Harry Darby (1895-1987) Papers (0615kc)
Born in Kansas City, Kansas, Harry Darby worked with his father and was trained as a boilermaker while in high school. He attended the University of Illinois, received a degree in engineering, and then married Edith Cubbison of Kansas City, Kansas, in 1917 before going overseas in the army as a captain in World War One.
Returning home after the war, he again went to work as a boilermaker. After his father died, he borrowed $120,000 to buy the Missouri Boiler Works Company. During the Depression, business was tough but the company survived, and in 1940, he bought the Kaw Steel Construction company and merged it with his company into the Darby Corporation. The company did a great deal of work for the United States armed forces during World War Two.
Governor Alf Landon appointed Darby chairman of the Kansas Highway Commission from 1933-1937. Darby had a great interest in politics and worked on many political committees, including the Republican National Committee. Although he had no interest in running for public office, Kansas Governor Frank Carlson appointed him United States Senator in 1949 to complete the term of Senator Clyde Reed following Reed's death. Darby was a strong supporter of Dwight Eisenhower's presidential campaign in 1952. He served as Special Ambassador to Venezuela, appointed by President Eisenhower, and later headed the Eisenhower Presidential Library Commission and helped to raise money to build the Eisenhower Library in Abilene. He was also Chairman of the Eisenhower Foundation.
Darby became involved with the American Royal in the 1920's. He had a great interest in farming and bought a farm in Wyandotte County, Kansas. He later purchased land in Johnson and Douglas counties in Kansas and raised Hereford cattle. After being vice-president of the American Royal, Darby became its president in 1941 serving for 12 years. He became Chairman of the American Royal Board of Governors in 1952 and was elected chairman emeritus of the Board in 1967. He was named "Mr. American Royal" in 1968. Darby's interest in agriculture was also shown by his work to create an Agricultural Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, Kansas. Legislation proposed by Darby assisted the Future Farmers of America in receiving their national charter and he encouraged the American Royal and FFA to work together. He served on the original Board of Trustees of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center at Oklahoma City. He was elected to the Hall of Fame of Great Westerners by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame for "outstanding contributions to the West through industry, politics and ranching" in 1978.
The Harry Darby Papers contains scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, meeting minutes, reports, committee notes, fund raising records, and clippings concerning Mr. Darby's association with the American Royal and related activities, such as Kansas Day, FFA, BOTARS and 4H. ca. 1946-1986.
20 cubic feet
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Monday, February 07, 2011
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