Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Appellation Spring

January 13th, 2015

Linnnaeus (whose citation at the end of a binomial is simply “L.”) invented a practical system for the classification of plants and animals; more importantly, he established a uniform method of referring to species by two Latin words–a reform that led eventually to binomial nomenclature. Although his classification system was superseded, his principles of nomenclature continue to provide the rules for application of names to thousands of species of animals and plants newly identified every year. Volume 1, Animalia, of the tenth edition of the Systema Naturae (1758), is one of the most important books in the history of science, for it marks the beginning of the modern zoological nomenclature and systematics. In it, Linnaeus first consistently applied binomial nomenclature to the whole animal kingdom.

Linneana B65 v.6:146

Image from Siren lacertina, 1766. Linneana B65 v.6:146, Special Collections

Unfortunately the great Linnaeus had little love for herps, thought them “disgusting,” and would have done well to adopt the classifcation system of John Ray. We quote, in rough translation, from the Systema: “Amphibia are loathsome because of their cool and colorless skin, cartilaginous skeleton, despicable appearance, evil eye, awful stench, harsh sound, filthy habitat, and deadly venom; and so God has not seen fit to create many of them.” Many of Linnaeus’s descriptions were based on those in books by Aldrovandus, Seba, Catesby, Jonstonus, and others. His use of the word “Amphibia” denoted not only all reptiles and amphibians, but also the cartilaginous fishes.

This work is the doctoral dissertation of one of Linnaeus’s students; it was the tradition of the day for a professor to write the thesis, but the student “respondent” had to defend it and pay for its publication.

Sally Haines
Rare Books Cataloger
Adapted from her Spencer Research Library exhibit and catalog, Slithy Toves: Illustrated Classic Herpetological Books at the University of Kansas in Pictures and Conservations

Throwback Thursday: Big 12 Basketball Edition

January 8th, 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 1,700 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

This year’s Big 12 home opener will be played on Saturday against Texas Tech, so today we’re highlighting the first time the Jayhawks faced the Red Raiders. The game was held at Allen Field House on December 7, 1959; it was a KU victory, with a final score of 85-71.

Rock Chalk!

Image of a basketball program, KU versus Texas Tech, 1959

Image of a basketball program, KU versus Texas Tech, 1959

Image of a basketball program, KU versus Texas Tech, 1959

Selected pages from the Official Souvenir Program for the first-ever game between KU and Texas Tech, 1959.
Note the price of tickets. University Archives. Call Number: RG 66/13/1 Programs. Click images to enlarge.

Photograph of a basketball game, KU versus Texas Tech, 1959

 Photograph of a basketball game, KU versus Texas Tech, 1959

Two pictures from the game against Texas Tech, 1959. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/13 1959-1960 Games Texas Tech Negatives: Athletic Department:
Basketball (Photos). Click images to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Brian Nomura
Public Services Student Assistant

Collection Snapshot: Diet and Digestion Advice from the Late 1600s

January 5th, 2015

It’s that time of year when you may hear your friends and family vowing to eat better for 2015.  But who needs trendy “paleo” diets or post-indulgence rounds of pepto-bismol when you can consult a seventeenth-century manuscript instead?  Among the Spencer Research Library’s collections is a volume labelled “Elizabeth Dyke her Booke of Recaits 1668,” which contains approximately 725 medicinal and culinary recipes (or “receipts”).  There you’ll find these two succinct lists of things “good” and “ille” for the stomach:

 

List of "Things good" and "ille" for "the stomack" from a seventeenth century book of receipts.

Parsley and sage advice?: Dyke, Elizabeth. “Things good for the Stomack” and “Things Ille for the Stomack.”
Booke of Recaits [Receipts]. Great Britain, circa 1668. Call Number: MS D157. Click image to enlarge.

According to the manuscript, calamint, sage, and standing after eating meat are all beneficial, while “all sweet things,” “fryed meats,” eating “meat upon meat” (pace Dr. Atkins), and eating “to[o] many dishes at one time” can lead to digestive disorder.

Of course, some of the volume’s recipes are acquired tastes (see the instructions for black sheep’s pudding below), so you may want to take its advice with a grain of salt!

Opening in the Booke of Recaits featuring a recipe for Black Sheep's Pudding

“To make black sheeps pudings.” Book of Recaits [Receipts]. Great Britain, circa 1668. MS D157. Click image to enlarge.

Elspeth Healey
Special Collections Librarian

Throwback Thursday: New Year’s Edition

January 1st, 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 1,700 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

We haven’t yet been able to locate any pictures of New Year’s Eve parties on campus, but we really like this fun and festive picture of a Delta Tau Delta party during the 1930s. From the decorations in the background, we think it might be a Valentine’s or sweethearts dance.

Happy New Year! Please remember that Spencer Research Library will be closed through Sunday, January 4,

Photograph of a Delta Tau Delta party, 1937-1938

Delta Tau Delta party, 1937-1938. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 67/170 1937-1938 Prints: Organizations: Delta Tau Delta (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Brian Nomura
Public Services Student Assistant