Gilson Players Pin and Kansas Master Teachers Watch

Summary Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives
Volk, Robert G., Jr., 1928-1989.
Gilson Players Pin and Kansas Master Teachers Watch
Circa 1923-1948, 1954
0.75 Linear feet
The collection consists of a Gilson Players Kansas State Teachers College pin and a 1954 Kansas Master Teacher watch.

Preferred Citation note

Gilson Players Pin and Kansas Master Teacher Watch, Emporia State University Archives, Emporia State University.

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Biographical/Historical note

Robert G. Volk Jr.

Robert G. Volk Jr. was born on September 14, 1928, in Atchison, Kansas, to Robert G. Volk Sr. and Mabel Blodgett Volk. He graduated from Atchison High School in 1946. He received a business administration degree from Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia, Kansas, then attended the School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin. After the University of Wisconsin, Robert joined the United States Air Force where he worked as an auditor for four years. On December 26, 1951, Robert married Helen Kleile in Atchison, Kansas. In July of 1955, he began work as a teller at City National Bank in Atchison, Kansas. He was promoted to assistant cashier in 1960 then became bank vice-president in 1963. In 1969, Robert was elected president of the City National Bank in Atchison, Kansas. He remained president until he left the bank in July of 1986. In August of 1986, Robert became vice president in charge of business development for Exchange National Bank in Atchison, Kansas. He was promoted in May of 1988 to vice president and trust officer assistant. Robert also served as a member of the Trust Investment Commission with the bank. Robert was a member of the Trinity Episcopal Church, the Trinity Lutheran School Endowment Association, Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce, the Mount Vernon Cemetery Association, and a lifetime member of the American Legion. He was president of the Atchison Young Men's Christian Association, the Atchison Area Development Corporation, and the Bellevue Country Club. Robert was treasurer of the Atchison Red Cross. He also served on boards for the March of Dimes, the United Way and Mount St. Scholastica College, and Benedictine College. He received the Cross of the Order of the St. Benedictine College at the Governor’s Ball in Kansas City, Kansas, on February 25, 1989. Robert G. Volk Jr. died on Sunday, February 26, 1989, in the Atchison Hospital. Kansas Master Teacher Award

The Kansas Master Teacher Award was established in 1953 by Emporia State University. The award is presented annually. A candidate for this award must have worked a minimum of five years in the state of Kansas as a teacher or administrator and must demonstrate the attitudes and abilities specified in the National Education Association’s Code of Ethics of the Educational Professional. An application documenting a candidate’s educational philosophy, job performance, outstanding community service, continuous professional growth, exceptional school service, and participation in professional organizations must be submitted. Each year seven awards are given based on the applications received by the selection committee. The selection committee is made up of two Master Teachers from the previous year and presidents or representatives from major educational organizations such as the Kansas-National Education Association, Kappa Delta Pi-International Honor Society in Education, Kansas State Board of Education, Kansas Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, Kansas Association of School Boards, Kansas Congress of Parents and Teachers, Kansas Division of the American Association of University Women, and the United School Administrators. Candidates who are selected are recognized during a special Kansas Master Teacher Recognition Day at Emporia State University, where the teachers participate in a seminar and a social and award dinner. In 1980, Bank of America pledged $100,000 to permanently endow the Kansas Master Teacher Program.

Elgin National Watch Company

The National Watch Company was established by Benjamin W. Raymond and John C. Adams in 1864. The National Watch Company factory was completed in 1866 in Elgin, Illinois. It sat on 35 acres of land near the Fox River and was the first to use mass production and standardized products in the watch industry. The first watch model made was the B. W. Raymond. The first B. W. Raymond watch was sold on April 1, 1867, for $115.00. The first woman’s watch model was the Lady Elgin watch first manufactured in 1868. During the 1870s the company employed 300 men and 200 women and produced over 30,000 watches a year. In 1874 the company’s name was officially changed to the Elgin National Watch Company. The first wrist watch was introduced in 1910. By the late 1880s, the company employed more than 2,500 men and women while producing over 500,000 watches a year. In 1909, the Elgin National Watch Company built the Elgin Observatory and was the only watch manufacturer to have an observatory solely dedicated to measuring time. The company also opened Elgin Watchmaker’s College in 1920. During the 1920s the Elgin National Watch Company produced over 2 million watches a year. The Elgin Watchmaker’s College closed in 1960. The Elgin National Watch Company’s factory was closed in 1965 and demolished in 1966. After the company closed its assets were combined to create Elgin National Industries which became an engineering and construction company. The rights to the Elgin National Watch Company’s name were sold to foreign watch importers and are currently owned by B. Z. Berger Company.

Gilson Players

The Gilson Players were a dramatics group created by Professor Franklin L. Gilson in 1915. The group’s first play, “Her Husband’s Wife” by A. L. Thomas, was performed in Marion, Kansas, in 1916. The group toured mainly on trains throughout Kansas and the United States of America performing a variety of different plays from light comedies to Shakespearian plays. Most productions in Emporia, Kansas, were held in Albert Taylor Hall. The Gilson Players performed several summer productions of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream in Peter Pan Park in Emporia, Kansas. Roosevelt High School students formed a group of Junior Gilson Players, which would sometimes appear in Gilson Players summer productions. In 1948, the Gilson Players became the E-State Players and continued to be an active student organization until 1991.

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Scope and Contents note

The collection consists of a Gilson Players pin and a 1954 Kansas Master Teacher watch. The Gilson Players pin is in a small white box. The pin is a hollow circular shape that is gold with the writing “Gilson Players” centered at the top of the circle in all capital letters. There is a bar through the center of the hollow circle with writing that reads “KSTC.”

The 1954 Kansas Master Teacher watch is gold with a brown double cord band and a gold clasp. The back of the watch is inscribed “KSTC- Emporia, Kansas Master Teacher, 1954” in all capital letters. The watch is in an ornate burgundy plastic presentation box. The box’s inside is lined on top with gold fabric and on the bottom with burgundy velvet. The gold fabric inside has the words “Lady Elgin” in the center of the fabric. The top of the outside of the box has an inlaid coat of arms that is gold, white and red.

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Arrangement note


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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives

1200 Commercial St
Campus Box 4051
Emporia, KS, 66801
(620) 341-6431

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

The Gilson Players are pictured in the Sunflower yearbooks. There are several articles about the Gilson Players and the E-State Players in the  Bulletin newspaper. Junior Gilson Players scrapbooks can be found in record group ESU003.004.003. Other examples of school pins include the KSTC Pin (NA1997.0003), Fred Thompson’s Fraternity and School Pins (NA1967.0002) and the Prize in Debate Pin (NA1967.001). Pictures of Kansas Master Teachers can be found in the Everett Rich Collection (NAxxxx.0015), articles about Kansas Master Teacher Awards can be found in the  Bulletin newspaper and programs for the Kansas Master Teacher Award can be found in record group ESU003.007.

Separated Materials note


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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Elgin National Watch Co.
  • Gilson Players (Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia. Dept. of Speech) -- Insignia.
  • Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia -- Alumni and alumnae.
  • Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia -- Awards.
  • Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia -- Societies, etc..
  • Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia -- Students.


  • Clocks and watches.
  • College students -- Kansas -- Emporia.
  • Kansas Master Teacher Award.
  • Wrist watches.

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Collection Inventory


Gilson Players pin, circa 1923-1948. 


Kansas Master Teacher watch, 1954.