Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Women and World War I: Contributions at the University of Kansas

December 12th, 2016

Women at the University of Kansas contributed to the war effort in a variety of ways during World War I. Here’s a look at just some of the ways that KU women found to support the war effort, as illustrated by the collections in University Archives!

The physical education and English departments made their mark on the war effort through several organized projects. Students in various knitting and sewing classes made sheets and bed socks for hospitals and sweaters for the troops. Knitting classes were later disbanded temporarily to allow time and space for female students to make surgical dressings for military hospitals.

In addition, many women on campus also became involved with the Red Cross during the war via courses in home nursing and Red Cross organization and home relief.

Photograph of a surgical dressing class at KU, 1918

A surgical dressing class at KU, Jayhawker yearbook, 1918.
University Archives. Call Number: LD 2697 .J3 1918. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of surgical dressing and Red Cross pamphlet in the Florence Harkrader scrapbook, 1916-1919

Surgical dressing and Red Cross pamphlet in the Florence Harkrader scrapbook, 1916-1919.
University Archives. Call Number: SB 71/99. Click image to enlarge.

Food use and conservation was of utmost importance to the war effort. As Herbert Hoover, Director of the U.S. Food Administration during World War I, said: “if food fails, everything fails.” The need to educate the public on food conservation prompted the Food Administration to begin offering lectures and courses about food use and conservation at universities around the country, including KU. All female students at the University attended these lectures, entitled “Food and the War.”

With so many men enlisted in the Armed Forces, it fell to women and younger men to fill vacant positions in the work force here in the United States. Several female students enrolled in stenography, typewriting, and telegraphy courses through the University and the Lawrence Business College.

Advertisement for the Lawrence Business College, 1918

Advertisement for the Lawrence Business College,
Jayhawker yearbook, 1918. University Archives.
Call Number: LD 2697 .J3 1918. Click image to enlarge.

For additional information regarding the University of Kansas during World War I, please visit the Spencer Research Library and explore our University Archives collections – including items such as issues of The Graduate Magazine and Jayhawker yearbooks!

Emily Beran
Library Assistant
Public Services

Conserving Scrapbooks: A Unique Conservation Challenge

August 1st, 2016

I have spent this summer as the second Ringle Summer Intern in the Stannard Conservation Lab at the University of Kansas. My internship focused on a collection of 41 scrapbooks held by the University Archives. The project involved developing a survey tool, surveying the collection, identifying items for treatment, treating some items, and rehousing/housing modification all of the scrapbooks. Most of the books dated from the early 1900’s. They showcase student life leading up to and in the early stages of World War One. This insight into student life at a very interesting and volatile time, especially as we come to the 100 year anniversary of the United States entering the war, is why the Archives uses these materials as teaching tools with undergraduate students. The scrapbooks also include very interesting objects, like firecrackers with the line written next to them, “We shot up the house.” I was unable to discover which house they were talking about but I have no doubt they would have been in serious trouble for doing that today! From a conservation perspective these firecrackers required some consolidation and I discovered one of the fuses is still in place!

 Piece of hardtack from 71/99 McIntire scrapbook. University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library

Firecrackers in a scrapbook compiled by Emery McIntire, after treatment. Call number 71/99 McIntire. Click image to enlarge.

 

For more information about the project please see the story published in the Lawrence Journal-World in July: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2016/jul/04/century-old-ku-student-scrapbooks-pose-preservatio/

And for some video footage of the treatments please see the coverage from 41 Action News: http://www.kshb.com/news/region-kansas/ku-working-to-preserve-former-students-scrapbooks

I came into the project most excited about the problem-solving aspects of working with scrapbooks and I was not disappointed. Many conservators greatly enjoy the problem-solving we get to do every day to determine the correct treatment for objects. For conservation purposes scrapbooks are exceedingly complex and complicated objects. Usually they are made of cheap materials and contain a variety of attachment methods. This means that once they make it to a conservator’s bench they are normally quite fragile. The binding may be failing, the support paper is usually brittle, and the various types of attachment—glue, tape, staples, pins—may have partially or completely failed. Given all of this, determining the most appropriate treatment is not always an easy task.

For the scrapbooks I treated I came across two main problems: What is the most efficient way to mend the innumerable tears to the support pages? What is the best way to conserve objects found in the scrapbooks? Some of these objects include firecrackers, a Red Cross bandage, and a 100 year old piece of hardtack.

 71/99 Harkrader, Florence scrapbook. University Archives, Spencer Research Library. 71/99 Harkrader, Florence scrapbook. University Archives, Spencer Research Library.

Red Cross bandage in a scrapbook compiled by Florence Harkrader, before and after treatment. Call number 71/99 Harkrader. Click images to enlarge.

 

I found that the most efficient way to repair all the tears—averaging around 10 tears per page—was to use a remoistenable repair paper. I made this using a 10gsm tengujo Japanese paper and a 50/50 mix of wheat starch paste and methyl cellulose. Once this was dry I was able to score it into many different sized strips to fit the various sized tears I was repairing.

Of the two objects mentioned the bandage was the easier to conserve. It is pinned to the support page and can swivel a bit on the pin allowing it to extend beyond the edge of the book. This means that there are some creases and frayed areas that have developed over time. To conserve it I repositioned it to sit inside the edges of the book and flattened out the creases.

The hardtack required creative problem-solving. It had a number of problems. It was coming unstuck from the support paper, had a number of cracks, and has writing on it. The ink means that any organic solvent-based consolidant could not be used. Additionally, it was desirable to keep the hardtack on the page, rather than removing it and storing it separately. In the end it was decided to remove the page from the scrapbook (the book was already disbound and is not being rebound) and to store it in its own enclosure within the same box as the scrapbook. The hardtack was re-secured to the page using a very dry wheat starch paste. The page was put in a float mount and support pieces were made with cutouts for the hardtack on one side and a dance book on the other. All of this was then sandwiched between pieces of corrugated board with ties attached. This created a housing that will both protect the page and aid in flipping the page from one side to the other.

Piece of hardtack from 71/99 McIntire scrapbook. University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library Piece of hardtack from 71/99 McIntire scrapbook. University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library

Page from Emery McIntire’s scrapbook, featuring a piece of hardtack, before and after treatment. Call number 71/99 McIntire. Click images to enlarge.

 

Piece of hardtack from 71/99 McIntire scrapbook. University Archives, Kenneth Spencer Research Library

Detail of the hardtack. Call number 71/99 McIntire. Click image to enlarge.

This project allowed me to hone my skills in many areas of conservation. My project will allow for these scrapbooks to be accessed and stored more safely going forward. I highly recommend stopping by Spencer Research Library, calling one or two to the reading room, and losing yourself in KU’s past!

Noah Smutz
2016 Ringle Conservation Intern

Meet the KSRL Staff: Letha Johnson

July 11th, 2016

This is the eighth installment in what will be a recurring series of posts introducing readers to the staff of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. Letha Johnson is the Assistant Archivist for Spencer Research Library’s University Archives.

Letha Johnson, Assistant Archivist for the University Archives

Letha Johnson in front of Jayhawker Yearbooks which are part of the University Archives
reference collection found in the Marilyn Stokstad Reading Room at Spencer Research Library.

Where are you from?

Salina, KS.

What does your job at Spencer entail?

I am responsible for overseeing the appraisal, processing, management, and accessibility of records in the University archives regardless of physical format.  I work towards expanding the archives responsibility of the University’s electronic records and provide records management, reference, and outreach services across campus and beyond. I also ensure space is allocated for proper storage and order of collections in all formats and that knowledge of locations is maintained. By utilizing recognized standards and methodologies in managing digital collections and electronic records and media, I work towards expanding the availability of digital collections on the library website.

How did you come to work in archives? 

I wanted to do something in the history field besides teaching in secondary education.

What is one of the most interesting items you’ve come across in Spencer’s collections?

KU’s first account ledger from 1864 to 1867.  It has the names of prominent figures in KU, Lawrence, and Kansas history.

What part of your job do you like best?

There’s a great deal of variety in my job, so it’s always interesting. I learn something new almost every day.

What are your favorite pastimes outside of work?

Reading and hanging out with my family and friends.

What piece of advice would you offer a researcher walking into Spencer Research Library for the first time?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to ask questions in general.  The staff is here to help.

Letha Johnson
Assistant Archivist
University Archives

“The Bleachers are Dead! Long Live the Stadium!”

May 10th, 2016

Ninety-five years ago today saw an impressive event at the University of Kansas. As summarized by an article by John H. McCool, “Chancellor Lindley declared May 10, 1921, to be Stadium Day and turned loose hundreds of male students and faculty who proceeded to physically tear down the [McCook Field] bleachers in only 78 minutes.”

Photograph of the KU v. MU football game at McCook field, 1910

The marching band playing at halftime of the KU v. MU football game, McCook Field, 1910.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/66/14 1910: Student Activities:
Sports: Football (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

McCook was KU’s “original outdoor athletic grounds,” and by 1920 the 25-year-old wooden bleachers were considered dilapidated, uncomfortable, and inadequate. According to McCool, “these conditions, coupled with a steady rise of alumni and student interest in KU football, made construction of a new, permanent stadium a top priority, and if it also served a commemorative function [to memorialize KU students, alumni, and faculty who had died in World War I], then so much the better.”

Photograph of McCook Field bleachers, 1920

McCook Field bleachers prior to demolition, 1920. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1920 Prints: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

The University Daily Kansan announced Stadium Day on May 9th with a front page article. “Each student will have his chance to show just what his true relations to his University and his feelings toward it really are,” it read, continuing:

The removal of the old bleachers is not such an event in itself. The participation in clearing the ground for the new structure is the big feature of the entire school year. The ground is to be broken for the new stadium. The old gives place to new and every one present will witness the beginning of the biggest building project that K. U. has to date hoped to attain…This is the one big day of the entire school year, the last all-university holiday and frolic. Tuesday is the day! McCook Field is the place! You are the individual responsible! Be there!!

Reporting on Stadium Day on May 11th, the Kansan proclaimed that it was “a grand and howling success.” Below are some photographs of the event, accompanied by further descriptions from the Kansan.

University Daily Kansan, May 11, 1921: “In alphabetical order, the workers gathered at various sections of the bleachers, and began their task of lifting planks, removing joists, and prying side-pieces. As soon as a swarm of students would remove the ancient timber, another group would begin to carry it off the field…While the bleachers were undergoing their last rites, an immense company of men was building portable bleachers to contain crowds at the two track meets to be held here yet this year. This bunch of men were aided by two power saws, and the short time consumed in the construction of these temporary stands was miraculous.”

Photograph of Stadium Day, bleachers being disassembled, 1921

Bleachers being disassembled, 8:30am on Stadium Day, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of Stadium Day, bleachers being disassembled, 1921

Stadium Day, south bleachers at 9:00am, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of Stadium Day, bleachers being disassembled, 1921

Stadium Day, north bleachers at 9:30am, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921 Prints: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Stadium Day workers, 1921

Stadium Day workers, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921 Prints: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Stadium Day, men carrying logs, 1921

Students working on Stadium Day, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/0 1921: Student Activities (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

University Daily Kansan, May 11, 1921: “Although by far the great majority of students turned out to assist in the destruction, a few sluggards stayed in their homes. Toward the censure of these, a personnel squad turned out, thirty-five strong, and made a tour of the Hill. Armed with paddles, the squad discovered sixty men, and the sixty were soon with the multitude of laborers.”

Photograph of the Stadium Day paddle squad, 1921

Stadium Day paddle squad, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921 Prints: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

University Daily Kansan, May 11, 1921: “But work wasn’t the main pleasure of the day. Just after a bunch of Kansas City alumni and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce pulled up Illinois Avenue headed by a band, fifteen ‘chow’ lines were put into motion, and 4,000 persons were fed in less than an hour. The fifteen lines proceeded past tables which were presided over by ten or twelve University women. Heaped upon these tables were thousands upon thousands of sandwiches – peanut butter, pimento cheese, and freshly barbecued beef, giant quantities of beans, pickles, innumerable ice cream cones, and gallon after gallon of steaming coffee. An orderly crowd then took plates to the cars and curbings on Illinois street, and was soon stuffed. ‘Seconds’ were allowed those who came back for more. Never before in the history of the University had such a feed been held, and never before anywhere had 4,000 appetites been so thoroughly satisfied.””

Photogrpah of Stadium Day barbecue, 1921

Stadium Day barbecue, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921 Prints: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

University Daily Kansan, May 11, 1921: “A pushball contest was announced, the thousands adjourning to Hamilton Field. After this sport had resulted in countless bruises and boundless enthusiasm, the last scheduled event of the celebration took place.”

Phototograph of Stadium Day pushball contest, 1921

Stadium Day pushball contest, 1921. Many of the day’s activities were
filmed by a Pathé News cameraman. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921 Prints: Campus:
Buildings: McCook Field (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

University Daily Kansan, May 11, 1921: “Clad in overalls, Chancellor Lindley plowed a straight furrow across McCook Field. The ground for a new half-million dollar project was broken. The bleachers are dead! Long live the Stadium!” Earlier in the day, Lindley had “sounded the keynote of the holiday in a short speech. ‘The students of Kansas deserve everything that is given to the students at Princeton, Yale, and Harvard,’ he said, ‘and they are going to have it.'”

Photograph of Chancellor Lindley at Stadium Day, 1921

Chancellor Ernest Lindley (left, hat in hand) at Stadium Day, 1921.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921 Prints:
Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Construction of the new Memorial Stadium began on July 16, 1921. But, as John H. McCool wrote, “with only a quarter-million in the bank, the Memorial Corporation could only pay for the east and west sides; rounding off the U would not be possible until 1927 (when full capacity reached 38,000), and only then after raising ticket prices and floating hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bonds.”

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Lewis Lindsay Dyche!

March 25th, 2016

Lewis Lindsay Dyche, noted naturalist, explorer, lecturer, professor and taxidermist, was born on March 20, 1857, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. In the history of the University of Kansas there have been many faculty members who led interesting and adventurous lives and made valuable contributions both to academia as a whole and to the University in particular, but perhaps none more so than Dyche.

Photograph of Lewis Lindsay Dyche in hunting attire, 1894

Lewis Lindsay Dyche in hunting attire, shown in a lantern slide taken on his trip to
Alaska and Greenland, 1894. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 41/0:
Faculty and Staff: Dyche, Lewis Lindsay (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

While still just an infant, Dyche’s parents moved west and settled in Kansas. At that time, Kansas had just been opened for settlement. It is said that women from a Sac and Fox tribe cared for him while his mother recovered from an illness she acquired while on the journey west. Growing up on the prairie allowed Dyche the opportunity to explore and roam, fish, and hunt. He also began to collect specimens and developed a desire to learn about the creatures inhabiting the world around him. This lead to a love of nature and a thirst for knowledge about the animal kingdom that would stay with him throughout his life.

Dyche stopped attending formal school when he was just thirteen. He was able to earn money by selling game and furs and raising cattle. In 1874, at the age of 17, he decided to use the money he had saved to get a formal education and enrolled in the Kansas State Normal School in Emporia. During his time there, he met Francis Huntington Snow, a faculty member at the University of Kansas. Professor Snow impressed Dyche with his knowledge of and enthusiasm for natural history, and after graduation Dyche, then twenty, followed Snow to the University. Dyche would go on to graduate and acquire multiple degrees. In 1882 he joined the faculty, and during his tenure he taught courses in natural history, anatomy and physiology, taxidermy, and zoology.

Photograph of Francis Snow, undated

Francis Snow, undated. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 2/6 Undated Prints: Chancellors:
Francis Snow (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

The relationship between Dyche and Snow was one of mutual admiration. Snow realized that Dyche was extremely intelligent and that they had much in common. He saw great potential in Dyche and became a mentor to him. Together they went on several collecting trips, venturing out west to gather specimens of mammals, fish and birds for the University’s teaching collections.

Poster from Lewis Lindsay Dyche speaking tour, undated

Poster from Lewis Lindsay Dyche speaking tour, undated.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 41/0: Faculty and Staff:
Dyche, Lewis Lindsay (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Dyche would go on to arrange many such collecting trips, including treks to Alaska and Greenland. On each trip he carried a list of specimens he would look for, filling in the gaps in the University’s collection as he went. To become a better taxidermist, Dyche went to New York to be trained by William T. Hornaday, chief taxidermist for the National Museum at the Smithsonian Institution. In 1893, with Dyche leading the way, the specimen collection was arranged into a diorama and put on display at Chicago’s Columbian Exposition. The diorama would become the foundation of the Dyche Museum of Natural History, known today as the KU Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, one of the most visited sites in the state to this day.

Photograph of the World's Fair diorama, 1893

Moose section of the diorama prepared by Lewis Lindsay Dyche,
World’s Fair Exhibit of North American Mammals,” 1893. KU was known as
Kansas State University early in its history. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 33/0: Museum of Natural History (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Lewis Lindsay Dyche and his crew working on Comanche, 1891

The horse Comanche survived the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.
After his death, Lewis Lindsay Dyche taxidermied the horse for the 7th Calvary,
but Comanche stayed with the museum’s collections. The photo here shows
Dyche and his crew working on Comanche in 1891. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 33/0: Museum of Natural History (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Dyche became the State Fish and Game Warden in 1910. As his career progressed, he had become more and more a proponent for the preservation of endangered species and spoke out for the need of soil and water conservation. He wrote the legislation for the creation of laws to protect species and set hunting and fishing limitations. Today the Dyche Museum of Natural History stands as a testament to his life’s work and his dedication to education and conservation.

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services