Inside Spencer: the KSRL Blog

Peggy Hull Deuell: A Conservation Internship

August 15th, 2014

As the 2014 Summer Conservation intern, I performed treatment on the University’s collection of Peggy Hull Deuell, America’s first female war correspondent. This part of the Kansas Collection is comprised of a wide variety of materials: newspaper clippings from the 19th-20th centuries, manuscripts dating from 1774, photographs, oversized items such as maps, transparent documents, and scrapbooks.

A significant portion of time was taken to wash and alkalize the very brittle and disheveled collection of newspaper clippings. During the weeks performing treatment, I became very familiar with Peggy’s style of writing; her sassy personality and strength of character were true elements in her journalism. As the only records of her reporting, these newspaper clippings are important testaments to not only her personal struggles, but also to the relationship she had with readers of the numerous newspapers she wrote for (including the El Paso Morning Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, and Cleveland Plain Dealer).

Though Ms. Hull was born in Bennington, Kansas (in 1889), she was hardly the typical Midwestern girl of the late 19th century. She was independent, intelligent, and very restless. It’s surprising then, that she never graduated high school and was intended to settle down and study pharmacy. This path did not last long; with the family’s subsequent proximity to Fort Riley and its soldier population, and Peggy’s eagerness for change, she soon discovered a new career in the form of journalism. The rest you could say, is history.

Photograph of Peggy Hull Deuell. Kansas Collection, Call number RH MS 130. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Peggy Hull [Deuell] in WWI uniform, 1917. Kansas Collection, Call Number RH MS 130. Click image to enlarge.

It was a rocky start for Peggy, who struggled to become recognized in an incredibly male-dominated field. In fact, it took Peggy about 10 years and travels all over the world to finally become an accredited war correspondent. Through her journeys across the U.S., to the Mexican border, and to Paris, London, Siberia, and Shanghai, she was teaching people about the war, current events, and even her everyday life.  It was Peggy’s determination, unrelenting optimism, and quirkiness that I found most exciting about this collection.

My favorite articles are those that interact with the reader: where you can really get a sense of Peggy, the person behind the journalist. Also quite lovely are the assortment of letters between Peggy and unknown correspondences (or rather, named yet unfamiliar). One such letter was even imprinted with what I believe to be Peggy’s lipstick! The smell was still quite intense, and I could just about imagine Peggy sealing the letter with a kiss (something I imagine she’s done for her three husbands)!

Clipping from Peggy Hull Deuell Collection. Kansas Collection, Call number RH MS 130. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Amusing piece written by Peggy Hull Deuell. Peggy Hull Deuell Collection,
Kansas Collection, Call Number RH MS 130. Click image to enlarge.

Though the process of washing, repairing, and even reading Peggy’s newspaper clippings was intensive and often very entertaining, my favorite conservation treatment with this collection was of the oversized items. The flexibility of the project allowed me to spend time performing more in-depth treatment on a small selection of posters. One of the pieces is an article Peggy wrote about news in Siberia; the document had been pasted to a canvas, which was subsequently painted on the reverse. Over time, the newsprint became very brittle and discolored from both the adhesive and acidity of the material, resulting in a badly damaged article. To treat this object, I first removed dirt from the surface of the paper and then immersed it in a tray of water. After about 5 minutes of soaking in the bath, I was able to carefully separate the newsprint from the canvas. As suspected, the newsprint was extremely fragile and had broken into many pieces over its lifetime.  The canvas backing was discarded and the article was rewashed and alkalized in a separate bath to reduce its acidity. Then, after being dried and pressed flat, I undertook the tricky process of lining the article; in other words, I adhered a thin Japanese tissue to the back of the object in order to add strength and allow for the reattachment of its many pieces. Only when the pieces were reunited could I begin the process of toning papers and filling in missing areas to the overall document. Once treatment was completed, the article could be safely handled and more easily read.

Treatment of clipping from Peggy Hull Deuell Collection. Kansas Collection, Call number RH MS 130. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.  Treatment of clipping from Peggy Hull Deuell Collection. Kansas Collection, Call number RH MS 130. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.  Treatment of clipping from Peggy Hull Deuell Collection. Kansas Collection, Call number RH MS 130. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Before, during, and after treatment of a clipping from the Peggy Hull Deuell Collection.
Kansas Collection, Call Number RH MS 130. Click images to enlarge.

Treatment of the Peggy Hull Deuell Collection was very successful, and I had a wonderful summer working between the Watson and Spencer Research Libraries. Peggy’s collection is also one of the many fantastic features that facilitates our study of war history, and in particular, helps to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I. I do think that Peggy would be quite proud of her collection as well!

For further reading about Peggy and her adventures, I highly recommend The Wars of Peggy Hull by Wilda M. Smith and Eleanor A. Bogart, a book written with the consultation of this very collection!

Amber Van Wychen
2014 Summer Conservation Intern, Stannard Conservation Lab

Collection Snapshot: A Book of Polish Costume

August 8th, 2014

A number of works in the Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s collection of Polonica are a good source for the study of Polish costume: the chromolithographs by Racinet, engraved colored plates by Jacquemin, colored and uncolored plates in the two volumes of Zaydler, and plates in the costume books by Kretschmer and Vecellio.

image of the plate "Harvest-home in the environs of Sandomir"

“Harvest-home in the environs of Sandomir” from Jozef Zienkowicz’s Les costumes du peuple Polonais.  A Paris: Librairie Polonaise; A Strasbourg: chez l’éditeur; A Leipzig: chez F.A. Brockhaus, 1841.  Call Number: B819. Click image to enlarge.

The colored lithographs of Zienkowicz’s Les costumes du peuple Polonais are particularly interesting: “Harvest-home in the environs of Sandomir” (above) illustrates the rich harvest tradition of a country that until recently was primarily agricultural. Poles today celebrate an annual Harvest Festival in early September.  In olden days the best girl reaper would bestow on the master of the house the gift of a wreath of wheat and rye adorned with flowers, fruits, and ribbons; feasting and merry-making followed the ceremony. Although folk costumes are not now in general use in Poland and are worn mostly for festivals and national celebrations, Poles in rural areas wear folk dress on church holidays and for family celebrations such as weddings.

Sally Haines
Rare Books Cataloger

Adapted from her Kenneth Spencer Research Library exhibit, Poland: A Thousand Springtimes.

“Grass cutting is sport with a VAC-U-MOW!”

August 1st, 2014

August has now arrived, and so the dog days of summer begin. The weather gets a bit steamier and we all realize summer will be over before we’re ready. So we want to pack our weekends full of fun, not full of dreaded summer chores like mowing the lawn.

Take a look back in time, to the 1950s, when Granger Manufacturing Company of Kansas City, Missouri, had a patent pending for the VAC-U-MOW.

Vac-U-Mow advertising brochure, Granger Manufacturing Company, page 1

Love the outfit and shoes! Granger Manufacturing Company’s
advertising booklet for the VAC-U-MOW, circa 1950-1959.
Kansas Collection. Call Number: RH P 884. Click image to enlarge.

According to an advertising brochure that is part of Spencer’s Kansas Collection holdings, “enjoyment takes the place of drudgery with the new VAC-U-MOW — a high-power mower designed to combine maximum efficiency with utmost safety.“ Moreover, the new machine was promised to be versatile enough for a variety of landscapes: “From the neat, smooth lawn to the roughest weed patch, your VAC-U-MOW makes any grass-cutting job a pleasure. Sprouts and dandelions cut as smoothly as the finest blue grass. The garden, orchard and cemetery are easy to tend with a VAC-U-MOW.”

Image of Vac-U-Mow advertising brochure, Granger Manufacturing Company, page 2

Image of Vac-U-Mow advertising brochure, Granger Manufacturing Company, page 3

Middle and back pages of the VAC-U-MOW advertising booklet.
Kansas Collection. Call Number: RH P 884. Click images to enlarge.

The booklet goes on to promise potential customers that they can “trim right up against buildings with your VAC-U-MOW! It gets into places where the old-type, bulky mowers will not go. It cuts right up under hedges just as neatly as old-fashioned hand shears but without the hard work. Wet grass is no problem. You can use your VAC-U-MOW right after a rain. Large, rough lawns can be trimmed in a fraction of the ordinary time. No wonder users say ‘grass cutting is sport with a VAC-U-MOW’!”

An ad in The Kansas City Star newspaper on April 13, 1952 listed the price for a new VAC-U-MOW as $134.50, which seems to have made it one of the more expensive lawnmower options at the time.

Meredith Huff
Operations and Stacks Manager, Public Services

KU Anniversaries: A Cause for Celebration

July 23rd, 2014

As the University of Kansas approaches its 150th anniversary in the fall of 2015, one might be wondering how the university celebrated its previous milestones. For more recent anniversaries there was a trend of looking to the future, while the earlier ones looked to the past. What path will this anniversary follow? My guess would be a little bit of both, but only time will tell.

The Quarter-Centennial: 25th Anniversary 1890/91

KU celebrated 25 years of its history with a gathering of alumni, school and state officials, and the publication of a book (two practices that would continue for most anniversaries). The book, written by M.W. Sterling, sold for $1.00 and covered several aspects of the university’s first 25 years. One memorable section recalled some practical jokes. During commencement a grinning skeleton descended from a hole in the rafters, dancing and shaking to the band’s music. On its toe was stuck a piece of paper that read the Latin word ‘prex’. What does ‘prex’ mean you may ask? The faculty.

The Semi-Centennial: 50th Anniversary 1915/16

The 50th anniversary for KU fell during international warfare, with the United States on the brink of joining the battle. This would not be the last time that KU’s anniversary would come during a World War; only 25 years later for the Diamond Jubilee the world would be at war again. With funding restricted and bigger issues to handle, the university senate understandably decided the $4,000 price tag for a celebration in May 1916 would not be possible. Chancellor Strong said the celebration would be postponed until “ways and means” could be provided. However, the following year would prove just as restrictive and the celebration never came to be.

The Diamond Jubilee: 75th Anniversary 1940/41

Following the lack of celebration 25 years earlier, KU made up for it in a grand, five-day celebration in 1941 that took three years of planning. This included a university-wide exposition, the reopening of Dyche Museum (now the Museum of Natural History), the publication of Across the Years on Mount Oread by Robert Taft, with over 300 photographs of the campus from the previous 75 years, a song contest, symposiums, class and group reunions, dinners and entertainments which included a Coronado Entrada and Kansas Cavalcade. To make sure that the returning alumni would feel right at home again on campus, 60 young women dressed in 1866 period gowns to help visitors around campus. Plus, old fashioned hitching posts were erected and the main mode of transportation was by horse and carriage.

Photograph of representative members of the previous 75 classes at the November 9th conclave. Photo of One of the 60 young women dressed in appropriate 1866 period fashion.

Representative members of the previous 75 classes at the November 9th conclave (left) and One of the 60 young women dressed in appropriate 1866 period fashion (right). University Archives. Call Number: RG 0/6 (Photos), 1941. Click to enlarge.

Women posing in a section of the diorama in the newly reopened Dyche Museum, 1941 Photograph of a group of women showing off the horse-drawn carriages and hitching posts used for the celebration.

Some of the ladies posing in a section of the diorama in the newly reopened Dyche Museum (left); A group of women showing off the horse-drawn carriages and hitching posts used for the celebration (right). University Archives. Call Number: RG 0/6 (Photos), 1941. Click to enlarge.

Photograph of a participant in the Coronado Entrada on campus overlooking the football stadium.

A participant in the Coronado Entrada on campus overlooking the football stadium. Call Number: RG 0/6 (Photos), 1941. Click image to enlarge.

Centennial: 100th Anniversary 1965/66

To be expected, the centennial celebration was a multi-day affair just like the 75th (minus the historical gowns and hitching posts). Whereas the previous anniversary celebrated the past, this one looked to the future and was highlighted by the Inter-Century Seminar, “Man and the Future.” The seminar brought together great intellectuals who discussed and lectured on the challenges of the next one hundred years. On the other hand, Clifford S. Griffin undertook a massive compilation of the past 100 years of history in his book: The University of Kansas, A History. While thoroughly covering KU’s history, Griffin kept in mind the Centennial’s theme of “progrediamur” (let us progress) and discussed the possibilities of the university’s future.

Photograph of medallion designed by Elden Tefft, for the 1966 centennial.

Designed by Elden Tefft, the medallion showcases the Lawrence campus silhouette along the bottom. The column on the left is composed of 26 symbols: three Jayhawks; a salamander, trilobite, bee and others denote scientific accomplishments; the wheat and sunflower for Kansas; 10 points of the star signify the nine schools and college. Call Number: RG 0/5 (photos): 1966

Photograph of the official dinner for the Inter-Century Seminar, 1966

The official dinner for the Inter-Century Seminar. Call Number: RG 0/5 (photos): 1966

Quasquicentennial: 125th Anniversary 1990/91

In response to the Centennial’s Inter-Century Seminar, the 125th anniversary hosted a similar session, “Looking forward: KU and the Challenges of the Future”. The participants took into account what was predicted 25 years earlier and offered their opinions. According to one prediction from the 1966 seminar by Arthur C. Clarke, British scientist and science fiction writer, man will have established a permanent base on Mars by 2066. That doesn’t sound as crazy now as I’m sure it did just 25-50 years ago.

JoJo Palko
University Archives Intern

Creating Authority: Printing with Anglo-Saxon Type

July 17th, 2014

This week’s post comes from Amanda Luke, a recent KU graduate and a Reference Specialist at Watson Library.  Amanda is currently working toward her Master of Library Science (MLS) degree at Emporia State University.

There is a special connection between Anglo-Saxon typeface and the religious controversy that defined late sixteenth-century England. With the Church of England only decades old and tensions between Catholics and Protestants higher than ever, church officials sought to establish ties between the new Church and earlier English history. One connection manifested itself through church manuscripts from the Middle Ages. Some of these religious texts appeared in Old English, the “vulgar” or common tongue of the Anglo-Saxons, who occupied England before the Norman conquests in the eleventh century. Matthew Parker (1504-1575), Archbishop of Canterbury, was the one of the earliest proponents of Anglo-Saxon scholarship. Parker hoped that having these Anglo-Saxon manuscripts translated and printed would lend legitimacy to the new Church through ties to early English religious doctrine.

Parker’s chief interest lay in a series of Latin and Old English texts by Ælfric, an abbot who lived circa 950 – 1010. Copies of these documents had been found at the Worcester and Canterbury cathedrals (Evenden 81). These texts, which Parker’s secretary John Joscelyn likely translated, touched on the subject of the Eucharist and seemed to challenge the Catholic belief in transubstantiation, or the literal transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ (Evenden 81). This rejection of Catholic doctrine was vital for Parker because it provided evidence that the current Catholic thinking was not always present in England.

Image of the title page of A Testimonie of Antiquitie (1566) Legend discussing Old English Characters in John Joscelyn's edition of AElfric's A Testimonie of Antiquitie (1566)

Left: Title page; Right: Old English characters explained.  From: Aelfric, Abbot of Eynsham. A Testimonie of Antiquitie
ſhewing the auncient fayth in the Church of England touching the ſacrament of the body and bloude of the Lord
London: Iohn Day, [1566?]. Call Number: Clubb A1566.1 Click images to enlarge.

To disseminate this claim he employed a London-based Protestant printer named John Day for an unprecedented task: the development of a typeface which included all of the special characters present in the Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. The development of this Anglo-Saxon type, often just called Saxon type, was an enormous financial risk for Parker. It was estimated by modern scholar Peter Lucas that the typeface would have cost the vast sum of £200 to create (Evenden 82). The typeface which Day cast was 16 point, or slightly smaller than a great primer, a 17 point type (Clement 209). It contained fourteen lower and ten upper case Old English characters not found in the Latin alphabet (see above). It is fascinating to note the several forms of the diphthong “th” in the alphabet (eth ð and thorn þ), as well as the presence of a symbol for the word “and.”

The earliest book containing the Anglo-Saxon typeface was printed by John Day in 1566 at Parker’s request. The volume was titled A Testimonie of Antiquitie ſhewing the auncient fayth in the Church of England touching the ſacrament of the body and bloude of the Lord here publikely preached, and alſo receaued in the Saxons tyme, aboue 600. yeares agoe, and was attributed to Ælfric, the author of the text that influenced Parker. As its long title suggests, this text is a translation of an Easter sermon which touches on the communion. It was especially important to Parker because it supported his mission to legitimize the doctrines of the Church of England. The creation of the Saxon typeface to accompany the translation was, according to scholar Richard Clement, a means of further legitimizing obscure texts. He writes, “Parker’s men began to examine the manuscripts and were impressed by the visual impact of the Anglo-Saxon texts which almost jumped off the page and proclaimed their antiquity and authority to the reader” (Clement 206). Use of the Saxon typeface also helped to differentiate the Old English text from the Latin and English used in the book.


Passage on the transubstantiation (with red underlinings added). Aelfric, Abbot of Eynsham. A Testimonie of Antiquitie …].
London: Iohn Day, [1566?]. Call Number: Clubb A1566.1  Click image to enlarge.

In the image above, the volume is opened to folio 35, which contains a central moment in the Easter sermon. A printed note in the margin reads “No transubstantiation,” highlighting one of the major doctrinal connections Parker was trying to make between the historical church and the Church of England. The text in Saxon type appears on the left, and the translation appears on the right. Even if you cannot read Old English, words such as “blode” and “Christ” can be made out (see the words underlined in red).   Thus the facing page format supported the preface’s claim that everything in the translation was true and accurate.

The use of the Saxon typeface in A Testimonie of Antiquitie opened the door for the expansion of Anglo-Saxon scholarship.  To explore the subject further, visit Spencer and use its Clubb Collection of Books Printed with Anglo-Saxon Type.

Amanda Luke
KU Alumna and Reference Specialist, Watson Library

Works Cited

Clement, Richard W. “The Beginnings of Printing in Anglo-Saxon, 1565-1630.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America.91.2 (1997): 192-244. Print.

Evenden, Elizabeth. Patents, Pictures, and Patronage: John Day and the Tudor Book Trade. Burlington: Ashgate, 2008. Print.