John Rankin Rogers Papers, 1814-1926

Overview of the Collection

Rogers, John Rankin, 1838-1901
John Rankin Rogers Papers
1814-1926 (inclusive)
1.5 Linear feet of shelf space, (3 Boxes)
Collection Number
Cage 615 (collection)
The papers of former Washington governor John Rankin Rogers consist of several types of documents, from family genealogy records to Rogers' gubernatorial speeches to memorials made at his death in 1901.
Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
Pullman, WA
Telephone: 509-335-6691
Access Restrictions

This collection is open and available for research use.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

As a teenager, John Rankin Rogers went to Boston and apprenticed at a drug store. By 1856, he moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where he managed a drug store until 1860. Rogers moved to Illinois where he farmed and worked as a school teacher and a druggist. In 1876, he moved to Kansas where he again farmed. In 1878, Rogers became an organizer of the Farmers' Alliance. He also served as editor of the Kansas Commoner for several years in Wichita. Rogers was an active member of the farmer-based wing of the populist movement throughout the time of its existence.

John R. Rogers married Sara L. Greene in Illinois on March 17, 1861. They had five children: Frederick J. Rogers, professor of physics at Stanford University; Albert R. Rogers, newspaper editor, Santa Barbara, California; Edwin R. Rogers, businessman, Tacoma; Mrs. William Blackman, Spokane; and Helen Rogers, Tacoma. Sara Greene Rogers was born on May 4, 1840 in Gallipolis, Ohio. She died in Washington in 1909.

In 1890, John R. Rogers moved to the state of Washington, where he settled in Puyallup and operated a drug store. Rogers also served as a leader of the Populist party in Washington. In 1895, he was elected to the state legislature as a Populist. While a lawmaker, Rogers drafted and secured passage of the "barefoot schoolboy bill." The new law made cities bear part of the expense of funding country schools, with the idea of giving equal educational opportunities to all children in the state.

John R. Rogers was elected Washington's one and only Populist governor in 1896. His victory was the product of a fusion of support among Populists, silver Republicans, and Bryan Democrats that pushed Rogers to a victory over his closest opponent, Republican P. B. Sullivan, by over 12,000 votes. As governor, Rogers continued to support state education reform. In addition, he promoted government efficiency and prison system reform.

Throughout the 1890s, Rogers authored many volumes with populist themes. These include: The Irrepressible Conflict; or An American System of Money, 1892; The Rights of Man and The Wrongs of Man, 1893; Politics: An Argument in Favor of the Inalienable Rights of Man, 1894; Homes for the Homeless, 1895; Free Land: The Remedy for Involuntary Poverty . . ., 1897; Looking Forward, or The Story of an American Farm, 1898; Life, 1899; and The Inalienable Rights of Man, 1900.

In September 1900, the Fusionists nominated Rogers as governor and he was reelected as a Democrat in November by a plurality of 2,000 votes, in the face of a plurality for the national and state Republican ticket of 13,000. Rogers served less than a year of his second term before a he died on December 26, 1901 after a short bout with lobar pneumonia.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

John Rankin Rogers' papers consist of several types of documents, from family genealogy records to Rogers' gubernatorial speeches to memorials made at his death in 1901. The collection also includes Rogers' newspaper clipping scrapbooks, photographs, and ephemera.

The majority of the collection is devoted to typescript copies of speeches that Rogers made while governor and newspaper clipping scrapbooks that cover this same period. While the two sets of Rogers' speeches have much duplication, the manuscripts included with these papers are invaluable because they include Rogers' handwritten margin notes.

The scrapbooks include news stories on Rogers' abilities and activities as governor, offering both praise and criticism. In addition, many of Rogers' speeches are found, in newsprint form, in the books. Finally, much of volumes four and five were assembled after Rogers' death. They include obituaries, memorials, and tributes to Governor Rogers.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Preferred Citation

[Item description]

John Rankin Rogers Papers, 1814-1926 (Cage 615)

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Arranged by type of document, and then chronologically. The scrapbooks follow a rough chronology, regardless of the titles on their bindings.

Custodial History

Mrs. W. A. Hall, of Bellingham, one of Rogers' daughters, had previously held a large portion of the collection, including newspaper clipping scrapbooks and typescripts of speeches. Fred R. Yoder acquired the papers from the Rogers family in 1942.

Acquisition Information

Originally recieved as part of the Fred R. Yoder Papers in 1992 (MS 92-77), these papers were seperated into their own accession in 1994 (MS 94-50).

Separated Materials

These papers were originally recieved as part of the Fred R. Yoder Papers, circa 1890-circa 1980 (Cage 620)

Related Materials

John Rankin Rogers Speech Typescripts, 1889-1901 (Cage 4193)

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Rogers FamilyReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Ancestry Folder--genealogy materials
1 2
Ancestry Folder--miscellaneous correspondence
1 3
The Common Publishing Company charter
February 23, 1888

Speeches, Addresses, and ProclamationsReturn to Top

Typewritten copies of speeches by Rogers.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 4
The Absolute Certainty of Washington's Future Greatness, [to the editor of the Seattle Times]
1 5
A Forced Advance
1 6
Governor Rogers' Veto of the Capitol Bill [the 1st Capitol Bill]
1 7
My Greatest Punishment and Its Lesson
1 8
The Reign of Law, [version A]
1 9
The Reign of Law, [version B]
1 10
Fourth of July Address of Governor Rogers, at New Whatcom, Washington.
July 5th, 1897
1 11
The School Life. An address delivered by Governor Rogers before the graduating class of the Washington State Agricultural College, at Pullman, Washington
June 24th, 1897
1 12
Post-prandial speech of Governor Rogers of Washington at anniversary dinner of First Free Church of Tacoma at Masonic Hall, Tuesday evening
November 30th, 1897
1 13
[ Governor John R. Rogers and Woman Suffrage] for the Oregonian by Mrs. Blankenship [dateline: Olympia]
January 19, 1898
1 14
Future Commercial Development of State of Washington, [given at meeting of] Tacoma Chamber of Commerce.
Jan 26, 1898
1 15
Address at Normal School, Ellensburg, June 15, 1898.
1 16
Veto of 3d Capitol Bill,
March 8 1899.
1 17
Manifest Destiny. Part of Speech of Gov. Rogers at Whatcom banquet, Tuesday night].
March 28, 1899
1 18
Jefferson and Popular Government. Speech of Governor John R. Rogers at Jeffersonian Banquet, Tacoma
April 13th 1899
1 19
Decoration Day Address of Governor Rogers at Wash'n Soldiers Home [in Orting], May 30th, 1899. [Used previously for address at Palouse, Wa., for the Whitman Co. Veterans Association]
May 26, 1899
1 20
The Kingdom of Hope. Address of Gov. Rogers at commencement exercises, Tacoma Normal Training School.
June 14, 1899
1 21
The Progress of Man. An address delivered by Gov. John R. Rogers, at the Commencement Exercises of Cheney Normal School
June 22nd, 1899
1 22
Address of Gov. Rogers at Tacoma.
July 4th., 1899
1 23
Address of Gov. Rogers, Return of 1st Washington Volunteers, Seattle.
November 6, 1899
1 24
The Ideal in Literature. By Gov. John R. Rogers, written for Holiday edition, Saturday Mail, Seattle
1 25
Battle of Life. Address of Gov. Rogers to Graduating Class, University of Washington.
May 29, 1901
1 26
Address of Gov. Rogers at Funeral of Co. J. J. Weisen- burger, Whatcom.
Sunday June 9th, 1901
1 27
Special Message of Gov. Rogers to Legislature,
June 11, 1901
1 28
Response of Gov. Rogers to the Toast: "The School for the Citizen Soldier--The National Guard"; at the G.A.R. Banquet, Germania Hall, Tacoma.
Thursday eve, June 27th, 1901
1 29
Summary of 4th of July Address at Everett, 1901.
July 4, 1901
1 30
Published Messages, Treatises, and Speeches, by John R. Rogers.
1 31
Published Proclamations by Governor Rogers.

Papers related to the Death of John R. RogersReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 32
Probate Documents, Estate of John R. Rogers
1 33
Biographical Sketch of John R Rogers, by Frederick John Rogers, his son.
1 34
In Memoriam, of John R. Rogers by E. R. Rogers
1 35
Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of Governor John Rankin Rogers, Sept. 4, 1838--Dec. 26, 1901. 2 copies. Seattle
1 36
John R. Rogers as Governor, death and funeral, original newspaper clippings

CorresponcenceReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 37
Letters, [copies] George Grantham Bain to Gov. John R. Rogers, May 16, 1897; Gov. John R. Rogers to George Grantham Bain, May 1897
May, 1987
1 38
Letter, Henry Bucey to Gov. John R. Rogers
July 14, 1899
1 39
John R. Rogers' correspondence as Governor of Washington [xeroxes of originals held by the Washington State Archives, Olympia], part 1
1 40
John R. Rogers' correspondence as Governor of Washington [xeroxes of originals held by the Washington State Archives, Olympia], part 2

ScrapbooksReturn to Top

Ledger books prepared by Rogers that contain newspaper clippings about his political career

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 41
No. 1, Personal Scraps. Rogers' early political career in Washington.
Oct. 1894-Feb. 1898
2 42
No. 2, Politics. Clippings address major issues in Rogers' 1st administration.
March 1898-June 1899
2 43
Personal, No. 3. Clippings addressing latter part of Rogers' 1st administration.
June 1899-Nov. 1900
2 44
John R. Rogers Personal. No. 4.. Clippings addressing Rogers' 2nd administration and his death.
Jan. 1901-1909
3 45
No. 5 Clippings of death notices, obituaries, memorials, etc., on John R. Rogers, from all over U.S.
3 46
No. 6, Literary Scraps. Misc. clippings attributed to Rogers' years as Washington governor.

PhotographsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
3 47
Photographs of Maine
3 48
Father, Mother, and Grandfather of John R. Rogers
3 49
John R. Rogers
3 50
Sara Greene Rogers
3 51
John and Sara Rogers and Family
3 52
Gravestones of John and Sara Rogers, Woodbine Cemetary, Puyallup
3 53
Governor and Mrs. Rogers' home, Olympia
3 54
Governor Rogers and the Washington Volunteers, Spanish- American War
3 55
"William Jennings Bryan and Party of Distinguished Democrats who accompanied him on his tour through Washington State", including John R. Rogers
3 56
Washington State Capitol

EphemeraReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
3 57
Campaign Ribbon, "John R. Rogers, Our Next Governor",
3 58
"National Capital Centennial 1900, The Commemorative Medal", presented to Gov. John R. Rogers
December 12, 1900
3 59
Silverplated Engraved Invitation to Governor John R. Rogers for Butcher's Day, Seattle
June 1, 1901

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Governors -- Washington (State) -- Archives
  • Populism -- United States -- History

Personal Names

  • Rogers, John Rankin, 1838-1901 -- Archives

Family Names

  • Rogers family

Geographical Names

  • Washington (State) -- Politics and government
  • Washington (State). Governor -- Archives