Publisher’s Pick: The Importance of Midwest Studies Is as Vast and Expansive as the Plains It Projects

midwest-111Some regions of the United States—particularly the south and the west—are the subject of focused scholarly attention. Many argue that these regions have distinct histories and characteristics that shape the life of those who live there as well as the history of our country. Should the Midwest also be treated as a region with important and distinctive characteristics that should not be ignored by scholars? A recent conference at the University of Kansas posed this question to a panel of experts on the Midwest, including myself as director of the University Press of Kansas. The conclusion is that the Midwest, defined generally as the area of the country beginning in Ohio and ending at the western boundary of Kansas, has particular regional characteristics drawn from the way it was settled, the nature of the economy, the natural environment, and the mix of small towns and major cities, among other factors, that have shaped the way people living in this area respond to important national issues. Whatever the outcome of this debate, Kansas, the Midwest, and the Plains is our home. We regard publishing on the history, society, economy, and environment of the Midwest to be an important part of the program at the University Press of Kansas. From books such as John Miller’s “Small Town Boys: Stories of Midwestern Boys who Shaped America”; Arnold Bauer’s “Time’s Shadow: Remembering the Family Farm in Kansas; Iralee Barnard’s “Field Guide to the Common Grasses of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska” to the forthcoming “God Hates: Westboro Baptist Church, American Nationalism, and the Religious Rightby Rebecca Barrett-Fox, the University Press of Kansas has published excellent work about the Midwest and its impact on American life. We continue to publish work not only about Kansas and the Midwest, but work from this region that is about America.

–Written by Chuck Myers, Director of University Press of Kansas

Publisher’s Pick: “Nancy Reagan: On the White House Stage”

9780700614011The passing of former First Lady Nancy Reagan brings back memories of Ronald Reagan’s transformative presidency and her role in it. Some argued that she played an important part in managing the president and his staff as she single-mindedly pursued her goal of protecting President Reagan. She denied that she was some sort of “power behind the throne.” James G. Benze, Jr. authored, “Nancy Reagan: On the White House Stage” for UPK’s series on American First Ladies. In that book, which focused on her years in the White House, Benze portrays her as a forceful presence who was unafraid to take on powerful figures like Oliver North and Don Regan if she thought they were not serving the interests of the president. He shows how Nancy Reagan played the consummate supporting actor to Ronald Reagan and was a key figure in advising him on administration appointments and on policy issues during the eight years he was president. The book also follows Mrs. Reagan as she continued to care for the former president as he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. This book, like others in the series, shows how Nancy Reagan took the unscripted part of first lady and found her own way to have an impact on the nation.

–Written by Chuck Myers, Director of University Press of Kansas

UPK Publishes 49 of 150 Best Books of Kansas

ks lib logThe State Library of Kansas hosts a list of the 150 Best Kansas Books. UPK is proud to claim credit for publishing 49 of these tomes, including:

1001 Kansas Place Names, by Sondra Van Meter McCoy and Jan Hults

The Autobiography of William Allen White, by William Allen White

Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era, by Nicole Etcheson

Brown v. Board of Education: Caste, Culture, and the Constitution, by Robert Cottrol, Raymond T. Diamond and Leland B. Ware

Dying and Living on the Kansas Prairie: A Diary, by Carol Brunner Rutledge (out of print at this time)

The End of Indian Kansas: A Study of Cultural Revolution, 1854-1871, by H. Craig Miner and William E. Unrau

The Enduring Indians of Kansas: A Century and a Half of Acculturation, by Joseph B. Herring

Exodusters: Black Migrations to Kansas After Reconstruction, by Nell Irvin Painter (out of print at this time)

Farming the Dust Bowl: A First-Hand Account from Kansas, by Lawrence Svoboda

Flint Hills Cowboys: Tales from the Tallgrass Prairie, by Jim Hoy

Folklore from Kansas: Customs, Beliefs and Superstitions, William E. Koch (ed.)

Ghost Towns of Kansas: A Traveler’s Guide, by Daniel Fitzgerald

The Great Kansas Bond Scandal, by Robert Smith Bader

Guide to Kansas Architecture, by David H. Sachs and George Ehrlich

The Guide to Kansas Birds and Birding Hot Spots, by Bob Gress and Pete Janzen

Haunted Kansas: Ghost Stories and Other Eerie Tales, by Lisa Hefner Heitz

Hayseeds, Moralizers, and Methodists: The Twentieth-Century Image of Kansas, by Robert Smith Bader

Home on the Range: A Century on the High Plains, by James R. Dickenson

Indian Orphanages, by Marilyn Irvin Holt

John Brown to Bob Dole: Movers and Shakers in Kansas History, Virgil W. Dean (ed.)

Kansas: A History of the Sunflower State, 1854-2000, by H. Craig Miner

Kansas and the West: New Perspectives, Rita Napier (ed.)

Kansas Archaeology, by Robert J. Hoard and William E. Banks

The Kansas Cookbook, by Frank Carey and Jayni Naas

Kansas Geology: An Introduction to Landscapes, Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils, Rex Buchanan (ed.)

Kansas in Color: Photographs Selected by Kansas! Magazine, Andrea Glenn (ed.) (out of print at this time)

Kansas Murals: A Traveler’s Guide, by Laura Jost and Dave Loewenstein

Kansas Quilts & Quilters, by Barbara Brackman and Jennie Chin (out of print at this time)

Kansas Wetlands: A Wildlife Treasury, Joseph T. Collins, Suzanne L. Collins and Bob Gress

A Kansas Year, by Mike Blair

Land of the Post Rock: Its Origins, History and People, by Grace Muilenburg and Ada Swineford

Living Landscapes of Kansas, paintings by Robert Sudlow

The Last Cattle Drive, by Robert Day

Next Year Country: Dust to Dust in Western Kansas, 1890-1940, by H. Craig Miner

Peopling the Plains: Who Settled Where in Frontier Kansas, by James R. Shortridge

Prohibition in Kansas: A History, by Robert Smith Bader

Roadside Kansas: A Traveler’s Guide to its Geology and Landmarks, by Rex C. Buchanan and James R. McCauley

Section 27: A Century on a Family Farm, by Mil Penner

Seeding Civil War: Kansas in the National News, 1854-1858, by H. Craig Miner

Sod and Stubble: The Story of a Kansas Homestead, by John Ise

Sod-House Days: Letters from a Kansas Homesteader, 1877-1878, by Howard Ruede

Time, Politics, and Policies: A Legislative Year, by Burdett A. Loomis

A Time to Lose: Representing Kansas in Brown v. Board of Education, by Paul E. Wilson

True Tales of Old-Time Kansas, by David Dary

West of Wichita: Settling the High Plains of Kansas, 1865-1890, by H. Craig Miner

What Kansas Means to Me: Twentieth-Century Writers on the Sunflower State, Thomas Fox Averill (ed.)

Wildflowers and Grasses of Kansas: A Field Guide, by Michael John Haddock

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Kansas Centennial Edition, by L. Frank Baum, Michael McCurdy, and Ray Bradbury

The WPA Guide to 1930s Kansas, by the Federal Writers’ Project of the Work Projects Administration for the State of Kansas, Introduction by James R. Shortridge

The Future of Scholarly Publishing

FB-cover-UPKThis is University Press Week, a time to understand the important role of our not-for-profit scholarly publishers. One need only look at the most recent catalog of books published by the University Press of Kansas (and our many sister presses) to see that university presses are publishing exciting, thoughtful books that help lead us closer to wisdom in so many areas of human endeavor. Some of what we publish is, as Niko Pfund stated in The Scholarly Kitchen, “intra-tribal publications” that are written by and for scholars. Other books are efforts to reach outside the academy and bring the best insights of our scholars to bear on the challenges we all face. While we must deal with rapidly changing technology, dramatic alterations in the way books are bought and sold, and the challenges of funding that face higher education, all of us in university press publishing are united in our desire to overcome these challenges and continue to publish exciting writing and ideas for scholars and the general public. And I think we are doing this better now than ever.

-Written by Charles Myers, Director of the University Press of Kansas

Happy Labor Day from UPK

laborday The United States Department of Labor writes, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”  We would like to take this opportunity to thank our authors, bookstore employees, media and event colleagues–pretty much everyone that assists in what we do–for allowing us to be part of the national conversation.  Read on.

What’s Cooking, Kansas?

Submit Your Recipes Now for The New Kansas Cookbook

The Kansas Cookbook authorsLAWRENCE, KS. (April 16, 2015) — In 1989, Frank and Jayni Carey coauthored The Kansas Cookbook: Recipes from the Heartland. That cookbook became a staple in the kitchen and focused on recipes based on farm traditions, early settlers’ ethnic heritage, and favorite family recipes.

Now, it’s twenty-five years later and Kansas’s culinary scene is vibrant with locally sourced ingredients available from bustling farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, artisan cheese makers, and wineries. More and more, folks are cultivating and producing for themselves—from traditional backyard gardens to home-brewed craft beer. From all four corners of the state, the people of Kansas have redefined the Kansas foodscape. Frank and Jayni want to chronicle this dynamic shift in Midwest cooking and seek recipes that reflect how Kansans cook today for inclusion in The New Kansas Cookbook (University Press of Kansas, October 2016).

As Jayni explains, “A variety of new crops in the fields, new animals in the pasture, knowledgeable and experienced cheese makers, winemakers, and organic vegetable producers, not to mention new ideas about what and how to feed ourselves, have prompted us to ask, ‘What’s Kansas cooking now?’”

To answer this question, the Careys are actively seeking original recipes and food-related stories from Kansas residents that are quintessentially Kansan. “We are interested in recipes of every kind, from main courses to side dishes, vegetables, soups, salads, appetizers and snacks, preserved foods, and desserts,” explains Jayni. Continuing, Frank states, “We are particularly interested in contemporary recipes that showcase local, Kansas ingredients. As with our previous Kansas Cookbook, including a comment about an ingredient or how a recipe is served adds spice and Kansas character. It’s fun to read that a meal helped to build a church or support a school, or that kids love it, or that Dad grills it a certain way.”

Recipe submissions are open to all Kansas residents—home cooks and professional alike. Submission deadlines are listed below; however, Kansans are encouraged to submit early and often, in any category, for the best chance of having a recipe selected for inclusion. Only original recipes will be considered for the cookbook. Those whose recipes are selected for inclusion in The New Kansas Cookbook will receive one FREE copy of the book upon publication.


  • June 15 Spring and Summer Fare
  • September 15 Final Submission Deadline


Connecting Kitchens and Community

Recommend an expert, or share a story. Everyone loves to learn. Everyone loves a good yarn. Tell us about your backyard garden. Do you shop at the local farmers market, or belong to a CSA? Do you hunt or fish? How do you grow the juiciest tomatoes? Do you keep bees or raise chickens? Who cooks dinner at your house? If you grow crops or raise livestock, tell us about your operation. If you are a chef and your restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients, share your philosophy, or tell us about the local purveyors who serve you.

Planning for Big Games / Celebrating the Season

Do you host parties for special sporting events? Do you have a book club that boasts a decadent dessert? Do you prepare special foods for each holiday season? Do you try to cook only in-season produce?

Abounding Cornucopias

Send recipes for what to do with too much zucchini, favorite sweet corn dishes, the best way to cook steak or ribs, award-winning chili or burgers, desserts featuring local fruits, family favorites, or holiday recipes.

Revisiting Family Recipes

If you wish to use an old family favorite from Auntie Em, modernize it to fit the way we cook today, while perhaps sharing the story of how the recipe has evolved in your family over time. Focus on fresh Kansas ingredients, while avoiding canned soups, packaged and box mixes, and frozen and processed foods.

Raising Kansas Cooks

Do you engage your children in the cultivating or cooking process? Does your school have a vegetable garden? Do you know a special pint-sized chef crafting his/her own signature Kansas culinary concoction? Are you a chef who donates teaching time to children’s organizations or local charities?

Kansas cooks have much to contribute to the Midwestern foodscape. If you are a home cook, backyard gardener, foodie, chef, hunter, fisherperson, winemaker, cheesemaker, baker, local purveyor, orchard owner, farmer, rancher, or just love to cook, the Careys want to hear from you. Recipes will be peppered with sidebars from experts providing instruction on everything from keeping bees to growing a prolific backyard garden, or running a small farm.

Recipes will be selected based on originality, use of fresh, local ingredients, and how well the recipe relates to Kansas. Recipes inspired by backyard gardens, farmers markets, CSAs, school gardens, farming, ranching and other foodways of Kansas are highly sought.


SUBMIT ONLINE: Log onto the Facebook page for The New Kansas Cookbook at
Look for the tab that says, “Submit your recipe!” and follow directed prompts.
SUBMIT VIA MAIL: The New Kansas Cookbook, P.O. Box 1351, Lawrence, KS 66044
Residents whose recipes are selected for the project will receive one FREE copy of the book. In the event more than one recipe is selected from a single contributor, one copy of the book will be awarded.


Frank and Jayni have been a team in the kitchen since they first met. Together, the couple has authored two cookbooks. The Kansas Cookbook: Recipes from the Heartland (University Press of Kansas) and The Easier You Make It, The Better It Tastes! (Better Homes and Gardens Books). Jayni is the author of The Best of Jayni’s Kitchen (Sunflower Publishing, a division of The World Company). She hosts a weekly cooking show, Jayni’s Kitchen, airing on WOW, Channel 6 in Lawrence and surrounding communities.

For additional information, contact: Rebecca Murray,

Follow The New Kansas Cookbook here on Facebook to learn more: