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President Obama's Kansas Heritage

Oral Histories: Knowing the Family

Oral histories in this category include relatives of President Obama and others with direct ties to the President's grandparents or other family members.

Knowing the Family

These oral history narrators are relatives of President Obama or knew the President's grandparents or other family members (the Payne or Dunham families).

  • Anna Margaret (McCurry) Wolf (1935- ), President Obama's third cousin, shares her childhood memories of President Obama's grandparents and playing with Stanley Ann, President Obama's mother.
  • Mary Frances (Kennedy) Lawrence (1922-2012), friend of Madelyn (Payne) Dunham, President Obama's maternal grandmother, shares her personal memories of Madelyn and growing up in Augusta, Kansas.
  • Virginia (Dashner) Ewalt (1924- ) was a classmate of Madelyn (Payne) Dunham, Augusta High School class of 1940. She recalls events from their high school years and how the war and gas rationing in the 1940's impacted everyday life in Augusta...taking the train to Wichita, the bus to El Dorado, and a civil service job that paid 35 cents an hour.
  • Nina June (Swan) Parry (1923-2012) and Nelva (Seaburn) Wentz (1923- ) recount growing up in Augusta, life during World War II, and their friendship with President Obama's grandmother, Madelyn (Payne) Dunham.
  • Lois (Olsen) Cox (1924- ) recalls growing up on a farm outside Augusta, KS and events from her years at Augusta High School. She shares her surprise at finding a note written by Madelyn (Payne) Dunham in her autograph book that she sent to the White House, and the personal letter of thanks she received from President Obama.

Featured Clip

Anna Margaret (McCurry) Wolf explains her family relationship to President Obama and shares her memories of President Obama's grandparents, Stanley and Madelyn Dunham, his great-grandparents, Rolla and Leona Payne, and her excitement in meeting President Obama.

Length: 05:02

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Featured Clip

Mary Frances (Kennedy) Lawrence shares personal memories of her friend, Madelyn (Payne) Dunham, President Obama's maternal grandmother.

Length: 5:36

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