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Manuscripts by Subject - Politics / Government - #10134

Title: Kenneth Simons Papers

Dates: 1935-1958

Collection Number: 10134

Quantity: 1.25 feet

Abstract: Correspondence, surveys, reports, studies, minutes, news releases, newspaper clippings, photographs, and printed material concerning the WPA (Works Progress Administration), FERA (Federal Emergency Relief Administration), CWA (Civil Works Administration), RRA (rural Resettlement Administration, North Dakota Water Resources Committee, North Dakota State Water Conservation Commission, Tri-State Water Commission, Interstate Conference on the Red River of the North, and the North Dakota Reclamation Association. Correspondents include John Moses, Fred Aandahl, William Lemke, William Langer, Usher Burdick, Francis Case, and Milton Young.
Provenance:  The source and date of acquisition of the Kenneth Simons Papers by the State Historical Society of North Dakota are unknown.  The inventory to this collection was prepared by Gregory S. Camp in May, 1985.

Property Rights:  The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights:  Copyrights to materials in this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirement is needed.
Access:  This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation:  Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.

Transfer:  Eight photographs, all of which deal with civil defense, were transferred to the photo archives.


Kenneth Wetherill Simons was born on February 15, 1898 in Lima, Ohio to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Simons.  He was the second of ten children and spent his early years in Ohio and Indiana.  Simons graduated from the Springfield, Ohio high school and attended Wittenburg College in the same city.  He was a veteran of World War I. He entered the newspaper profession in Springfield and was transferred to Bismarck by the Associated Press in 1925.
Simons married Marie Malloy in Bismarck in 1926 and raised a family of four children.  By 1930, he became editor of the Bismarck Tribune and served in that capacity until his death in 1948. In 1934 Simons published, North Dakota’s State Capitol.
In 1937, Governor Bill Langer appointed Simons to the State Water Conservation Commission and, like his tenure as editor, served until his death.

Along with his involvement with the Tribune, Simons was an active member of the Elks, Rotary, Bismarck Country Club, and American Legion.  In the latter organization, Simons served as commander in 1935; in addition, he spearheaded the "Open Your Heart" Christmas campaigns.  Between 1937 and 1940, Simons also served with the 185th Field Artillery.

Kenneth W. Simons died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 50 on April 20, 1948, leaving a wife and four children:  Kenneth, Jr., Marie Joanne, Robert, and Paul.

Sources:  Information taken from the Kenneth Simons Papers.


The Kenneth Simons Papers date from 1935 to 1958 and occupies one and one-quarter feet.  This collection has been arranged into four records series:  State Water Conservation Commission Records, 1937-1948; Federal Programs Files, 1935-1952; Federal Reports Files, 1937-1950; and Civil Defense Records, 1941-1958.

Series I, the State Water Conservation Commission Records, consists of Geological Survey Maps, State Water Conservation Commission Minutes of meetings with other regional states, correspondence to and from the State Water Commission, Plans and objectives of the North Dakota Planning Board on Water Resources, and a Drought Study on the impact of the disaster on North Dakota between 1937 and 1945.  All of these files contain correspondence to and from the agencies in question to interested parties.  Also, this series provides the researcher with an administrator's eye-view of water resource management during Depression, pre-war, war, and post-war eras in North Dakota.  It points out the importance of such management at the time, and reveals something of the State's director of this agency, Kenneth Simons. In addition, this series contains Tri-State Water Commission records, which are made up of correspondence and memos between the states involved and detail planning and procedures for use of water resources.  Series I covers the years 1927-1948 and occupies approximately three-quarters of a foot.

Series II, Federal Programs Files, concerns North Dakota, and looks at Farm Credit Administration, Federal Relief, Works Progress Administration (WPA), Civil Works Administration (CWA), and National Reemployment Service.  These files contain reports and correspondence from the Federal Government concerning programs in North Dakota and investigates their feasibility in aiding those needing it.  Each file in turn gives the researcher a limited sense of Federal involvement during the time period covered in this series (1935-1952): its purpose, where help may be needed, and the possibilities for aid.  Due to the limited size of Series II, less than one-quarter of a foot, a tremendous amount of information is not forthcoming from this part of the collection.

Series III is entitled Federal Reports and by and large looks at land usage in the state, as well as ownership thereof.  The purpose of the reports appears to be to ascertain what type of use is being made of the land in general and tilled land in particular.  In conjunction with this was a report on who owned the land within the State of North Dakota.  Once again, the limited size of this series (four folders or less than one-quarter of a foot) renders detailed or in-depth analysis difficult.  The time period covered is between the years 1937 and 1950.

Series IV, Civil Defense Records, deals with Civil Defense Plans for Bismarck-Mandan in the late 1950s, and is quite small.  But one folder in size, this series nevertheless provides detailed plans in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States.  Within the pages of this booklet are contingency plans for the evacuation of populations; use of civil and military authority to maintain order; banking, food, and medical distributions; and general survival techniques in the aftermath of Armageddon.

The eight photographs transferred to the Photo Archives pertain to civil defense.  These include shots of C.D. officials and workers in training.  Others appear to be from national C.D. authorities, detailing what actions and responses are necessary in the event of a nuclear "first strike" upon the United States.


Series I.     State Water Conservation Commission Records, 1937-1948

Series II.    Federal Programs, 1935-1952

Series III.   Federal Reports, 1937-1950

Series IV.    Civil Defense Records, 1941-1958


Series I:     State Water Conservation Commission Records, 1937-1948

Box 1:
1  Geological Survey Maps and Descriptions of North Dakota Lakes, 1937-1938
2  Tri-State Water Commission, Minutes and Correspondence, 1937-1938
3  State Water Conservation Commission Correspondence with Lt. John Tucker, Army Corps of Engineers, 1944-1945 
4   Letters to the State Water Conservation Commission, 1937-1940
5   Letters to the State Water Conservation Commission, 1941-1943                                        
6   Letters to the State Water Conservation Commission, 1944-1945
7   Letters to the State Water Conservation Commission, 1946-1947
8   Water Conservation Commission Correspondence and Reports, 1938-1944
9   Reports of North Dakota Water Resources, North Dakota Planning Board (Water), 1937 
10 Drought Study, 1937-1945

Box 2:
1 Need for Irrigation File, 1945-1947 
2 Flood Mobilization Plan, Garrison District, 1947 
3 Land use in Burleigh County Report, 1940 
4 Rural Rehabilitation File, 1940s-1950s

Series II: Federal Program Files, 1935-1952

5 Farm Credit Administration reports and correspondence with regard to North Dakota, 1930s
6 Federal Relief material dealing with North Dakota, 1930s
7 Civil Works Administration files, 1930s 
8 Works Progress Administration/Rural Resettlement Administration/Reconstruction Finance Corporation in North Dakota files, 1935-1952
9 National Re-employment Service, 1936-1939  

Series III:   Federal Reports Files, 1937-1950

10 Federal Housing Administration Report, 1950
11 Land ownership in North Dakota, a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1950
12 Land ownership in North Dakota file, 1939 
13   Land ownership in North Dakota file, 1937

Box 3:
1 Publicly owned land in North Dakota file, 1940 
2 Social Economics of North Dakota, 1942

Series IV: Civil Defense Records, 1941-1958

3 Bismarck-Mandan Target area survival plans, Red Cross material, 1941-1958


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