Inside Spencer: the KSRL Blog

Flashback Friday: Elden Tefft Edition

February 27th, 2015

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 2,600 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

The KU community recently mourned the death of long-time professor and internationally-recognized sculptor Elden C. Tefft. Examples of Tefft’s artwork can be seen across northeast Kansas and the KU campus, including two of its signature sculptures: “Academic Jay” in front of Strong Hall and “Moses,” Tefft’s self-acclaimed masterwork, outside Smith Hall.

Portrait of Elden Tefft, 1951

Elden Tefft shortly after he began teaching at KU, 1951.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 41/ Faculty:
Tefft, Elden Prints (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Elden Tefft working on the university seal, 1955

Tefft working on the university seal, 1955. KU’s first chancellor, Rev. R. W. Oliver,
chose the seal in 1866, and Tefft redesigned it for the university’s centennial.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 41/ Faculty: Tefft, Elden Prints (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Elden Tefft working on "Academic Jay," 1958.

Tefft working on “Academic Jay,” 1958. Lawrence Journal-World Photo.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 41/ Faculty: Tefft, Elden
Prints (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of "Academic Jay" in front of Strong Hall, 1978

“Academic Jay” in front of Strong Hall, 1978. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Jawhawk Statue (Tefft) 1978 Prints: Campus:
Areas and Objects (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Elden Tefft with his sculpture of Moses, early 1980s

Elden Tefft with his sculpture of Moses, early 1980s. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Moses 1980s Prints: Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of the installation of "Moses" sculpture, 1982

Installation of “Moses” sculpture in front of Smith Hall, 1982.
Note the stained-glass window “Burning Bush” behind Moses. Both are
prominent components of KU’s seal. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Moses 1982 Negatives: Campus:
Areas and Objects (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Elden Tefft and his son Kim repairing "Academic Jay," 1996

Elden Tefft and his son Kim repairing “Academic Jay” after vandals damaged it, 1996.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Jawhawk Statue (Tefft) 1996 Prints:
Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Elden C. Tefft was born in Hartford, Kansas, twenty miles southeast of Emporia, in 1919. He moved with his family to Lawrence as a boy, eventually graduating from Lawrence Liberty Memorial High School and before entering KU. Service in the Army Air Corps during World War II interrupted his studies, but Tefft returned to KU to earn his bachelor’s (1949) and master’s (1950) of fine arts in design. Tefft began his teaching career at KU in 1950, founding the university’s undergraduate and graduate sculpture degree programs. Two years later, he began construction of what is believed to have been the first complete collegiate bronze sculpture studio and foundry in the nation. Throughout his career, Tefft also traveled extensively, researching bronze casting techniques and setting up bronze foundries. He is credited as the founder of the International Sculpture Center, the world’s largest sculptor’s association and research center. Tefft was awarded the State of Kansas Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement upon his retirement from KU in 1990.

To learn more about Elden Tefft, see the biography “Elden Tefft: An Informal Look at a Founding Father of Twentieth Century Bronze Casting in the United States” by Craig Voorhees, available online through KU ScholarWorks. KU Libraries also has several of Tefft’s published writings, which you can find by conducting an author search in the online catalog.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt, Megan Sims, and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Focus on spaces: Stannard Conservation Lab

February 23rd, 2015

Conservation Services has system-wide responsibilities, but an increasing focus is on Spencer Library materials and collections. There are two main conservation workspaces: a full-fledged conservation lab in Watson Library and workroom in Spencer Library. In this post, we feature the Stannard Conservation Lab.

KU Libraries has had a book bindery/mendery from at least the 1960s, located in the basement of Watson Library. The image below shows the woman on the left sewing a book on a sewing frame, and other staff standing by books batched for case binding.

KU Bindery, before 1965

View of University of Kansas bindery, before 1965, located in the basement of Watson Library.

As part of the drive in American research libraries in the 1980s and 1990s to build conservation laboratories to serve a wider range of collection needs, in 1994 the Libraries organized a Preservation Department and recruited Brian Baird as the first Preservation Librarian. Almost immediately, he began to plan, build, staff, and equip a modern conservation laboratory. These efforts came to fruition in 1997 with three major events: Meg Brown was appointed as the Libraries’ first full-time conservator; a renovation project was completed on the ground floor of Watson Library to create contiguous working space for the Preservation Department; and funds were raised from private donors to equip the facility.

Conservation lab  Conservation lab

Two views of the Stannard Lab, looking west (left image) and east (right image).

On March 19, 1998, the University of Kansas Libraries dedicated the Jerry and Katherine Stannard Conservation Laboratory and paid tribute to Jerry and Katherine Stannard, the Southwestern Bell Foundation, the Ethel and Raymond F. Rice Foundation, the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation, the Lawrence Walmart Green Team, and Kathryn Davis for their generous gifts that made it possible to equip the Stannard Laboratory. At the dedication, Erica Stannard-Schenk, Jerry and Katherine’s daughter, unveiled a beautiful quilt that is now on permanent display in the entrance of the laboratory.

Conservation lab

View of the storeroom outside the Stannard Lab.

In 2011, the department was renamed Conservation Services. A second space in Spencer Library was acquired to take care of simple treatments on site, so as to reduce the transportation of rare materials from one library to another. The department’s focus continues to evolve, but we pay tribute to the events that brought us to where we are today.

Whitney Baker (using some text written by Brian Baird)
Head, Conservation Services

 

Throwback Thursday: Lunar New Year Edition

February 19th, 2015

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 2,600 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Happy Lunar New Year! To learn more about this holiday, see the article “The Lunar New Year: Rituals and Legends,” published by the Asia for Educators initiative of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University.

Photograph of a Chinese New Year celebration, woman dancing with ribbons, 1994

Photograph of a Chinese New Year celebration, children in costume, 1994

Photograph of a Chinese New Year celebration, person dancing with a dragon costume, 1994

Scenes from a KU Chinese New Year celebration or performance, 1994.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 67/367 1994 Negatives:
Student Organizations: Chinese Student Association (Photos).
Click images to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt, Megan Sims, and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Call for Entries: 59th Annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest

February 16th, 2015

Calling all KU student book collectors:  it’s that magical season when your love of books can actually replenish your coffers rather than empty your pockets.  The competition for the 59th Annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest is now open, and entries are due by 5 p.m. Friday, March 27, 2015.  Collections need not be rare or expensive to win; rather you should be able to write thoughtfully about the scope and coherence of your collection, your purpose and method in building it, and how individual items fit within the larger whole.

59th Annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest

Winners are selected in both graduate and undergraduate divisions, with the following cash awards:

  • First Prize: $600
  • Second Prize: $400
  • Honorable Mention: $100

Each winner will also receive a gift card in the following amounts from contest co-sponsor Jayhawk Ink, a division of KU Bookstore:

  • First Prize: $100
  • Second Prize: $50
  • Honorable Mention: $25

Need further incentive to enter?  Did you know that last year’s graduate division winner, Katya Soll, also won the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest with her collection “Dictatorship, Recovery, and Innovation: Contemporary Theatre of the Southern Cone?”  The national prize earned her an additional $2,500, which was awarded at a ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

1st place 2014 Graduate Division winner Katya Soll with her collection "Dictatorship, Recovery, and Innovation: Contemporary Theatre of the Southern Cone" 1st place 2014 Graduate Division winning collection "Dictatorship, Recovery, and Innovation: Contemporary Theatre of the Southern Cone" by Katya Soll

National Champion: Katya Soll at the 2014 Snyder Book Collecting Contest with her 1st place Graduate Division collection, “Dictatorship, Recovery, and Innovation: Contemporary Theatre of the Southern Cone.” Images courtesy of KU Libraries; click images to enlarge.

KU’s contest is one of the longest-running collegiate book-collecting contests in the United States.  It was established by Elizabeth M. Snyder (then Elizabeth Taylor) in 1957 to cultivate and recognize undergraduate and graduate students’ interest in collecting books.  In its inaugural year, the “Taylor Student Book Collecting Contest, ” as it was then known,  bore a $75 first prize and a $25 second prize (see the 1957 contest poster below).  Over the years, the prize amounts have grown and the contest rules have expanded to reflect changes to the world of books.  The contest now permits digital and non-print materials to supplement the books and print materials that form the core of the collections.

1957 Taylor Student Book Collecting Contest Poster

Early Days: The poster for the first year of KU’s student book collecting contest, then known as the
Taylor Student Book Collecting Contest. Image courtesy of KU Libraries

Several former Snyder Book Collecting Contest winners have gone on to make collecting a lifelong pursuit.  Laird Wilcox won the contest in 1964 while an undergraduate with his collection “Ephemeral Political Movements in the United States.” Over the decades he continued to build his collection of left- and right-wing political materials and has since donated it to KU Libraries.  The Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements now stands as one of Spencer Research Library’s most-consulted collections, drawing researchers from across the country and around the world.  As we will highlight in a future post, it is the subject of Spencer’s current exhibition–“Free Speech in America: The Wilcox Collection at 50”–on display in Spencer’s gallery through April 18, 2015.

1964 Contest Winners Laird Wilcox,  Lawrence Morgan, and Jerry L. Ulrich, with Elizabeth M. Taylor.

1964 Contest Winners: Laird Wilcox (left), Lawrence Morgan (second from right), and Jerry L. Ulrich (right),
with contest sponsor, Elizabeth M. Taylor, 1964. University Archives. Call Number: RG 32/40. Click image to enlarge.

Jane Albright won the Snyder Book Collecting Contest in 1977 with her Wizard of Oz collection.  She has since gone on to become one of the premier collectors of Oz and L. Frank Baum, and her collection occupies a floor of her home near of Kansas City.   Last spring, she returned to KU to share her passion with others through the exhibition, The Magic of Oz: A Collection Celebrating a Classic, which focused on some of the printed Oz, Baum, and Denslow materials in her collection.

Image of Jane Albright in front of Oz exhibit at KSRL, 1977

Jane Albright with her Oz collection in 1977, the year she won the Snyder Book Collecting Contest. Image courtesy of Jane Albright.

Join in the contest’s long and illustrious history and enter your collection by the submission deadline of  Friday, March 27, 2015.  Full contest details are available on the Snyder Book Collecting Contest website.

Flashback Friday: Valentine’s Day Edition

February 13th, 2015

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 1,700 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

We’re sharing a bonus set of photographs this week, in honor of tomorrow’s holiday. Happy Valentine’s Day to all our readers, researchers, visitors, and friends!

Photograph of a man getting ready to give a Valentine's Day heart, 1950s

Photograph of a man giving a Valentine's Day heart, 1950s

Giving a Valentine’s Day heart, 1950s. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/0 1950s Prints: Student Activities (Photos).
Click images to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt, Megan Sims, and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants