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Lorraine M. "Nick" Gensman Collection

Identifier: CAC-CC-023
The Gensman Collection includes 17 cubic feet of material arranged in 10 series. The collection consists predominantly of correspondence. While the collection covers the period 1901-1945, most of the material is from 1913-1923.


  • 1901-1945


24.5 Linear Feet (20 containers)

Biographical Information:

Lorraine Michael "Nick" Gensman was born August 26, 1878, in Andale, Kansas, a small town near Wichita. Educated in Kansas, he graduated from law school at the University of Kansas in 1901. He was admitted to the bar in Douglas, Kansas, and practiced law in Lawrence, Kansas, for less than a year before moving to Oklahoma.

Gensman arrived in Lawton, Oklahoma, on July 23, 1901, two weeks before the city was opened for settlement. He immediately opened a law office and served as a federal referee in bankruptcy cases from 1902-1907. In 1918 Gensman married Lucia Van Cleef, an alumna of the University of Kansas. That same year, he became the first Republican elected as the prosecuting attorney of Comanche County and was only the second elected official in Comanche County from the Republican Party.

The Republican landslide of 1920 helped Gensman to defeat Elmer Thomas for the Sixth District U.S. Congressional seat. In so doing, he became the first Republican to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives from the Sixth District. Representative Gensman served on the Committee on Committees, the Committee on Indian Affairs, and the Committee on Insular Affairs in the Sixty-seventh Congress. In 1922 he was defeated by Thomas in a bid for reelection. He served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1924. In 1936 Gensman again ran for Congress but was defeated by Jed Johnson. After the election, Gensman began work in the oil business and eventually resumed the practice of law until his retirement in 1953.

Gensman and his wife traveled extensively, including several cruises around the world and many trips to Europe. From 1942 to 1945, he hosted a weekly radio broadcast on KSWO radio station in Lawton, discussing the world as seen through the eyes of a traveler. Active in various civic organizations, including the Masons, Elks, and the Guthrie Consistory, he was also a member of the Oklahoma and Comanche County Bar Associations. Gensman died in Lawton on May 27, 1954. His estate included a bequest of $87,586 to the University of Kansas School of Law, the largest single gift the school had received to that time.

Arrangement of Materials:

The collection is arranged into ten series. The Credit Clearing House of Cincinnati, Ohio series is arranged alphabetically by defendant. The Personal Correspondence series is arranged chronologically by year then month and day. The General Correspondence series is arranged by county alphabetically into subseries and then alphabetically by name of correspondent within each subseries. The U.S. Naval Academy Appointments series is arranged alphabetically by county followed by Correspondence and Printed Material. The Veteran's Affairs series is arranged by county alphabetically into subseries and then alphabetically by name of correspondent within each subseries. The Indian Affairs series is arranged alphabetically by surname of correspondent. The Post Office series is arranged alphabetically by name of town. The Travelogue Broadcast Manuscripts series is arranged chronologically by year and then grouped by country. The Miscellaneous series is arranged alphabetically followed by miscellaneous materials and a case file. The Maps series is arranged alphabetically by map name.

Related Materials:

The Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton, Oklahoma has additional materials on Gensman. This collection consists of personal and business correspondence as well as documents concerning his law practice.
Guide to the Lorraine M. "Nick" Gensman Collection
Language of description
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Carl Albert Center Congressional and Political Collections Repository

630 Parrington Oval
Room 202B
Norman Oklahoma 73109 United States