Famous Kansans

Here are a few big thinkers from Kansas who have helped shape the course of history.

John BrownJohn Brown


Born in Connecticut in 1800; came to Kansas at age 55. Played a significant abolitionist role during "Bleeding Kansas" years, leading several successful battles against pro-slavery forces. Discover more: John Brown Tour, John Brown Museum, John Brown Statue, & John Brown Memorial Park.

Dwight D. EisenhowerDwight D. Eisenhower


Born in Texas in 1890. Moved to Abilene in 1892. Distinguished military career 1926-1952. Commander of Allied Forces in 1942. Served two terms as President of the United States. Discover more: Eisenhower Home & Museum

Amelia EarhartAmelia Earhart


Born in Atchison in 1897. Began taking flying lessons in 1920. Became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932. Vanished in 1937 near the end of a flight around the world. Discover more: Amelia Earhart Museum, Amelia Earhart Airport, Amelia Earhart Earthwork, & Amelia Earhart Festival

Gordon ParksGordon Parks


Born near Fort Scott in 1912. Became the first African-American photographer to work at magazines like Life and Vogue, and the first to work for the Office of War Information and the Farm Security Administration. Discover more: Gordon Parks Museum & Gordon Parks Exhibit

William IngeWilliam Inge


Born in Independence in 1913. Attended the University of Kansas before becoming a playwright. Won a Pulitzer Prize for Picnic. Won an Academy Award for the original screenplay for Splendor in the Grass. Discover more: William Inge Collection & William Inge Center for the Arts 

Robert J. DoleRobert J. Dole


Born in Russell in 1923. Served in World War II. Received a law degree from Washburn Municipal University, Topeka, in 1952. Went on to become U.S. congressman, senator and presidential candidate. Discover more: Dole Institute

Isaac GoodnowIsaac Goodnow


Emigrated to Kansas in 1855. Leader in the free-state movement. One of Manhattan's founders. Helped establish Bluemont College, which later became Kansas State University. Started Kansas State Teachers Association.

Carrie NationCarrie Nation


Started a crusade in 1899 to close the local "joints" in Medicine Lodge. Launched a career of saloon-smashing in Kiowa in 1900. Arrested some 30 times from 1900 to 1910 for destroying saloons with axes.

William Allen WhiteWilliam Allen White


Born in Emporia in 1868. Bought The Emporia Gazette in 1895. Publisher, newspaper editor, author, made famous by his 1896 "What's the Matter with Kansas" editorial.

Walter P. ChryslerWalter P. Chrysler


Born in Wamego in 1875. Grew up in Ellis. Learned about machinery and repair in the Ellis Union Pacific shop. Founded Chrysler Corporation in 1924.

Photo Credits:
Robert J. Dole - Dole Institute of Politics
John Brown, Isaac Goodnow, Carrie Nation, William Allen White, Walter P. Chrysler, Amelia Earhart, Dwight Eisenhower, and William Inge - Courtesy of the Kansas State Historical Society
Gordan Parks - Douglas Kirkland 

View a comprehensive list of all notable Kansas in Kansapedia.

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