Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Beat Oklahoma Edition

October 29th, 2015

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 9,800 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

This Saturday’s Homecoming game will be against Oklahoma, so this week’s photo – taken by well-known Lawrence photographer Duke D’Ambra – captures the Jayhawks’ dramatic win over the Sooners in the 1946 game at Memorial Stadium.

Photograph of a football game versus Oklahoma, 1946

KU’s winning field goal against Oklahoma on November 9, 1946.
Photograph by Duke D’Ambra. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/14 1946 Games Oklahoma: Athletic Department: Football (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Information on the back of the photograph describes what happened.

At the KU-Oklahoma game in Lawrence, Kans. in 1946 it was foggy, dark, gloomy – and the score was 13-13 – and only one minute and 20 seconds remaining. With K.U. in possession, Paul Turner, an unknown, came on the field and kicked a field goal to win for Kansas. See the ball over the bars?

A May 22, 1972, article in the Lawrence Journal-World announced D’Ambra’s death and further described the scene captured in the photograph. As the article also noted, D’Amdra was a “familiar figure on the sidelines at KU sports events.”

One of [D’Ambra’s] most famous photos came in November of 1946 when Kansas and Oklahoma were tied 13-all in a league football title showdown. With 75 seconds left, KU’s Paul Turner was called on to try an “impossible” field goal from 41 yards out in a driving rain that made Memorial Stadium‘s field a quagmire.

D’Ambra, with a beat-up box-style Graflex camera was the only photographer to get into place for the shot. Turner did the “impossible” and D’Ambra chronicled the ball passing through the crossbars to give Kansas a 16-13 upset of the powerful Sooners.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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

Prohibition in Kansas

October 28th, 2015

On October 28, 1919, Congress passed the National Prohibition Act, making it illegal to produce, sell or transport “intoxicating” liquors. It passed in spite of President Wilson’s veto. It was also known as the Volstead Act, named after Congressman Andrew J. Volstead of Minnesota, who worked closely with the Anti-Saloon League to draft and promote the bill until it became law. The Volstead Act implemented the Prohibition (Eighteenth) Amendment by defining the process and procedures for banning alcoholic beverages, as well as their production and distribution.

Photograph of men drinking in saloon just before the start of Prohibition, 1919

Men at an unknown saloon in June 1919. The caption reads “fill ’em up, boys; last chance.”
Ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment was certified on January 16, 1919;
it took effect one year later. Call Number: PH PH P238. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Ardmore [Oklahoma] Police Department members pouring out barrels of alcohol, November 22, 1916

Ardmore [Oklahoma] Police Department members pouring out barrels of alcohol,
November 22, 1916. Call Number: PH PH P1617. Click image to enlarge.

In Kansas, however, prohibition had been an issue even before statehood in 1861. Organized groups such as the Order of Good Templars, the Kansas State Temperance Union, and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union fought for statewide prohibition, eventually establishing Kansas as the first state to adopt prohibition into its constitution. Strongly prohibitionist, Republican governor John P. St. John was elected in 1878, and by this time the legislature was like-minded. The state law was ratified by voters in November 1880, and prohibition in Kansas took effect on January 1, 1881, making it illegal to manufacture or sell intoxicating liquors in the state.

Photograph of Kansas delegates to Michigan prohibition meeting, undated

Kansas delegates to a Michigan prohibition meeting, undated.
Call Number: RH PH P164. Click image to enlarge.

Pages from Prohibition pamphlets

A Prohibition pamphlet published in Kansas City, Kansas,
by M. A. Waterman, etc., 1911. Call Number: RH C4581.
Click image to enlarge.

Prohibition may have been the law of the land in Kansas, but saloons and bars simply paid fines and used loopholes in the law to stay in business. Established temperance organizations still worked to get stronger laws and ensure enforcement of them, but the failure to enforce the law, combined with a decline of support for prohibition among the general population, caused a rise of prohibitionist radicals such as Carrie Nation (1846-1911). Nation and her followers attracted attention to the liquor issue by using unconventional methods, such as smashing saloons with rocks and hatchets and getting arrested as a result. Topeka, Kansas, became Nation’s home base as she traveled around, in state and out, taking her message to the people. While her methods may have been radical, they did get results. She addressed a joint session of the Kansas legislature, went on a lecture tour, and published a temperance newspaper called the Smasher’s Mail. In 1907 the government began real enforcement of the prohibition laws, and the governor and the legislature made the laws stronger, closing loopholes.

Cover of The Smasher’s Mail, 1901

The Smasher’s Mail, edited by Carrie Nation,
“your loving home defender.”
Topeka, Kansas: Nick Chiles, 1901.
Call Number: RH VLT H5. Click image to enlarge.

For several years national, state, and local law enforcement officials worked to make the country “dry.” However, by the 1930s, most citizens thought prohibition had failed, and the amendment was repealed by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. However, in Kansas prohibition continued to be the law until 1948, when it was finally voted down. Alcohol in Kansas returned to being subject to local option laws, much like those that had been in place seventy years before.

Image of two songs in the Prohibition Bugle Call, 1887

Two songs from The Prohibition Bugle Call: New Songs for Prohibition Clubs,
Temperance Societies, Gospel Temperance Meetings and the Home Circle
by H. H. Hawley.
New York: Biglow & Main, 1887. Call Number: Shull C148. Click image to enlarge.

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Trick-or-Treat Edition

October 22nd, 2015

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 9,800 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Photograph of the Hilltop Child Development Center Halloween Parade, 1987-1988

The Hilltop Child Development Center Halloween Parade
passing by Spooner Hall, 1987-1988. Photo by Robbin Loomas Kern.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/42 1987/1988 Prints
University General: Hilltop Daycare (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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

Item Feature: La Sfera, a 15th century schoolbook

October 19th, 2015

La Sfera, a 15th-century schoolbook, opens with basic concepts of cosmography and geography and ends with an itinerary of seaports of the southern Mediterranean and Black Seas. This manuscript poem in Italian is illustrated with astronomical and geographical diagrams, a drawing of the Tower of Babel, and miniature extracts from sea charts showing the coasts described.

Special Collections, Spencer Research Library, Call number Pryce MS P4.

Fig. 1. Diagrams showing celestial bodies and the division of the Earth into zones according to classical tradition appear near the beginning of La Sfera (ff.2v-3r). Special Collections, call number Pryce MS P4. Click image to enlarge.

Portolan charts, a type of sea chart that originated in the Mediterranean and was used in navigation from circa 1300 until the late 1600s, formed the model for the map illustrations in La Sfera.

Special Collections, Spencer Research Library, Call number Pryce MS P4.

Fig. 2. The portolan-style map illustrations exaggerate the shape of the seacoast and emphasize coastal place names and major cities (here Tripoli and Tunis), as well as giving approximate distances (f. 21v). Special Collections, call number Pryce MS P4. Click image to enlarge.

Some have attributed its authorship to Leonardo Dati (1362-1425), but, as a leader of the Dominican order, he was unlikely to have written a textbook in Italian. Boys destined for the law and Holy Orders were taught in Latin, while education for commercial careers took place in vernacular lay schools.

Special Collections, Spencer Research Library, Call number Pryce MS P4.  Special Collections, Spencer Research Library, Call number Pryce MS P4.

Figs. 3a-b. The text and place names are in Italian. The pen-and-ink drawings of mountains, water features, and the cities of Damascus and Jerusalem have been colored with watercolor washes (f. 22v). Left: overall view, right: detail of Jerusalem. Special Collections, call number Pryce MS P4. Click images to enlarge.

The confusion about authorship arose, because La Sfera’s author was Leonardo’s elder brother, Gregorio (Goro) Dati (1362-1435), a Florentine silk merchant whose 20 children (by a succession of four wives) doubtless provided the inspiration for writing La Sfera. The survival of more than 150 manuscript copies and several printed editions from the 15th and 16th centuries attests to La Sfera’s popularity. Goro Dati knew the Mediterranean Sea firsthand from trading voyages on merchant vessels, but he left La Sfera’s circuit of the Mediterranean coasts unfinished, perhaps because he died while writing it. In 1514 Giovanni Maria Tolosani completed and published the itinerary as a printed book.

La Sfera is written in ottava rima, a form of poetry employing stanzas of eight lines. It belongs to an Italian tradition of vernacular geographical poetry, known as geografie metriche. A later example was Francesco Berlingieri’s publication in 1482 of Geographia of the ancient Greek geographer, Claudius Ptolemy, re-written in Italian verse. Also dating from the 1480s were Bartolomeo dalli Sonetti (Zamberti)’s sonnets in Venetian dialect about the Greek islands. The ease of memorizing poetry may account for its use in textbooks published elsewhere in 16th-century Europe, such as the 2nd edition Johannes Honter’s Rudimenta Cosmographia published in Latin verse in Kronstadt (now Brasnow, Romania). Based on its script and paper watermarks, Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s manuscript copy dates from circa 1450. As well as annotations, the dirty outer leaves, stains left by spilled liquid, and the remains of a snakeskin used as a bookmark attest to its use.

Special Collections, Spencer Research Library, Call number Pryce MS P4.  Pryce MS P4 ff. 11r detail finger

Figs. 4a-b. The leaves in this opening have added marginal notes and a passage marked by a pointing finger (ff. 10v-11r). Left: overall view, right: detail of pointing finger. Special Collections, call number Pryce MS P4. Click images to enlarge.

This manuscript was probably used first as a textbook, without a cover, and later bound in a codex with other texts, from which it had been separated before its acquisition in 1966.

Karen Severud Cook
Special Collections Librarian

Throwback Thursday: Alexander Gardner Edition

October 15th, 2015

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 8,200 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

This week’s images are among the earliest we have of the KU campus, showing the new university within its first two years. The stereoviews were taken by renowned Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner in 1867 and 1868 for his series Across the Continent on the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division. Gardner’s 194th birthday is this Saturday, October 17th. These photographs form part of the George Allen Photograph Collection in Spencer’s Kansas Collection.

View of North College, 1867

“State University, Lawrence, Kansas,” 1867-1868. Shown is North College,
the first building at KU and its only structure until 1872. Located on forty acres
donated by former Kansas governor Charles Robinson and his wife Sara,
the site was located where Corbin and Gertrude Sellards Pearson Halls currently stand.
Alexander Gardner, Across the Continent on the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division.
George Allen Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH 137. Click image to enlarge.

View of Lawrence from fort with KU on left, 1867

“Lawrence, Kansas from Fort. State University, on the Left,” 1867-1868.
Alexander Gardner, Across the Continent on the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division.
George Allen Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH 137. Click image to enlarge.

View of Lawrence from Mount Oread, 1867

Back of stereograph card, 1867

Front and back of the stereoview card, “Lawrence, Kansas, from
Mount Oriad [sic], Kansas,” 1867-1868. Alexander Gardner,
Across the Continent on the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division.
George Allen Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH 137. Click image to enlarge.

Author John Charlton provides some context for these images in his article “Westward, The Course of Empire Takes Its Way” (Kansas History, Summer 1997).

[Gardner’s] series of stereographic images begins at the Union Pacific Railway, ED, company offices and depot in St. Louis, Missouri, and follows the railroad’s construction progress westward between Kansas City, Missouri, to just past Fort Hays, on the High Plains…

Gardner’s photographs in Kansas, and his photographs along the survey for the railway company’s planned future route, were made in the late summer of 1867 through the winter of 1868 between St. Louis, Missouri, and San Francisco, California. He was commissioned by Union Pacific officials to make this photographic series to illustrate the company’s report of its survey of a southern railroad route across the continent with the goal of gaining congressional approval of federal funding for construction. The Union Pacific Railway, ED, line was in close competition with the Omaha-based Union Pacific Railroad to build the first transcontinental railroad (118).

You can further explore KU’s early years by visiting Spencer’s current exhibit, “Achievement of a Dream: The Birth of the University of Kansas.”

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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