Edmund Stanley, president of the Friends' University at Wichita, and a former state superintendent of public instruction, has been identified with the teaching profession in Kansas since 1868, and is therefore a pioneer of the state, both as a settler and as an educator. In the latter respect he is widely and prominently known, and no one in the state has labored more earnestly than Prof. Stanley to give Kansas the prestige it now enjoys as one of the foremost states of the Union in the direction of educational advantages.
Edmund Stanley was born on a farm near Danville, Hendricks county, Indiana, April 7, 1847. His father, Harvey Stanley, was born in Guilford county, North Carolina, in 1819, and in 1831 accompanied his parentsSamuel and Anna (Bowman) Stanleyto Hendricks county, Indiana, they being among a large number of Quakers who left the old settlement in Guilford county and formed new settlements in Indiana, principally in Wayne and Hendricks counties. The part played by many of these Friends in the work of the "Underground Railroad," during the period just preceding the Civil war, is well known to all students of our national history and to those of that period who still survive. The grandparents of Prof. Stanley were pioneers in Hendricks county. Samuel Stanley, the grandfather, was a son of Samuel, who was a son of William Stanley. The Stanley family is of English descent, tracing back to the Stanleys of England, whose original home was on the Isle of Man. It has been of Quaker faith for generations back, in fact it is supposed to have been a Quaker family even back in England. Harvey Stanley, the father of Prof. Stanley, married in Indiana, and with his family removed to Douglas county, Kansas, in 1869. There he spent his life on a farm until his death, June 30, 1897. His wife, whose maiden name was Dorinda Whicker, had died several years before that on the same farm in Douglas county, the date of her death being Dec. 30, 1887. She, too, was a native of North Carolina, her birthplace being Winston, Forsyth county, where she was born to Frederick and Elizabeth (Cosner) Whicker, in 1820. The Cosner family is of German descent.
Edmund Stanley was reared on a farm in Hendricks county and received his earlier education in Indiana public and private schools. Later he attended an academy near Lafayette, Ind. At the age of seventeen he took up teaching as a profession and has faithfully devoted his whole subsequent career, a period of nearly a half a century, to that responsible work. He taught three terms in Hendricks county, Indiana, and one year in Tennessee under the auspices of the Freedman's Bureau before coming to Kansas in 1868, a few months in advance of his parents' removal to this state. He located in Douglas county, where he continued in the capacity of a teacher in the country and village schools of that county up to 1876. From that year until 1880 he was a teacher in the Lawrence public schools, during three years of which time he was principal of a ward school. Meanwhile he had kept up a diligent private study and, in 1891, was awarded the degree of Master of Arts by Penn College of Iowa. From 1880 to 1895, a period of fifteen years, he was superintendent of the public schools at Lawrence, Kan., and during that time built up and improved the schools of that city, making them among the best in the state. He resigned that position, Jan. 1, 1895, to become State Superintendent of Public Instruction, to which office he was elected in the fall of 1894 on the Republican ticket. He served one term as state superintendent. In 1898 he took charge of the Friends University, becoming its first president, organized its work, and has continued as the head of that institution since that time. This school is conducted under the auspices of the Friends church. Originally it was established by the Christian denomination and was known as Garfield University. As such, however, it was abandoned and remained idle for six years, until 1898, when Prof. Stanley took charge of it and, with the aid of friends and the generosity of James M. Davis, established the present Friends University, one of the well known colleges of the state and the only Friends college in Kansas. In 1903 Prof. Stanley was one of the promoters of the organization of the Kansas College Presidents' Association and has served two terms as president of that organization.
Prof. Stanley was married Sept. 21, 1871, in Douglas county, Kansas, to Miss Martha Elmira Davis, a native of North Carolina. They have four childrenthree sons and one daughter: Claudins Chalmers and Frederick Bartlett are of the law firm of Stanley & Stanley (see sketches); William Harvey is an attorney and manager of the real estate and loan department of Stanley & Stanley; and Helen Martha is at home.
Prof. Stanley is a life member of the National Educational Association and is one of the best known educators in Kansas. For the past twenty-four years he has been the presiding officer of the Kansas Yearly Meeting of Friends, which meets alternately at Wichita and Lawrence. He also has been a member of the Wichita board of education for the past six years and is a member of that city's library board. Wichita claims Prof. Stanley as one of its most energetic and progressive citizens and he and his family are highly appreciated members of the social and educational life of that city.Pages 723-725 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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