Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Celebrating Halloween, KU Style

October 31st, 2013

If you still have yet to carve a pumpkin – or you want to have an especially snazzy jack-o’-lantern this year – consider taking a cue from the KU students pictured below. These photos were taken for the University Daily Kansan on or around Halloween in 1968, which was incidentally just over a week before the brand-new Kenneth Spencer Research Library was dedicated on November 8.

Photograph of KU students carving a pumpkin, 1968.

Photograph of KU students carving a pumpkin, 1968.

Photograph of KU students carving a pumpkin, 1968.

University of Kansas students carving a “KU” jack-o’-lantern, 1968.
Call Number: RG 71/0/1968-1969 Prints: Student Activities (Photos).
Click images to enlarge.

For additional information about the history of Halloween, check out this Library of Congress article, “Halloween: The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows.”

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Collection Feature: Chickasaw Land Allotment Patent

October 25th, 2013

On August 17, 1904, Thomas K. Whitthorne applied for an land allotment patent. In this document he was recognized as Chickasaw by intermarriage, and was therefore eligible to obtain 150 acres of land, “more or less, as the case may be,” within the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, Indian Territory. The document bears red seals of the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations.

RH_MS_P_243

 Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, Land Allotment to Thomas K Whitthorne, 1904.
Call number RH MS P 243, Kansas Collection. Click image to enlarge.

Allotment Patent No. 10533 was approved and signed by the secretary and clerk of the United States Department of the Interior on February 26, 1906.  Then on November 29, 1905, the allotment patent was signed and sealed by the Principal Chief of the Choctaw Nation, the Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, approving Thomas K. Whitthorne’s application.

RH_MS_P_243_detail
Detail of Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, Land Allotment to Thomas K Whitthorne, 1904.
Call number RH MS P 243, Kansas Collection. Click image to enlarge.

The Chickasaw Nation is a federally recognized Native American nation, located in Oklahoma. They are one of the members of the Five Civilized Tribes. The Chickasaw Nation was created after the Chickasaw people were forcibly removed by the U.S. federal government to Indian Territory in the 1830s. Their removal was part of a larger effort by the federal government to relocate peoples from the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations. The removals became known as the “Trail of Tears”.

Meredith Huff
Operations and Stacks Manager, Public Services

Dear Mother, Dear Sister, Dear Diary: Women’s Stories from the Kansas Frontier

October 22nd, 2013

Kansas Territory was opened for settlement in 1854, and women accompanied or joined their husbands and families and helped build new communities. These women’s stories survive through the letters and diaries they left behind, some of which have been preserved – and can be discovered – in Spencer’s Kansas Collection.

Image of "Friendship" needlepoint bookmark

“Friendship” needlepoint fabric bookmark, originally between blank unnumbered leaves 218-219,
Thankful Sophia Mayo Journal, Call Number: RH MS P875. Click image to enlarge.

In November 1854, Elizabeth Mallory and her sister Jennie Crittenden left Wethersfield, Connecticut, and headed west to Kansas. They came as part of the sixth contingent of the Emigrant Aid Company, an organization dedicated to sending citizens with anti-slavery sentiments to the new Kansas Territory to ensure that it would not be admitted as a slave state. Elizabeth’s husband Anson H. Mallory had left with the first Company party in July and was waiting for the sisters in Lawrence.

Elizabeth and Jennie wrote to their mother and siblings from 1859 to the mid-1860s, and these letters give us a glimpse into their lives during Kansas’ earliest years. For example, the excerpt below is from a letter Elizabeth wrote to her mother on June 28, 1863, reassuring her that all was well. Abandoned by her husband Anson, Elizabeth had recently been granted a divorce. She resumed using her maiden name and signed her letters “ESC.” In 1857, sister Jennie had married George F. Earl, who came to Lawrence as a member of the Emigrant Aid Company and served as a Captain in Kansas Company A during the Civil War.

Image of the second page of a letter, Elizabeth Crittenden to her mother, June 28, 1863

Second page of a letter, Elizabeth Crittenden to her mother, June 28, 1863,
Jennie Earl and Elizabeth S. C. Correspondence,
Call Number: RH MS P285. Click image to enlarge.

My health is good and I am enjoying life and health better than I have for many months and I can say years that have past, I have all the dressmaking that I can do, and am getting alonge as regards the worlds goods better then thousands [illegible] me, I have a good family in my House and I am boarding with them which makes it very pleasant for me. I was with Jennie when she was sick [giving birth] she has a nice large Girl. It weighed 12 pounds when it was born she had not named it when I saw her last which was a week ago, she has gone down to Paolia where her Husband is stationed.

Elizabeth survived Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence on August 21, 1863, and wrote to her brother about her experiences the next month.

Image of the first page of a letter, Elizabeth Crittenden to her brother, September 22, 1863

Image of the second page of a letter, Elizabeth Crittenden to her brother, September 22, 1863

Image of the third page of a letter, Elizabeth Crittenden to her brother, September 22, 1863

Letter, Elizabeth Crittenden to her brother, September 22, 1863,
Jennie Earl and Elizabeth S. C. Correspondence,
Call Number: RH MS P285. Click image to enlarge.

My dear Brother you know nothing of the Horrors of this war, nor neather did I, untill the 21st day of August, our town was surprised about day light, by 300 men headed by Quandrel who murdered every man that came in their way, most of our people were in bed, and the Rebels would knock at the door and when the men opened the door, they would shoot them down, and then rush in, and set fire to the house, threatening death to the women, if they stird, and by that way the House would get to burning so fast, that it would be impossable to get the bodys of their Husbands out, so that they would have to burn up.

Elizabeth also described the raid in a letter to her mother; this document is included in Spencer’s current exhibit about Quantrill’s Raid and can be accessed with a transcription as part of our accompanying online exhibit (see http://exhibits.lib.ku.edu/exhibits/show/quantrill/after/item/6144).

Another early Kansas woman, Sarah Goss Clark, left Pewaukee, Wisconsin, and moved to Kansas with her husband Lymon (Timothy Limon Clark) in 1864. Sarah’s brother Nathaniel was a noted ornithologist who helped found Neosho Falls in 1857. As is often the case regarding migrations, other family members eventually joined him in Kansas. The Sarah Goss Clark papers include her diaries from 1864 to 1874, correspondence with her mother and siblings, and other miscellaneous items. In her earliest diary, Sarah discusses many of her family members and the trials she faced during her first year in Kansas.

Image of entries in Sarah Goss Clark's diary, July-December 1864

Entries in Sarah Goss Clark’s diary, July-December 1864, Sarah Goss Clark Papers,
Call Number: RH MS 839. Click image to enlarge.

Image of entries in Sarah Goss Clark's diary, January 1865

Entries in Sarah Goss Clark’s diary, January 1865, Sarah Goss Clark Papers,
Call Number: RH MS 839. Click image to enlarge.

July 4. 1864. First spent in Kansas. Joseph & Alex. went to Leroy on horsback for the fourth. Doing my work with Little Lucy’s help.
Nov.24th Thanksgiving day. We are paying no attention to the day Lyman & Stickney
[her husband and brother] gone to find and purchase some oxen.
Sunday. Christmas. Feel lonley today. I feel that many changes have taken place in our situation & family since last Christmas. It is just four monthes to day since our dear little Freddie died. The thoughts of it fills me with sadness.
Jan. 7th my birthday forty seven to-day. Why have I been spared so many years, when so many promising young lives have been taken.

When we read these women’s original letters to their “Dear Mothers” and the diary entries they wrote, we can feel their joys and sorrows and gain a deeper understanding of the everyday challenges faced by Kansas’ earliest settlers.

Tina Nolan Shepperd
Student Technician, Conservation Services

The Young Poisoner’s Handbook

October 18th, 2013

Sir Joseph Fayrer’s account of the Thanatophidia is important as a classic, systematic account of the venomous snakes of India. This second edition (the first was in 1872) was improved with the addition of text, even though the 31 lithographs (including 28 chromolithos) are identical in both editions.

Fayrer conducted extensive studies of the poison apparatus in Indian snakes and was responsible for many advances in the treatment of snakebite, including the use of potassium permanganate, of which he was the originator.

Image of a cobra, Ophiophagus Elaps (plate 8) from Fayrer's the Thanatophidia of India

Above:  Plate 8 (Ophiophagus Elaps) from Joseph Fayrer’s The Thanatophidia of India,  second edition. London: J. and A. Churchill, 1874. Call Number: H199. Click image to enlarge.

The venomous snakes, and by extension all snakes, get a bad rap for what is primarily an extremely efficient food-getting mechanism, only secondarily defensive.  Unless they are themselves attached, they kill other animals only for food.  How else to get supper without either arms or legs?  For a snake, there’s constriction or there’s fangs, although the spitting cobras of Africa send their poison by air-mail, blinding their victim.  There is some question among herpetologists about whether the black mamba (the largest venomous snake in Africa) or the cobra, shown here in a very striking pose, will actually attack a human.  Most snakes will try to escape a predator. In the United States, some species, such as the cottonmouth, will stand their ground and strike if the unwary come to close.

Sally Haines
Rare Books Cataloger
Adapted from her Spencer Research Library exhibit and catalog, Slithy Toves: Illustrated Classic Herpetological Books at the University of Kansas in Pictures and Conservations

Floating through Homecoming

October 3rd, 2013

The tradition of Homecoming, or welcoming back alumni to the University, conjures up images of crisp fall weather, football teams battling on the gridiron, dancing couples, and . . . floats! For many years KU groups have created floats from chicken wire, wood, crepe paper, and other materials to display in the Homecoming parade.

Photograph of students constructing a homecoming float.

Students construct a Homecoming float in 1969.
Call number: 71/1 /1969/0347. University Archives. Click image to enlarge.

The theme of the floats most typically involves the Homecoming football game–Jayhawk victoriously represented and opponent mascot whimpering in defeat–but not always.

Photograph of a homecoming float.     Photograph of a homecoming float.

Homecoming floats from 1937 (left) and the 1950s (right).
Respective call numbers: 71/1/1937/005 and 71/1/1950s/0110, University Archives. Click images to enlarge.

Enjoy some pictures from the University Archives of Homecoming floats of the past. For more images see the University’s Archives digital collections.

Photograph of a homecoming float.  Photograph of a homecoming float.

A snowman float (?!) from 1946 (left) and a cowboy Jayhawk from 1980 (right).
Respective call numbers: 71/1/1946/0076 and 71/1/1980/0518. University Archives. Click images to enlarge.

Whitney Baker
Head, Conservation Services