Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

“A Spin Down the Road”: Photographs of Kansas Cyclists

May 30th, 2017

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes stories, in Scientific American, 1896

May is National Bike Month, so this week we’re sharing some photographs from the Kansas Collection that show turn-of-the-century Kansans with their bicycles.

Photograph of a group of bicyclists, 1896

Group of bicyclists participating in a Leavenworth-Kansas City bicycle race, 1896.
Leavenworth Public Library Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72.
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Mattie Parrish with a bicycle, 1897

Mattie Parrish with a bicycle, Junction City, Kansas, 1897.
Joseph J. Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of F, 1 Bicycle Corps with their Bicycles, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1897

F, 1 Bicycle Corps with their bicycles, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1897.
Joseph J. Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of Samuel Elliott with his children on a bicycle, circa 1904

Samuel Elliott with his children Maude, Jeannette, Sam,
and Louise on a bicycle, circa 1904. Photo by Alfred Lawrence,
734 Massachusetts, Lawrence, Kansas. Elliott Family Papers.
Call Number: RH MS-P 338. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of a group sitting on a loading dock with a bicycle, circa 1913

Group sitting on a loading dock with a bicycle, circa 1913.
Kansas Collection Photographs. Call Number: RH PH P1088.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Be sure to also check out additional digitized photos of bicyclists in the Pennell Collection.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Wescoe Boardwalk Edition

May 25th, 2017

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 34,800 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

It’s another busy summer at KU, with lots of campus construction projects underway. This week’s photograph features a pedestrian walkway that was built along Jayhawk Boulevard during the construction of Wescoe Hall, which began in May 1971.

Photograph of Wecsoe Boardwalk, 1972

Wescoe Boardwalk, September 1972. Kansas Alumni photo by Hank Young.
Note the KU logo in the upper left corner of the sign. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Wescoe Boardwalk 1972 Prints: Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Romeo and Juliet: Creative Reimaginings

May 23rd, 2017

Spencer Research Library certainly has the staples for any Shakespeare-phile: a complete Second Folio, a partial First Folio, individual books, and works from his contemporaries Thomas Heywood, Ben Jonson, Philip Sidney, and others. Printed in ages past, these works demonstrate the long history and enduring fascination scholars and bibliophiles alike maintain concerning the works of the Bard and the many social issues he addresses in them. But more importantly, KSRL also possesses works that demonstrate Shakespeare’s lasting influence and application through creative reimaginings.

The cover of Emily Martin’s interpretation of
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
.
[Iowa City] : Naughty Dog Press, 2012.
Call Number: D7385. Click image to enlarge.

One such reimagining was crafted by Emily Martin. Created for a designer bookbinding competition for the Bodleian Libraries and Designer Bookbinders in 2013, the carousel book adapts one of Shakespeare’s best-known tragedies, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. With five main “views” to embody each of the play’s five acts, the carousel book pays homage to the play’s central ideas and its modern application. Martin creates corresponding pop-ups for each act and uses key lines from Juliet, Romeo, and the Prince (for Act V) to illustrate and remind readers of the important events from each act.

View of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by Emily Martin

View of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by Emily Martin

Views of Emily Martin’s interpretation of
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (2012).
Call Number: D7385. Click images to enlarge.

In between each of the main views, Martin emphasizes “the timelessness of the play through repetition of the chorus and insertion of modern equivalents for Verona,” as Martin explains in the colophon for the book. These modern equivalents include: Bosnia, Israel, Rwanda, and America. In correspondence, Martin adds that these locations, “were ‘scenes of strife’ at the time, I used countries rather than cities for name recognition and to expand out from small locations to large. I felt the need to remind readers the play is still timely by connecting to current conflicts.” Martin also includes her own commentary under each repetition of the chorus, articulating the many ways that Shakespeare’s central themes can be reimagined and updated far beyond Shakespeare’s time.

View of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by Emily Martin

A close-up of Emily Martin’s interpretation of
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (2012).
The top section is the first four lines of the play’s prologue.
Note that Martin has changed “fair Verona” to “fair America.”
The bottom text is Martin’s commentary.
Call Number: D7385. Click image to enlarge.

Even though The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is advertised as a tale of two “star-crossed lovers,” Martin comments, “I was struck more by the universality of feuding more than the romance.” Romeo and Juliet individually must combat the trials of a forbidden love, and their families exemplify the enduring consequences of unabashed hatred of others for no deeper reason than one’s name. Despite Romeo and Juliet’s tragic deaths, the feud shows no signs of ending. Martin describes this plot point as a reason for the book’s carousel design. She states, “circular format emphasizes the repetitive aspect of the feuding, it doesn’t end, it just begins again.”

View of The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet by Emily Martin

View of Emily Martin’s interpretation of
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (2012).
Call Number: D7385. Click image to enlarge.

This piece, like many others in Spencer Library’s collection, demonstrates the many ways that the old and new, the past and present can come together. Martin’s reimagining masterfully blends “details specific to Verona,” (including illustrations to match the settings in each act) with new elements that make Shakespeare’s famous tragedy come alive again.  Even though it invokes new ideas to bring the star-crossed lovers into the 21st century, it is still maintains the integrity of their tragic tale and breathes new life into their multi-faceted story. As the Prince decrees, “For never was a story of more woe / Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” Martin uses this timeless tale of woe and turns it into a well-crafted political commentary, exemplifying the ways that Shakespeare speaks to not only Shakespeare-philes, but also anyone looking to bridge disciplines and time periods in meaningful ways.

Melissa Kleinschmidt
Public Services Student Assistant and 2017 KU graduate (Master’s of Arts, English)

Throwback Thursday: Corbin Hall Edition

May 18th, 2017

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 34,800 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

This week’s photograph is an early view of Corbin Residence Hall, KU’s first dormitory, which opened in 1923. Corbin will close for renovation starting this month and will remain closed during the 2017-2018 school year.

Photogrph of Corbin Hall, 1925

Corbin Hall, 1925. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/13 1925 Prints: Campus: Buildings: Corbin Hall (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The original structure shown in the picture is the southernmost section of the current residence hall. It faces 11th Street at Ohio, which is to the right of the building but not visible in the picture.

Additional photographs of Corbin Hall are available through Spencer’s online collection of University Archives images.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Letters Home: Correspondence during World War I

May 15th, 2017

In December 1917, the University of Kansas Alumni Association’s Graduate Magazine began publishing letters from Jayhawks serving in various capacities overseas. The letters became a regular part of the publication in 1918 and 1919. While some of the letters were from former students to faculty at KU or to The Graduate Magazine itself, most were sent to their families and later shared with the Alumni Association’s publication – giving those back home a glimpse into the lives of brave Jayhawks overseas.

For example, Herbert Laslett was a psychology major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who graduated from KU in 1918. During his final year at KU, he was a student officer in the KU Cadet Regiment. While in Europe as a member of the 353rd Infantry, A.E.F., Laslett wrote to one of his former instructors describing his experience and sharing some news of other former students as well. His letter appeared in the December 1918 issue of The Graduate Magazine.

Photograph of the KU Cadet Regiment, 1918

The KU Cadet Regiment in the Jayhawker yearbook, 1918.
Herbert Laslett is in the back row on the far left.
University Archives. Call Number: LD 2697 .J3 1918.
Click image to enlarge.

Herbert Laslett, “Letters,” The Graduate Magazine, December 1918 Herbert Laslett, “Letters,” The Graduate Magazine, December 1918

Herbert Laslett’s letters in The Graduate Magazine, December 1918.
University Archives. Call Number: LH 1 .K3 G73 1918. Click images to enlarge.

Evadne Laptad was a student in the College of Liberal Arts and Science who graduated from KU in 1908. Evadne worked as a hospital searcher with the American Red Cross’s Hospital and Home Communication Service during the war. A new initiative during World War I, the Hospital and Home Communication Service sent American women to military hospitals in Europe during and after the war. These women relayed information about injured soldiers to their family and friends back home. Her letter appeared in the April 1919 issue of The Graduate Magazine alongside letters from two other female graduates who were serving the war effort overseas.

Photograph of Evadne Laptad in the Jayhawker yearbook, 1908

Evadne Laptad’s senior picture in the Jayhawker yearbook, 1908.
University Archives. Call Number: LD 2697 .J3 1908.

Evadne Laptad, “Letters,” The Graduate Magazine, April 1919 Evadne Laptad, “Letters,” The Graduate Magazine, April 1919

Evadne Laptad’s letters in The Graduate Magazine, April 1919.
University Archives. Call Number: LH 1 .K3 G73 1918. Click images to enlarge.

Emily Beran
Public Services