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First Student Letters

Some of the letters featured in this collection were written by Haskell Institute's very first students, arriving in 1884 when the school was still known as the United States Indian Industrial Training School at Lawrence, Kansas. Letters written by students at the time speak of the problems at the school that are well-documented.

Others, however, tell of surprising occurrences such as incidents of student drunkenness, gambling, and fighting.

The letters written by former students to Robinson reveal the role that they played in bringing new students to the school as well as the challenges that they faced after graduation, whether returning to their home communities or attempting to enter the mainstream workforce.

Among the most notable of this correspondence is the May 9, 1888 petition, pictured to the right, signed by a number of students inquiring about the disturbing number of student deaths at the school.

Sadly, some of the signatories of this petition would end up dying at the school and remain buried there today.


Leonard Tyler


Grave of Webb Hayes


James Murie

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