Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Waving the Wheat Edition

August 30th, 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!

Just like the fans in this week’s photograph, we’re pumped for KU football! The 2018 season begins on Saturday with a home game against Nicholls State University.

Photograph of football fans at a pep rally, 1936-1937

KU football fans waving the wheat at a pep rally, 1936-1937.
Note the yell leaders in the background, wearing Jayhawk sweaters.
Call Number: RG 71/66/14 1936/1937 Prints: Student Activities: Sports: Football (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Food Will Win the War: A World War I Culinary Experiment

August 28th, 2018

By the time the United States joined World War I in 1917, many were thinking ahead to the possibility of food shortages. In order to avoid mandating food rationing, the United States created a massive patriotic advertisement campaign urging individuals to substitute wheat, sugar, meat, and dairy so that these items could be sent to the troops on the front lines. Catchy headlines like “Save the Wheat, and Help the Fleet” were employed to persuade Americans to win the war by conserving much-needed food resources. It was considered to be part of your patriotic duty.

Thus, Americans buckled down and rationed food. Some of the more common substitutions included corn, rye, oats, and barley in lieu of wheat. For protein, they ate chicken, eggs, cottage cheese, fish, nuts, peas, and beans instead of bacon, beef, mutton, and pork. Table sugar, fats, and eggs were also restricted.

But, what did these modified dishes taste like? What were people on the home-front eating during a time of war?

To find out, Spencer Research Library staff organized a potluck to try some innovative recipes from World War I. Using the Kansas City Food Conservation Cookbook (RH C1550), published in 1918 with recipes pertaining to suggested food conservation and substitutions, we chose dishes to prepare for a party commemorating the centennial anniversary of World War I.

Lynn and Fisher researching in the reading room of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library

Above: Lynn (left) and Fisher (right) found a great resource for recipes
used on the home front during World War I. If you’re interested in exploring this book,
create an account or log into Aeon and request the item RH C1550.
The reference staff will retrieve it when you arrive at the reference room.)

 

What did we bring to the potluck?

We each picked recipes that: 1) we thought we could cook/bake, 2) the ingredients were readily available, and 3) we thought we would enjoy eating. On August 10, 2018, we gathered together in the Spencer Research Library breakroom to unveil our dishes.

Dishes made at potluck cooking with Kansas City Food Conservation Cookbook (RH C1550)

From bottom left corner in the image above, clockwise: Bran cookies by Stacey Wiens, Reference Specialist; fresh garden salsa salad by Meredith Huff, Operations Manager; carrot salad by Lynn Ward, Processing Archivist; aat crackers and goat cheese by Karen Cook, Special Collections Librarian; Spanish rice by Becky Schulte, University Archivist; cheese and rice croquettes by Letha Johnson, Assistant Archivist; popcorn balls by Elspeth Healey, Special Collections Librarian; oatmeal muffins by Marcella Huggard, Manuscripts Processing Coordinator; lentil casserole and cold turkey salad by Lynn Ward, Processing Archivist; lemonade by Fisher Adwell, Library Assistant.

Meredith Huff with her garden-made salsa

Meredith Huff made good use of fresh vegetables from her garden in a
delicious salsa that complemented several of the dishes.

Stacey Wiens with bran cookies

WWI-style Bran Cookies with sign that reads "not very sweet"

Stacey Wiens had a warning sign with her bran cookies that read “not very sweet.”

bran cookies recipe from Kansas City Food Conservation Cookbook (RH C1550)

Marcella Huggard with her oatmeal muffins

Marcella Huggard added raisins to her muffins to make them just a little bit sweeter.
The recipe only calls for two tablespoons of sugar.

Oatmeal muffins recipe from Kansas City Food Conservation Cookbook (1918)

Letha Johnson (left) with her rice and cheese croquettes

Letha Johnson, left, discloses an unexpected ingredient in her
rice and cheese croquettes: peanut butter. Who could have guessed peanut butter
and cheese would be a winning combination?

Rice and cheese croquettes recipe from Kansas City Food Conservation Cookbook (1918)

Elspeth Healey with popcorn balls

Elspeth Healey’s popcorn balls were a sticky success.

Pop corn balls recipe from Kansas City Food Conservation Cookbook (1918)

Becky Schulte with Spanish rice

 Becky Schulte’s Spanish rice was filling, tasty, and nutritious.
She used half of the beef that the recipe called for, all in the spirit of rationing.

Spanish rice recipe from Kansas City Food Conservation Cookbook (1918)

Karen Severud Cook with her oat crackers with goat cheese

Karen Cook’s oat crackers paired nicely with goat cheese.
Her recipe was similar to the one in the book.

Oat crackers recipe from Kansas City Food Conservation Cookbook

Lynn Ward with WWI recipe book.

Lynn Ward made turkey salad, carrot salad, and lentil casserole out of a
book she had at home (Official Recipe Book… 1918).

 

How did it go?

The recipes all turned out with a high degree of success. Of course, we were particular about which recipes to try. Everyone strayed away from some of the more adventurous dishes, including ones that called for fresh pigeon or canned whale. Nor did anyone bring “chicken pudding,” a recipe that calls for putting the inferior parts of a bird through a meat chopper, adding an egg or gravy to bind it together, packing it into a greased pudding bowl, and then steaming it for one and a half hours.

 Chris Bañuelos examines WWI dishes

But still, we all enjoyed sampling the dishes. Chris Bañuelos, Audiovisual Preservation Specialist and pictured above, came to the potluck to try out the food. He remarked, “I was happily surprised at how tasty the dishes actually were. Even the bland ones helped me understand how folks did the best they could during war time.” All of our student workers were invited, and they gravitated toward the popcorn balls – which were a huge hit.

If you’re interested in doing a potluck of your own, here’s some recommendations to follow.

  1. Try finding a cookbook from 1918. Many cookbooks during this time were published to encourage individuals to conserve and substitute food for the war effort.
  2. Look for recipes published in newspapers from 1918. Newspapers were an important resource and recipes would often be cut out and pasted in scrapbooks or on cards for later use.
  3. Utilize some of your favorite modern recipes but modify them based on outlined food restrictions. For instance, cook with flours other than wheat, restrict meats like beef or pork, replace eggs with faux substitutes, and stick to alternative fats. The recipes may not have been used during the time period, but you’ll get an idea of how foods tasted during World War I.
  4. If you don’t feel like cooking or baking, you can always bring local fruits or vegetables from your own garden or purchased at the farmer’s market.

At the end of the day, experimenting with what people ate during World War I provided us with a greater understanding of the gastronomical difficulties of the time. Eating these restrictive foods and sharing stories also gave us a greater appreciation for the diversity of food available today. Although these may not be recipes we throw into our regular culinary rotation, it’s always fun to experiment and take risks in the kitchen.

Lynn Ward
Processing Archivist

and

Fisher Adwell
Library Assistant

Throwback Thursday: Freshman Toss Edition

August 23rd, 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!

One of the fun topics you can learn about in University Archives is the history of traditions at KU, especially those observed during the university’s early decades but no longer practiced today.

One contentious custom required all freshmen to wear tiny caps (beanies) and to tip it before the school flag, faculty members, and seniors. According to an article on the KU History website, the punishments for not doing so included “a severe paddling, an involuntary dip in Potter Lake, or having oneself tossed repeatedly into the air from huge canvas blankets, held by members of the Men’s Student Council and the K-Club, which was composed of lettermen from all University sports.”

Photograph of a group of men tossing a freshman caught without his cap, 1914

Photograph of a group of men tossing a freshman caught without his cap, 1914

Freshmen being tossed in the air after being caught without a cap, 1914.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/66/14 1914 Prints:
Student Activities: Sports: Football (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Both of the above photos were taken in 1914 during KU football games at McCook Field, located roughly where Memorial Stadium now stands. The opponents were the College of Emporia (October 10, top) and the University of Missouri (November 21, bottom).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Happy Birthday, Wilt Chamberlain!

August 21st, 2018

Welcome back, Jayhawks! August 21 not only marks the beginnings of the new school year; today it’s also Wilt Chamberlain’s 82nd birthday. Did you know that, in addition to playing basketball, he was also on the Track & Field team while at KU? It’s true! He was and we’ve got the footage to prove it.

While inspecting some reels of film from the 1957 Kansas Relays, we happened upon some footage of a man with a dapper-looking red and black plaid hat. It was none other than Wilt Chamberlain.

Film still of Wilt Chamberlain in the triple jump event at the Kansas Relays, 1957

Wilt Chamberlain in the triple jump event at the Kansas Relays, 1957.
University Archives. Call Number: UA 12994. Click film still to enlarge.

Film still showing the triple jump standings at the Kansas Relays, 1957

Triple jump (then called the hop, step, and jump) standings at the Kansas Relays, 1957.
University Archives. Call Number: UA 12994. Click film still to enlarge.

Film still of Wilt Chamberlain in the high jump event at the Kansas Relays, 1957

Wilt Chamberlain in the high jump event at the Kansas Relays, 1957.
I don’t know how he did it, but his hat stayed on during the jump.
University Archives. Call Number: UA 12994. Click film still to enlarge.

Film still of the high jump standings at the Kansas Relays, 1957

High jump standings at the Kansas Relays, 1957.
University Archives. Call Number: UA 12994. Click film still to enlarge.

Although Wilt didn’t win these events, his athleticism is undeniable.

Happy birthday, Wilt!

Chris Banuelos
Audiovisual Preservation Specialist
Conservation Services

World War I Letters of Milo H. Main: August 20-26, 1918

August 20th, 2018

In honor of the centennial of World War I, this is the second series in which we follow the experiences of one American soldier: twenty-five year old Milo H. Main, whose letters are held in Spencer’s Kansas Collection. On Mondays we’ll post a new entry featuring selected letters from Milo to his family from that following week, one hundred years after he wrote them.

Milo Hugh Main was born in or near Pittsfield, Illinois, on November 21, 1892 to William and Rose Ella Henry Main. The family moved to Argonia, Sumner County, Kansas, in 1901. After his mother died in 1906, Milo remained in Argonia with his father and his two sisters Gladys (b. 1890) and June (b. 1899). His youngest sister Fern (b. 1905) was sent to live with relatives in Illinois.

As Milo reported to the Kansas State Historical Society in 1919, after graduating from high school he worked as a store clerk. He resigned in July 1917 and took a position at Standard Oil Company, possibly co-managing a gas station in Argonia.

Milo entered into military service on September 21, 1917. He served as a wagoner – a person who drives a wagon or transports goods by wagon – in Battery F, 130th Field Artillery. He was stationed at Camp Funston (September-October 1917) and Camp Doniphan (October 1917-May 1918). On May 19, 1918, he boarded the ship Ceramic in New York City and departed for Europe.

In this week’s letter, Milo describes reaching the Alps. “Wish you could see how we are located in these foot hills of the silver shinning Alp Mountains,” he wrote. “I can sit on my bed, not bunk, and look out a glass front down the mountain slope just as many millionaire tourists from America did up until 1914.”

 

Image of Milo H. Main's letter to his family, August 24, 1918

Image of Milo H. Main's letter to his family, August 24, 1918

Image of Milo H. Main's letter to his family, August 24, 1918

Aug. 24th, 1918.
“With the Amex Forces Somewhere in Europe”

Dear Father and Sisters:- Have at last reached the place where I started for over eleven months ago. My ideas of a “Battle Front” were entirely out of comparison with this place. To me, it is more like a summer resort of Colo. than any thing else. Wish you could see how we are located in these foot hills of the silver shinning Alp Mountains. Our accommodations here are much better for my line of work, (which is the same as before) than we ever had in the U.S.A. I can sit on my bed, not bunk, and look out a glass front down the mountain slope just as many millionaire tourists from America did up until 1914. My duties are cut down at least 75% now and the amount of “bunk fatigue” I do is shameful.

I have not seen any of the Argonia gang for a week but, all were in good health and enjoying the novelty of this game when I saw them last.

I answered J.W.’s (1) letter last evening after a long period of silence. (There seems to be some thing in this mountain air that makes me want to sleep instead of writting.)

In 30 days, think I can take a seven-day leave. There are two French homes I can visit or one in Germany.

I have been in [Struth or Kruth] (2), Oderon and Bossat (3), Germany, but, not Berlin yet.

Don’t worry about my safety, for I am just as safe as though I were in the U.S.A. In fact, I crave excitement now as never before.

May write to Uncle Will’s (4) soon, they are possibly back from their vacation but, Uncle has not got anything on me at that for I beleive this is the greater of the two.

This leaves me in the best of health and trusting all are the same at home, hoping to hear from often as usal, I remain

Your son and brother,

Prvt. Milo H. Main.
Bat. F. 130 F.A.
American Ex. Forces.

(1) Possibly J. W. Achelpohl, a storeowner in Argonia mentioned in Milo’s letter of August 19th. According to Milo’s World War I draft registration card, Achelpohl was his employer when he worked as a clerk.

(2) Milo may be referring to Kreuth in southern Germany.

(3) It’s not clear what places Milo is referencing here.

(4) Probably William M. Henry, a brother of Milo’s mother mentioned in his letter of August 19th. Born in Illinois in 1861, William relocated to Sumner County, Kansas, with his wife and children around 1900.

 

Meredith Huff
Public Services

Emma Piazza
Public Services Student Assistant