Wayne Cryts Donates Personal Papers to Special Collections and Archives at Southeast


LOC-KentCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 23, 2014 — Special Collections and Archives in Kent Library at Southeast Missouri State University has acquired the personal papers of Wayne and Sandy Cryts of Puxico, Missouri.

The Cryts are well known for their principled stand at the Ristine Grain Elevator in New Madrid, Missouri. On Feb. 16, 1981, the couple led a large procession of farmers to Ristine and reclaimed their soybeans in defiance of a federal bankruptcy court ruling ordering their soybeans be sold to pay off the debts of the defunct grain elevator’s owners. The Cryts’ actions drew national attention and led to the United States Congress modifying federal bankruptcy laws regarding grain elevators.

The Wayne and Sandy Cryts Family Papers includes, but is not limited to, correspondence, newspapers, photographs, and legislative materials pertaining to the Ristine Grain Elevator, as well as the Cryts involvement in the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), Wayne Cryts’ 1986 and 1988 Missouri Eighth Congressional District campaigns, and his memoir, “One Man with Courage: The Wayne Cryts Story.” Among items of interest are grain ware receipts issued to the Cryts family by the Ristine Grain elevator, photographs documenting Wayne’s congressional campaigns, as well as letters and telegrams sent to Wayne from influential national political figures, including Senators Charles Grassley and Bob Dole, and Congressman Bill Emerson.

Dr. Lisa Speer, former librarian for Special Collections and Archives at Kent Library, began formal proceedings to acquire the Cryts’ papers in the spring of 2013 after Sara Holloway, the Cryts’ granddaughter and a former student at Southeast Missouri State University, brought them to her attention. Speer immediately recognized their scholarly value and contacted the Cryts to inquire about the possibility of donating their papers to Special Collections and Archives.

“Basically, donating these materials to Special Collections and Archives will give access to researchers beyond what we could provide ourselves. There are thousands of Wayne and Sandy Cryts out there who participated in AAM, and we hope making these papers publicly available will inspire others to solve problems,” Wayne Cryts said.

On July 30, the Cryts met with Roxanne Dunn, Speer’s successor, and officially donated their papers to Special Collections and Archives. Kent Library will be holding a ceremony on Oct. 1 at noon to celebrate the opening of the Wayne and Sandy Cryts Family Papers to the public. Refreshments will be served, and this program is open to the public.

For additional information, contact Roxanne Dunn at Special Collections and Archives by phone (573-986-7446) or email (rdunn@semo.edu).