Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Happy Birthday, Aeon!

August 30th, 2012

Late August marks the one year anniversary of the launch of Aeon at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library.  Aeon is an online researcher account system that replaces the library’s old paper registration cards and call slips.  All researchers who want to view materials in Spencer’s reading room should create an Aeon researcher account and use it to submit item requests.

Getting started is easier than ever.  The library now has two new video tutorials that will help you navigate creating your Aeon account and submitting paging requests.

Video Tutorial on Creating Your Aeon Account:


Video Tutorial on Requesting Items through Aeon:


You may also access these tutorials through the “Library Use and Policies” section of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library website at (click on the tab for “Creating an Account and Registering through Aeon”).

Aeon offers several advantages to you as a researcher:

  • Aeon enables you to have a lasting record of all items you view in our reading room  (click on the “All requests” link on the main page of your Aeon Account).  This is particularly handy when you want to look at a book or manuscript collection that you’ve examined in the past, but whose precise title or call number you can no longer remember. Gone are the days of  “I remember that it was a big blue book with gold ornaments…”  Now you can simply login to your account and review what you requested the last time you were here. Read the rest of this entry »

Historic Fingerpainting Seems More Dignified

August 24th, 2012

The volume below contains a wonderful example of paste paper on its binding.  Paste paper is most associated with 16th- and 17th-century books from the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. It was usually created in the bookbinding workshop for books that did not warrant the expense of marbled paper, a luxurious commodity.

Paste paper binding (call # D2304, Vol.107)      Paste paper detail (from call # D3204 Vol. 107)

Left: This 1815 volume from a run of the Spencer Library’s holdings for the periodical Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung has a binding that uses paste paper (Call Number: D2304 Vol.107).  Right: a detail from the bottom right corner of the volume. Click images to enlarge.

Paste paper was created with starch paste—a staple of any bookbinding operation—and some sort of pigment. Often an implement was dragged through the paper, creating lines that look remarkably three-dimensional.  Once in a while you find a mark of the bookbinder left behind: a finger or thumbprint used to make flowers or other patterns.  There are many instructions for making paste paper, easily discoverable on the internet.

Paste paper detail (Call # MS D38) 
Image of Paste paper detail from Spencer Library's copy of Poem to the Memory of Lady Miller  Paste paper detail (from call # D3254)

Paste paper details from the bindings of volumes in the Spencer Library’s collections. Top left: Tractatus optimus de arte bene moriendi (expanded version by Dominicus Capranica, d. 1458), Germany, 1456. (Call # MS D38). Top right: Saint Bonaventure’s Soliloquium , Germany, 1433. (Call# MS D37). Bottom left: Anna Seward’s Poem to the Memory of Lady Miller by Anna Seward,  1782 (Call Number: D2763). Bottom right: A modern example: Brian North Lee’s Bookplates and Labels by Leo Wyatt, 1988 (Call # D3254). Click images to enlarge.

For more information on paste paper, see Rosamond Loring’s book, Decorated Book Papers; being an account of their designs and fashions (Call Number: C6396).

Whitney Baker
Head, Conservation Services

Hawk Week, Nineties Style

August 16th, 2012

In honor of Hawk Week 2012, the festivities that mark the beginning of the fall semester, we bring you some images of Hawk Week events from the late 1990s. KU alumni may recall Traditions Night, Beach-n-Boulevard, Jayhawk Playfest, and the Rock-a-Hawk Dance.

Rock-a-Hawk Dance 1998

Photograph of Dancers at the Rock-a-Hawk Dance, 1998

Rock-a-Hawk Dance, 1998. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/51. Click images to enlarge.

Photograph of Beach n Boulevard, 1998

Beach-n-Boulevard, 1998 (top) and 1999 (bottom).
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/51.
Click images to enlarge.

A poll from August 2011 in the University Daily Kansan listed Traditions Night as the readers’ favorite Hawk Week event. What was yours?

Photograph of Audience at Traditions Night 1998

Photograph of students carrying a torch at Traditions Night 1999

Traditions Night, 1998 (top) and 1999 (bottom).
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/51.
Click images to enlarge.

Photograph of Jayhawk Playfest, 1998

Photograph: More fun at Jayhawk Playfest, 1998

Jayhawk Playfest 1998. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/51. Click images to enlarge.

Whitney Baker
Head, Conservation Services

Letha Johnson
Assistant University Archivist

Coaching Basketball Gold: The John B. McLendon Collection

August 10th, 2012

Public Services Student Assistant Jessie Meiers explores the pioneering career of basketball coach and KU Alumnus, John B. McLendon.

John B. McLendon, Jr. was born in Hiawatha, Kansas and graduated from KU in 1936 with a degree in Physical Education. While at KU, he studied basketball under its creator, Dr. James Naismith.  Though not allowed to play on the varsity team at KU due to the university’s color line, he would go on to an impressive career as a basketball coach.  He won eight CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) championships.  He also invented several facets of the game, including the fast break, zone press, and four corners offense.

Photograph of John B. McLendon
John B. McLendon at the time he was coaching the Cleveland Pipers; detail from a photograph
“New Members of Pipers Team.”  Call number: RH MS-P 586, Box 1, Folder 14

McLendon became the first African American to win an integrated national championship, lead the National All-Star Team, coach at a predominately white college (Cleveland State), and coach a professional basketball team (the Cleveland Pipers in the American Basketball League).  He was also the first coach to win three consecutive National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) championships (1957, 1958, and 1959).

Photograph of completed scorecard from Cleveland Pipers vs. U.S. Olympic Team game on August 6, 1960.     Photograph of a page from one of John B. McLendon's scrapbooks

On August 6, 1960, John B. McLendon coached his Cleveland Pipers to victory over the U.S. Olympic team in the lead
up to the Rome Olympics. Left: Detail from one of John B. McLendon’s scrapbooks: a completed scorecard from Cleveland
Pipers vs. U.S. Olympic Team game. Call number: RH MS E198 vol. 13, page 21 (verso, detail); Right:  Page from one of
John B. McLendon’s scrapbooks documenting the win.  Call Number: RH MS E198 vol. 11, page 24 (recto). Click images to enlarge.

In 1964, McLendon became the first African American coach appointed to the U. S. Olympic Committee.  McLendon would also act as a scout for the Olympic team, starting in 1966 and continuing until 1976.  In 1968, he would join the coaching team of the USA’s gold-winning Olympic team in basketball and would return in 1972 to coach the team again.

U.S. Olympic Basketball Scouting Scoring Book
McLendon’s copy of the U.S. Olympic Committee Basketball
Scouting Scoring Book. Call Number: RH MS 586 Box 1, Folder 3.

John McLendon donated a series of scrapbooks to the Spencer Research Library covering his career from 1954 to 1979 (RH MS E198).  They feature newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and letters and cards from players, coaches, and major names in basketball congratulating him on his many honors.  His personal papers include his “United States Olympic Committee Basketball Scouting Scoring Book” (RH MS 586 Box 1, item 3.8) and a typescript of “The Chronological History of Basketball in Black Colleges in the USA, Period IV 1950-1960” (RH MS 586, Box 2, item 12), which he wrote in 1980.

Jessie Meiers
Spencer Research Library Public Services Student Assistant

Want to explore further?  Consult the online Guide to the John B. McLendon Collection

Pulp Writer Homer Eon Flint: A Donor’s Story

August 7th, 2012

A guest post from Vella Munn

Securing a final resting place for my grandfather Homer Eon Flint’s body of published fiction at the University of Kansas began with a backdoor approach. An email I sent to a man involved with Science Fiction Writers of America led to an introduction to James Gunn, SF writer, scholar, and founder of KU’s Center for the Study of Science Fiction, and from there to a series of emails with Special Collections librarian Elspeth Healey.

Photograph of Homer Eon Flint

Homer Eon Flint, photograph courtesy of Vella Munn

As a result, nineteen 90+ year-old pulp magazines such as Argosy All-Story Weekly, Fantastic Novels, and Flynn’s carrying Grandpa’s work are no longer disintegrating in my office. They’re being preserved by those who know how to treat the fragile publications, and I no longer worry that I’m not doing right by what I inherited.

The youngest of four children, Homer Eon Flint was born on Sept. 9, 1888 in Albany, Oregon. He devoured H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Conan Doyle, and Rider Haggard, all known for their romantic fiction, and they made an indelible impact on him. With the encouragement of his wife, a teacher, and a hefty hospital bill to pay off, he started writing. He sold at least eight movie treatments for the fledgling film industry before moving onto short stories, penning everything from horror to humor.

Image of Homer Eon Flint's "The Money-Miler" in Flynn's  Image of Cover of Flynn's Magazine
Photograph of Protective Enclosures for Homer Eon Flint Materials

Pictured above: The first installment of Homer Eon Flint’s “The Money-Miler” in Flynn’s, Vol. 1, No. 3,
October 4, 1924 (Call Number: ASF C924);  Cover of the issue of Flynn’s that contained the second
installment of Flint’s “The Money-Miler,” Vol. 1, No. 4, October 11, 1924 (Call Number: ASF C925);
and protective enclosures used to house the fragile pulp magazines.

Flint made his mark with such science fiction as “The Emancipatrix,” “The Devolutionist,” “The Lord of Death,” “The Queen of Life,” and his co-written book The Blind Spot. Some two and a half million readers devoured The Planeteer. “The Money-Miler” ( Flynn’s, October 4-18, 1924) was his last sale. He made it a month before his violent and mysterious death at 36. His 1924 payment for that novella-length story–$400.

In addition, Homer wrote a number of stories that weren’t published. Those as well as his published work are being brought out by Musa Publishing.

Vella Munn
Vella Munn has written a biography of Homer Eon Flint
, titled Grandfather Lost.