Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Picnic Edition, Part II

April 12th, 2018

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!

Head outside, Jayhawks, and enjoy the sunshine and warm weather! Cold temperatures return this weekend.

Photograph of students on the lawn in front of Old Fraser Hall, 1900s

Students sitting and picnicking on the lawn in front of Old Fraser Hall, 1900s.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/17 1900s Prints: University General:
Commencement (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Old Fraser Hall was located roughly where the modern Fraser Hall now stands. The above picture was taken during commencement festivities; if you zoom in to examine details in the image, you can see that some students are wearing mortar boards.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Ephemera and Binder’s Waste in Summerfield E397

April 10th, 2018

Last year, I wrote about my survey of part of the Summerfield Collection of Renaissance and Early Modern Books, and all of the lovely hidden treasures within that collection. One item that I identified during the survey as a candidate for future treatment is Summerfield E397, De statu religionis et reipublicae, Carolo Quinto Caesare, commentarii, by Johannes Sleidanus, published in 1555.

What caught my attention about this volume is the fragment of parchment manuscript that was taped inside the lower board. Actually, there are two fragments – halves of a leaf that long ago was cut apart and used to form flanges that were sewn onto either side of the text block and then adhered between the boards and pastedowns. At some later time, the book was repaired and the manuscript flanges were removed. Whoever removed them chose to retain them, piecing them back together with glassine tape and affixing them inside the back of the book.

Summerfield E97, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Manuscript fragments, previously used as binder’s waste,
taped into the back of Summerfield E397. Click image to enlarge.

In the front of the volume are affixed two letters dated in February 1896 that a one-time owner of the volume – one Robert A. Scott Macfie – received from a William Y. Fletcher in response to an inquiry he had sent about the book (Fletcher’s name appears in a 1908 list of members of the Bibliographical Society of London). The second of these letters mentions that Fletcher had shown the book (which Macfie had lent him to examine) to “Mr. Scott and Mr. Warner, the Keeper and Assistant Keeper of MSS in the [British] Museum, and they consider [the fragments] to have belonged to an English or Scottish MS (most probably the former) of the 15th century.” How fascinating and fortunate that these records of the book’s life have survived with it.

Summerfield E97, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Left: Cover of Summerfield E397. Right: Fletcher’s letters to Macfie
taped onto front flyleaf. Click image to enlarge.

At the time that I surveyed this book, I consulted with the curator about how to approach the treatment and made a note to revisit it at a later date. I recently reviewed my queue of projects and this one presented itself. In my discussion with the curator, we had agreed to leave the letters as-is, but to remove the tape from the manuscript fragments, reunite them with wheat starch paste and Japanese tissue, and tip them back into the volume with the same. Their presence in the volume tells something of the book’s story, but we felt it would be beneficial to remove the brittle, discolored tape from the parchment.

Summerfield E97, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Visible threads (top) and sewing holes (bottom) indicating
these fragments had been used as binder’s waste.
Click image to enlarge.

Luckily, if one has to remove tape, this type of tape is about as easy to remove as they come. The gummed adhesive layer on this tape responds very well and quickly to a light application of methylcellulose; after just a couple of minutes, the tape carrier and most of the adhesive lift away easily. I reduced the remaining adhesive residue by gently swabbing it with damp cotton, but I did not pursue this very far – overly aggressive cleaning would leave those areas of the parchment looking too starkly white. When the tape was all removed, I used a soft brush to dislodge some surface dirt that had accumulated in the creases.

Summerfield E97, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Removing the tape hinge that had held the fragments in place.
In the red circle, note the stain left by one of the blue manuscript capitals
from when the fragments served as binding material. Click image to enlarge.

Summerfield E97, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Detail of the seam where the two halves of this leaf were cut apart long ago.
Click image to enlarge.

Next, I used very dry paste and thin tissue to reattach the two halves to one another. I chose to do this in lapped sections rather than a continuous strip to allow the skins to expand and contract with subtle changes in the environment, and to distribute the stress of the repair evenly along both sides of the leaves, as well as to avoid placing adhesive over areas where ink was present. Finally, I reattached the fragments inside the lower board using a hinge of Japanese tissue and paste.

Summerfield E97, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

The finished manuscript fragments replaced into the volume.
Click image to enlarge.

 

Angela Andres
Special Collections Conservator
Conservation Services

Throwback Thursday: Assassination Commemoration Edition

April 5th, 2018

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 commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photograph of a Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination demonstration, 1968

KU students in front of Strong Hall honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 5, 1968.
Lawrence Journal-World Photo Collection, University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG LJW 71/18 1968-04-06: Student Activities:
Student Protests (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The sign the students are holding – more visible in other photos of the events that took place on campus and in Lawrence on April 5, 1968 – says “Join us in our revulsion and sorrow at the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.”

An article in the Lawrence Daily Journal-World described the events of the day.

About 700 persons, mainly Kansas University faculty members and students, this morning participated in ceremonies honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the nonviolent prophet of the civil rights movement who was slain Thursday in Memphis, Tenn.

The vigil in front of KU’s Strong Hall began at 9:10 this morning as seven KU students lowered to half-staff the flag in front of the university administration building. They held a sign which said “Join us in our revulsion and sorrow at the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.”

By 10 a.m., there were 22 persons standing in front of the lowered flag. The group swelled to 61 by 11:15 a.m., and to about 100 persons by 11:20 a.m. Then, as classes changed, hundreds of persons approached the area to participate in a previously-announced memorial service sponsored by the KU Religious Advisors.

The final attendance estimate was made by Rev. Tom Rehorn of the Methodist Wesley Foundation.

Nicholas Gerren, Wilberforce, Ohio, junior at KU, read a eulogy, which said in part: “My black brother is dead. His only sin was a desire for peace, his only wrong was a love for the black man. Here in America, the land of the free press, the land of free speech, he took a stand, fought, spoke, and died for what he believed.”

The 15-minute ceremony ended at 11:45 this morning as Rev. Rehorn announced there would be a silent march in Dr. King’s honor. The march which began at Strong Hall ended in South Park. Leading several hundred persons en route down Mass. St. were two KU students who carried a sign which said “Martin Luther King –1929-1968.”

Earlier this morning, a group of KU students set up a booth in the main lobby of the Kansas Union, where they urged passers-by to send telegrams urging passage of civil rights legislation to their congressmen. The booth was placed in front of a large sign which said “Let’s Make This Tragedy Work for Peace – Help Pass the Bill.”

Tom Miller, Paola senior at KU, said he and Ned Valentine, Clay Center senior, organized the “telegram movement” Thursday night. He said they telephoned friends at various colleges around the nation, asking students to send telegrams to congressmen using passage of civil rights legislation bottled up in a House committee.

Students for [Democrat Eugene] McCarthy and Students for [Democrat Robert F.] Kennedy [in the 1968 election] both are helping with the “telegram movement,” Miller said.

While Miller and others were busy in the Union, a group of 36 Negro students were marching down Jayhawk Boulevard singing “We Shall Overcome.” The students, some wearing black armbands, gathered in front of Strong Hall for silent prayer at about 9:20 a.m. The brief ceremony ended at 9:30 a.m.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

World War I Letters of Forrest W. Bassett: April 2-8, 1918

April 2nd, 2018

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).

Highlights from this week’s letters include Forrest arguing for the importance of sleep to good health (“that is one reason why all of us here gain in weight and health”), discussing new service radio equipment (“it is all for use in the trenches, while our training radio apparatus was all for open field service”), and advising Marie about his sister Blanche (“don’t let a few little sharp words hurt your feelings”).

 

Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, April 7, 1918 Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, April 7, 1918

Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, April 7, 1918 Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, April 7, 1918

Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, April 7, 1918 Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, April 7, 1918

Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, April 7, 1918 Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, April 7, 1918

Click images to enlarge.

April 7, 1918.

Dear Marie,

Well, I haven’t written for quite awhile but still I can’t think of much to write about.

I am glad you can have a bed of your own and hope you will stick to that rule of going to bed at 9:00 P:M. Then, if you get too much sleep – why get up earlier. Perfectly simple, isn’t it? That is one reason why all of us here gain in weight and health – we get little rests after breakfast, dinner and supper. Our bunks are right handy in our “parlor” and a half an hours “bunk fatigue” is fine after each meal. (The army name for work is “fatigue.” Overalls are called “fatigue suits.”) Stick to the advice of Doctor Fox. However, I wish you would read every article by Alfred McCann, that you see. There is a good one in April “Physical Culture.” Did you try to read any of “Starving America”?

Well I am waiting for your Easter snapshots now.

I hope you join the “Campfire Girls,” it sounds pretty good to me. Be sure to tell me all about your doings, if you do.

Has Cashus got a key and buzzer like I had? Why don’t you get him to teach you? I sure do wish we could be “fixed” so we could telegraph to eachother. I passed the 20-word per minute test which, in civil life would qualify me for a Gov’t license as a commercial operator. I may set up a long distance receiving set if I ever see Beloit again. Our trip to France has apparently been called off for awhile. We were supposed to get part of our service radio equipment at the Port of Embarkation. It has been shipped to us and it is all for use in the trenches, while our training radio apparatus was all for open field service. The new sets are run by storage batteries and a part is carried on each man’s back. The transmitting sets are not very powerful but the receiving sets are extremely sensitive.

Well this isn’t a very “nice” letter, is it? Guess I’ll have to wait until you write some more nice letters, send a box of stuffed dates, and your pictures. That ought to be enough to make most anyone write a “nice” letter wouldn’t it? Even if it wasn’t to “S.M.A.” Don’t forget all packages are opened by the Captain or the Lieutenant, so don’t enclose any notes.

I am still working in the office doing duty on the typewriter. Friday I wrote a regular book; five copies at a time, using four carbon sheets of course.

Now, about Blanche [Forrest’s older half-sister]. I know positively that Blanche loves you very much, and that my few days home hasn’t changed her a bit. Don’t let a few little sharp words hurt your feelings. That is just her way, and I know she doesn’t realize that they hurt. I understand how you feel, alright, and know Blanche well enough to see just where the trouble is.

Also Blanche hasn’t been in the best of spirits after the trouble she has been having – and you know that makes a little difference. Marie, just act as if you thought Blanche loves you just the same as she always has, and you will soon find out that she really does.

With love,
Forrest.

(Give the enclosed typed letter with note to your Father.)

Please: Tell Lou I received her candy O.K. and will write later.  FWB.

 

Meredith Huff
Public Services

Emma Piazza
Public Services Student Assistant