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Guide to the Thomas L. "Tommy" Burns Collection

Thomas L. "Tommy" Burns collection, 2003-2004


Creator:Kehde, Ned
Title:Thomas L. "Tommy" Burns collection
Quantity:.5 linear ft (1 box)
Abstract:This collection consists primarily of photocopies produced by Ned Kehde in 2003 from his collection of notes and publications regarding Lawrence, Kansas resident Thomas L. "Tommy" Burns, a long-time Kansas River fisherman, hunter, and trapper with a vast personal knowledge of the river and its denizens, most notably its catfish. Included is a photocopy of Burns' book, 60 Years on the Kaw River, with an introduction by Ned Kehde, as well as Kehde's article titled "Tom Burns: King of the Kaw."
Language(s): English

Call Number:

RH MS 1097

Repository:University of Kansas
Kenneth Spencer Research Library
Kansas Collection
1450 Poplar Lane, Lawrence, KS 66045-7616
Phone: (785)864-4334
Fax: (785)864-5803
URL: http://spencer.lib.ku.edu
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2008
Finding aid encoded by mh, 2008

BIOGRAPHY of Thomas L. "Tommy" Burns

Thomas L. "Tommy" Burns was born September 1, 1919 at Lawrence, Kansas to Thomas L. Burns, Sr. and Angelena (Barnes) Burns. After attending Lawrence public schools, he joined the staff of the Lawrence Paper Company, where he was employed for twenty-seven years. Burns also farmed and worked at Lawrence's Bowersock Power Company. He married Ozella E. Pearson on September 28, 1939. For most of his life, Burns was an avid fisherman, trapper, and hunter on and along the Kansas River, and was dubbed "King of the Kaw" for his legendary knowledge of the river and its denizens. In 1994, anecdotes from his long experience were published in his book titled 60 Years on the Kaw River. Burns died on June 23, 2003.


Restrictions on Access

No access restrictions

Restrictions on Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Related Material

Kehde, Ned, Personal papers of Edward G. Kehde, PP 410, University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries.



Burns, Tom, 1919-2003.


Catfishing--Kansas--Kansas River.
Fishing--Kansas--Kansas River.




Kansas River (Kan.)--Anecdotes.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Kehde, Ned, Thomas L. "Tommy" Burns Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS 1097, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift, Ned Kehde, 2003; 2004 addition


Box 1
1From folder labeled Burns' new edition of 60 years on the Kaw River:
Program of funeral service for Thomas L. "Tommy" Burns, June 26, 2003.
Tom Burns typescripts: "Muddies, Flatheads and Yellow Cats;" "A loner for 30 years;" "Blue cats;" Where, how and when flathead and channel catfish move;" Channel catfish;" "Homebrew;" "Winchell's old boat;" and "Fishing signs."
2Photocopied book: 60 years on the Kaw River, by Tom Burns. [Kansas]: T. Burns, 1994. (97 pages).
3Tom Burns typescripts: "1951 Flood;" Winchell's Old Boat; "Homebrew;" [Ned Kehde's draft introduction, 7-6-03, to Burns' 60 years on the Kaw River; Thomas L. Burns obituary (Lawrence Journal-World [Lawrence, Kansas], undated.
4Article: "Tom Burns: King of the Kaw," by Ned Kehde (In-Fisherman [v.22, no. 1, February 1997], p. 106-109]
5Invitation to Tom and Ozella Burns' 60th wedding anniversary celebration, Lawrence, Kansas, September 26, 1999.
6Published article: "Charles Saunders Decoys on the Kansas River," by Keith Lawton, with published announcement: Texas Decoy Collectors Association First Annual Texas Wildfowl Art and Antique Festival, April 20 & 21st, 1985, Dallas, Texas.
7Map of the Kaw River, Eudora Township and Lawrence [Douglas County, Kansas] annotated by Tom Burns.
8Handwritten notes by Tom Burns:
"Charcoal pit;" "Trapping;" "Fishing signs;" "Doug and Roy Smith Boat;" "Making Home Brew;" List of fish weights from "Fish that I have caught (part);" "Trapping;" "Fishing Signs;" "Doug and Roy Smith boat;" "Fishing Signs;" "Making Home Brew;" "Weather;" "Picking Walnuts, Woodland Park;" "1951 Flood;" "Charles (Pug) Saunders (Commanche);" "Loner for 30 Years;" "Snagline Bait;" "Carp;" "Channel Cats;" "Chanel Cat;" "Flat Head--Muddys;" "Blue Cats;" "Carp Bait Commercial Fishing."
9Typescript: Kehde draft of John McGrew's recollections of Tom Burns and of Kaw River boats for fishing and hunting.
10Untitled handwritten notes by Tom Burns regarding boat of Doug and Roy Smith and draft typescript of the notes.
11Annotated hand-drawn map of the Kaw River, by Tom Burns.
12Handwritten notes by Tom Burns:
"Channel Catfish;" "Muddies--Flat Head--Yellow Cat;" "Seting Nets in Cold Weather;" "Channel Cats Bait;" Untitled notes: "The channel cats can be found...;" "When the Catfish move, where, how;" "Blue Cat or Mississippi Blue;" Untitled notes: "Flat Head on the Kaw winter in holes...;" Hand-drawn Kaw River maps (2) showing Channel Cat conditions;" "Doug and Roy Smith boat;" "Fishing Signs;" "Muddies--Flat Head--Yellow Cat;" "Seting Nets in Cold Weather;" "Channel Catfish;" "Channel Cats Bait;" "White Buffalo Hump Back;" "When the Catfish move, where how;" "Blue Cat or Mississippi Blue;" "Moon Signs;" "Making Hoop Nets;" "One Sunday Afternoon;" "About the Time...[illegible];" "Black Bear;" "Honey Bees;" "Richard Higgins;" "Jan. 1975;" "Terry...[illegible];" "Channel Catfish;" a 2-page continuation, untitled; "Two take...hunting for Phil Saunders Boat...whirlpool;" "Had Poor Fishing;" "Crossing Open Water."
13Handwritten notes by Tom Burns:
"Digging Skunk Den;" "Lightning Strike Tree;" "Ralph Nixon (Happy) Wanted Some Fish to Can;" "Setting a net;" "Spearing at Mud Creek;" "Duck Hunting with...[illegible];" "Winter Fishing on Thin Ice;" "Car on Eudora Bridge;" "Saving Cattle for Carl Perkins;" "Duck Hunting;" "Swimming--Fishing;" "My First Spear Trip;" "Tornado;" "Living with a Tornado;" "Blue Cats & Buffalo;" "Elvin Altenbernd...[illegible];" "Ben & I going sliming;" "My Last Road Hunt;" "Anchor Ice While Duck Hunting."
14Handwritten notes by Tom Burns and draft typescripts:
Typescript with photographs: "Winchell's Boat";" Handwritten notes and typescript: "1951 Flood;" Typescript: "Carp, Smallmouth Buffalo, A Carp and Buffalo Expedition with Gulley and the Law, Another Outing with the Speed Demon Gulley: A Race Against Time;" Fishing notes (2 pages) by month; Miscellaneous notes (3 pages).
15Undated newspaper article: "Reminiscin' about the days of fishin'," by Jim Ramberg (The Capital-Journal), Topeka, Kansas.
16Handwritten notes by Tom Burns:
"Making Hoop Nets"; "Picking Walnuts, Woodland Park;" "Loner for 30 Years;" "Snagline Bait;" "1929--First Duck Hunting;" "The Old Gray Mare;" "Duck Decoy Collar;" "Old Sayings;" Untitled page: miscellaneous notes; Untitled notes: "Channel cats are in the same holes...;" Fishing questions and answers (2 pages); Annotated hand-drawn map of Kaw River at Bowersock Dam, Lawrence, Kansas; Fishing notes by month (2 pages); Untitled notes: "When a nice school of muddies move up stream...."
17Anecdote by Tom Burns [in another's handwriting]: "My Yellow Handled Pocket Knife."
18Draft typescripts:
Untitled list of fish weights (fish caught by Burns); "Muddies, Flatheads and Yellow Cats"; "Fishing Signs;" "Carp;" "Winchell's Old Boat;" "Blue Cats;" "Where, How and When Flathead and Channel Catfish Move;" "Channel Catfish."
19Title page: Views of the Great Kansas River Flood, Lawrence, May and June Nineteen Hundred and Three, Daily Gazette (Lawrence, Kan.: E. M. Knight).
20Undated newspaper article: "Adventures in moving" [Lawrence flood of 1951], by Margaret K. Fisher (Lawrence Journal-World [Lawrence, Kansas])
21Poem: "King of the Kaw" [a tribute to Tom Burns], by Gale Rogers.
Includes transmittal message from Lester (Gale) Rogers to Ned Kehde, January 4, 2000.
22Computer disk: Ned Kehde's copy of "Burns' Book" [60 Years on the Kaw River, by Tom Burns], copied 22 September 2003.