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James R. Start Papers

Identifier: FC 011
Collection contains speeches, debates and articles from James Start. A letter of correspondence to James Start, articles on speech education, reading lists, and many newspaper articles mostly pertaining to theater performances at Fort Hays State College.

Cathy and David Van Doren, Hays, Kansas, donated additional materials to this collection on March 9, 2017; Mr. Start was David Van Doren’s grandfather.


  • 1905-1967


Conditions Governing Access

Items cannot be removed from the University Archives. Please ask for the assistance of the Archivist when handling these items.

Conditions Governing Use

Written permission must be obtained from the Fort Hays State University Archives and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.


.5 Linear Feet (1 box )


James R. Start served as a faculty member teaching speech at Fort Hays State College starting in 1920. His paper include speeches, articles, reading lists and correspondence related to his time at Fort Hays State University.

Biographical / Historical

James R. Start was born in Whitelaw, Kansas on July 29, 1895. He attended school in Hoisington, Kansas, and then later Hays, Kansas. He received his Diploma from the School of Speech in 1917 from Northwestern University. Mr. Start then served in the U.S. Navy for two years as a musician before returning back to Fort Hays State and earning his Bachelor’s degree in 1919. After completing college, he joined the Fort Hays faculty as a professor of English and speech. In 1927, he took one year’s leave to get his Master’s degree from Columbia University. Mr. Start was the debate coach at Fort Hays State and instrumental in bringing the first national honor society here with the chartering of Pi Kappa Delta in 1924. He was also the drama coach and helped to produce dozens of plays that were staged at Picken Hall. Many of the students he trained as dramatists or debaters later made names for themselves politically and professionally. Start was a chart member of the Hays chapter of Phi Kappa Phi and was honored by President M.C. Cunningham in 1965 when the theater in Malloy Hall was named Felten-Start, honoring him for his contributions to the speech and drama department. Mr. Start was also a member of the Hays Rotary Club where he had a record of 31 years of perfect attendance. He was also a member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church, president of the Kansas Association of Teachers of English, and former governor of the Kansas Province of Phi Kappa Delta. Mr. Start died in 1972.


Materials have been arranged to preserve their original order.
Revised by David Obermayer
2016; 2018
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Fort Hays State University Archives Repository

University Archives
Forsyth Library
502 South Campus Drive
Hays KS 67601 United States