Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Volleyball Edition

November 30th, 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!

KU’s volleyball team will begin its sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance tomorrow night with a first-round match against Missouri. Good luck, Jayhawks! Rock Chalk!

Photograph of KU volleyball player Julie Woodruff, 1989-1990

KU volleyball player Julie Woodruff, 1989-1990.
University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/20/32 Julie Woodruff 1989/1990 Prints:
Athletic Department: Women’s Volleyball (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Collection Snapshot: Late for Dinner?

November 29th, 2017

It’s that time of year when dinner parties and invitations of all sorts abound, so we thought it might be interesting to turn to a nineteenth-century etiquette book to explore its advice on the age-old question of when to arrive for dinner.

Stamped cloth binding of Etiquette for Gentlemen (1841 edition)  Title page of Etiquette for Gentlemen

Stamped cloth binding and title page of  and title page of Etiquette for Gentlemen: With Hints on the Art of Conversation. London: Tilt and Bogue, 1841. Call #: A445. Click images to enlarge.

Of the numerous etiquette books in Spencer Research Library’s collections, Etiquette for Gentlemen: With Hints on the Art of Conversation offers particularly unyielding guidance.  Its anonymous author advises:

If you accept [a dinner invitation], you arrive at the house rigourously at the hour specified. It is equally inconvenient to be too late and to be too early.  If you fall into the latter error, you find every thing in disorder; the master of the house is in his dressing-room; the lady is still in the pantry; the fire not yet lighted in the parlour.  If by accident or thoughtlessness you arrive too soon, you may pretend that you called to inquire the exact hour at which they dine, having mislaid the note, and then retire to walk for an appetite. If you are too late, the evil is still greater, and indeed almost without remedy.  Your delay spoils the dinner and destroys the appetite and temper of the guests; and you yourself are so much embarrassed at the inconvenience you have occasioned, that you commit a thousand errors at table.  If you do not reach the house until dinner is served, you had better retire to a restaurateur’s, and thence send an apology, and not interrupt the harmony of the courses by awkward excuses and cold acceptances.

Passage on arriving at the appointed time for dinner in Etiquette for Gentlemen

Arrival etiquette in Etiquette for Gentlemen: With Hints on the Art of Conversation. London: Tilt and Bogue, 1841. Call #: A445. Click image to enlarge.

Etiquette for Gentlemen appears to have been first published in 1838, and the library holds the 1841 edition. The book’s advice, however, is hardly new as its preface confesses:  “It is […] scarcely possible that anything original should be found in a brochure like the present: almost all that it contains must have fallen under the notice of every gentleman who has been in the habit of frequenting good society.”  As with many etiquette books, the volume’s directives will strike modern readers as by turns sensible, humorous, odd, ill-conceived, and offensive. The volume itself is small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand (and certainly one’s pocket) for ready consultation whenever the need might arise. Although, isn’t it perhaps impolite to pause a social interaction in order to consult one’s etiquette book?!

Elspeth Healey
Special Collections Librarian

Throwback Thursday: Thanksgiving Relaxation Edition

November 23rd, 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!

Happy Thanksgiving, Jayhawks!

We’re not really sure about the context of this week’s photo, but we think the scene it depicts will look familiar to many of you today.

Don’t forget that Spencer Research Library is closed through Sunday, November 26th, for the holiday.

Photograph of Chancellor Laurence Chalmers watching television with his family, 1970

Chancellor Laurence Chalmers watching television with his family, 1970.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 2/13 Family 1970s Prints:
Chancellors: E. Laurence Chalmers: Family (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Home for Thanksgiving

November 21st, 2017

Happy (early) Thanksgiving, everyone! We hope you all get the chance to enjoy a relaxing few days with your loved ones over the holiday! Please remember that the Spencer Research Library will be closed from Thursday to Sunday this week.

We invite you to take a moment and reflect on this thoughtful and introspective poem by award-winning poet, Linda Pastan. Entitled Home for Thanksgiving, the poem comes from her book, Setting the Table.

Poem "Home For Thanksgiving" by Linda Pastan

Cover of Linda Pastan's Setting the Table: Poems

“Home for Thanksgiving” by Linda Pastan from her collection, Setting the Table: Poems. Washington, D.C. ; San Francisco: Dryad Press, [©1980]. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas. Call #: C9301. Click images to enlarge.

Emily Beran
Public Services

World War I Letters of Forrest W. Bassett: November 20-26, 1917

November 20th, 2017

In honor of the centennial of World War I, we’re going to follow the experiences of one American soldier: nineteen-year-old Forrest W. Bassett, whose letters are held in Spencer’s Kansas Collection. Each Monday we’ll post a new entry, which will feature selected letters from Forrest to thirteen-year-old Ava Marie Shaw from that following week, one hundred years after he wrote them.

Forrest W. Bassett was born in Beloit, Wisconsin, on December 21, 1897 to Daniel F. and Ida V. Bassett. On July 20, 1917 he was sworn into military service at Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis, Missouri. Soon after, he was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for training as a radio operator in Company A of the U. S. Signal Corps’ 6th Field Battalion.

Ava Marie Shaw was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 12, 1903 to Robert and Esther Shaw. Both of Marie’s parents – and her three older siblings – were born in Wisconsin. By 1910 the family was living in Woodstock, Illinois, northwest of Chicago. By 1917 they were in Beloit.

Frequently mentioned in the letters are Forrest’s older half-sister Blanche Treadway (born 1883), who had married Arthur Poquette in 1904, and Marie’s older sister Ethel (born 1896).

The first of this week’s letters is addressed to Forrest’s mother, and he reports that “I will have a four day pass so I can spend Thanksgiving Day in Beloit…It will be the only time I can ever come home – not even Christmas – until I am discharged.”

 

Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, November 20, 1917 Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, November 20, 1917

Click images to enlarge.

Tues. Nov. 20, 1917

Dear Mother,

I will have a four day pass so I can spend Thanksgiving Day [November 29, 1917] in Beloit. This all depends on getting the money from you. The O.D. [olive drab] pants and blouse will cost $30 & the fare $15 at the most. Can you send this much so it will reach me by Saturday morning? It will be the only time I can ever come home – not even Christmas – until I am discharged.

I was baptised in the Leavenworth City Baptist Church last Sunday eve.

With Love,
Forrest.

Remember I will be sending $15 a month home in the Summer.

Please send the money so it will get here by Sat. morning if you have to telegraph it.

 

Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, November 22, 1917

Click image to enlarge.

Thurs. Nov. 22, 1917

Dear Marie,

Your letter with the pictures came this noon. It seemed like old times to see you with the gun again. Sure was glad to get them.

I was baptised in the L. City Baptist Church last Sunday.

Well I don’t feel in the mood to write tonight so guess I’ll wait till later.

Yours,
Forrest.

 

Meredith Huff
Public Services

Emma Piazza
Public Services Student Assistant