Time to get out the vote!

Michael Bushnell
Publisher


The November midterm election is next Tuesday and right along with that we’ve got two vintage political postcards from the November election of 1908. First off, “our next Congressman,” William Patterson Borland.


Borland was born in Leavenworth, Kan., in 1867 and migrated to Kansas City after completing law school at the University of Michigan. He was the founder of the Kansas City School of Law and served as dean of the school from 1895 to 1909, when he was sworn into the 61st Congress after the November election. He served four terms as a Democrat, and died near Coblenz, Germany, while on a Masonic mission abroad. He is interred in Elmwood Cemetery.


Henry M. Beardsley, who served as Kansas City’s Mayor from 1906-1908, graces the second postcard this week. Prior to his stint as mayor, Beardsley was a city councilman from 1898 to 1906. He lost the seat during the 1908 election, probably due to his going head to head with Pendergast political machine candidate Thomas Crittenden. As mayor, one of Beardsley’s accomplishments was appointing a board that drafted a new City Charter that was adopted in 1908. Beardsley also chaired the committee that oversaw the design of the Liberty Memorial.


After leaving office, Beardsley founded an organization called Society of the Friendless, an organization dedicated to rehabilitating prisoners. Believing that criminals “should be on the credit side instead of the debit side of society,” he often did pro bono work for those accused of crimes and could not afford an attorney. Beardsley died on April 19, 1938, after suffering a heart attack in his Armour Boulevard home. He is also interred in Elmwood Cemetery.


Beardsley Road that runs along Kansas City’s west bluff is named for him. The address for the polling place listed on the back of the card, 523 Westport Avenue, is now the parking lot for World Market.

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