Author Jennifer Toelle will sign copies of her book “Kansas Wesleyan University: The Campus History Series” from 7-8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12, at Ad Astra Books & Coffee House, 141 N. Santa Fe Ave. The pictorial history illustrates Kansas Wesleyan’s institutional history and the enduring Coyote spirit.
Toelle compiled the commemorative book, composed of photographs that take the reader from the late 1800s through today, in celebration of Kansas Wesleyan University’s 130th anniversary last year. With a forward written by former Kansas Governor Bill Graves ’76, the collection of images tells the story of the special people and extraordinary moments that have defined the Kansas Wesleyan University experience.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for me to share the rich history of Kansas Wesleyan and the people who have made it what it is today,” said Toelle, who sorted through thousands of photos in the university’s archive and the Smoky Hill Museum’s collection. She used many references and genealogical research tools such Ancestry.com. Extensive research was done with newspapers and other archival material to compile the pictorial. Toelle said she narrowed the photo selection to approximately 200 photos that fill the 128-page book. “It was difficult to work within the page limitations because there were so many wonderful photos,” she said. “So, I selected those that told multiple stories.”
Toelle, the registrar at the Smoky Hill Museum, holds an undergraduate degree in American studies from Columbia College and a graduate degree in humanities from Tiffin University. She is actively engaged in many organizations, including the Kansas Museums Association and the American Association of State and Local History. She has a passionate enthusiasm for biography and institutional history and maintains strong ties to the Kansas Wesleyan community.