Kenneth Spencer Research Library

Spencer Blog - type

Inside Spencer: the KSRL Blog

Collection Snapshot: Chancellor Fraser’s Saber and Belt

April 25th, 2014

John Fraser, KU’s second Chancellor, served as a general in the Union Army during the Civil War.  Displayed here are his dress saber and saber belt.  The saber was an 1862 gift from “the ladies of Canonsburg,” Pennsylvania, in appreciation of his service.

Chancellor Fraser's saber and belt

Saber inscription
Saber belonging to John Fraser. Records of  the Office of the Chancellor: John Fraser. Call Number: RG 2/2:  Saber

For additional images, please click to enlarge:

Belt detailSaber detail

Becky Schulte
University Archivist

Jayhawks on Display

December 7th, 2012

Have you ever wondered what steps are involved in mounting an exhibit? We recently completed installation of “100 Years of Jayhawks: 1912-2012,” curated by University Archivist Becky Schulte, with assistance from Letha Johnson and Sherry Williams. The exhibit celebrates the evolution of the Jayhawk, the mascot of the University of Kansas, from the first, long-legged version drawn by Hank Maloy to the present design. This is the first exhibit to be mounted in a newly renovated space in Spencer, in the former location of the Special Collections reception area.

Becky Schulte retrieved many items from the stacks and determined the theme of each of the five cases. Assistant Conservator Roberta Woodrick and I covered the exhibit case bases with the cloth Becky had selected. Once the cases were ready, Becky laid out objects in the cases in rough configurations, determining the best location for each item while considering the flow of the exhibition “story.”

Photograph of initial layout of materials in the case
Initial layout of materials in the case. Click image to enlarge.

After items were placed in the cases, we constructed mounts for materials in order to elevate, highlight, and soundly support them during the course of the exhibit. For this exhibition we selected archival matboard and Volara polyethylene foam as mount materials, both of which are inert and will not chemically or physically damage objects on display.

Photograph of University Archivist Becky Schulte positioning an item on mat board within the case
University Archivist Becky Schulte positioning an item on matboard within the case.
Click image to enlarge.

Once the labels and mounts were finished, the Jayhawks were placed in the cases. We measured and determined safe lighting levels for the exhibition space to limit light exposure to objects on display.

Photograph of finished exhibition case
Finished Product! The final version of one of the exhibition’s five display cases.
Click image to enlarge.

The exhibit will be on open through March and may be viewed during regular Kenneth Spencer Research Library Hours:  Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm, and (when regular classes are in session) Saturday 12:00pm-4:00pm. Please visit and let us know what you think!

For images from the exhibition’s opening celebration on Wednesday, December 5, please click on the thumbnails below.

Image of crowd at Exhibition Opening: 100 Years of Jayhawks, 1912-2012    Photograph of guests examining an exhibition case at the exhibition opening of "100 Years of Jayhawks, 1912-2012"    Photograph of guests Mingling in the new exhibition space at the opening of the "100 Years of Jayhawks, 1912-2012" exhibition.    Photograph of Dean Haricombe addressing the audience.

Whitney Baker
Head, Conservation Services

Portal to the Past: KU’s Yearbook

September 20th, 2012

I find the KU yearbooks to be one of the most informative and entertaining resources in the University Archives. When you open the covers you are transported back to the 1930s, 1960s, or even the 1900s. The yearbooks span from 1873 to the present and depict student life, campus growth, and university history as it was happening.  By 1901 the University’s yearbook was given the name “The Jayhawker.”  The name was chosen by a committee of student representatives from each class with the hope that “The Jayhawker” would become the permanent name of the Annuals of Kansas University.  Their wish came true and the yearbook retains that title today.

The covers on display below have been chosen because they are indicative of the years they represent and are just plain fun – Enjoy!

Becky Schulte
University Archivist

Jayhawker: A Record of Events of the University of Kansas for the Year…
Spencer Library Call Numbers: LD2697 .J3 (Reading Room Reference Collection copy);
UA Ser 69/1 (University Archives copy). Click images to enlarge. 

Image of 1902 Jayhawker  Image of 1926-27Jayhawker Yearbook

Above: 1902                                                         Above: 1926-1927
Below: 1927-28                                                       Below: 1930-31

Image of cover of 1927-28 Jayhawker Yearbook      Image of cover of 1930-31Jayhawker Yearbook

Image of cover of 1933-34 Jayhawker Yearbook      Image of Cover of 1934-35 Jayhawker Yearbook

Above: 1933-34                                                Above: 1934-35
Below: 1935-36                                                     Below: 1949

Image of Cover of 1935-36 Jayhawker Yearbook      Image of cover of 1949 Jayhawker Yearbook

   Image of Cover of 1958 Jayhawker Yearbook     Image of cover of 1959 Jayhawker Yearbook

Above: 1958                                                Above: 1959
Below: 1969                                                    Below: 1985

Image of cover of 1969 Jayhawker Yearbook     Image of cover of 1985 Jayhawker Yearbook

Want to browse more yearbooks in person?  Copies of  all of KU’s yearbooks are housed with the reference collection in the Kenneth Spencer Research Library reading room (you don’t even have to fill out a paging request).  Come in and travel back in time with a KU yearbook!

KU Traditions Past: May-pole Scrap and May Fête

May 15th, 2012

As Robert Taft explains in his history of KU, Across the Years on Mount Oread, the first May-pole scrap occurred on May 1, 1891. The preceding night, the junior class had erected a pole forty feet high in front of old Fraser (then known as University Hall), and on the pole was a banner marked with the figures, ’92.  The pole was found on the ground the next morning with a sophomore wielding an axe beside it.  The juniors, aided by a group of freshman, tried to regain the pole and banner, but the seniors came to the rescue of the sophomores and together they burned the banner.  The battle raged into the evening and the “May-pole scrap” was born.  This battle between freshman and sophomores continued for nearly fifteen years as an annual event and eventually developed into a series of duels that were not confined to May-day alone.  The May-pole scrap was discontinued by 1905 because of the violent nature of this KU tradition.

May-pole Scrap, 1904
1904 May-pole Scrap between the freshman and sophomore classes to determine whose colors would be hoisted on the May pole. May Day Photographs, Call Number: 71/10/1904

In its place a new tradition was established, the May Fête.  Read the rest of this entry »