Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Scroll box

December 24th, 2013

Recently, conservation student assistant, Jordan Key, constructed a series of scroll boxes from scrap materials we had on hand: corrugated board, cord, and posts for post bindings. The directions for these scroll boxes were provided by KU’s Japanese Studies Librarian, who received them in a workshop in Japan. Although we could not read the text in the scroll housing directions, the diagrams were easy to follow.

Box for scroll.   Box containing scroll

Box closed (L) and opened (R). Great Britain. Court of Chancery. Decree rolls. 1726-1728.
Call number: MS Roll 1. Special Collections.

Jordan added foam inserts on the ends for scrolls wound on wooden dowels to prevent these scrolls from being crushed. I was pleased by the final results–quick to make, elegant in appearance, and easy to use. This is a wonderful solution for materials that are too long to store flattened.

Previously, Spencer Library’s scrolls were either stored with many rolled items to a box, or not boxed at all. Now that they are each in their own box, paging these scrolls for patrons will be easier and safer.

Whitney Baker
Head, Conservation Services

Cards of Christmas Past: 1900s – 1920s

December 20th, 2013

***Reminder: The Kenneth Spencer Research Library will be closed December 21-December 29, 2013 and January 1, 2014. ***

The 2013 holiday season is underway, and many of us are preparing to send (or have sent) cards to friends and family.  With this in mind, we share some cards and postcards of Christmas Past (1900s-1920s).

Christmas Postcards: 1903 – 1907

"A Merry Christmas"; Christmas postcard 1903 Christmas Postcard featuring children hanging stockings by the fire, ca. 1900-1910 "A Merry Christmas"; Christmas postcard 1907

Left to right:  Postmarked 1903, from Cleveland, Ohio to Leona Baumgartner in Lawrence, Kansas;
Addressed to Leona Baumgartner, undated; Postmarked 1907, from Chicago, IL
to Leona Baumgartner in Lawrence, Kansas.  Anna Olinger Papers. PP 113 Box 1. Click images to enlarge.

These three Christmas postcards were sent to a very young Leona Baumgartner (1902-1991).  Baumgartner was a prominent doctor who served as the first female Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Health. This national figure was also a Jayhawk; earning a BA in Bacteriology and MA in Immunology at KU.   Explore Leona Baumgartner’s life through several of Spencer’s other collections: the Personal Papers of Leona Baumgartner (PP 52) and J. W. Miller Collection (RH MS 960) and the Kansas Newspaper Clippings Collection (RH MS 828).

Christmas Cards and Postcards: 1913 – 1918

"Best Wishes": front of Holiday card.

"With Best Wishes for a Bright and Happy Christmastide;" Holiday card, interior (from "Robert"), undated.

"Christmas Greeting" holiday postcard, 1913

"When Shepherds watched their flocks by night"; Christmas card, 1913   "A Merry Christmas to You" Christmas card, 1918

Holiday cards from the Robert L. Gilbert Papers.
Top: Holiday card from “Robert,” undated. Center: “Christmas Greeting” postcard,
postmarked December 22, 1913 and addressed to Mrs. R. L. Gilbert, Lawrence, Kansas.
Bottom left: Card postmarked December 24, 1913, addressed to Mr. & Mrs. R. L. Gilbert,
Lawrence, Kansas, and sent from Meridian, Mississippi. Bottom right: Card postmarked
December 24, 1918, addressed to Mrs. R. L. Gilbert, Lawrence, Kansas. Sent from
Lawrence, Kansas. Robert L. Gilbert Papers. RH MS P764, folder1. Click images to enlarge.

Robert L Gilbert (1898 – 1987) was born in Lawrence, KS. He joined the Navy in 1917 and served during World War I as an airplane mechanic, deployed in France.  He returned to Lawrence to attend KU (1919-1923), graduating with a degree in Journalism. The cards pictured above come from his family’s collection (RH MS P764), though the card at the top perhaps bears the signature of the young Robert. Learn more about Robert L Gilbert his Personal Papers, (PP 223), which consist primarily of letters from France but which also include a Christmas Dinner menu from 1918.

Christmas Cards and Postcards: 1917 – 1920

Christmas Greeting with printed poem, "To My Old Friend," 1917

"A Merry Christmas" (card with candle), 1917 Card, "Bringing you best wishes for Christmas and the New Year," 1920

To Miss H. Morrison, Glendive, Montana, sent from New York, New York,
postmarked December 23, 1917 (top), from New York, New York, postmarked
December 24, 1917 (bottom left), and to Harriet in Bloomfield, New Jersey,
sent from New York, New York, postmarked December 22, 1920.
Lionel A. Anderson Collection. RH MS 624, Folder 16.

Harriet M. Kemper Morrison was a nurse at the Northern Pacific Railway Hospital in Glendive, Montana, where she met Dr. Lionel Anderson. The collection consists primarily of letters (1917 – 1920) from Lionel  to Harriet, his fiance; however it also includes holiday cards from a variety of senders. The beige card featuring a candle dates from 1917 and contains the following message:

There are miles and miles
Between us and it is days
And days since we’ve met. But
This little Christmas Greeting
Will prove. I haven’t forgotten you yet.
Signed:  With Best Wishes, Lovingly, Frances

Christmas Cards and Postcards: 1925 – 1927

Holiday card from "Shorty," undated: "A Merry Christmas"  Holiday Card, 1925: "Christmas Greetings!" Holiday card: "Christmas Greetings! Christmas Cheer", 1927

Cards sent to the Reichert family. Undated card from “Shorty” (top left);
Card from Frankie to Mr. Carroll Reichert, Seneca, Kansas, postmarked
December 21, 1925 and sent from Topeka, Kansas (top right).
Card postmarked December 20, 1927 to Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Riechert, Seneca, Kansas,
and sent from Leavenworth, Kansas (bottom).
Albert. A. Reichert papers. RH MS 1028, Folder 7. Click to enlarge.

Albert A. Reichert lived for many years in Seneca, KS, with his wife Myrtle and son Carroll.  He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War, serving with the 22nd Kansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

Meredith Huff
Building Operations and Stacks Manager, Public Services Student Assistant Co-Supervisor

Holiday Shopping for the Man in Your Life

December 13th, 2013

With the holiday season upon us, finding the perfect gift for a loved one can be a formidable endeavor. If you’re struggling to find something for a difficult-to-shop-for man in your life, let the resources at Spencer Research Library help you out! For example, check out The Gentleman’s Quarterly Christmas Gift Book, issued in 1928 by Ober’s Head-to-Foot Outfitters of Lawrence, Kansas.

Image of The Gentleman's Quarterly Christmas Gift Book, cover, 1928

The cover page of The Gentleman’s Quarterly Christmas Gift Book 1928.
Kansas Collection. Call Number: RH Ser D1932 1928.
Click image to enlarge.

Image of The Gentleman's Quarterly Christmas Gift Book, page 3, 1928

According to the Gift Book‘s introduction,”women may
use our magazine as an unfailing guide in the search
for gentleman’s gifts that are entirely desirable.”

Image of The Gentleman's Quarterly Christmas Gift Book, page 5, 1928
For the gamer in your life, note item #13: “English pigskin bridge set
with score pad, pencil and packs of gilt edged cards.” Click image to enlarge.

Image of The Gentleman's Quarterly Christmas Gift Book, page 6, 1928
The Gift Book advises shoppers (next page, not shown) that “few Christmas gifts are
as acceptable to a man as a smart robe.” Click image to enlarge.

Image of The Gentleman's Quarterly Christmas Gift Book, page12, 1928

Modern readers of the Gift Book may be amused to see “Sports Essentials”
defined as sweaters, golf hose, and a pigskin leather cigarette and key case. Click image to enlarge.

Image of The Gentleman's Quarterly Christmas Gift Book, page 14, 1928Image of The Gentleman's Quarterly Christmas Gift Book, page 15, 1928
Image of The Gentleman's Quarterly Christmas Gift Book, page 16, 1928

Customers at Ober’s Head-to-Foot Outfitters could choose from an assortment of mufflers, hosiery,
and handkerchiefs, in addition to neckties. Click images to enlarge.

Image of The Gentleman's Quarterly Christmas Gift Book, page 17, 1928

As the Gift Book explains on the following page (not shown):
“There is no compromise with correctness where evening attire is concerned. A man’s turn-out
is either right or wrong. Intelligence is the prime requisite in
selecting full dress or dinner clothes. With such a guide, men will never be
intrigued by any of the innumerable ‘fads’ that are proffered in the name of
‘dress clothes and accessories.’ This store is thoroughly acquainted
with the style requirements of thoughtfully attired men and young men.
We are in constant touch with the smart European and American gatherings places
of men who possess the sort of wearables that are beyond reproach.” Click image to enlarge.

Meredith Huff
Building Operations and Stacks Manager, Public Services Student Assistant Co-Supervisor

To Remember World AIDS Day: The Rich Crank AIDS Poster Collection

December 5th, 2013

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day (on December 1, 2013), we speak with KU Libraries staff member Rich Crank, who recently donated about 175 posters and related materials about AIDS awareness to the Kansas Collection.

When, why and how did you start this collection?

I started actively collecting materials in the mid-1990s. Being gay, I’d learned about what we now know as HIV/AIDS when the first stories about a “gay cancer” started to circulate.

I knew better than to believe that cancer could distinguish people by sexual orientation and quickly found out it was an already-known cancer that had previously been found in older men whose immune systems had weakened as they aged. But these clusters of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) were among young gay men who had been healthy until the onset of KS. I also learned that Pneumocystis pneumonia was suddenly appearing in the gay community that also was a sign of a compromised immune-system.

In January of 1993, I learned that a very dear friend, Benet Hanlon, had died of AIDS months earlier. Benet had been a Catholic priest I met at KU. He left Lawrence and moved to Baltimore where he founded a soup kitchen named Beans and Bread that still exists. Though a priest, Benet knew and accepted that he was gay. He finally left the priesthood while in Baltimore. I decided to do something in his memory that would increase awareness of HIV and AIDS. My poster collection is the result and I exhibited them locally multiple times over the years. All the exhibitions, as well as the donation of the posters to Spencer Library, were in Benet’s memory.

RH Q247 Stamps

Commemorative AIDS awareness U.S. Stamp sheet. Kansas Collection, Call number RH Q247. Click image to enlarge.

How many posters and other items are there in it?

There are about 175 posters in the collection. I’ve used the internet to search some digitized collections and some of my posters seem to be pretty rare among U.S. libraries. There’s at least one from every continent except Antarctica. Along with the posters, I donated a number of books, magazines, and other material about HIV/AIDS.

What do you find most interesting about them?

The range of presentation seems amazing to me. Obviously some target gay men but most don’t. Some use only words, others include both text and images. Many are black and white. Among my favorites are three from Boston’s AIDS Action Committee that are titled “Best time to talk with your partner about condoms is …”; they use text and typography alone to convey their messages in a novel – and humorous – way. “Condoman,” from Australia, and the Canadian “Look who can get AIDS” posters are also especially memorable.

RH R307 Best time to talk   RH R247 Condom man

Left: “The best time to talk with your partner about condoms is . . .” Kansas Collection, Call number RH R307.
Right: “Condoman . . .” Kansas Collection, Call number RH R247. Click images to enlarge.

How can they be used in research and/or teaching?

I thought a lot about that as I considered whether to try to sell them as a collection or donate them so they could be freely available to anyone interested in them. Donating the collection to Spencer Research Library makes the latter possible. It occurred to me that they could be of value for students and researchers in visual arts and design, sociology, cultural anthropology, probably a number of other fields as well.

RH R230 Layton  RH R320 Keep it under wraps

Left: “Remembering NAMES” poster, designed by Kansas artist Elizabeth “Grandma” Layton.
Kansas Collection, Call number RH R230.
Right: “Keep it under wraps.” Kansas Collection, Call number RH R320. Click images to enlarge.

Rich Crank
Donor of AIDS Poster Collection and KU Libraries staff member