About the 24 finalists
• Amazon Army was a group of several thousand wives, sweethearts, and female relatives of striking miners who marched in December 1921 across the coalfields of southeast Kansas in courageous protest against unfair labor laws and practices. 1921. Crawford County.
• Ameila Earhart was the first woman aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other aviation records but disappeared in a record-setting attempt around the equator in 1937. 1897-1937. Atchison.
• Arthur Capper, was the first Kansas-born governor, a 30-year U.S. Senator, a newspaper and magazine publisher, and he established the Capper Fund for Children (Easter Seals Capper Foundation) with disabilities. 1865-1951. Garnett, Topeka.
• Bernhard Warkentin, miller and banker, encouraged thousands of Mennonites from Russia to settle in South Central Kansas in the 1870s. He imported and promoted the planting of Turkey Red winter wheat, helping make Kansas the breadbasket of the world. 1847-1908. Newton, Halstead.
• Buffalo Soldiers were members of an all-black regiment in the U.S. Army. The first unit, the 10th Cavalry, was formed on September 21, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth.
• Buster Keaton’s trademark was physical comedy with a deadpan expression earning him the nickname "The Great Stone Face." He was considered one of the greatest silent film comic actors and filmmakers. 1895-1966. Piqua, Iola.
• Carry A. Nation was a hatchet-wielding crusader in the early 1900s and part of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union campaign to prohibit alcohol. 1846-1911. Medicine Lodge, Kiowa.
• Clyde V. Cessna, aviation pioneer, designer, and founder of Cessna Aircraft Co., had a dream to build and fly a full cantilever wing (single wing plane). In December 1911 he successfully flew his first plane, the Silverwing. 1879-1954. Rago, Kingman.
• Cyrus K. Holliday, one of the founders of Topeka, organized the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in 1859 and remained director until his death in 1900. 1826-1900. Topeka, Atchison.
• Emil J. Kapaun, a priest and military chaplain is being considered by the Vatican for sainthood because of his exemplary service and dedication while being held in a Korean prisoner of war camp in 1950-1951. 1916-1951. Pilsen.
• Frederick Funston was the youngest brigadier general at age 35, a Medal of Honor recipient, and the "Man Who Saved San Francisco" after the earthquake and fire of 1906. 1865-1917. Iola.
• George Washington Carver, an agri-scientist, botanist, educator, humanitarian, and inventor, was best known for discovering hundreds of uses for peanuts, soybean, sweet potatoes, and pecans and for developing crop-rotation methods. 1864-1943. Minneapolis, Beeler.
• Haskell Indian Nations University was established in 1884 as a government boarding school to try to eliminate Native culture. It has evolved into a university for Native students emphasizing Native culture, sovreignty, and self-determination. 1884-present. Lawrence.
• Jack Kilby won the Nobel Prize in Physics for inventing the monolithic integrated circuit, known as the microchip, in 1958 which paved the way for the modern information age. 1923-2005. Great Bend.
• James Naismith was the man who invented basketball and started the University of Kansas basketball program in 1898. 1833-1939. Lawrence.
• John Brown’s abolitionist crusade in Kansas had a dramatic impact on both state and national history and kept the slavery issue in the forefront of political discussion which sparked the Civil War. 1800-1859. Osawatomie.
• Joseph McCoy’s approach to marketing cattle on the Kansas plains in Abilene transformed a fragmented cattle business into the national industry that it is today. 1837-1915. Abilene, Wichita.
• Martin and Osa Johnson were pioneering wildlife filmmakers, photographers, authors, and explorers who traveled to the exotic realms of Africa, Borneo, and the South Seas recording cultures (that no longer exist). 1884-1937; 1894-1953. Chanute.
• Mary Ann "Mother" Bickerdyke’s heroic efforts as a nurse on the Civil War battlefield earned her great affection. Later she was a veterans’ pensioner and advocate and helped many veterans settle in Kansas. 1817-1901. Bunker Hill, Ellsworth.
• Olive Ann Beech was the first woman to head a major aircraft company and was the most successful female executive in aviation history. Her efforts led Beech to become a powerhouse aviation company. 1904-1993. Wichita, Waverly.
• Walter P. Chrysler, a working man who rose to the top as an industrialist, pioneered many auto industry improvements. In 1925 he founded Chrysler Corp., which became the second largest automotive company in the world. 1875-1940. Ellis, Wamego.
• Walter "Big Train" Johnson’s record-setting performances as a pitcher from 1907-1927 with the Washington Senators made him one of the first five players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. 1887-1946. Humboldt, Coffeyville.
• William Allen White, known as the "Sage of Emporia," from defending the 1st Amendment to fighting the Ku Klux Klan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper editor was the primary voice of the American heartland for almost five decades. 1868-1944. Emporia.
• William Inge was a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright who affectionately dramatized the aspirations of authentic characters rooted in small town life. 1913-1973. Independence.
INMAN – The Kansas Sampler Foundation announced the 24 finalists for the 8 Wonders of Kansas People, which includes microchip creator and Great Bend resident Jack Kilby. The public will have until October 22 to vote to determine the top 8.
In alphabetical order, the other finalists are:
Amazon Army, Pittsburg
Amelia Earhart, Atchison
Arthur Capper, Garnett, Topeka
Bernhard Warkentin, Newton, Halstead
Buffalo Soldiers, Fort Leavenworth
Buster Keaton, Piqua
Carry A. Nation, Medicine Lodge, Kiowa
Clyde V. Cessna, Rago, Kingman
Cyrus K. Holliday, Topeka
Emil J. Kapaun, Pilsen
Frederick Funston, Iola
George Washington Carver, Minneapolis, Beeler
Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence
James Naismith, Lawrence
John Brown, Osawatomie
Joseh McCoy, Abilene, Wichita
Martin & Osa Johnson, Chanute
Mary Ann "Mother" Bickerdyke, Bunker Hill, Ellsworth
Olive Ann Beech, Wichita, Waverly
Walter Chrysler, Ellis, Wamego
Walter Johnson, Humboldt, Coffeyville
William Allen White, Emporia
William Inge, Independence
Some notable Kansas people are not on the list. Famous Kansans such as Dwight Eisenhower, Gordon Parks, John Steuart Curry and others are not on the list because they were involved in previous 8 Wonders contests. Contest criteria also stated that there had to be some kind of display or something to see to make a nominee eligible. The selection committee chose not to include any living nominees.
A person may vote online three times from one e-mail address at 8wonders.org or vote once by paper ballot. Places that represent the finalists will have paper ballots or call 620.585.2374. Voting will end October 22 at midnight.
The People contest is the last in a series organized by the Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation to help educate the public about Kansas and to inspire travel throughout the state. Previous contests featured the Foundation’s eight rural culture elements: Architecture, Art, Commerce, Cuisine, Customs, Geography, and History. The overall 8 Wonders of Kansas contest was the first contest that started in June 2007.
Foundation director Marci Penner said, "It seems fitting to end with a showcase of outstanding Kansans. The list shows great diversity from the gripping story of evolution at Haskell Indian Nations University to the man, Jack Kilby, who literally made the computer age possible. On the website (8wonders.org), we have more information and list places where a person can go to learn more about these people."
The top 8 Wonders of Kansas People will be announced on October 27. The Eisenhower Library will host an 8 Wonders exhibit from Kansas Day (Jan. 29, 2011) through the summer and the Kansas Sampler Foundation will publish an 8 Wonders book that will come out April 2011.