Inside Spencer: the KSRL Blog

Perfect Stranger

August 22nd, 2016

Recently, I have been working with Sherry Williams, Curator of Collections and Curator of the Kansas Collection, to survey and treat priority materials from the Kansas Collection. Many of these items had notes in the finding aids about conservation treatment needs.

One particular item was accompanied by a note—dated 1968, the year Spencer Library opened—indicating that the item should not be used until treatment could be secured. The item, which was received in a mailing tube, had been dutifully filed away. We were happy to find it and finally be able to address its needs. Inside was a rolled paper item with a linen backing. It was a plat map of the town of Stranger, KS, surveyed by A.D. Searl and dated June 11, 1867. The item was caked in mud, extremely stained, and very fragile.

Map of Stranger, KS. Call number RH VLT MS Misc 5, Spencer Research Library

Rolled item as it appeared when removed from the tube. Call number RH Map R560. Click image to enlarge.

Map of Stranger, KS. Call number RH VLT MS Misc 5, Spencer Research Library

Detail of the mud along top edge, also showing linen backing below. Call number RH Map R560. Click image to enlarge.

I removed as much dirt and mud as possible with a tool called a microspatula (shown in the above image), lightly dry-cleaned the item with vinyl eraser crumbs to remove additional surface dirt, and removed the linen backing, which peeled right off. The map was placed in a bath to wash away as much of the water-soluble degradation products as possible, then placed in an alkaline bath to add a buffer as the paper ages. Next, it was lined on the back with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste to provide more support to the fragile item. Areas of loss were filled in with toned Japanese paper.

Map of Stranger, KS. Call number RH VLT MS Misc 5, Spencer Research Library     Map of Stranger, KS. Call number RH VLT MS Misc 5, Spencer Research Library

Map of Stranger, KS, before and after treatment. Call number RH Map R560. Click images to enlarge.

Once the treatment was completed and I could safely view the map, I had to learn more about this town with the “strange” name. From the History of Leavenworth County Kansas by Jesse A. Hall and Leroy T. Hand (Topeka: 1921), I discovered that the town was originally named “Journey-Cake” after a nickname given to a Delaware chief who lived nearby. When the town was platted in 1867 (the date of the map), the name was changed to Stranger after the Big Stranger Creek that flowed through the town. However, another nearby town had the same name, so in 1877 the name was again changed to Linwood, in honor of the linden trees in the area.

As you can see from the map, Stranger was situated along both the Big Stranger Creek and the Kansas River. In May and June of 1903, excessive flooding wreaked havoc in the town. On the evening of May 29, 1903, Hall and Hand note, “Many frame houses were swept away in the newly made channel of the Kaw. Some were upturned and were not swept away. Water in places was 20 feet deep over what had been Linwood. The postoffice was completely submerged” (324). The townspeople eventually decided to move their town of Linwood a mile north, where it remains today.

Kaw River flood, 1903? Call number RH Ph P 1055_2, Spencer Research Library

Photo print of flood, possibly 1903. Call number RH PH 1055.2.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Whitney Baker
Head, Conservation Services

 

Throwback Thursday: Move-In Edition

August 18th, 2016

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 28,000 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Welcome (back) to KU, new and returning Jayhawks! Today is Move-In Day and – while we’re not entirely sure what these fellows are doing or where they’re going – we think this week’s picture captures the spirit of returning to campus for a new school year.

Photograph of a packed student car, 1910-1919

A packed student car, 1910-1919. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/0 1910s Negatives: Student Activities (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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

In the Thick of It: Part 2 in a series on the treatment of Summerfield D544

August 15th, 2016

Back in February, I wrote about undertaking the treatment of the 1683 volume Kazania na niedziele calego roku [Sermons for Sundays of the Whole Year] by Pawel Kaczyński (call number: Summerfield D544). At the time of that writing, I’d gotten as far as disbinding, cleaning, and mending the folios before it was necessary to put the treatment aside for a while to focus on other things. This summer I’ve brought the book out again to tackle the next phase of its treatment, preparation for rebinding.

I had already mended most of the folios along the inner spine folds, but they still needed reinforcement, or guarding, along the outer spine folds in order to be strong enough for sewing. Because there are exactly 100 single-folio sections in this volume, I chose a tissue for the guards that was as thin as possible to minimize added bulk while also providing the needed strength to the folds.

Conservation treatment of Summerfield D544, Spencer Research Library

Guarding of folios in progress. Note the smooth spine folds on the guarded folios, left, and the more ragged edges of the unguarded folios on the right. Click image to enlarge.

Conservation treatment of Summerfield D544, Spencer Research Library

The text block with guarding completed.

The amount of damage to this volume was so significant that for the sake of efficiency it was necessary to keep the mending fairly minimal, adding stabilizing mends with very thin tissue where it was most needed, rather than filling in every loss with color-matched tissue. However, there was a very large loss to the lower portion of the title page, so I chose to fill in that area; the page was physically stable, but a fill greatly improves it aesthetically. I selected a Japanese paper of about the same weight as the text paper and toned it with diluted watercolors to achieve a color that is sympathetic to the color of the text paper.

Conservation treatment of Summerfield D544, Spencer Research Library

Title page of Summerfield D544 with toned Japanese paper compensation along lower edge.

With the mending and guarding completed, the next step is sewing. The text block was originally sewn two-on, which means that two gatherings are sewn on at once with a single pass of thread, rather than sewing the gatherings one at a time. This method of sewing reduces the swell of the spine that occurs when thread is introduced; with 100 gatherings in this text block, it makes sense that the original binder chose to sew it this way, and I decided to re-sew it in the same manner. To further reduce bulking (in addition to sewing two-on), I chose a thinner thread than I’d normally use. The last step before sewing was to select endpapers for the volume; I opted for Nideggen, a paper whose tan color and subtle texture go very well with that particular warm, grimy tone of old paper. Once the endpapers were cut, I lined up the text block on the sewing frame to mark the positions of the cords, strung the cords onto the frame, and at long last, started sewing.

Conservation treatment of Summerfield D544, Spencer Research Library

Stringing up the cords on the sewing frame.

Conservation treatment of Summerfield D544, Spencer Research Library

Beginning to sew – three sections down and only 97 to go!

Conservation treatment of Summerfield D544, Spencer Research Library

About one-quarter of the way through sewing.

Conservation treatment of Summerfield D544, Spencer Research Library

Detail of double cords and kettle stitch at tail end of text block.

Sewing multiple gatherings at a time can be a little awkward at the outset, but now that I’ve found a rhythm to it, the sewing is progressing at a nice pace. Soon all that will be left to do will be to put the book into a new paper case. I look forward to presenting the finished volume in one last installment of this series later this fall!

Angela Andres
Special Collections Conservator
Conservation Services

Flashback Friday: Bonus Olympic Edition

August 12th, 2016

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 28,000 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Yesterday’s post focused on members of the KU men’s basketball squad who played on the U.S. men’s basketball team at the 1952 Summer Olympics. With women’s basketball also underway at the 2016 Olympics, today’s post focuses on Lynette Woodard, who played basketball at KU from 1978 to 1981. Twice a member of the United States Olympic team, she was captain of the 1984 squad that captured the gold medal in Los Angeles – the first gold medal in U.S. women’s basketball history.

Photograph of Lynette Woodard wearing her Olympic gold medal

Lynette Woodard with her Olympic gold medal from the
1984 Los Angeles Olympics. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/20/13 Lynette Woodard:
Athletic Department: Women’s Athletics: Basketball (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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

Throwback Thursday: Olympic Edition

August 11th, 2016

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 28,000 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Men’s basketball is underway at the 2016 Summer Olympics, so this week we’re sharing photographs of the U.S. men’s basketball team that played in the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. Team USA consisted of fourteen members: seven players from KU’s 1952 championship squad plus five members of the Amateur Athletic Union‘s Peoria (Illinois) Caterpillar-Diesels and two members of the Phillips 66ers. KU head coach Phog Allen was an assistant coach for the Olympic team.

Photograph of "Welcome NCAA Champs - On to Helsinki" banner, 1952

Olympic banner stretched across Massachusetts Street at Seventh, 1952.
This view is looking south; the Eldridge Hotel is on the right.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/13 Team Olympic 1951/1952:
Athletic Department: Basketball (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of the USA Men's Olympic team, 1952

Members of the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team, 1952.
Assistant coach Phog Allen is standing on the far left.
The seven KU players are kneeling in the front row; from left to right they are
Dean Kelley, Charlie Hoag, John Keller, Bob Kenney, Bill Hougland,
Bill Lienhard, and Clyde Lovellette. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/13 Team Olympic 1951/1952: Athletic Department: Basketball (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of the USA Men's Olympic team on podium, 1952

The 1952 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team won the gold medal, defeating the USSR
(also known as the CCCP) 36-25. Uruguay won the bronze. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/13 Team Olympic 1951/1952: Athletic Department: Basketball (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The Crimson and Blue Handbook describes KU’s road to the Olympics.

[Phog] Allen had recruited his 1951-1952 team members with the promise that they would be the squad to represent the United States in the ’52 Olympics…

[After winning the national championship in 1952], KU went back to Kansas City to face the Springfield Missouri State Teachers [1952 NAIA champion; now Missouri State University] in the first round of the Olympic playoffs. The Jayhawks won 92-65, establishing a new single-game scoring record. The NIT champion, LaSalle, was next, and KU won 70-65 in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden as [Clyde] Lovellette scored 40 points.

The win over LaSalle had assured the Jayhawks of placing seven players on the Olympic squad, and KU met the AAU champion Peoria Caterpiller-Diesels in the Olympic finals to determine who would coach the team in Helsinki. Peoria won in the final eight seconds when Howie Williams, a former Purdue guard, hit a short jumper to break a 60-60 tie. Peoria coach Warren Womble was named the Olympic coach, and Phog Allen was named an assistant.

Allen had kept his promise.

Learn more about the Jayhawks who were members of the 1952 Olympic basketball team and other KU basketball players and coaches who have been involved with U.S. Olympic teams.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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