Saturday, April 23, 2016

My Country, 'Tis of Tea — Kansas

Perhaps one of the most oft-quoted lines in all of moviedom is Dorothy's "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" in "The Wizard of Oz." Well, this week we most definitely are in Kansas, and it's certainly an interesting place to be!

Photo of the cast of "The Wizard of Oz" courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

• As I considered the fact that the beloved "The Wizard of Oz" is set in Kansas, I wondered if "Wizard of Oz" tea parties are ever held. Indeed yes! In fact, when I saw the blue gingham curtain that served as a backdrop for this tea party, it made me want to plan a "Wizard of Oz" tea myself! (Do not miss "the yellow brick road of treats," and those witchy cupcakes? Oh. My. Goodness!) Pinterest also has some fun "Wizard of Oz" party ideas, so there's apparently no shortage of Oz-themed parties going on.

• I don't usually sit around perusing old Kansas academic journals, but in looking for tea info from Kansas, I came across an 1883 publication titled "Transactions of the Sixteenth Annual Meeting of the Kansas Academy of Science." H. R. Bull contributed the article "Notes on Tea Analysis" and explains how he conducted a bit of research on "the adulterations found in our ordinary articles of food." He collected tea samples from local grocers, and his testing method consisted of incinerating a quantity of tea in a platinum crucible and then adding water to the ash in a beaker. Bull tested the tea and found that "grains of sand could be seen in every case." Bull said that "probably some sand is necessarily accumulated in gathering and in transportation." While it was supposed that the cheaper teas would contain impurities, Bull said he didn't find that to be the case, and he concluded that "though teas are often adulterated, the adulterations are of a harmless nature, and generally governed in amount by the price." (Aren't you glad we're not drinking the tea of 1883!)

• I’m always interested in the happenings of any department store tearoom in a state, and I knew that the tearoom at Innes Department Store in Wichita was known for its Rum Cream Pie (click here for the recipe). This week, I also learned about some interesting political goings-on at the tearoom in 1918. Daisy Neil wrote in the Society column of the Topeka Daily State Journal on June 13, 1918: 

At the State Equal Suffrage association meeting, which is being held in Wichita this week, Mrs. C. H. Brooks, as state president, was official hostess and presided Wednesday.
At noon a luncheon was given at the Innes tea room by the Wichita women complimentary to the visitors. The afternoon session was given to short talks by state presidents, among whom were Mrs. H. O. Garvey, president of the State Federation of Clubs, and Mrs. Lillian Mitchner, president of the W. C. T. U. (note: “Woman’s Christian Temperance Union”).
At four o’clock tea was given at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Henry J. Allen, and many of the visitors attended the Red Cross benefit opera, “Mikado,” in the evening. 
The Wichita Beacon says concerning well known Topeka women who were guests:
Mrs. Arthur Capper, wife of the Kansas governor, and Mrs. W. A. Johnston, president emeritus of the association, were called to the platform by Mrs. Brooks. The latter was introduced by the state president.
How Kansas women meet today with a feeling of dignity and pride they did not possess before they were given suffrage, was spoken of by Mrs. Johnston, the woman of Kansas who has done so much to give the women of the Sunflower state the right to their political freedom. She told of the fight of Susan B. Anthony for women’s right (sic) years ago, pointing out how women have stood prosecution to gain full enfranchisement.”

And the article goes on, and once again I am convinced that tearooms have played an important role in women’s history in our country!


  1. There's a great deal of interesting stuff here! From the Wizard of Os tea party (so cute) to the rum cream pie that sounds delicious, to the report of the meeting in the tearoom - way to go, Kansas!

  2. Mr. & Mrs. Allen (who were mentioned in the article) commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design & build them a prairie-style home which you can still tour in Wichita. ;-)

  3. Mr. & Mrs. Allen (who were mentioned in the article) commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design & build them a prairie-style home which you can still tour in Wichita. ;-)

  4. How interesting! Thanks for another interesting state.

  5. I agree with Joy, lots of good information here, Angela! I love the ideas for a Wizard of Oz tea, so neat. Loving this series, Joanie

  6. Wondering if there any tearooms now in Kansas. Truly tea has had it's place in women's gathering for politics for a long time. I must go check out those Wizard of Oz tea events. That certainly would be fun!

  7. hmmmm... a Wizard of Oz themed tea.... now there's an idea!


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