Oris Polk Dellinger

PROF. ORIS POLK DELLINGER. It must be conceded, and is a source of pride, that Kansas is wide awake and in earnest in the matter of providing the best of educational advantages for her youth. Great institutions have been founded and to their faculties have been called men of scholastic attainments and wide experience in the educational field. One of many departments of study offered by the Kansas State Manual Training Normal School at Pittsburg an exceedingly interesting and important one is that of biology, which for the past seven years has been under the able direction of Prof. Oris Polk Dellinger, a scientific scholar well known in this specialty in a number of university cities.

Oris P. Dellinger was born at Bicknell, in Knox County, Indiana, August 14, 1877. His parents are W. A. and Alice (Polk) Dellinger, retired residents of Bicknell. The paternal grandfather was born in 1827, in Germany. When he came to the United States he settled first in Virginia, but later removed to Indiana, and in 1890 came to Bucklin, Ford County, Kansas, where he died in 1907.

W. A. Dellinger was born in Virginia in 1856. In boyhood he accompanied his parents to Clark County, Indiana, was reared there on his father's farm and after marriage removed to Bicknell and carried on farming in this vicinity until he retired. He has been quite prominent in political life in Knox County, has held numerous township offices and has also served as county commissioner. He is one of the pillars of the Baptist Church at Bicknell and is a man who commands the respect of all who know him. In Clark County, Indiana, he was married to Alice Polk, who was born in 1858 at Freelandville, Indiana. They became the parents of the following children: Oris Polk; Lawrence, who resides near Springfield, Missouri, and carries on truck farming; Edgar, who is a farmer near Freelandville; Ralph, who is a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps; Chester, who follows farming near Bicknell; and Robert, who is a farmer near Freelandville.

Until he was seventeen years of age Oris P. Dellinger remained at home and assisted on the farm, in the meanwhile attending the public schools of Bicknell. In 1894 he entered the Indiana State Normal School at Terre Haute, from which he was graduated in 1900, receiving a teachers' life certificate on account of scholarship. The year 1900-1 was passed in study at the Chicago University. From 1901 to 1903 he was an instructor in the Indiana State Normal School. In 1904 he resumed study, entering in that year the Indiana University at Bloomington and being graduated with the degree of A. B. He then became assistant professor in Clark College, Worcester, Massachusetts, and having an honorary fellowship in Clark University, spent one year there and secured his degree of Ph. D. From 1908 to 1909 he was professor of biology at Winona College of Agriculture in Indiana, and in the latter year came to Pittsburg as biology instructor in the Kansas State Manual Training Normal School. Through his influence much interest has been aroused in this department of science and his classes are always well attended.

At Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1904, Professor Dellinger was married to Miss Anna Forest Cunningham, who is a daughter of James and Emma (Wampler) Cunningham, residents of Terre Haute, where Mr. Cunningham is a merchant. Professor and Mrs. Dellinger have four children: Alice Hope, who was born March 25, 1905; Ralph Alexander, who was born December 21, 1907; Mary Catherine, who was born September 24, 1912; and William Polk, who was born July 13, 1915.

Professor Dellinger is a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science; belongs to the National Educational Association; to the American Nature Study Society, and to the American Physiological Association. These connections keep him constantly awake to the current of thought along the scientific lines in which he is most interested. Although not a politician in the accepted construction of the term and never willing to accept a public office, he is a public spirited citizen and exerts his influence for worthy ends in civic affairs. He votes with the republican party. For a number of years he has been a member of the Christian Church and is an elder in the same.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, March 15, 1999.

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