Who in the World is
Ada K. Carpenter?
By Mr. Guinn
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (LVA) -- "Hey, Mr. Guinn, is that your mother? ...your wife? ...your sister? ...your daughter? Is that you?
There are just some of the many questions about the photograph above the library's entrance. But to this point, the answers have been a resounding "No! Ada K. Carpenter is not my mother, my wife, my sister, my daughter, nor me from a past spirit week dress-up." So the questions linger, "Who in the world is Ada K. Carpenter? and Why was the library named after her?"
Ada Pearl Keartz was born August 10, 1901, in Hartville Stark, Ohio, and by the time she was 18, she was already teaching school. She did eventually go to college earning an MA at the University of Kansas, so by the time she started teaching in Las Vegas, she had already taught in Ohio, Illinois, Virginia and Texas, including stints as the head of two small college history departments and serving as a high school principal.
On November 28, 1928, Ada married Rev. F.C. Carpenter in Washington DC, and thus became Ada K. Carpenter. By the time they moved to Las Vegas, they had two daughters, Ann and Adaline, and a son, Aaron.
Ada K. Carpenter's relation to LVA actually is through her time as a teacher with the original Las Vegas High School from 1942 - 1962. According to the LVHS yearbooks from that 20-year span, She taught English each year with a few history classes tossed in from time to time. She also sponsored a few organizations such as the Girls Reserve and the Honor Club advisor.
The portrait of the mysterious Ada K. Carpenter that hangs above the library doors keeping watch over Mr. Guinn.
Ada Pearl Kurtz's yearbook photo from 1924 at the University of Kansas.
Ada Pearl Kurtz's faculty photo from 1927 at Bridgewater College in Virginia.
Ada K. Carpenter's photo from the Las Vegas High School's 1943 yearbook.
During her time at Las Vegas High School, she was highly regarded by her peers and administration. Her principal, Walter Long, called her "one of the finest English teachers I have ever known....just a top person." She was a staunch advocate for teachers, serving on the faculty senate as a representative. In the January 30, 1958 Review Journal, she responded to a letter to the editor with a scathing response (with many of the same comments that a teacher today would still hold to be true) to a person complaining about teachers' easy workload. Her first husband passed away in 1953 and then married Ramond Baumgardner in 1959 so that her last few years at LVHW were as Ada K. Baumgardner. After she retired in 1962, she and her husband moved to Mexico. She eventually passed away in Orange, California on September 11, 1992.
The 1961 yearbook was dedicated to Ada K. Baumgardner for her dedication to the school.
Ada K. Carpenter / Baumgardner's final resting place in at Salem Cemetery in Nickerson, Kansas.
Over the course of this investigation, I have been told second hand of people who have said that Ada K. Carpenter was the LVHS librarian. However, nowhere in any discussion by her or her peers of her career at LVHS was the position of librarian ever brooched. In addition, all yearbooks that have Ada Carpenter listed as an English teacher also have three different people identified in the role of librarian over the course of those 20 years. Therefore, without any corroborating evidence of her in that position, I am taking the perspective that she was not the Las Vegas High School librarian at any time and received the posthumous dedication for her teaching career.