Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Locating a Picture: Finding the Location of the 50th Anniversary Photo of the Quantrill Raid Survivors

January 31st, 2014

For my class project in GEOG 658, I attempted to find the backdrop of the 1913 photo of the Quantrill raid survivors using GIS (Geographic Information Systems). The only aspect of the photo that is known is that it was taken in Lawrence. Beyond that, the exact location of this photo is unspecified.

Survivors of Quantrill's Raid, Lawrence, KS, August 21, 1913. Call number RH PH 18 L.8.2ff. Kansas Collection, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.,

Photograph of survivors of Quantrill’s Raid, Lawrence, KS, August 21, 1913.
Call number RH PH 18 L.8.2ff. Kansas Collection, Kenneth Spencer Research Library.
Click image to enlarge and view.

The photo reveals important information about its location. Judging by the position of the people relative to the central building in the backdrop, the photo was taken at an intersection of two roads. The heights of the adjacent buildings are also visible. Identifying the stories of the adjacent buildings and their sequence from the corner building provides an identifiable skyline to locate using other sources, such as the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps and Google Street View. Sanborn Fire Insurance maps show the relation of the buildings to one another and to the city streets, as well as tell the heights of the buildings. A trolley line is also visible to the left of the buildings.

Eldridge House from Sanborn map

Detail of Eldridge House plan from the Lawrence, KS Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1912.
Massachusetts Street is at the top of the image.
Call number RH Map Sanborn, Lawrence 1912, sheet 4. Kansas Collection, Kenneth Spencer Research Library. Click image to enlarge.

I used GIS software to map the 1910 trolley line onto a modern map of downtown Lawrence and to mark the heights of buildings around each intersection. With this information combined into one map, I was able to narrow down the locations for the photograph.

From this investigation, the most likely location for the 1913 photograph is the Southwest corner of Massachusetts and 7th streets, where the Eldridge stands. This location is at an intersection, was historically located along the trolley tracks, and the building heights of the adjacent buildings appear to match the sequence observed in the historic photo. The 1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance map shows several businesses located on the first floor, including an Express Office, Telegraph Office, and Barbershop. A close look at the 1913 photo shows the advertisements for these businesses.

Detail of Survivors of Quantrill's Raid, Lawrence, KS, August 21, 1913. Call number RH PH 18 L.8.2ff. Kansas Collection, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.   Detail of Survivors of Quantrill's Raid, Lawrence, KS, August 21, 1913. Call number RH PH 18 L.8.2ff. Kansas Collection, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.,

Detail of Survivors of Quantrill's Raid, Lawrence, KS, August 21, 1913. Call number RH PH 18 L.8.2ff. Kansas Collection, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Details from photograph of survivors of Quantrill’s Raid, Lawrence, KS, August 21, 1913.
Wells Fargo Express Office, Telegraph Office, and Hodges Bros. Hotel Barber Shop.
Call number RH PH 18 L.8.2ff. Kansas Collection, Kenneth Spencer Research Library.

Jennie Ashton
Conservation Student Assistant
Graduate Student, Museum Studies

The Magic of Oz: A Collection Celebrating a Classic

January 24th, 2014

Like many people, I suspect, my knowledge of The Wizard of Oz has been limited to the 1939 MGM movie, which turns seventy-five years old this year. However, in recent months I’ve had the opportunity to learn a great deal more about the topic from Jane Albright, an Oz collector in Kansas City, Missouri, with an impressively comprehensive knowledge of all things related to the beloved story.

Image of Jane Albright in front of Oz exhibit at KSRL, 1977

As a student at KU, Jane Albright won the Snyder Book Collecting Contest
for her Oz collection in 1977. She is shown here with some of her books,
which were then displayed as a year-long exhibit in the Kansas Collection
at Spencer Research Library. From the collection of Jane Albright.

Jane and I have been collaborating to develop Spencer’s current exhibit, “The Magic of Oz: A Collection Celebrating a Classic.” The exhibition features books and other items from Jane’s wonderfully extensive collection of Oz materials and uses them to explore some of the contexts in which The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) was created and enjoyed by readers. Jane and I also hope that visitors will come away from the exhibit excited by the “fantastic host of characters, marvelous adventures, and strong sense of place” found within the Oz stories, much as Jane fell in love with them as a young girl growing up in Topeka, Kansas.

Image of the cover of By the Candelabra's Glare 1898

By the Candelabra’s Glare (1898) is a collection of Baum’s
own verse. He printed and bound each of the ninety-nine copies
himself. This copy is marked No. 2 and inscribed to his oldest son.
From the collection of Jane Albright.

Included in the exhibit are early editions and more-recent foreign-language translations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; examples other works written by L. Frank Baum or illustrated by W. W. Denslow, two men who had prolific careers beyond the Oz stories; ephemera from the 1903 stage musical based on the book, which was the greatest Broadway hit of its time; and copies of Oz books written by Baum and other authors. Noteworthy are the several exceptionally rare pieces from Jane’s collection that are included in the exhibit.

Image of Wizard of Oz postcard 1906

This postcard showing a scene from The Wizard of Oz stage musical has been
time-stamped and annotated. It was postmarked in Milwaukee on February 8, 1906,
and sent to a Mrs. Parish in Delavan, Wisconsin. From the collection of Jane Albright.

“The Magic of Oz: A Collection Celebrating a Classic” is free and open to the public in the Exhibit Gallery during Spencer’s regular hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and (when KU classes are in session) Saturday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. The exhibit will run through Saturday, April 19th. For additional information, please contact Caitlin Donnelly at (785) 864-4456 or cdonnelly@ku.edu.

KU Libraries will host a reception and lecture by Jane Albright later in the spring. The event is scheduled for Thursday, April 17th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Spencer Research Library. More information will soon be available at www.lib.ku.edu/events.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Collection Snapshot: Amiri Baraka (1934-2014)

January 18th, 2014

Last week, the poet, playwright, and critic Amiri Baraka died at the age of 79. Baraka (who was born Everett Leroy Jones and published as LeRoi Jones until the late sixties) was a founder of the Black Arts Movement.  As his New York Times obituary suggests, his career took many turns and was punctuated by both accolades and controversy, but there can be little doubt that he was a significant figure for post-WWII American literary culture.  The Kenneth Spencer Research Library houses over 45 items by or containing contributions from Amiri Baraka, with more than double that amount in the KU Libraries circulating collections. Spencer’s holdings include several scarce or ephemeral items, such as an advance proof of his important study Blues People: Negro Music in White America (1963),  a 1965 fundraising letter for the Black Arts Repertory Theater/school of Harlem, the illustrated broadside A Traffic of Love (1967), and the 13-page mimeograph edition of his play Slave Ship, An Historical Pageant (ca. 1967).

 

Photograph of the covers of all eight issues of Yugen (1958-1962)

Yugen, edited by LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) and Hettie Cohen. Nos. 1-8 (1958-1962). Call Number: Ser C170. Click image to enlarge.

 Among our earliest holdings for Baraka is a complete run of the journal Yugen (1958-1962), which he edited with his first wife, Hettie Cohen.  Only eight issues of the magazine were published, and it included contributions from writers such as William Burroughs, Robert Creeley, Diane DiPrima, Allen Ginsberg, and Gary Snyder. Spencer’s holdings are strongest for the first decade and a half of Baraka’s career, from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, during which time he was associated first with the Beats and then the Black Arts Movement.

Elspeth Healey
Special Collections Librarian

 

 

The Double

January 10th, 2014

The statue of The Bronze Horseman (= Peter the Great, the inspired hero, rash, speedy, proud, majestic, handsome, and yes, six and a half feet tall in real life!) symbolized a powerful upsurge in Russian energy (and the horse and his rider are pointed westward). Indeed it is the subject of many a frontispiece in our holdings of St. Petersburg travel literature, and is immortalized in Pushkin’s poem, “The Bronze Horseman.”

Frontispiece illustration of the statue, "The Bronze Horseman," (i.e. Peter, the Great) from Granville's " St. Petersburg. A journal of travels to and from that capital." (1829, 2nd Edition)

Statue of Peter the Great: Frontispiece from Augustus Bozzi Granville’s St. Petersburg.
A Journal of Travels to and from that Capita
l. 2nd ed., carefully revised and with considerable
additions. London: H. Colburn 1829. 2 vols. Call Number: C9755, v.1. Click image to enlarge.

French sculptor Étienne-Maurice Falconet was commissioned by Catherine II on recommendation of Diderot to erect a memorial to Peter I. Falconet apparently had only unhappy experiences during his Russian years and never came back to see his masterpiece in place and ready to leap into the no longer frozen future. Falconet knew that Catherine abhorred allegory, and he himself did not want a “Peter in Roman armor.” On this matter he locked horns with Ivan Betskoi of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts. In the end he had his way artistically, but we have seen no images amongst our holdings that do it justice for display. Obviously this is one statue that must be seen “in the flesh.”

The story of the hauling from Finland of the granite block on which this saddle-sore Peter and his horse are erected is as dramatic as the story of obtaining the rock and wooden underpinnings of St. P., the city, in 1703. Both were the death of many a good Russian.

The biography of Granville, from whose travel journal the above frontispiece illustration is taken, reads like Candide: his Cornish mother’s death-bed wish was that he take a British last name, but in fact he was an Italian patriot and political rabble-rouser, journalist, actor, and eventually physician. He first visited Petersburg in 1827, a second time in 1829 as physician, when he predicted Nicholas would die before July 1855.

Sally Haines
Rare Books Cataloger

Adapted from her Spencer Research Library exhibit, Frosted Windows: 300 Years of St. Petersburg Through Western Eyes.