Hill Family papers

Identity elements

Reference code

US US kmk U1999.15

Level of description



Hill Family papers


  • 1929-1987 (Creation)


3.00 Boxes

Post-Fire Oversize Extent:
Oversize Box (16.5 x 20.5): 509: 20/29/4

Name of creator

Biographical history

Randall C. Hill was born on Sept. 30, 1901. He lived in Manhattan from 1917 to 1979 and attended Kansas State from 1919 to 1924, where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity. He later became the financial advisor of the fraternity. After completion of his bachelor’s degree in social sciences in 1924, and his master’s degree in sociology in 1927, he was hired to teach at Manhattan High School. Hill decided to further his education by attending the University of Missouri where he completed his doctorate in sociology and rural sociology in 1929.
After returning to Manhattan, he became an associate professor in the Department of Economics and Sociology at Kansas State, and began service as the Kansas Supervisor of Rural Research for the Federal Emergency Relief Association in October of 1934. He was promoted to a full professor at K-State in 1935. Hill was elected secretary-treasurer of the National Rural Sociological Society in 1949. In July of 1956, he became a Rural Sociologist on the International Cooperation Administration-India-Kansas State College Team to Poona, India. Hill had a special interest in India thus he spent much of his time and research there.
He retired from Kansas State in 1969 and died on February 9, 1995.
Maurice Hil, the younger brother of Randall Hill, was born on November 7, 1904. He also was a Manhattan resident and attended Kansas State from 1923 to 1925. While at the college, Hill was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa, and he later served as a financial advisor for the fraternity. After his time at Kansas State, Hill worked as a banker at Union National Bank of Manhattan for 22 years. In 1947 he took a position at Home Building & Loan Association, where he worked for 35 years. Hill was very active in the financial affairs of the Manhattan community. He met Opal and the two were married on December 22, 1928. Maurice Hill died on March 18, 1982.
Opal Brown Hill, the wife of Maurice Hill, was born on September 23, 1903. She attended Kansas State and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics in 1944. She was employed as a clerk in the business office at Kansas State for seven years when she resigned to pursue a master’s degree in art, which she received from Kansas State in 1950. Mrs. Hill taught interior decorating, along with other subjects, in the art department as an associate professor. At that time, subjects such as interior decorating and architecture were part of the art department. Hill retired from the university in 1969, and in 1983 she received the Art Department Recognition Award. She died on August 14, 1997.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The collection was created by three members of the Hill family --Randall C. Hill, Maurice L. Hill, and Opal B. Hill. The earliest document in the collection is a contract from 1929, and the manuscripts continue into the 1980s.
The bulk of Opal B. Hill's collection is her personal files that pertain to fabric and fabric history, and they are divided by subject. Also, the museum material is divided by subject for convenience and accessibility.
The first series in the collection pertains to Randall Hill and concerns his involvement with Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity at Kansas State. The first five folders deal with the early years, starting with the house contract in 1929. The theme of his collection centers around financial responsibilities and dues that former members owed to the house. The correspondence from 1932 to 1942 is mainly letters to former members reminding them of their obligations and dues.
The next series, that of Maurice Hill, is very similar to Randall Hill's papers. Maurice Hill was also involved with a fraternity, Phi Sigma Kappa, although his collection is smaller. In this series, however, there are a variety of formats; photos of former members, a newsletter, two fraternity songbooks, letterheads and envelopes, a gavel, and a large metal ring. There is a folder with a few letters from Hill to former members pertaining to dues owed to the fraternity.
The third series, and the largest of the Hill Family Papers, is that of Opal Hill. The first folder pertains to a dinner recognition for Hill and her involvement with the establishment of a museum at Kansas State University and her contributions to Kansas State. Since she was an art instructor, the rest of her collection relates to fabrics and tapestries, including Peruvian, Irish, Persian, and Japanese. The collection contains mostly printed material on various subjects in the form of news articles, essays, pamphlets, and booklets.
The fourth series, part of Opal Hill's papers, deals extensively with the proposal of a museum at Kansas State University. There are six folders, 1) letters, 2) proposals, 3) information about a curator, 4) grant information, 5) printed material about other university museums, and 6) articles about the museum. Another person who was heavily involved with the museum and is frequently mentioned throughout all six folders is Patricia O'Brian, who was a friend and fellow professor at Kansas State University.
The donation includes a collection of photographs associated with Maurice Hill and members of Phi Sigma Kappa. They are of members who were involved with K-State athletics including football, baseball, and track. Also, there are some photos of the Phi Sigma Kappa members who participated in the military training program, and a few group photographs of the fraternity members. The photographs have been removed and filed in the Photograph Collection, Vertical File-People, and in flat storage boxes. An inventory can be found following the container list in this register.
Also, there are six artifacts associated with the Hills that have been stored with the artifacts collection in the University Archives. These artifacts include 1) Phi Sigma Kappa metal nameplate, 2) Phi Delta Tau metal nameplate, 3) metal ring, 4) Gavel and base with Phi Delta Tau insignia, 5) Metals and ribbons with Phi Delta Tau insignia and 6) Lighted sign with Phi Delta Tau in Greek letters.

System of arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically whenever possible and consists of
six series: 1) Randall C. Hill, 2) Maurice Hill, 3) Opal Brown Hill, 4) Art Museum Collection, 5) Photographs, and 6) Artifacts.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

No access restrictions: All materials are open for research.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Received the accession number U1999.15. The Hill family papers were donated to the University Archives in 1999 by Joleen J. Hill who acquired the collection from the home of Opal Hill after her death in 1997.

Immediate source of acquisition

Acqusition Source: Joleen J. Hill
Acqusition Method: Donation.
Acqusition Date: 19991101

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

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Related descriptions

General note

Original accession number: U1999.15.
Location accession number: P2000.6

Additional material needs to be placed into the collection record from the finding aid.

Specialized notes

  • Citation: Preferred Citation: [Item title], [item date], Hill family papers, Box [number], Folder [number or title], Morse Department of Special Collections, Kansas State University Libraries.

Alternative identifier(s)

Archon Collection ID


Description control element

Rules or conventions

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Sources used

Archivist's note

Finding Aid Author: David Arends
Processing Info: The papers were processed in the fall of 2000 by David Arends, Kansas State University Historical Society volunteer. The accession number is U1999.15.

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