Bruce Kahler, Professor of History and Margaret H. Mountcastle Distinguished Professor in Humanities, has announced that he will retire in May after serving for 26 years on the faculty of Bethany College.
Before arriving at Bethany in 1988 Kahler earned his B.A. degree in history at Kutztown State College, Penn., and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History-American Studies at Purdue University.
Kahler has taught all periods of U. S. history, as well as the two-semester survey in world art history. Among the many other specialized courses he has developed have been African American history, Kansas history, Latin American history, the American Civil War, the Rise of the Religious Right, and Historiography.
He is the author of numerous articles, encyclopedia entries, close to fifty book reviews in a dozen professional journals, and twenty op-ed columns for the Salina Journal. He has presented papers at conferences throughout the Midwest, and has been invited to speak at Rockhurst University, Newman University, and the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art in Manhattan, Kan. In 2005 he was invited to participate in a five-week National Endowment for the Humanities seminar at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Cali.
His main research interest has been the Civil War veteran community in Kansas which came to be known in the 1880s and 1890s as the great “Soldier State.” His essays on the Union Army nurse “Mother” Bickerdyke and on Governor John A. Martin, who served in the Eighth Kansas Infantry, have been published and a piece on Boston Corbett, the soldier who shot and killed John Wilkes Booth, is forthcoming.
For seven years Kahler served as the faculty’s representative to the Bethany College Board of Directors. During a seven-month transition in the presidency of the college he was appointed assistant academic dean. From 2008 to 2010 he was co-coordinator, with Art Department Chair Caroline Kahler, of the self-study team that prepared Bethany for the Higher Learning Commission accreditation visit.
He has served as president of the Kansas History Teachers Association (now Kansas Association of Historians) and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Kansas Humanities Council for six years.
Over the years Kahler has made presentations to most of the service organizations in Lindsborg on topics ranging from the American Revolution to the history of Thanksgiving and, of course, the Swedish-American heritage. He has written a few short articles on Birger Sandzen and a chapter-length biography of Lester Raymer.
Kahler will be moving to Cape Girardeau, Mo., where Caroline, his wife of 40 years, is chair of the art department at Southeast Missouri State University. He intends to teach part time, continue his research and writing, and take over most of the housekeeping. He and his wife plan to spend as much time as they can with family in Iowa.