work of Margaret Whittemore, a Kansas artist born in 1897. She was a graduate of Washburn University and later studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. While the illustrations in One Way Ticket to Kansas are hers, the actual text is based on a combination of Frank's notes and (possibly) interviews that she conducted with him shortly before his death (1937) when she was working as a reporter for a Topeka paper.

Special thanks are due to Patti and Erika for their patience in proofreading. Frank's autobiography is a genuine window into another time and place. I hope you find it enjoyable.

table of contents book preface
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