Robert O. Blunk, Jr. papers

Identity elements

Reference code

US US kmk 2019-20.003

Level of description



Robert O. Blunk, Jr. papers


  • 1923-2011 (Creation)


25.00 Linear Feet, 8.00 Boxes plus 1 oversize cabinet drawer.

Post-Fire Oversize Boxes:
Box 7 (16.5 x 20.5): 509: 20/26/2
Box 8 (16.5x20.5); 509S: 20/27/2
Boxes 5, 6 (16.5x20.5); 509S: 19/5/3

Name of creator


Biographical history

Robert O. Blunk, Jr. was born in 1923 to Robert O. Blunk, Sr. (1902-1985), a mechanic, and Opal Blunk (1906-2004). He grew up in Salyards, Kansas during the Great Depression. Blunk, Jr. is the eldest of three children, his two younger sisters, Patricia A. and Nancy J., were born in 1928 and 1937, respectively.
In 1942, Blunk enlisted in the Marine Corps and served during World War II before returning to Kansas, getting married to his wife Katherine, and enrolling in art classes at Kansas State University. He soon enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute, after turning down an acceptance to study industrial design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor’s in Fine Art. Blunk began teaching art in Chanute, Kansas at local schools and colleges and played a role in the establishment of the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum which opened in Chanute in 1961. He earned his master’s degree from (now) Pittsburg State University in Sculpture and, in 1962, joined the college’s art faculty.
Over the next two decades, Blunk held many art exhibits/shows and focused his work on community art, which was his true passion. This activism led him to Puerto Rico in 1969, where he was a consultant with the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and working with crafts artists to develop markets for their work. Similarly, in 1995, he worked with street children and adults in Zambia providing them support for their works. Blunk retired from Pittsburg State in 1988, but continued to reside in Pittsburg, KS, and completed many commissioned works in the early nineties and two-thousands. One notable work designed and completed by Blunk was the Wright brothers' kinetic sculpture (nearly 90’ by 30’), which was dedicated in 2003 on Main Street in Chanute, KS, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the invention of flight. At some point between 2003 and 2008, Blunk moved to Denver, Colorado where he currently works in his studio creating primarily miniatures of sculpture, painted still-lifes, and interiors.
He has three children, Scott, Judd, and Rebecca (1953-2014), with his late wife Katherine (1923-2007).

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection holds the papers of Robert O. Blunk, Jr. from 1923-2011 and includes some material in regards to his late wife, Katherine J. Blackwood Blunk. Box 1 of the collection begins with generic information regarding Blunk including his biographical information, certificates and similar materials, World War II Memorabilia, correspondence excluding World War II, and printed materials. Certificates and awards, printed materials, and correspondence from Katherine Blunk are also available. The remainder of the folders in box 1 pertain to community art and Blunk’s own sketches and published artwork. Notable materials include the Save the Arches campaign and the Chanute/Wright Memorial plans, photos, and correspondence. Box 2 categorically contains letters and envelopes pertaining to or from World War II, maintained in chronological order from 1939-1971 (primary 1942-1945). Box 3 holds many sketchbooks from Blunk’s early career (~1950s) as well as materials from the scrapbook held in box 6 along with other artifacts from Blunk’s career. More sketchbooks and free sketches can be found in box 4, in addition to oversize memorabilia from the Chanute/Wright Memorial.  Box 5 contains two bound scrapbooks from the Viking House and boxes 7 and 8 contain material intended to go to the Beach Museum.

System of arrangement

The collection is arranged by box and folder. Boxes 5-8 contain unfoldered material of their respective titles.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

No access restrictions: All materials are open to researchers.

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

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

It was assigned Accession number 2019-20.003.

Immediate source of acquisition

Acqusition Source: Robert Blunk
Acqusition Method: Donation

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


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Specialized notes

  • Citation: [Item title], [item date], Robert O. Blunk, Jr. 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: Amy Wedel
Processing Info: Letters from Tony Crawford, Curator of Manuscripts, to Robert Blunk.  Biography information from Rebecca Blunk.
Processed by Amy Wedel, student processor at Kansas State University, 2018
Publication Date: 2015-01-01

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Physical storage

  • Cubic Foot Box: Box 1, A83412030538
  • 5" Flip Top, Letter: Box 2, A83412030588
  • Cubic Foot Box: Box 3, A83412025800
  • 5" Flip Top, Letter: Box 4, A83412029804
  • Box: Oversize Box 5, A83412032263
  • Box: Oversize Box 6, A83412032140
  • Box: Oversize Box 7, A83412030350
  • Box: Oversize Box 8, A83412030473