Lawyer, Historian

Clyde W. Toland, received a BA in history from the University of Kansas, a MA in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a JD from the University of Kansas. He is a semi-retired lawyer in Iola, Kansas.

As a grade school student, he became fascinated by his local Allen County, Kansas history and by Frederick Funston’s early adventurous life in Death Valley, Alaska, the British Northwest Territory, and Cuba. For more than thirty-five years, he has been a student of Funston’s life. As president of the Allen County Historical Society, Inc., in Iola, Kansas, he was the driving force in the successful move in 1994 of Frederick Funston’s rural childhood home to the Iola town square and in its subsequent restoration and opening as a museum in 1995.

Mr. Toland founded the Buster Keaton Celebration, a nationally known humanities event held annually in Iola from 1993 through 2017.

At age fifteen he became a Life Member of both the Allen County Historical Society, Inc., and the Kansas State Historical Society. Mr. Toland and United States Senator, Nancy Kassebaum Baker, were the two first recipients of the Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Kansas.

Book Cover, American Hero, Kansas Heritage Frederick Funston’s Early Years, by Clyde W. To

American Hero, Kansas Heritage Frederick Funston’s Early Years 1865-1890

Volume One of the Becoming Frederick Funston Trilogy. . .a tale of “cool courage, iron endurance, and gallant daring”

“An engrossing, engaging, and superbly written account of ‘Fearless Fred’ Funston’s formative years in rural Kansas, which molded the individual who would go on to command forces in the Philippines, earn a Medal of Honor, and ultimately command in 1917 the largest US Army since the Civil War. Clyde Toland’s narrative clearly reflects Toland’s life-long interest in Frederick Funston and Allen County, his impressive capabilities as a researcher, and his incisive analytical skills as a lawyer. The product of his work is a truly delightful read!”

—General David Petraeus, US Army (Ret.), former Commander of the Surge in Iraq, US Central Command, and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, and former Director of the CIA

“Many are familiar with the Funston name due to Frederick Funston’s famed military career, but his early life and adventures were just as noteworthy. Indeed, this part of his life was sometimes more exciting, if that is possible, and it was critical to his later success. Clyde is, hands down, the leading Funston scholar, with decades of research and curation experience with the subject. In this volume, Clyde does not merely rely on the same repeated stories, but on a wide array of extensive research, which he critically examined for accuracy. His meticulous research and polished writing style create an indispensable book. I savored reading this book, including reading the detailed notes. Clyde’s work on Funston is certain to become the seminal study on the subject.”

—Jarrett Robinson, BA History, MS International Relations, student of Frederick Funston’s life for thirty years

*This book is made possible by the Washburn University Center for Kansas Studies and the Thomas Fox Averill 

Kansas Studies Collection, Mabee Library, Washburn University.