Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

New Finding Aids, July 2020–November 2021

December 22nd, 2021

The global pandemic continues in myriad ways to affect our ability to process new collections and provide descriptive access to new collections online—but we are still doing what we can! And in the meantime, we have continued to enhance existing online description and provide online description for collections we’ve held for decades that previously had little to no exposure online, so that more of our researchers can find more of our holdings.

Despite the challenges of hybrid schedules, lower staffing levels, supply chain issues affecting our ability to get archival supplies, and the many other issues we’ve been facing, we have finished processing several collections in the past 18 months. You can see the list of new finding aids below.

Sergeant William J. Leggett correspondence with students of Oil Hill Elementary School, El Dorado, Kansas, 2007-2008 (RH MS 1525, KC AV 95)

Great Spirit Springs Company records, 1870s-1890 (RH MS 1521, RH MS Q474)

Adna G. Clarke letters, 1898-1953 (bulk 1898-1899) (RH MS 1520)

Northeast Kansas Girl Scouts related records, 1923-2014 (RH MS 1505, RH MS Q466, RH MS R462, RH MS R463, RH MS S67, KC AV 88)

Kansas 1860s diary, approximately April 1863-1867 (RH MS B78)

Weatherby family collection, 1896-1976 (bulk 1904-1905) (RH MS 1466, RH MS Q445)

Henry D. and Mariana Lohrenz Remple papers, 1907-2010 (RH MS 1509, RH MS-P 1509, RH MS Q469, RH MS R466, RH MS R467, RH MS S69)

Paul Vinogradoff collection, 1901-1902 (MS P418, MS D215)

Mary Rosenblum papers, 1990-2008 (MS 362, MS Qa34)

Kansas City Power & Light District Plans collection, 1996-2000 (RH MS 1512, RH MS Q471, RH MS R470)

Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods records, 1989-2014 (RH MS 1515, RH MS S70, KC AV 94)

Fahrländer family letters, 1881-1959 (RH MS 1517)

A page of handwritten text in German.
A page of handwritten text in German.
The front and back pages of a letter in German dated April 15, 1881, sent to Herman Fahrlander in the U.S. from his German family. Fahrländer Family Letters. Call Number: RH MS 1517, Box 1, Folder 3. Click images to enlarge.

Thomas Bradford Mayhew papers, 1982-2018 (RH MS 1516)

A.C. Junior College student photographs, 1948-1950 and 1955 (RH PH 548)

F.B. Silkman letter, September 5, 1855 (RH MS P969)

Mary Isabel Cobb Payne diary, 1953 (RH MS C92, RH MS P970)

Harrell-Willey family papers, 1803-2012 (RH MS 1522, RH MS Q475, RH MS R472)

Frank Kersnowski papers, 1965-2003 (MS 340, SC AV 23)

Personal papers of Mary Davidson, 1949-2008 (PP 621)

Personal papers of Stan Roth, 1957-2014 (PP 622)

Page of white lined notebook paper. All lines are filled with black handwritten text.
Page of white lined notebook paper with the names of sixty-eight birds listed, written in black ink and three columns.
The first page from a field survey notebook (top) and a listing of birds sighted by Stan Roth (bottom) during his 1978 summer field trips. Personal Papers of Stan Roth. Call Number: PP 622, Box 1, Folder 4. Click images to enlarge.

Corinne N. Patterson papers, 1866-2015 (RH MS 1490, RH MS-P 1490, RH MS-P 1490(f), RH MS R454, RH MS R480, RH MS S72, KC AV 112)

Little Brown Koko scrapbook, approximately 1940s-1950s (RH MS Q477)

Richard Olmstead matchbook collection, 1920s-[not after 1947] (RH MS D301)

William H. Fant ledgers, 1936-1967 (RH MS E212, RH MS P971)

Mary Hudson Vandegrift Mardi Gras albums, 1965 (RH PH 557)

Personal papers of Paul Willhite, 1960-2019 (PP 618)

Don Imus photograph, 2004 (RH WL PH 6)

Leonard Magruder collection, 2002-2019, mostly undated by probably from the 1960s-1970s (RH WL MS 61)

Puerto Rican-American Women’s League collection, 1976-1981 (RH WL MS 62)

Page of white lined notebook paper with typed notes about upcoming events.
A page removed from a binder with brief minutes of a meeting of the Puerto Rican-American Women’s League (shortened to PRAWL in the notes) on July 22, 1976. Puerto Rican-American Women’s League Collection. Call Number: RH WL MS 62, Box 1, Folder 1. Click image to enlarge.

Campaign for Economic Democracy photographs, 1979-1980 (RH WL PH 7)

New York City rabbis protesting abortions photograph, July 1989 (RH WL PH 8)

Personal papers of Kent Spreckelmeyer, 1964-2018 (PP 617)

Justin McCarthy correspondence, October 4, 1867 (MS P754)

Edward J. Van Liere correspondence, 1963-1972 (MS P753)

Blueprints received by James H. Stewart, 1928 (MS P755)

J.D. Ferguson Davie correspondence, 1862-1876 and 2004 (MS 364)

“We all die” treatise by Les Hannon, January 5, 2014 (MS P756)

Alice Walker party invitation, May 23, 1981 (MS P752)

Wilbur D. Hess collection, majority of material found within 1880-1999, 1940-1985 (RH MS 1526, RH MS Q476, RH MS R475, RH VLT MS 1526)

Carl Sherrell papers, approximately 1960-1990 (MS 365, MS Q92)

Personal papers of Ann Schofield, 1976-2019 (PP 624)

Personal papers of Edmund Paul Russell III, approximately 1978-2012 (PP 623)

Personal papers of R.G. Anderson, 1930s, 1940s, late 1980s-early 1990s, 2006 (PP 626, UA AV 17)

Personal papers of Allan Wicker, 1962-2014 (PP 625)

Personal papers of Robert E. Foster, 1969-2014 (PP 627, UA AV 18)

Personal papers of Janice Kozma, 1927-2018 (PP 628)

Young Communist League of the United States collection, 1933-1967 (RH WL MS 63)

Albert and Angela Feldstein political ephemera collection, 1990-2019 (RH WL MS 64, RH WL MS R14, RH WL MS R15)

Kansas Citizens for Science collection, 1982-2007 (RH MS 1529, KC AV 98)

William Boerum Wetmore correspondence, 1890-1895, 1921 (RH MS 1531)

Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1754 collection, 2014-2019 (RH MS 1532, RH MS R476, RH MS R477)

Arthur Weaver Robinson collection, 1921-2015 (RH MS 1533, RH MS Q479, RH PH 2841(ff), KC AV 97)

Karl Allen collection, 1957-1982 (RH WL MS 60, RH WL MS R13)

Bernard Davids collection, 1970-2013 (RH WL MS 59, RH WL MS Q12, RH WL MS R16)

John Elsberg papers, approximately 1978-2012 (MS 366, MS Q93)

Personal papers of Virginia (Lucas) Rogers, 1908-1919 (PP 629)

#BlackatKU Twitter archive, 2020-2021 (RG Internet 2)

Larned, Kansas stereoviews, approximately 1865-1880s (RH PH 560)

Two identical sepia-toned photographs side by side. Each shows a stream running through an empty landscape.
Handwritten text reads "John C. Fry to Louise Ziegler Seiple, 1925" and "Located South of Jenkins' Hill and known as Boyd's Crossing; Al Boyd's house down creek on south side of stream."
The front and back of a stereoview image of the Santa Fe crossing known as “Boyd’s Crossing” near Larned, Kansas, before 1925. Larned, Kansas, Stereoviews. Call Number: RH PH 560, Box 1, Folder 24. Click images to enlarge.

Don Lambert collection of Elizabeth Layton papers, 1987-2016 (bulk 1987-1995) (RH MS 1538, RH MS R482, KC AV 102)

Lynn Bretz collection of Asa Converse and Elizabeth Layton materials, late 1880s-1984 (RH MS 1541, RH MS Q482)

Robert Shortridge papers, 1937-2005 (RH MS 1534)

Roark family papers, 1790-2013 (bulk 1993-2013) (RH MS 1539)

Henry C. and Indiana Gale papers, 1859-1870s (bulk 1862-1865) (RH MS P975)

Dodge and Miller family letters, 1832-1884 (RH MS P974)

Civil War muster sheets, 1862-1863 (RH MS R487)

Surgeon Numan N. Horton letter, March 11, 1867 (RH MS P973)

Kansas City jazz clubs information, 1982, undated (RH MS P972)

William F. Wu papers, approximately 1954-2018 (MS 367, MS Q94, MS Qa37, SC AV 31)

Black-and-white photograph of two men, one standing and one sitting, in front of metal shelving units stocked with items.
Science fiction writer William F. Wu (right) on set for the “Wong’s Lost and Found Emporium” episode of the Twilight Zone, based on Wu’s original story. William F. Wu Papers. Call Number: MS 367, Box 24, Folder 24. Click image to enlarge.

Franklyn D. Ott and Aleta Jo Petrik-Ott papers, 1882-1994 (bulk 1960s-1990) (MS 368, MS C316, MS D216, MS E281, MS G56)

Osey Gail Peterson collection on Albert T. Reid, approximately 1890s-1910s, 1944 (RH MS 1544, RH MS Q484, RH MS R490, RH MS R491)

Loanda Augustina Lake Warren diaries, 1879-1880, 1884, 1893-1895 (RH MS 1545)

Arthur Jellison photograph collection, 1927-1964 (RH PH 559)

Marcella Huggard
Archives and Manuscripts Processing Coordinator

A Recap of Our Week with Visiting Conservator Minah Song

December 14th, 2021

In October, thanks to the efforts of Mellon Initiative conservator Jacinta Johnson, we realized a long-held dream of hosting a visiting conservator in our lab. Since we moved into this space three and a half years ago, we have been excited about the possibilities our new facility affords – from holding workshops to accommodating researchers, and much more. Of course, we’d barely gotten settled when the pandemic emerged and put these plans on hold. After a period of remote work, followed by returning to work full-time in the lab and getting accustomed to working within covid restrictions, we were ready to take the step of inviting an outside colleague to work with us for a week.

The grant that supports Jacinta’s work here at Spencer Research Library (SRL) and across Marvin Grove at the Spencer Museum of Art (SMA) includes funding to bring in visiting conservators to work on collections that have been identified as needing special attention. Jacinta arranged for Minah Song, a conservator working in private practice in the Washington, D.C. area, to spend a whole week in the lab. Much of Minah’s time here was spent working with Jacinta to examine, document, and explore treatment options for a rare Korean sutra housed in our special collections (MS D23). Minah also delivered a public lecture on the history and technology of Asian papermaking and its uses for conservation and held an information session on care and handling of Asian materials for SRL and SMA staff. In addition, Minah generously agreed to teach three mini-workshops for conservation lab staff and student employees. After such a long period of isolation and distancing, it was wonderful to interact with another conservator, step away from our routines, and learn something new.

Mellon Initiative conservator Jacinta Johnson and visiting conservator Minah Song examine a rare Korean sutra from Spencer's collection.
Mellon Initiative conservator Jacinta Johnson and visiting conservator Minah Song examine a rare Korean sutra from Spencer’s collection. Call number MS D23. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, The University of Kansas. Click image to enlarge.

For the first mini-workshop, Minah demonstrated friction drying, a method for flattening papers that may be sensitive to moisture or otherwise difficult to flatten, such as tracing paper. Jacinta has been treating drawings on tracing paper from the Mary Huntoon collections at both the SMA and SRL; she and Minah used two of these works to show how friction drying works. The drawings were first humidified in a Gore-Tex® stack, which allows water vapor to gently humidify the objects without direct contact with liquid water. Next the drawings were sandwiched between two sheets of lightly dampened mulberry paper and dried in a blotter stack under pressure for about a week. The process may need to be repeated for very stubborn creases. This method is a great, low-impact option for flattening notoriously fickle tracing paper.

Mellon Initiative conservator Jacinta Johnson and visiting conservator Minah Song demonstrate friction drying, a technique for flattening delicate paper. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, The University of Kansas.
Mellon Initiative conservator Jacinta Johnson and visiting conservator Minah Song demonstrate friction drying, a technique for flattening delicate paper. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, The University of Kansas. Click image to enlarge.

In the next mini-workshop we learned how to do a double-sided lining for very brittle paper items, a technique that Minah perfected when she treated a large collection of fire-damaged documents. While this method should be considered a last option due the difficulty of fully reversing it, it can provide surprising stability for severely weakened papers while still allowing the text or images to be seen. (We used discarded newspaper clippings to practice on.) In this method, very thin kozo tissue is adhered to both sides of the item by applying very dilute wheat starch paste through a layer of Hollytex®, a nonwoven polyester material. The lined object is partially air-dried with the Hollytex® still attached, then dried in a stack overnight, at which point the Hollytex® is removed, and the object returned to the stack to fully dry. We were all surprised by the relative simplicity of the process, considering the fragility of the materials involved, and the results were impressive.

Conservation Services staff and student employees practice a double-sided lining technique taught by visiting conservator Minah Song. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, The University of Kansas.
Conservation Services staff and student employees practice a double-sided lining technique taught by visiting conservator Minah Song. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, The University of Kansas. Click image to enlarge.

For our final mini-workshop, we had the chance to experiment with several types of pre-coated, solvent-set repair tissues. Pre-coated repair tissues usually consist of a thin kozo paper to which a layer of adhesive has been applied and allowed to dry. The coated paper can then be cut to size, reactivated with some type of solvent (usually water or ethanol), and applied to a tear to create a mend. We already use a pre-coated repair tissue prepared with a mixture of wheat starch paste and methycellulose, which is reactivated with water and serves as a good all-purpose repair material. But Minah demonstrated other types of pre-coated papers that offer other possible applications: tissue coated in Klucel™ M and reactivated with ethanol is a good option for documents containing iron gall inks or other water-sensitive media, and tissue coated with Aquazol®, reactivated with water, and set with a heated tacking iron can be an efficient choice for projects with a high volume of needed repairs, tight time constraints, or both.

Visiting conservator Minah Song demonstrates the use of pre-coated repair tissues for Conservation Services staff and student employees. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, The University of Kansas.
Visiting conservator Minah Song demonstrates the use of pre-coated repair tissues for Conservation Services staff and student employees. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, The University of Kansas. Click image to enlarge.

We all greatly enjoyed our week working with and alongside Minah, getting to know her, and benefitting from her willingness to share her time and expertise with us. We now have a new conservation friend, and a wealth of new knowledge to bring to our work on KU’s collections.

Far Above: Women at KU in Academic Administration

November 24th, 2021

KU has welcomed women since its founding; female students were admitted from the very beginning. From then on, many women have found KU to be a place of support and growth, and the university has been shaped immeasurably by the women who have made it home, particularly within the ranks of its faculty and administration.

Featured here are just a few of the incredible women who blazed a trail in higher education at KU and beyond – and all have collections here at Spencer Research Library!

Martha Peterson, Dean of Women

Black-and-white photograph of a young woman sitting at a table and writing. There is a Jayhawk figurine next to her right elbow.
Martha Peterson, undated photograph. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 41/ Faculty: Peterson, Martha (Photos). Select image to enlarge.

Martha Peterson began her career at KU in 1942 as an instructor in the Department of Mathematics. While she pursued her Ph.D. in educational psychology, she was appointed as the Assistant Dean of Women – a position she held from 1947 to 1952. In 1952, she was named the next Dean of Women at the university. In her four years as Dean of Women, Peterson led the installation of the dormitory system for freshman women at KU. Peterson went on to serve as the Dean of Women and University Dean of Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the President of Barnard College in New York before becoming the first woman President at Beloit College in Wisconsin – a position she held until her retirement in 1981.

Learn more by exploring Martha Peterson’s papers (Call Number: RH MS 953) and the records of the Dean of Women (Call Number: RG 53).

Emily Taylor, Dean of Women

Black-and-white photograph of an older woman sitting at an angle. Her left elbow rests on a desk next to a black rotary phone, a lamp, and stacks of papers.
Emily Taylor, undated photograph. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 41/ Faculty: Taylor, Emily (Photos). Select image to enlarge.

Emily Taylor was appointed Dean of Women at KU in 1956. During her almost two decades in that position, Taylor established the first university commission on the status of women, hosted the radio show “The Feminist Perspective,” and worked to establish the Women’s Resource and Career Planning Center – now the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity. In addition to these initiatives, Taylor also was instrumental in the establishment of the Nunemaker Center for honors students and Hashinger Hall for fine arts students. In 1974, Taylor left her position at KU to become the Director of the Office of Women in Higher Education of the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C. – a position she held until her retirement in 1981.

Learn more by exploring Emily Taylor’s personal papers (Call Number: PP 546) and the records of the Dean of Women (Call Number: RG 53).

Frances Degen Horowitz, Vice Chancellor for Research, Graduate Studies, and Public Service and Dean of the Graduate School

Black-and-white photograph of a woman in a patterned dress standing behind, with her hands on top of, a railing.
Frances Degen Horowitz, undated photograph. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 41/ Faculty: Horowitz, Frances Degen (Photos). Select image to enlarge.

Frances Degen Horowitz joined the KU faculty in 1961 as a professor of home economics (child development). She also conducted research in the Department of Human Development and Family Life and was the department’s founding Chair. Horowitz later became the Assistant Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences before being appointed as the Vice Chancellor for Research, Graduate Studies, and Public Service and Dean of the Graduate School in 1978. During her time as Vice Chancellor, Horowitz worked to establish new research centers at KU, elevating the university’s status as a nationally recognized research institution. She served in this position until 1991 when she left KU to become the President of The Graduate School and University Center of The City University of New York (CUNY) – a position she held until her retirement in 2005.

Learn more by exploring the records of KU’s Vice Chancellor for Research, Graduate Studies and Public Service (Call Number: RG 11).

Kala M. Stroup, Dean of Women

Black-and-white headshot photograph of a smiling woman.
Kala M. Stroup, undated photograph. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 41/ Faculty: Stroup, Kala M. (Photos). Select image to enlarge.

Kala M. Stroup began her career at KU as a Residence Hall Assistant Director for Corbin Hall in 1959. During the 1950s and 1960s, she was heavily involved in the efforts to do away with parental restrictions on female students which included curfews and travel restrictions. Stroup held positions in the Dean of Women’s office and the residential halls system before being named the last Dean of Women for KU in 1975. In 1979 she became the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Emporia State University. Stroup went on to serve as the first woman President of Murray State in University in Kentucky and the first woman President of Southeast Missouri State University before becoming the President and CEO of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance in 2002. After her retirement in 2010, Stroup returned to KU as a Dean Emerita and faculty member in the KU Honors Program.

Learn more by exploring Kala Stroup’s personal papers (Call Number: PP 613) and the records of the Dean of Women (Call Number: RG 53).

Deanell Reece Tacha – Associate Dean of the School of Law and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Black-and-white photograph of a woman sitting in front of bookshelves lined with binder spines.
Deanell Reece Tacha, undated photograph. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 41/ Faculty: Tacha, Deanell Reece (Photos). Select image to enlarge.

Deanell Reece Tacha joined the KU School of Law faculty in 1974 after being named a White House Fellow in 1971 and working as a lawyer in Washington, D.C. and Kansas. She became the Associate Dean of the KU School of Law in 1977. In 1981, she was named the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at KU. Tacha left KU in 1985 after being appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by President Ronald Reagan. She became the Chief Judge of the Tenth Circuit in 2001. After retiring from the bench, Tacha became the Dean of Pepperdine University School of Law in 2011. Tacha also served as the national President of the Kansas University Alumni Association and the Chair of KU Endowment’s Board of Trustees.

Learn more by exploring Deanell Reece Tacha’s papers (Call Number: RH MS 1370) and the records of the KU Office of Academic Affairs (Call Number: RG 10).

Emily Beran
Public Services

Collection feature: Veterans Day

November 11th, 2021

In honor of Veterans Day, we share this cartoon drawn by Kansas artist Albert T. Reid.

Image of woman holding flowers at statue of soldier
She Will Never Forget by Albert T. Reid, no date. Call number RH MS 1162, Box 4, Folder 61, Albert T. Reid Personal Papers. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Cartoonist and artist Albert T. Reid was born in Concordia, Kansas, in 1873. Best known for his political and editorial cartoons, Reid published regularly in newspapers in Kansas City, Chicago, and New York, and eventually created his own syndicated newspaper.

Student Spotlight: Mileiny Hermosillo

November 9th, 2021

This is the first installment in a new series of posts introducing readers to student employees who make important contributions to the work of Spencer Research Library. Today’s profile features student assistant Mileiny Hermosillo, who started working in Spencer’s manuscript processing unit in Fall 2018. Mileiny is an undergraduate majoring in English with a minor in business; she is graduating from KU in December 2021.

Young woman sitting at a table and holding up a sepia-toned headshot photograph of a woman in profile.
Manuscripts processing student assistant Mileiny Hermosillo working with glass plate negatives, Spring 2021. Click image to enlarge.

What does your job at Spencer entail?

My job as a manuscript processor involves getting collections ready for researchers to use and creating finding aids so researchers can access the information.

Why did you want to work at Spencer Research Library?

During high school I worked at a public library as a page and, later, a circulation manager. I loved the atmosphere (especially the quietness), but my favorite aspect of the job was the organizational element. When the day was slow, I would head over to the shelves and alphabetize books. It was a fun way to explore the library’s selection of books and discover titles I never would have thought of reading.

When I was searching for a job at KU, I sought out library positions because of my experience. The role of a manuscript processor seemed intriguing. I genuinely did not know what type of materials I would be working with, but it turned out to be an amazing experience.

What has been most interesting to you about your work? 

Every project is like a puzzle, especially the larger collections. At the start of each project, it is hard to see the connections. With each document and photograph I slowly understand the intricate details of an artist’s work or the special moments of a person’s life. I feel a connection to each project because I catch a glimpse of past personal lives and experiences.

What part of your job do you like best?

One of the most satisfying parts about my job is completing a collection project and feeling invested in the final results. One of my favorite projects was collaborating with a staff member on the Leonard Hollmann photograph collection. I sorted through over a thousand cabinet cards and stereoviews (also known as stereographs) of towns, settlements, and people across Kansas. It was such a large collection that it took me two semesters to finish! Later I got a chance to help put some of the photos on exhibit in a temporary display case in the North Gallery. Seeing each photograph was like seeing an old friend.

Young woman standing behind a large table covered with stacks of stereoviews, which are turned upside down.
Mileiny sorted thousands of cabinet cards and stereoviews by photographer name for a collections project in February 2019. Here are the sorted stereoviews! Click image to enlarge.

What piece of advice would you offer other students thinking about working at Spencer Research Library?

I recommend applying because getting to work with the collections is rewarding. I get to process photographs from photography studios, documents of people’s personal lives, and even records of KU professors. Working at Spencer does not seem like a job. It is a place to discover stories from KU, Kansas, and the Midwest.

Mileiny Hermosillo
Manuscripts Processing Student Assistant