Spring 1998

Memories of Mr. K

James C. Kirkpatrick's office in the library was dedicated February 24, 1985, shortly after he left office as Missouri's Secretary of State. Arrangements were made during Mr. Kirkpatrick's last term, beginning with an invitation extended from then Central President, James Horner. A suitable site was located in Ward Edwards Library and converted into office space. Everything except the carpeting was moved from the Jefferson City office and into the library. Even the doorknob has special significance; not only was it moved from his original office, but it was installed low on the door so that any leprechauns in the building would be able to reach it and enter!

Mr. Kirkpatrick became a familiar sight in the building over the next twelve years, with his trademark green apparel and friendly greeting. He shared his life and career experiences with University 1000 students since he arrived on campus. The office and its contents, including numerous file cabinets of papers from his years in political office serve as an archive of his career.

Library Services is going to miss its beloved tenant, James C. Kirkpatrick, who was a pleasant, easy going, and likable Dean of Missouri Politicians. He had the choice of placing his office anywhere he wished on the campus, but he chose to move into the library. This was an indication of his love and respect for books and libraries.

Personally I am going to miss his friendship and advice and the handwritten notes in green ink. Each note was designed to convey certain meanings.



We all certainly would have liked the presence of his smiling face at the building dedication ceremony, but we have to take comfort in the fact that Central is perpetuating the memory of this great American by naming its new library the James C. Kirkpatrick Library.

- Dean Pal Rao

He enjoyed his Irish-ness a lot as we know; one of his Irish blessings I particularly liked was "May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty."

- Mollie Lawson

Mr. Kirkpatrick touring the new building site, October, 1997.

One year during graduation ceremonies, Governor Ashcroft (R) noticed Mr. K. (D) across the street and left his group to come over and shake hands and exchange greetings. Even people of the "opposite party" knew and respected Mr. K., and took time to say hello, even in the midst of a university graduation.

- Lonnie Lawson

Library Services employees have enjoyed James Kirkpatrick's company since he moved his office to the library in February 1985. Some employees, however, had previous work experiences with him. Library faculty members Steve Walker and Lonnie Lawson worked at different times for Mr. Kirkpatrick in Jefferson City as Assistants to the State Archivist. After Mr. K moved his office to Central, Lonnie used to kid that he was following him around.

James C. Kirkpatrick placing a new Missouri #3 GREEN license plate on his car in 1966.


Media Specialist Lisa Schmidt also worked for him as a Federal Report Specialist during a college summer break. Secretary of State employees always knew that the green car entering the parking garage meant the "boss" was in!

Jimmy K lived a few doors down from my mother and I would often see him out cutting his grass in his notorious green floppy fishing hat. He always had a smile and a wave for every passer-by.

- Ellen Wickham

Mr. Kirkpatrick was always smiling and had an optimistic, caring outlook. He would always ask how you were and offer a word of encouragement, even when he was not feeling well himself.

- Naomi Williamson

Photographing Mr. Kirkpatrick was always a very pleasant assignment. His generous, friendly nature and ready smile never failed to brighten my day!

- Lisa Schmidt

After Mollie and I were married, he met us in the hall outside his office, which is the only one between our offices. He talked with us for awhile and congratulated us on our marriage. Noticing that his office separated ours, he said "I hope I am the ONLY thing that ever comes between you!" He always referred to us as his "library neighbors". . . he is missed!

- Mollie and Lonnie Lawson

Jimmy K. gained political influence because he treated people decently; indeed, his friendliness was the hallmark of his skill as a politician . He always had time for me when I visited his office. At social functions where there was a cash bar, he was always willing to buy everybody a drink.

In one of our conversations toward the end of his life he confided that the doctor could no longer do anything for him, and that he hoped to live long enough to see the new library completed. While Jim and I have had some rich conversations over the years and a few belly laughs, I was flattered that he considered me enough of a friend for such a confidence. But a friend he was and I will miss him.

- George Millen

Larry Dorrell, Chair of the Library Science and Information Services Department, has written an article, "Wearin' of the Green: James C. Kirkpatrick, Missouri Secretary of State." It is scheduled to appear in the Fall 1998 issue of Missouri magazine.

Can you guess which 1925 basketball player is Jimmy K?
(Click on the player you think is Jimmy...)