Donna C. Roper papers

Identity elements

Reference code

US US kmk 2016-17.039

Level of description



Donna C. Roper papers


  • 1929-2015 (Creation)


25.00 Linear Feet, 20.00 Boxes

Name of creator

Biographical history

Donna C. Roper, professional archeologists, was born to Norman E. and Laura (Dietz) Roper in Oneonta, New York, June 20, 1947. She became involved with archaeology at Hartwick College in Oneonta where she earned a B.A. in History with Departmental Honors in 1968. She completed her Master's and Doctoral degrees, respectively, in Anthropology with an emphasis in archaeology at Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1970 and the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 1975.

Donna Roper was a dedicated and prolific archaeologist. She directed projects in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas, and other states. She held research positions at the American Archaeology Division of the University of Missouri and the Illinois State Museum in the1970s. In 1980 she joined Gilbert/Commonwealth Inc. of Jackson, Michigan, as Senior Archaeologist and Project Manager, becoming a partner with Commonwealth Cultural Resources Group of Jackson, Michigan, in 1988.

Her projects for Commonwealth took her to Nebraska, where Donna developed a true love for the Great Plains. In 1991 she fulfilled her dream to live and work regularly in the region by moving to Manhattan, Kansas. She appreciated the environment, the town, and Kansas State University, where she became an avid fan of K-State women's basketball. She served as Research Associate Professor with the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work and also worked regularly as an independent researcher and consultant. In 2015, she also became an adjunct research associate with the Archaeological Research Center at the University of Kansas.

Donna not only stayed active with regional archaeological research, but occasionally taught classes at K-State and KU. She also was an integral graduate committee member for nine Master's and Doctoral students of archaeology. She employed and influenced many students in the field and lab leading to a number of careers in archaeology. Her curiosity, broad knowledge, and keen mind stimulated not only students, but her colleagues in the Plains, Midwest, and beyond. She presented research in two edited books, as well as five book-length monographs, and numerous professional journal articles, book chapters, and technical reports. She was active with various regional professional organizations for which she often served in leadership roles.

Donna Roper regularly looked forward to professional meetings where she presented her research, caught up with colleagues, and vigorously debated ideas. She loved to share her knowledge and learn from others through public venues. She was invited regularly to share her insights with public groups in Kansas and Nebraska and always elicited valuable conversations with others about the Native prehistory of this region. She also co-led public archaeology projects in Kansas though the Kansas Archaeological Training Program sponsored by the Kansas Anthropological Association and the Kansas Historical Society.

In 2015, Donna Roper was awarded the Distinguished Service Award of the Plains Anthropological Society and the W. Duncan Strong Memorial Award presented by the Nebraska Association of Professional Archaeologists. Through these she joined a select group of renowned recipients marking exemplary contributions to her profession.

Donna Roper died on August 1, 2015, in Manhattan, Kansas.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The Donna C. Roper papers includes the research documents and publications of Dr. Donna C. Roper, prolific archaeologist who made major research contributions, particularly in the Central Plains region of North America. This collection is separated into six series. The first series, field of compliance project records, containing print and electronic copies of documents such as proposals, project correspondence, site survey forms, field notes, and maps of sites. The second series is research and interpretation records, containing preliminary and final reports, data records such as artifact catalogs and dating, photographs, unfinished or draft manuscripts, published works such as journal articles, and conference papers. Professional service records include graduate committee correspondence, published book reviews, nominations for National Historic Landmarks, recommendation letters, teaching records, etc. the fourth series is for personal records, containing vitae, awards, and other things such as personal correspondence and diplomas. The fifth series contains bound publications, such as bound archaeological journals and published reports. The sixth series are oversized maps that could not fit with the rest of the collection. An estimated 2,000 slides and 500 print negatives are included in the second series with research records. The collection covers a temporal range from 1929 to 2015.

System of arrangement

The collection is arranged into the following series and and subseries. Series 1 is Field or Compliance Project Records seperated into subseries a: pre-field activity records, and subseries b: field activity records. Series 2, Research/Interpretation Records, is composed of subseries a: data records; subseries b: research notes; subseries c: collection loan forms; subseries d: photographs; subseries e: maps, charts, and tables; subseries f: preliminary reports; subseries g: final reports; subseries h: unfinished or draft manuscripts; subseries i: published books, book chapters, journal articals, and reviews; subseries j: conference papers/presentations; subseries k: public presentations and exhibits; subseries l: correspondence; and subseries m: references for research. Series 3, Professional Service Records, consists of subseries a: published book reviews; subseries b: unpublished reivews of grants, proposals, manuscripts, articles, nominations; subseries c: Graduate Committee correspondence and notes; subseries d: recommendation letter/forms; subseries e: professional organization service records/notes; subseries f: membership record for professional organizations; and subseries g: teaching records. Series 4, Personal, contains subseries a: vita; subseries b: awards and nominations for awards; subseries c: business records; subseries d: personal correspondence; subseries e: personal interests; and subseries f: diplomas. Series 5 is the Bound Publications series and Series 6 is Oversized Maps.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

No access restrtictions:  All materials are open for research.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The research assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply. Creative Commons copyright license: Attribution-ShareAlike  (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

The estate of Donna C. Roper donated the papers in 2017.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Related descriptions

Specialized notes

  • Citation: [Item title], [item date], Donna C. Roper papers, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.
  • Processing information: The processing of the collection was made possible through a Historical Archives Program grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc

Alternative identifier(s)

Archon Collection ID


Description control element

Rules or conventions

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Sources used

Archivist's note

Processing Info: The acquisition and processing of the collection was made possible through an Historical Archives Program grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc.

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Accession area