Inside Spencer: the KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Aerial Edition II

June 23rd, 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 27,700 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Last year we shared a fun aerial view of the KU campus from 1942. This week we’re sharing two more – slightly later – aerial photographs that show the site on which Spencer Research Library was built.

Aerial view of campus looking southwest from Marvin Grove, 1952

Aerial view of campus looking southwest from Marvin Grove, 1952.
Note the area along the top of the photograph; Naismith Drive stops at
15th Street and is undeveloped to the west.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/24/A 1952 Prints:
University General: Campus: Campus Aerials (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The structures just north of Strong Hall – where Spencer Research Library now stands – were four of the thirteen temporary buildings constructed just after World War II. According to a December 1946 article in the Graduate Magazine (shown below), the buildings were funded by the federal government. They were used as “extra service units needed for the flood of students,” i.e. returning veterans who had enrolled at KU.

Image of a Graduate Magazine article about KU temporary service buildings, 1946
Buildings 5, 6, 7, and 8 shown on this map are the ones shown in the photograph above.
Note the description of Building 5 in the article. Graduate Magazine, December 1946.
University Archives. Call Number: LH 1 .K3 G73 1946-1947. Click image to enlarge.

Aerial photograph of Strong Hall, the Campanile, and the site of Spencer Research Library, 1966

The site of Spencer Research Library flanked by Strong Hall and the Campanile, 1966.
Construction of the library lasted almost two years and began soon after this photo was taken.
The library was dedicated in November 1968. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/A 1966 Prints: University General: Campus: Campus Aerials (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

Workshop Recap: Care and Identification of Photographs with Gawain Weaver

June 20th, 2016

Last week Spencer Research Library hosted a workshop on the care and identification of photographs, taught by photograph conservator Gawain Weaver. I was fortunate to attend the four-day workshop along with three other fellow Spencer staff members from Conservation, Public Services, and Processing, as well as archivists and conservators from Missouri, Texas, and elsewhere in Kansas.

Our group met in Spencer’s Johnson Room and jumped right into things on day one by preparing paper to make our own salt prints. We coated paper first in a sodium chloride solution and, once dry, in a silver nitrate solution, then we placed leaves on the coated paper and exposed them in the sunlight over our lunch break. This simple exercise was a fun and engaging way to demonstrate the fundamentals of photographic chemistry.

Salt print (photograph)

The salt print I made in the workshop…it isn’t pretty, but the exercise was very useful!

Over the four days, we divided our time between Gawain’s incredibly information-packed lectures on the history of photographic and photomechanical processes, and lively hands-on sessions examining examples of many of the processes we’d learned about. The workshop fee included a small 60x-100x handheld microscope and a binder filled with the lecture slides, reference guides for identifying various processes, articles and recommended reading lists, and lots more useful information. Participants also had the option to purchase a sample set of photographic and photomechanical prints – a great addition to an archivist’s or conservator’s reference library.

Hand-held microscope

This microscope is small, inexpensive, and very handy for identifying photographic & printmaking processes.

Photographic sample set provided by Gawain Weaver

Photograph sample set of eighteen different photographic and photomechanical prints.

In addition to covering photographic history and technique, Gawain also discussed digital prints and issues of photograph deterioration, storage conditions, and proper housings. I enjoyed this workshop a great deal, and I came away with a clearer understanding of how photographs are made as well as greater confidence in my ability to identify photographic processes and to better address the particular preservation needs of photographs in the collections I work on. Many of the guides and resources in the workshop packet are available for purchase or to download for free from Gawain’s website, along with links to many more resources and information about this and other workshops that Gawain offers.

Angela Andres
Special Collections Conservator
Conservation Services

Throwback Thursday: Summer Session Edition

June 16th, 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 27,700 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Photograph of Summer Session physical education department faculty and students, 1930s

Summer session physical education department faculty and students, 1930s.
Phog Allen and James Naismith are standing in the second row, second and third from the left.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 20/9 1930s: School of Education:
Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (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

Nineteenth-Century Advice to Fathers

June 14th, 2016

In honor of Father’s Day this coming Sunday, this week’s blog post highlights a book in Special Collections that provides guidance for fathers: William Cobbett‘s 1829 work Advice to Young Men, and (Incidentally) to Young Women, in the Middle and Higher Ranks of Life, In a Series of Letters, Addressed to a Youth, a Bachelor, a Lover, a Husband, a Father, a Citizen, or a Subject.

Cobbett begins his “Letter to a Father” with a statement about the blessings of children and the important role of fathers.

Image of William Cobbett, Advice to Young Men, And (Incidentally) to Young Women, section 225, 1829

The beginning of William Cobbett’s “Letter to a Father,” in
Advice to Young Men, and (Incidentally) to Young Women.
London: The author, 1829. Call Number: B5060. Click image to enlarge.

Cobbett then continues on for roughly 116 pages, offering advice to fathers on a wide variety of topics including the importance of breastfeeding; the use of midwives and servants; the role of resolution, tenderness, and courage in parenting; the use of cradles; the controversy of smallpox inoculation; the roles of good food, clean air, exercise, book-learning, and schooling (by subject) in educating children; and the importance of impartial treatment of adult children, compared with their siblings.

On the surface, some of Cobbett’s advice seems surprisingly modern, as seen in the two excerpts below.

Image of William Cobbett, Advice to Young Men, And (Incidentally) to Young Women, section 249, 1829

In section 249 of his “Letter to a Father,” Cobbett offers this advice:
“Let no man imagine that the world will despise him for
helping to take care of his own child.” Click image to enlarge.

Image of William Cobbett, Advice to Young Men, And (Incidentally) to Young Women, section 289, 1829

“Men’s circumstances are so various,” Cobbett acknowledges in section 289.
“In giving an account, therefore, of my own conduct, in this respect, I am not to be understood
as supposing, that every father can, or ought, to attempt to do the same.” Click image to enlarge.

Other sections of Cobbett’s advice may seem more humorously outdated to 21st-century readers, such as his description of bath time.

A great deal, in providing for the health and strength of children, depends upon their being duly and daily washed, when well, in cold water from head to foot. Their cries testify to what a degree they dislike this. They squall and kick and twist about at a fine rate…Well and duly performed, [bathing children] is an hour’s good tight work; for, besides the bodily labour, which is not very slight when the child gets to be five or six months old, there is the singing to overpower the voice of the child. The moment the stripping of the child used to begin, the singing used to begin, and the latter never ceased till the former had ceased. (section 257).

You can read Cobbett’s work in its entirety through Project Gutenberg.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Friendship Edition

June 9th, 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 27,700 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

This week’s photograph combines several things we love: good friends (in honor of National Best Friends Day), summertime fun, and a cold soda on a hot day.

Photograph of five female KU students in Neodesha, Kansas, 1918

A page from a scrapbook attributed to Margaret R. French showing
five KU students in Neodesha, Kansas, June 1918. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/0 1918 Prints: Student Activities (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The scrapbook in which this page appears has been attributed to Margaret R. French. However, a search of University Archives records did not turn up any KU students by that name in the 1910s, so the volume’s creator remains somewhat of a mystery. Information from the scrapbook suggests that she attended KU from approximately 1916 through 1919. She apparently participated in the Patterson Club and was a member of – and/or had several friends in – Mu Phi Epsilon, a musical sorority or honorary organization.

One of the girls probably shown in the pictures is Gladys Nelson. Her home address was 606 Indiana Street in Neodesha, shown in the photo on the left. A member of Mu Phi Epsilon, Gladys graduated from KU in 1918 with a fine arts degree in drawing and painting.

The picture on the right shows the same group of friends, apparently on Main Street in Neodesha on the same day. (Note that they’re wearing the same dresses in both photos.) The 1916 Neodesha city directory in Spencer’s Kansas Collections confirms that the girls are standing in front of Edson’s Bakery and Ice Cream Parlor (609 Main, sign visible behind the car on the left); Shoemaker Furniture Co. (611 Main); H. C. Tralle, Plumber and Electrician (613 Main); and Porter drugstore (615 Main, sign visible behind the car on the right). Look up these addresses on Google Maps and you can see what the buildings look like today. MaBelle, mentioned in the caption, might be MaBelle Galloway, another Mu Phi Epsilon member at the time.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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