Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

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

A Philosophy and a Photograph: Frank Snow’s Gift to a Modern Historian

February 19th, 2016

On Sunday, PBS will air the final episode of a six-part miniseries called Mercy Street, set at a Union hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, during the Civil War. This is the second of two blog posts that will explore a Spencer connection to that program; it’s an excerpt from a longer piece to be published later this year. Both entries have been guest written by Spencer researcher Charles Joyce. Mr. Joyce is a labor attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and also a long-time collector and dealer of Civil War photography.

In my previous blog post, I introduced readers to an early KU professor and Chancellor of KU, Francis Snow, and linked his life to the PBS miniseries Mercy Street. The physical bridge between the two takes the shape of a seven by five and one-half inch albumen photograph that I purchased in an eBay auction, shown below. Images of U. S. Colored Troops, as they were officially designated, in such a grouping are themselves relatively rare, but what makes this image truly remarkable is that each soldier is identified on the pasteboard mount by a penciled notation, written in a very distinctive hand.

Photograph of African American soldiers from L'Ouverture Hospital, circa 1864

African American Union soldiers from L’Ouverture Hospital, in Alexandria, Virginia,
probably taken between early December 1864 to early April 1865. The men – a corporal,
eight infantryman, a drummer, and a fifer – appear to have been arrayed as an
Honor Escort for a deceased private. From left to right they are Tobias “Toby” Trout,
William DeGraff, John H. Johnson, Jerry Lyles (or Lisle), Leander Brown, Samuel Bond,
Robert Deyo, Adolphus Harp, Stephen Vance, George H. Smith, Adam Bentley, and
Reverend Chauncey Leonard. Private collection of Charles Joyce; used with permission. Click image to enlarge.

Close-up of soldiers' names

Close-up of the soldiers’ names, written by Francis Snow at the bottom of the mount.
Private collection of Charles Joyce; used with permission. Click image to enlarge.

The tools used to determine who these men were – and to posit a reason why this image was made in the first place and how it finally ended up in the personal effects of a University of Kansas Chancellor – were found chiefly in two repositories: The National Archives in Washington, D.C., and the Records of the Office of the Chancellor at Kenneth Spencer Research Library.

President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation made the enlisting of black men into the Union Army a reality, and by the end of the Civil War roughly 179,000 black men (10% of the Army) had served as soldiers, with another 19,000 having served in the Navy. The War Department created a Bureau of Colored Troops to oversee, in as orderly a fashion as possible, the induction and service of the black soldiers. Because of the Bureau, records kept of those men were both systematic and fairly scrupulous, as illustrated by the documents below. Moreover, soldiers who survived the fighting – especially if they had been wounded or ill during their service – usually filed for a federal pension. This process generated reams of additional bureaucratic paperwork. While undoubtedly maddening for the claimant, these records are invaluable to the modern-day researcher. Today, the service and pension records of the USCTs are mostly digitized and available using online pay-for-use services like Ancestry.com or Fold.com; copies of records can usually also be obtained for a fee by an online request or personal visit to the National Archives.

Image of NARA Toby Trout service record

A page from Tobias (Toby) Trout’s service file.
Original document held by the National Archives and
Records Administration. Copy in the private collection of
Charles Joyce; used with permission. Click image to enlarge.

Image of NARA Toby Trout record of effects

This document shows the belongings – or personal effects –
Toby Trout left behind when he died at L’Ouverture Hospital of
“gangrene of the lungs.” His effects included a fife, possibly the one
he’s holding in the photograph above. Original document held by
the National Archives and Records Administration. Copy in the private
collection of Charles Joyce; used with permission. Click image to enlarge.

Image of NARA George Smith service file

A page from George Smith’s service file, which describes a gunshot wound
to his right hand received at the Battle of the Crater. The injury disabled him for life and
can be seen in the photograph above. Original document held by the
National Archives and Records Administration. Copy in the private collection of
Charles Joyce; used with permission. Click image to enlarge.

My research into these records revealed that six of the soldiers in the photograph were wounded at the hellish Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864. Encountering wounded soldiers from the battle, Francis Snow recorded in his diary on August 9th that “no visitor at L’Ouverture Hospital would for a moment cherish the shadow of a doubt concerning the bravery of the Negro troops on Sat. July 30th. The charge is utterly false that the battle was lost on account of their ‘cowardly behavior.’” The “calamity,” he insisted, was instead “due to some blunder on the part of officers high in command.”

The service and pension records of the men in the photograph also reveal telling details of their lives before the war. For example, Adolphus Harp had been flogged in the groin by his master with a rawhide whip when he was thirteen years old; fifty years later, he had to explain to pension doctors why the scar was still there. Robert Deyo was court-martialed for desertion (but acquitted) and Jerry Lyles (or Lisle) was similarly tried for breaking his musket over the head of one of his fellows during a drill. Wounded during the Crater fight, he was released from the hospital only to be readmitted some months later, now suffering from the effects of “secondary syphilis.”

Service and pension records tell us this much, but it remains puzzling why the image was made and how it came to be found in Chancellor Snow’s private papers. Fortunately, KU’s University Archives at Spencer Research Library retains many of Snow’s letters, journals, and diaries of the Civil War period, including a memorandum book he kept as a Christian Commission delegate stationed at Alexandria. This established that one of his duties included ministering to the spiritual and physical needs of sick and wounded USCTs. And, while there is no account of him dealing directly with any of the men in the photograph – other than the Hospital’s Chaplain, Reverend Chauncey Leonard – Snow’s writings, including the examples shown below, are those of a young man who viewed African Americans as fully worthy of their freedom.

Image of Francis Snow's "Negro Patriotism" entry in journal, 1864

Image of Francis Snow's "Negro Patriotism" entry in journal, 1864

Image of Francis Snow's entries about African Americans in journal, 1864

Some of Francis Snow’s thoughts and observations about African Americans
in the journal he kept while working for the U.S. Christian Commission
in Alexandria, 1864. University Archives. Call Number: RG 2/6/6. Click images to enlarge.

Plainly, Snow’s brief month-long sojourn affected him greatly. So, when an image was made of a group of black soldiers, Snow not only received a copy, but took the time to write each man’s name down – again in his own unmistakable hand – and kept the photograph for the rest of his days, until unearthed in another century, at a time when questions of race and justice nonetheless continue to confound us.

Charles Joyce
Guest Blogger and Spencer Researcher
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Quandary of Young Francis Snow

January 20th, 2016

On Sunday, PBS aired the first of a six-part miniseries called Mercy Street, set at a Union hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, during the Civil War. This is the first of two blog posts that will explore a Spencer connection to that program. Both have been guest written by Spencer researcher Charles Joyce. Mr. Joyce is a labor attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and also a long-time collector and dealer of Civil War photography.

Any connection between the University of Kansas and the PBS series Mercy Street would probably be considered unlikely at best. However, a fascinating historical link does exist in the form of Francis Huntington Snow (1840-1908), who, after the Civil War, became a prominent scientist and served as KU’s fifth chancellor.

Photograph of Francis Snow, undated

An undated photograph of Francis Snow taken in Lawrence.
Snow arrived at KU in 1866; he taught mathematics and
natural sciences and was one of the school’s first three faculty members.
Snow served as KU’s chancellor from 1890 to 1901.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 2/6 Undated Prints:
Chancellors: Francis Snow (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

In July 1863, Snow was a young Massachusetts divinity student facing a knotty ethical dilemma. The son of ardent abolitionists, Snow shared in his parents’ zeal to see the war transform into a crusade for the emancipation of four million enslaved African Americans. However, he believed his religious conviction and pacifist views prohibited him from actually taking up arms for the cause. Snow was drafted on July 18, 1863, and he recorded his thoughts on the matter in his diary, held at Spencer Research Library.

Could I be sure of a place where no fighting would be required, no amount of danger would deter me from going…[as] I might be of some service to the wounded on the battlefield or in the hospital. But a drafted man has no choice of position, and I, too, should be liable to be called to musket duty. So I can’t go.

Snow weighed his options for opting out of service, as allowed by the draft law. Believing that “[g]etting a substitute would be worse in my opinion than going myself,” Snow decided to pay the commutation fee of $300.

One year later, as soon as he finished his final exams at the Andover Theological Seminary, Snow hit upon a way to serve the Union cause and stay true to his moral precepts. He volunteered as a delegate with the U.S. Christian Commission, established by the YMCA, then just ten years old. The organization’s purpose was to promote the spiritual and physical welfare of Union soldiers and sailors. Francis Snow was posted at Alexandria, Virginia, for six weeks (August-September 1864) and tasked with caring for sick and wounded men at several of the military hospitals there. (He later served another five weeks with the Commission, March-May 1865.)

Image of Francis Snow's journal, "Duties of Delegates," August 1-September 14, 1864

“Duties of Delegates” of the U.S. Christian Commission. Francis Snow journal, August 1-September 14, 1864.
University Archives. Call Number: RG 2/6/6. Click image to enlarge.

Image of Francis Snow's journal, "Delegates to the Hospitals," August 1-September 14, 1864

Instructions for Commission delegates serving in hospitals,
from Francis Snow’s 1864 journal. Other Commission delegates
served with regiments in camps and on battlefields.
University Archives. Call Number: RG 2/6/6. Click image to enlarge.

Snow was unpaid, except for expenses, and he was required to keep a journal detailing his service on behalf of the Commission. In this, he recorded that during his stay in Alexandria, he visited with over 2700 hundred wounded soldiers, wrote 128 letters for them, read scripture, sang hymns, and led them in prayer many hundred times more.

Image of Francis Snow journal, cover, March 25-May 1, 1865

The cover of one of Francis Snow’s two Commission journals.
Included is Snow’s account of being at Appomattox Court House,
Virginia, on April 9, 1865, when General Lee surrendered to General Grant.
University Archives. Call Number: RG 2/6/6. Click image to enlarge.

Image of a travel pass included in Francis Snow's journal, 1864

A travel pass glued in to Francis Snow’s 1864 journal, instructing
“guards [to] pass F. H. Snow to and from the Hospital at will until further orders.”
University Archives. Call Number: RG 2/6/6. Click image to enlarge.

Image of a list of soldiers in Francis Snow's journal, 1864

Snow’s 1864 journal included a ten-page list of soldiers with whom he interacted.
Here he noted information about each man, especially the nature of his injury and his religious affiliation.
Many of the men listed on this page were African American soldiers; their regiment was listed as “USCT,”
or U.S. Colored Troops. University Archives. Call Number: RG 2/6/6. Click image to enlarge.

One of Snow’s assignments in Alexandria took him to L’Ouverture Hospital, specially constructed to care for sick and wounded African American soldiers, who were kept segregated from their white comrades. Here he befriended the Hospital’s Chaplain, the Reverend Chauncey Leonard, who signed his journal on a page he apparently maintained for “autographs.”

Image of the first page of Francis Snow's letter to his sister, 1864

Image of the second page of Francis Snow's letter to his sister, 1864 Image of the third page of Francis Snow's letter to his sister, 1864 

Image of the fourth page of Francis Snow's letter to his sister, 1864

A letter from Francis Snow to his sister describing
his hospital experiences in Alexandria, August 8, 1864.
“There are now only 9 delegates here to thus attend to the 5000 sufferers,”
he wrote, “and I can assure you we find our time fully occupied.
O Mattie you can form no conception of the amount and intensity
of the suffering among these poor fellows.”
University Archives. Call Number: RG 2/6/6. Click image to enlarge.

Snow’s interest in and empathy with the black population of Alexandria, which had swelled during the war years, was also manifest in other, less official duties, like teaching a Sunday School class of black children. Indeed, when his tour with the Commission ended in early September, Snow “found it hard to get away” from those men, women, and children. He gave the Reverend Leonard $20 to “lay out for the boys” at L’Ouverture.

Photograph of African American soldiers from L'Overture Hospital

African American soldiers from L’Ouverture Hospital, circa 1864.
Photograph in the private collection of Charles Joyce; used with permission.
Click image to enlarge.

Sometime thereafter, probably toward the end of 1864, an unknown artist took a photograph of Leonard with a group of black soldiers who were convalescing from war wounds and sickness at L’Ouverture. Someone sent a copy of the image to Francis Snow; he carefully wrote down each man’s name in the margins of the image and kept it all of his life. The photograph was found in a box in Snow’s personal library some 145 years later, and I purchased it in an online auction. More research on the soldiers in the photograph led to the holdings of the Spencer Library, including Snow’s original diary and Christian Commission journals. More on that in the next entry…

Charles Joyce
Guest Blogger and Spencer Researcher
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Throwback Thursday: Family Vacation Edition

August 6th, 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 5,700 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

The fall semester may be right around the corner, but it’s not too late for a fun family vacation!

Photograph of Francis Huntington Snow and family, undated.

Chancellor Francis Huntington Snow and family on a summer specimen-collecting expedition
in Estes Park, Colorado, circa 1876 to 1900. Also a professor of natural science at KU,
Snow led twenty-six such expeditions, accompanied frequently by his students and
sometimes his family. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 2/6/6 Prints:
Chancellors: Snow (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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

“This is a Fun Locality for Botanizing”: Francis H. Snow and KU Students in Colorado

August 30th, 2013

Soon after my arrival at Spencer Research Library, a patron request provided me the opportunity to poke around some of the photographs contained within KU’s University Archives. I was especially excited by a collection of approximately forty-five photographs showing Professor Francis H. Snow with a group of students on a summer collecting expedition to Colorado in the late 1800s.

Photograph of Specimen Mountain Party, No. 3, August 19, 1889 [1891?].
Specimen Mountain Party, No. 3, August 19, 1889 [1891?]. Call Number: RG 17/40/1889
Prints: Biological Sciences (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Long a prominent fixture on campus during KU’s early years, Snow (1840-1908) was a professor of mathematics and sciences, 1866-1890; the university’s fifth chancellor, 1890-1901; and a professor of natural history/director of the natural history museum, 1901-1908. His reports to the regents “furnish ample evidence that the direct study of nature was a vital part of his instruction,” wrote Clyde Kenneth Hyder in his biography, Snow of Kansas. His classes “appealed to the impulse to collect, often compelling, whether the objects collected be patchboxes, African violets, or insects” (142-143). Moreover, between 1876 and 1907, Snow – frequently accompanied by his students and sometimes even his family – led twenty-six summer collecting expeditions: eight in Colorado, six in New Mexico, six in Arizona, four in Kansas, and two in Texas. As Hyder noted, “those who accompanied Snow on these expeditions included some who afterwards became distinguished scientists” (153). Future journalist and author William Allen White participated in one of the expeditions during his time as a KU student. The thousands of specimens Snow and his students collected and classified during these trips – including insects, birds, reptiles, and plants – were brought back to Lawrence and preserved as part of the university’s “cabinet of natural history,” now the Natural History Museum.

Photograph of Lily Mountain and Park from Eagle Cliff, June 26, 1889 [1891?].
Lily Mountain and Park from Eagle Cliff, June 26, 1889 [1891?]. Will Franklin,
[James Frank?] Craig, Harry Riggs (standing). Call Number: RG 17/40/1889
Prints: Biological Sciences (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of the Big Thomson and Terminal Moraine, July 2, 1889 [1891?].
The Big Thomson and Terminal Moraine, July 2, 1889 [1891?].
Call Number: RG 17/40/1889 Prints: Biological Sciences (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

Snow’s expeditions are well-documented in various primary and secondary sources at Spencer, but only one or two were photographed. Notes on the back of the images I examined indicate that they were taken in Estes Park, Colorado, but there is some confusion as to whether they were taken during the expedition there in 1889 and/or during the collecting trip to Manitou Park, Colorado, two years later. Either way, the photographs provide a glimpse into camp life and the collectors’ activities against the backdrop of dramatic and beautiful mountain landscapes. (I’m also left wondering how the female students managed to trek around – collecting samples, hunting, and fishing – in those long, voluminous skirts!)

Photograph of E. C. Franklin. Top of Windy Gulch, 1889 [1891?].
E. C. Franklin. Top of Windy Gulch, 1889 [1891?].
Call Number: RG 17/40/1889 Prints: Biological Sciences (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of "The Girls Bridge," August 19, 1889 [1891?].
“The Girls Bridge,” August 19, 1889 [1891?]. Helen Sutliff, [James Frank?] Craig, J. S. Sutliff,
Will [William Suddards] Franklin, Eva Fleming, Harry Riggs, woman “not of our party but a K.U. girl I think.”
Call Number: RG 17/40/1889 Prints: Biological Sciences (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of group off for Specimen Mountain, July 22, 1889 [1891?].
Off for Specimen Mountain, July 22, 1889 [1891?]. In front, S. C. [Schuyler Colfax?] Brewster,
Fred Funston, Will Brewster, Herb Hadley, Ed Franklin, Harry Riggs, Billy the Burro,
Will [William Suddards] Franklin, [James Frank?] Craig.
Call Number: RG 17/40/1889 Prints: Biological Sciences (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of group on Long's Peak Trail, August 6, 1889 [1891?].
On Long’s Peak Trail, just beyond Keyhole looking towards the Trough, August 6, 1889 [1891?].
V. L. Kellogg, Ed Franklin, Will [William Suddards] Franklin, [Alvin Lee] Wilmouth?, Eva Fleming,
[James Frank?] Craig, S. C. [Schuyler Colfax?] Brewster, ?Will Brewster, Hadley, Dr. Snow.
Call Number: RG 17/40/1889 Prints: Biological Sciences (Photos). Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information about the 1889 collecting expedition, see Professor Snow’s wonderful letter to his wife and family, dated August 2nd. The original document, from which the title of this blog post was drawn, is held within KU’s University Archives (RG 2/6/6, Chancellor’s Office. Francis H. Snow. Correspondence, 1883-1885. Letters, 1862-1903.); Hyder included almost all of the letter in his Snow of Kansas.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services