Jay M. Price, Professor of History, Director of the Local and Community History Program

Chair, Department of History


Academic Interests and Expertise

Local History, Public History, History of Kansas, History of Wichita, Religious History, Modern U.S. History


Ph.D. Arizona State University in History with emphasis in Public History. May 1997

M.A. College of William and Mary in Government. December 1992

B.A. University of New Mexico in History. May 1991

Areas of Research Interest

Local and Community History

Modern U.S.




“Where the Midwest Meets the Bible Belt: Using Religion to Explore the Midwest’s Southwestern Edge” in Jon K. Lauck, ed, The Interior Borderlands: Regional Identity in the Midwest and Great Plains. Sioux Falls, SD: The Center for Western Studies at Augustana University, 2019 

 Assembling A Buckle of the Bible Belt: From Enclave to Powerhouse.”  Kansas History 41 (Spring 2018): 42-61

Dixie’s Disciples: the Southern Diaspora and Religion in Wichita, Kansas” Kansas History 40 (Winter 2017-2018): 244-61

Wichita Rock & Roll, 1950-1980, editor of project, co-authored with Wichita Rock Music History Project team, Mennonite Press, 2017

“Del Norte Meets Little Saigon: Ethnic Entrepreneurship on Broadway Avenue in Wichita, Kansas.” Co-author with Sue Abdinnour, David Hughes and CEDBR.  Enterprise and Society (April 2017): 1-45

“Sacred Simplicity: Postwar Mennonite ‘Church’ Architecture in Kansas.” Co-author with Keith Sprunger. Kansas History 39 (Autumn 2016): 158-81

A City of the Future: the Story of Bel Aire, Kansas. Mennonite Press, 2016.

History on the Hoof: The Chisholm Trail and the Birth of Wichita. CreateSpace, 2016

“’Peerless Princess of the Southwest’: Boosterism and Regional Identity in Wichita, Kansas,” Kansas History 38 (Summer 2015): 79–106

With Robert Weems, Gretchen Eick, Mark McCormick, Carole Branda, Abril Marshall, and Mark Strohminger, African Americans in Wichita, Arcadia, 2015  

“Ivanpah: A Little School House With a Big Story,” Kansas Preservation 70 #3 (2015): 5-9

“Family, Ethnic Entrepreneurship, and the Lebanese of Kansas.” Co-author with Sue Abdinnour Helm.  Great Plains Quarterly 33 (Summer 2013):160–186

Wichita: 1930-2000.  Co-author with Keith Wondra Arcadia Publishing, 2013

Temples for a Modern God:  A Study of Mid-Century Religious Architecture. Oxford University Press, 2012

“Santa Fe,” chapter in book Tourist Nation: Forty Places that Define American Destinations, J. Mark Souther and Nicholas Dagen Bloom, eds. Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago, a nonprofit organization, in the Center Books on American Places series, 2012

Kansas:  In the Heart of Tornado Alley, co-authored with Craig Torbenson, Sadonia Corns, and Jessica Nellis, Keith Wondra.  Arcadia Publishing, 2011

Wichita’s Lebanese Heritage. co-authored with Victoria Foth Sherry, Matthew Namee, Andrea Schniepp Burgardt,  Raymond Crosse. Arcadia Publishing, 2010

“Still Facing John Wayne After All These Years:  Bringing New Western History to Larger Audiences,” The Public Historian 31 (Nov 2009): 80-4

“Jewish Community in Wichita, 1920-1970: Same Wagon, New Horses.”  Great Plains Quarterly.  28, (Fall 2008): 293-320

 “The Small Town We Never Were:  Old Cowtown Museum Confronts an Urban Past.” Chapter in Amy Levin, ed., Defining Memory: Local Museums and the Construction of History in America’s Changing Communities.” AltaMira Press, 2007.  Chapter expanded and updated in 2017 reprint edition

“Oil Dorado, Legacy of an Oil Boom,” writer for documentary produced in connection with KPTS television. Released March 2007

Cherokee Strip Land Rush.  Editor, also co-author with Dr. Craig Torbenson, Melissa Thompson, Tamara Weihe, Connie Martin, James Crawley, Donita Neely Arcadia Publishing, 2006

El Dorado!:  Legacy of an Oil Boom. Arcadia Publishing, 2005  

“Making the West Look Western: The Rise of the Old West Revival Style”  Andrew Gulliford, ed., Preserving Western History: A College Reader on Historic Preservation and Public History in the American West.  University of New Mexico Press, 2005

With Dr. James Mershon and Teddie Barlow, “Echoing off the Heart of the Heartland: The Mid-States Companies, Echocardiography, and Rural Medicine.” Agricultural History 79 (Spring 2005): 127-146

“When Traditional Could Be Modern: Religious Buildings in Kansas After World War II,” Kansas Preservation 26 (March-April 2004): 5-13

Gateways to the Southwest: The Story of Arizona State Parks. University of Arizona Press, 2004

With students from the WSU Public History Program and American  Institute of Aeronautics and       Astronautics, Wichita Section, Wichita’s Legacy of Flight. Arcadia Publishing, 2003

Wichita: 1865-1930. Arcadia Publishing, 2003 

With James C. NcNaughton and Kristen E. Edwards, “’Incontestable Proof Will Be Exacted’: Historians, Asian Americans, and the Medal of Honor,” The Public Historian 24 (Fall 2002): 11-33

“Cowboy Boosterism:  Old Cowtown Museum and the Image of Wichita, Kansas,” Kansas History 24 (Winter 2001-2002): 300-317  

“Capitol Improvements:  Style and Image in Arizona’s and New Mexico’s Public Architecture,” Journal of Arizona History 41 (Winter 2000): 353-384 


Working Papers

Somos de Wichita (We are Wichita) local history project documenting the Latino community in Wichita.  Team member with Enrique Navarro in Spanish and students  from the Department of History and the Spanish program.

Ethnic Entrepreneurship Project.  Team member with Robert Weems and Sue Abdinnour to create a bilingual Qualtrics survey to better understand issues within the ethnic and minority ntrepreneurship community.  

Pizza Hut Museum project.   With Sue Abdinnour in Business, Lisa Parcell in Communications, Rachelle Meinecke in Museum Studies, and Nathan Bartel  of Flint Hills design, have presented on the creation of a Pizza Hut Museum at academic conferences regarding museums and accessibility.

Professional Experience

 Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review, member 2009-2012, 2020-present

Kansas History, editorial board, 2014-present

Kansas Association of Historians, 2010-2015.  Vice President and program chair, 2012-2013; President and conference host, 2013-2014

A speaker on KMUW past and present series, ongoing 

St. James Episcopal Church 100th anniversary committee, lead effort to list the congregation on the National Register of Historic Places and also liaison with family of Otis Gray, first rector in scanning family documents, 2019

Member of working group for Wichita 150th celebration, 2019

Pizza Hut Museum Steering Committee, 2016-2018

 American Association for State and Local History, working group member for the Master Local Historian Program, Summer 2017

 Co-host and speaker at commemorative event at WSU Student Union for 50th Anniversary of the “Wichita Vortex Sutra,” February 2016

Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, city designated representation for board, 2010-2016

University Press of Kansas Board, alternate, 2011-2013, board member, 2014-2015.  Member search committee for executive director, summer 2016

Mountain-Plains Museums Association/Kansas Museums Association joint conference, 2015, program committee member, emerging professionals sub group, and Volunteer Committee co-chair, 2014-5

 Kansas Humanities Council, board of trustees, 2008-2014

 Consultant for Exploration Place’s Turning Points Exhibit, 2012-2014

 Traub Design Consultants Chisholm Trail Exhibit project, December 2013

Humanities consultant for KHC-funded  project on Obama’s Kansas Heritage humanities consultant. 2012-2013

Planning board for Kansas in Question Sesquicentennial Symposium, 2011

Co-sponsor of a two-day series of talks and activities involving the screening of the film Traces of the Trade, as part of the Tallgrass Third Thursday series.  Included the bringing to Wichita two of the film’s documentarians, Juanita Browne and Kristina Brown. 2009

 Founding member of Lone Chimney Films, Inc. and advisor for recent documentary about the           1863 raid on Lawrence entitled. “Bloody Dawn,” 2006-2007

With representatives of AIAA (American Institute of Areonautics and Astronautics), drafted proposal for Travel Air-related sites in Wichita to be nominated to the AIAA Site Recognition Program.  2004-2006

Consultant for Traub Design Associates’ work on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home in Mansfield, December 2005 

Member, Board of Trustees, Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita KS,  March 2000-2002, 2005-January 2008. 

Deputy Command Historian, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Presidio of Monterey, CA. October 1998 to July 1999. 

Historian, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Presidio of Monterey, CA. October 1997 to September 1998.  

Awards and Honors

2019 Arrington-Prucha Prize from the Western History Association! The Arrington-Prucha Prize for the best article on American western religious history for “Assembling a Buckle of the Bible Belt: From Enclave to Powerhouse..”   

Subject of KPTS One on One interview, Summer 2018

John R. Barrier Teaching Award, Spring 2016 

2014 Frederick C. Luebke Award for outstanding regional scholarship for " Family, Ethnic Entrepreneurship, and the Lebanese of Kansas."  The prize is given each year for the best article published in the Great Plains Quarterly  

Recipient of KAB 2013 Award in A-14: Editorial/Commentary category for  Past and Present series “Kellogg:  The Lost Thoroughfare” 2013

Additional Information

I am one of those “Kansans by choice” who moved here from somewhere else, although I do have some ancestors buried near Hillsboro.  I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where my dad was a veterinarian and mom helped run front desk at the clinic. I did my bachelor’s in History at the University of New Mexico (Go Lobos!), my master’s in Government from the College of William and Mary (Go Tribe!), and my Ph.D. in History from Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils!). This may explain why I have a lot of southwestern references in my lectures.  When I travel between Wichita and visiting my parents in the Southwest, I say that I go home both ways.

I have been at WSU since 1999 and direct the Local and Community History Program.  Check out the Society of Public Historians to learn more.  My research emphasizes the intersection of regional identity, place, ethnicity, and religion, especially as it shows up in the form of buildings.  I love to geek out on church architecture!

Kansas is a great window into U.S. history with lots of opportunities to explore those stories often hidden in plain sight.  The late Dr. Craig Miner took me under his wing and encouraged me to explore this state.  I’m glad he did.

On the personal side, I am married to a professional gardener and we are devoted servants of two cats.  My passions include model building, ocean liners, and trains ("Santa Fe all the way,"  but all railroads are cool). Yes, model train layouts and cats together can be a challenging combination!