Presented here is a bronze, uniface, three-inch medal that marks the 100th anniversary of Statehood for Kansas.
The Statehood milestone was extensively celebrated across the state in 1961, and was the subject of a large number of numismatic commemorative pieces - medals and tokens - many of which featured the Centennial Seal developed by the State.
Kansas joined the Union on January 29, 1861 - just months before the start of the US Civil War. It was the 34th State to join the Union. The land area of what would become the State of Kansas was previously included in the Kansas Territory, which was created in 1854 with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act by the US Congress (and signed by President Franklin Pierce); the far larger Nebraska Territory was created at the same time.
To help celebrate the Kansas Centennial, a Centennial Seal.Logo was created. Upon application, private groups/companies were given permission to use the special logo on Centennial-related items. As noted above, the Centennial Seal was a common design element on numismatic issues. 1961 Kansas Statehood Centennial - Official Seal/Logo(Image Credit: Image Courtesy of Kansas State Record Archives/Kansas Historical Society. Fair Use.
The design elements were meant to present the growth and development of Kansas - the Sunflower State - from 1861 to 1961. The State's roots are represented by a depiction of a buffalo in the foreground, a cow and "Conestoga" wagon in the midground and a log cabin/farm house with a windmill beside it in the background. Modern-day Kansas is represented by the bus, trailer truck, train and industrial buildings in the midground with jets flying in the sky above. Also seen are stalks of wheat, an important crop to Kansas' modern economy and multiple symbols of Kansas: wild sunflowers - the floral emblem of Kansas (i.e., its "State Flower"), a Western Meadowlark (i.e., the State Bird of Kansas) and the (non-Centennial) Seal of Kansas (adopted in 1861).
Per a resolution passed by the Kansas State Legislature regarding the original Seal's design: The east is represented by a rising sun, in the right-hand corner of the seal; to the left of it, commerce is represented by a river and a steamboat; in the foreground, agriculture is represented as the basis of the future prosperity of the state, by a settler's cabin and a man plowing with a pair of horses; beyond this is a train of ox-wagons, going west; in the background is seen a herd of buffalo, retreating, pursued by two Indians, on horseback; around the top is the motto, 'Ad astra per aspera,' and beneath a cluster of thirty-four stars. The circle is surrounded by the words, "Great seal of the state of Kansas. January 29, 1861.
Note: The Kansas State Motto motto "Ad Astra per Aspera" translates from Latin to English as "To the Stars through Difficulties".
As I mentioned above, the Kansas Statehood Centennial was marked by a large number of tokens and medals - some featuring the official State Centennial Seal/Logo; the logo was also used on commemorative pinback buttons.
For sale to the general public were brass "Good For" tokens, plus bronze and silver medals of various designs and sizes. Kansas counties got involved with a commemorative medal program that featured a shared, Centennial Seal-based design but with space for the addition of the name of the specific county in question. Collecting an attractive example of each Kansas Centennial piece issued could keep a collector busy for quite some time!1961 Kansas Statehood Centennial - Uniface Medal
I surmise that the medal shown here was intended as a presentation piece during the Centennial observances, and that the reverse was left blank so that it could be inscribed with the recipient's name and other appropriate personal information (e.g., role played in the Centennial Celebration, title and service dates).
For other of my posts about commemorative coins and medals, see: Commems Collection.