In a previous post we wrote about the Topeka aviator Philip Billard, who lost his life in an airplane crash in France in 1918. Billard had been a member of the Topeka Rotary Club, which commissioned a small statue in Billard’s honor in 1921.  The artist was Robert Merrell Gage of Topeka, an artist of some renown. The result was “Flight,” which shows the outstretched arms of an aviator.  It is in the collections of the Kansas State Historical Society, but not currently on exhibit.  Click here to learn more about this work of art.


Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.