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Three photographs taken in rural Labette County, Kansas in 1873 at the Bender family house and property shortly after the discovery of the murders of approximately 12 individuals.
Roger O’Connor (1941-2006) ran a bookstore, Mostly Books, in Pittsburg, Kansas, selling books, papers, and photographs. He previously had bookstores in Lawrence, Kansas and Omaha, Nebraska before coming to Pittsburg. He previously had attended Pittsburg State University, where he received a master’s degree. The Bender Family crimes occurred in 1872-1873 where a mysterious family going by the name of Bender (aka “Bloody Benders”) murdered, apparently for their money, approximately a dozen travelers in remote Labette County, after they had stopped at a make-shift inn they operated. The family escaped shortly before their crimes were discovered and were never caught nor brought to justice. In 2022, Roger O’Connor’s daughter, Shannon O’Connor, donated the three photographs to Pittsburg State University that had been in her father’s possession, from his own research on the Benders.
Social Life and Customs
History | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Size of Collection
1 linear foot
Dates of Collection
SpC MS 0405
Special Collections, Leonard H. Axe Library, "Bender Crimes Photographs, 1873" (2023). Finding Aids. 439.