Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

New Finding Aids, July-December 2019

January 21st, 2020

Archival collections do not always have a great deal of visual appeal—correspondence, diaries, reports, completed forms, memos, and other related record types may or may not include sketches, images, and other detritus that catches the eye when first opening a volume or folder.

But archival collections frequently contain photographs, ephemera, objects, and other items that do have visual appeal. In the last six months of 2019, Spencer Research Library staff completed processing a wide variety of archival collections, many of which have something to catch the eye as well as a great deal to research.

For example, Robert S. Lemon’s collection of photographs includes some lovely snapshots of Helen Spencer—funder of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library among many other projects on KU and elsewhere—and her husband Kenneth.

A candid photograph of Kenneth and Helen Spencer, probably dating from the 1940s
A candid photograph of Kenneth and Helen Spencer, probably dating from the 1940s. Robert S. Lemon Photographs. Call Number: RH PH P2837, Folder 2. Click image to enlarge.

The United Farm Workers collection, part of the Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements, includes this wooden pickers’ crate proudly displaying the Farm Workers’ stamp:

Photograph of a wooden pickers’ crate displaying the United Farm Workers' stamp
Photograph of the detail of a United Farm Workers' stamp on the wooden pickers’ crate
A wooden pickers’ crate displaying the United Farm Workers’ stamp. United Farm Workers Collection. Call Number: RH WL MS Q8, Box 2. Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas. Click images to enlarge.

Edith Krull, a freelance art critic and journalist, reviewed and saw a wide variety of art exhibits in East Germany during the latter half of the twentieth century, presumably including this showing of Budapest-born artist Gabriella Billege:

Front cover of a leaflet from the Berlin Gallerie Mitte for a 1983 show of Gabriella Billege’s works
Front cover of a leaflet from the Berlin Gallerie Mitte for a 1983 show of Gabriella Billege’s works. Edith Krull Collection. Call Number: MS 345, Box 1, Folder 34. Click image to enlarge.

Harold Orel’s 1941 “Books I Have Read” journal may not at first glance appear visually appealing, but his witty writing style makes for entertaining reading.

Photograph of a page from Harold Orel’s reading journal, discussing one of the books he read as a teenager in November 1941
A page from Harold Orel’s reading journal, discussing one of the books he read as a teenager in November 1941. The entry foreshadows Orel’s future career as an English professor at KU. Personal Papers of Harold Orel. Call Number: PP 615, Box 30. Click image to enlarge.

Please feel free to perform research in any of the newly processed collections listed below and see what catches your eye!

Banks family papers, 1921-2017 (RH MS 1488, RH MS-P 1488, RH MS R453)

Clyde Bysom collection, 1925-2015 (RH MS 1493, RH MS-P 1493, RH MS Q459)

Brent Campney research on racist violence against African Americans, 1863-2001 (bulk 1863-1920s) (RH MS 1492, RH MS Q458)

James B. English letters, 1968-1969 (RH MS 664)

Gilbert H. Finlay Order of Eastern Star scrapbook material, 1966-1989 (RH MS 1491)

Gerladine Mowbray-Arnett collection, 1908-2000 (RH MS 1489)

Hiat-Hett family genealogy collection, 1879 (RH MS P966)

Emmanuel Jones scrapbook, 1891-1947 (RH MS E210)

Henry C. Kollings photographs, 1906-1968 (RH PH 546, RH PH 546(f))

Robert S. Lemon photographs, 1920s-approximately 1944 (RH PH P2837)

Margaret Verhage collection, 1892-1951 (RH MS P967)

Mike Kautsch collection of William Allen White materials, majority of material found within 1929-1986 (RH MS 1494)

Ernesto Alvarado Garcia, 1939-1966 (MS 64, MS Qa26)

Jack E. Lorts collection of Larry Eigner correspondence and manuscripts, January 1960-February 26, 1962 (MS 352)

Bolton Company letters, 1695-1711 (MS 84)

Edith Krull collection, 1952-1990 (MS 345, MS Q77, MS Qa24, MS R20, MS S8)

Personal papers of Richard F. Johnston, 1962-1986 (PP 612)

Personal papers of Kala Stroup, 1959-2018 (PP 613)

Personal papers of Alton Thomas, 1948-1987 (PP 614)

Personal papers of John Walter Pozdro, 1940s-2000s (PP 616)

Personal papers of Harold Orel, 1941-2012 (PP 615)

Backus family newspapers collection, 1795-1870, 1889 (MS R24, MS Q85, MS Qa30, MS S12, MS P748)

A. Doyle Moore collection, 1967-1988 (MS 357, MS Q87)

Linda Kay Davis collection of Ed Sanders materials, 1967-2011 (MS 356, MS Q86)

Records of the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, 1966-2019 (RG 76/3, several CT call numbers)

John Coelln papers, 1961-1975 (RH WL MS 54)

United Farm Workers collection, 1966-1979 (RH WL MS 53, RH WL MS Q8)

Michael Zweig papers, 1964-1971 and undated (RH WL MS 55, RH WL MS Q9)

Sharon Feldman papers, 1963-1993 (RH WL MS 56, RH WL MS Q10)

George Cruse autograph album, 1901 (RH MS P968)

Hutchinson, KS Cyrus Cauldron souvenir photo book, approximately 1920s (RH PH P2838)

Dwight Eisenhower speaking at Abilene, June 22, 1945 (KC AV 90)

R.H. Gandiven and R. Hugoboom photographs, 1883-1884 (RH PH 547(f))

Barbara Hays Duke papers, 1909-2006, 2016 (RH MS 1495, RH MS-P 1495(f), RH MS Q462)

Peace Mennonite Church records, 1978-2018 (RH MS 1496)

Fred Six papers, 1929-2011 (RH MS 1506, RH MS Q467)

John Kessel papers, 1969-2019 (MS 358, MS Q88, MS Qa31, SC AV 25)

Personal papers of David Frayer, 1972-2012 (PP 619)

Marcella Huggard
Archives and Manuscripts Processing Coordinator

Historic Kansas Photographs Recently Donated are the Subject of a Temporary Exhibit (Part Two)

August 7th, 2019

This second installment of the temporary exhibit of the Hollmann photograph collection focuses on photographs of Kansas, featuring images depicting settlement, military service, portraits, and colleges. (The first installment highlighted photographs of Lawrence.)

Kansas settlement

Cabinet card of a sod home with family.  Photographer B. I. March

Cabinet card of a sod home with family. Photographer B. I. March.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 41, folder 8. Click image to enlarge.

M. Sheley and his family casually pose outside of their sod home with their horses near Norton. The date of the photograph is approximately 1900. In some areas of Kansas, lumber and trees to build houses were not available to early settlers. They built homes, barns, churches, and schools out of sod instead. Many images of sod structures appear in the Hollmann photograph collection.

Stereoview of Dodge City, Kansas. Published by J. Lee Knight of Topeka, Kansas

Stereoview of Dodge City, Kansas. Published by J. Lee Knight of Topeka, Kansas.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 85, folder 6. Click image to enlarge.

This stereoview shows an early view (1874?) of the settlement of Dodge City. Wagons or carts are piled high with an indiscernible cargo. An inscription on the right side of the card reads “Goods for export, Dodge City.”

Kansas military service

The Hollmann photograph collection contains many images of Kansans serving in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, and even World War II. Several hundred photographic postcards of Camp Funston illustrate life for Kansans training for World War I.

Postcard of Holyrood men before leaving for Camp Funston. 

Postcard of Holyrood men before leaving for Camp Funston.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 15, folder 34. Click image to enlarge.

This postcard, dated May 27, 1918, captures men in suits leaving their hometown of Holyrood in central Kansas for Camp Funston to serve in World War I. It appears that the photograph was taken near a railroad. The building behind them could be the train station.

Two members of the 9th Cavalry band.  No photographer identified.

Two members of the 9th Cavalry band. No photographer identified.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 28, folder 22a. Click image to enlarge.

Dorcy Rhodes (left) and Sergeant Emilio Jarnilia of the 9th Cavalry band pose outside a building at Fort Riley. Their names are inscribed on the back of photograph. Although their service dates are not identified, the photograph dates from approximately the 1910s.

Kansas colleges

Besides the University of Kansas and Haskell Institute, featured in the previous post, many other Kansas colleges and universities are represented in the Hollmann photograph collection.

Stanley Hall at Western University caption: Western University for African Americans in Quindaro.

Stanley Hall at Western University caption: Western University for African Americans in Quindaro.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 44, folder 16. Click image to enlarge.

Unidentified students stand in front of Stanley Hall at Western University in Quindaro in approximately 1906. The school was established after the Civil War and was the only African American school in Kansas. The university closed in 1943.

Stereoview of the Agricultural College, published by L. A. Ramsour in Manhattan. 

Stereoview of the Agricultural College, published by L. A. Ramsour in Manhattan.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 87, folder 10. Click image to enlarge.

Shown here is the “Main building” of the Agricultural College, now known as Kansas State University, dated approximately 1880. The stereoview publisher, L.A. Ramsour, of Manhattan, Kansas, also published views of New Mexico, hence the publisher’s printing along the sides of the stereoview.

Kansas portraits

Unidentified woman, possibly from Valley Falls.  Photographer McCoy from Valley Falls, Kansas. 

Unidentified woman, possibly from Valley Falls.
Photographer McCoy from Valley Falls, Kansas.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 48, folder 4. Click image to enlarge.

Unfortunately, many of the portraits in the Hollmann photograph collection do not have identification. Often, a penciled inscription on the back of the photograph will identify the subject or give a clue as to the identity. This woman is not identified on the back, however since the portrait was taken in Valley Falls, it is possible that she is from there. Her clothing allows the photograph to be dated to approximately the 1880s.

Carte de visite of Pottawatomie Chief Abram Burnett of Topeka.  The photographers are Bliss & Wentworth of Topeka.  Dated approximately 1869.

Carte de visite of Pottawatomie Chief Abram Burnett of Topeka.
Photographers Bliss & Wentworth of Topeka. Dated approximately 1869.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 60, folder 18. Click image to enlarge.

Pottawatomie Chief Abram Burnett was an important figure in Topeka history, moving to the area in the 1840s and serving as a mediator among the Pottawatomie tribe. He died in 1870 and was buried on his farm.  His grave site is now known as Burnett’s Mound. A note inscribed on the back of the photograph states that the card was purchased as a souvenir in the 1860s.

Be sure to come view the temporary exhibit in the North Gallery in the Spencer Research Library before it closes at the end of August! The Spencer Research Library is open to everyone. If you would like to do research with the Hollmann photograph collection, please see our website for information on visiting and using the collection at Kenneth Spencer Research Library.

Lynn M. Ward
Processing Archivist

Historic Kansas Photographs Recently Donated are the Subject of a Temporary Exhibit (Part One)

August 6th, 2019

Leonard Henry Hollmann from Eudora, Kansas was passionate about photography and collecting photographs, especially those about Kansas or by Kansas photographers.

Mr. Hollmann donated his photographic collection to the Spencer Research Library shortly before he passed away in January 2016. Containing over 10,000 images, the collection is a gem. Hollmann had carefully collected images from across Kansas (and some from Missouri and Nebraska), with a concentration on Lawrence and Douglas County. Most of the images date from the 1850s-1930s.

The collection contains many types of photographic formats including ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes de visite, cabinet cards, postcards, and stereoviews. The arranging and describing of the collection, because of its enormity, took seven months.

This amazing collection is now available for researchers. View the finding aid here: Guide to the Leonard Hollmann photograph collection. At the very top of the finding aid there is a search box where you can enter any keyword to search the document. Try typing in a town name or something else, like “dog” or “bicycle.”

A selection of the Hollmann photograph collection is on exhibit in the North Gallery of the Spencer Research Library until the end of August. The temporary exhibit highlights about 35 images of Lawrence, Kansas and other Kansas towns. The photographs on view date from 1862 to 1918. Some of them are rare and have not been viewed by the public before.

Our two-part blog will feature Lawrence photographs in the first installment and Kansas images in the second installment.

Early Lawrence residents

Ambrotype of deceased 11 month old Lawrence girl, Freddie Rockwell Read, 1862

 Ambrotype of deceased eleven-month-old Lawrence girl Freddie Rockwell Read, 1862.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 64, folder 1. Click image to enlarge.

One of the most defining moments in Lawrence’s history was Quantrill’s Raid in 1863. Before and during the Civil War, Kansas and Missouri had many unofficial skirmishes between each other. William Quantrill’s raid on the free-state town of Lawrence, Kansas (also known as the Lawrence Massacre) was a defining moment in this time period. At dawn on August 21, 1863, Quantrill and his guerrillas rode into Lawrence, where they burned much of the town and killed between 160 and 190 men and boys.

An early type of photograph, ambrotypes were produced by placing a glass negative against a dark background. Although they were more affordable for families, it was uncommon to have an ambrotype photograph taken. Unlike tintypes, only one ambrotype was produced during a photographic sitting. It is possible that this is the first time that this photograph of Freddie Read has ever been published, or been on exhibit!

Carte de visite of John Lewis Crane. Photographer L. M. Price, no location.

Carte de visite of John Lewis Crane. Photographer L. M. Price, no location.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 58, folder 17. Click image to enlarge.

Originally from Connecticut, John Lewis Crane was a partner in a shoe store in Lawrence before he was killed during Quantrill’s raid. Photographs of two of his siblings and brother-in-law Gurdon Grovenor are also in this collection.

University of Kansas

Cabinet card of Hannah Oliver.  Photographer Mettner of Lawrence, Kansas.
Cabinet card of Hannah Oliver. Photographer Mettner of Lawrence, Kansas.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 36, folder 5. Click image to enlarge.

A Quantrill’s raid survivor, Hannah Oliver received her Bachelor of Arts in 1874 and her Master of Arts in 1888 from the University of Kansas. She joined the faculty of KU in 1890, teaching Latin. She retired in 1931. The finding aid for her personal papers at Spencer Research Library can be accessed through this link: Guide to the Hannah Oliver collection.

Stereoview card of Old Fraser Hall, published by W. H. Lamon, of Lawrence, dated 1884.

Stereoview card of Old Fraser Hall, published by W. H. Lamon, of Lawrence, dated 1884.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 85, folder 7. Click image to enlarge.

The “New Building,” as it was called when it was built in 1872, was later called “Fraser Hall” after KU’s second chancellor, General John Fraser. In these images, several covered buggies and horses are visible next to the building. It was demolished in 1965.

The Hollmann photograph collection contains thousands of stereoview cards. These were popular as a form of entertainment from the 1850s to the 1930s. To view the image, the card was inserted into a stereoviewer. When the two separate images depicting left-eye and right-eye views of the same scene are viewed through the viewer, the brain merges both together, creating one three-dimensional image. While stereoview cards in general are common, the cards in the Hollmann photograph collection are mostly of rarer scenes. Some may even be one-of-a-kind.

Haskell Institute

Now known as the Haskell Indian Nations University, images of this important Lawrence school and college are represented in the Hollmann photograph collection.

Tintype of Standing Fox, also known as Ephram Cloud, Junior

Tintype of Standing Fox, also known as Ephram Cloud, Junior.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 63, folder 37. Click image to enlarge.

Little is known of the cased tintype of Standing Fox, also known as Ephram Cloud, Junior. According to paperwork with the image, he may be associated with Haskell Institute.

Cabinet card with identified students of Haskell Institute, photographer J. B. Shane of Lawrence. Students identified on the back as: 1. Geneva Roberts, Wichita (seated, far left); 2. Wiley Morgan, Seminole (standing, on left in back row); 3. Nellie Bates, Wichita (standing, center); 4. Nora Guy, Caddo (in front); 5. Peter Williams, Caddo (standing, on right in back row); 6. Richard Longhat, Caddo (standing, in dark uniform on far right).

Cabinet card with identified students of Haskell Institute, photographer J. B. Shane of Lawrence.
Call Number: RH PH 536, box 37, folder 21. Click image to enlarge.

These children have been identified on the back of the photograph as: 1. Geneva Roberts, Wichita (seated, far left); 2. Wiley Morgan, Seminole (standing, on left in back row); 3. Nellie Bates, Wichita (standing, center); 4. Nora Guy, Caddo (in front); 5. Peter Williams, Caddo (standing, on right in back row); 6. Richard Longhat, Caddo (standing, in dark uniform on far right).

Be sure to come view the temporary exhibit in the North Gallery in the Spencer Research Library before it closes at the end of August! Spencer Research Library is open to everyone. If you would like to do research with the Hollmann photograph collection, please see our website for information on visiting and using the collection at Kenneth Spencer Research Library.

Lynn Ward
Processing Archivist

[1]  From Quantrill and the border wars, by William Elsey Connelley, page 367, Spencer Research Library call number RH C5055.

New Finding Aids, January-June 2019

July 10th, 2019

In case the summer heat and humidity is getting to you, here are the finding aids newly published to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library website in the last six months. Come do some research in the cool air conditioning!

1970 political campaigns collection, 1970 (RH MS 1453, RH MS R433)

Governor Mike Hayden’s family on Harvest Day slides, July 1983 (RH PH 534)

Lawrence Chamber of Commerce records, 1948-1986 (bulk 1968-1975) (RH MS 1454)

Lawrence Friends of Music records, 1967-2006 (RH MS 1463)

Cora Parker collection, approximately 1860-1940 (RH MS 1464, RH MS-P 1464(f))

GRIST records, 1963-1968 (MS 53)

Hill family papers, 1900-2005 (RH MS 1461, RH MS Q443, RH MS R438, RH MS-P 1461, RH MS-P 1461(f))

William A. Smith papers, 1931-1938 (RH MS 1465)

Fannie Dixon photograph album, 1923-1928 (RH PH 538)

Stephen Kellison family collection, 1893-1983 (RH MS 1471, RH MS G87, RH MS E208, RH MS EK7, RH MS Q456)

William Tuttle’s research and teaching in African American history and the history of racial violence in 20th century America, 1899-2016 (RH MS 1472, RH MF 193, KC AV 59, RH MS R442)

Bessie Wilson photographs, approximately 1920s-1960s (RH PH P2832, RH PH P2832(f))

Artificial Kansas-based photographs collection, approximately 1875-1984 (bulk 1900s-1910s) (RH PH 535, RH PH 535(f), RH PH 535(ff))

Andrew J. Haynes papers, 1866-1907 (RH MS E209)

Illustrated Cold War current events calendars, 1981-1991 (RH MS R441)

KU Athletic Director’s records, 1919-1943 (bulk 1920s-1930s) (RG 66/11/4)

Personal papers of Edward L. Meyen, 1962-2018 (PP 608, UA AV 7)

Personal papers of Elizabeth A. Schultz, 1897-2018 (bulk 1944-2018) (PP 606, UA AV 8)

Photograph of a page from one of Elizabeth Schultz’s school scrapbooks
A page from one of Elizabeth Schultz’s school scrapbooks. Personal Papers of Elizabeth A. Schultz. Call Number: PP 606. Click image to enlarge.

Artificial portraits collection, approximately 1868-1986 (bulk 1900s-1960s)

Artificial non-Kansas based photographs collection, approximately 1867-1954 (bulk 1900s-1920s) (RH PH 539, RH PH 539(f), RH PH 539(ff))

William Maria Boedefeld architectural renderings, 1940s (RH AD 15)

Leonard Hollmann photograph collection, bulk 1850s-1920s, 1930-2015 (RH PH 536, RH PH 536(f), RH PH  536 glass negatives)

Old Windmill of West Lawrence, Kansas, drawing, January 21, 1904 (RH MS R445)

Letters of Orvis Hull, 1918 (RH MS P962)

Lawrence Woodwind Quintet records, 1970-2018 (RH MS 1475)

Trans World Airlines’ Hostess School photographs, 1938-1973 (RH PH 541, RH PH 541(f))

Photograph of a flight attendant student at the TWA Training School practicing with a fire extinguisher
A flight attendant student at the TWA Training School practicing with a fire extinguisher. Trans World Airlines’ Hostess School Photographs. Call Number: RH PH 541. Click image to enlarge.

Ruth Bloom collection of Larry Eigner materials, 1953-1996 (MS 349, MS Q81)

Scrapbook concerning the assumption of Presidency of Paraguay by Andres Rodriguez, 1989 (MS Q79, MS R22)

Mexican recipes, early 19th century (MS 346)

A recipe for “enpanadas” from an early 19th century set of recipes from Mexico
A recipe for “enpanadas” from an early nineteenth-century set of recipes from Mexico. These recipes – in various hands and on differently-sized pieces of paper – were originally placed together in a leather wrapper. Conservation staff recently disassembled the pages and placed them in folders. Staff included Shelley Miller Memorial Fund student Indira Garcia, who also inventoried the collection. Mexican Recipes. Call Number: MS 346. Click image to enlarge.

Francisco Maria Nunez Monge papers, 1940, 1941 (MS 88)

Theodore Sturgeon’s A Way Home manuscript collection, 1946-1955 (MS 351, MS J37)

Katie Armitage papers, 1953-2017 (RH MS 1479, RH MS Q451, RH MS R447)

Ernst Ulmer collection, 1950 (RH MS R449)

Edith Falkenstien’s Menninger Bible Study course materials, 1941-1945 (RH MS 1483)

John C. Johnson papers, 1930s-1940s, 1975-2015 (bulk 1975-2015) (RH MS 1476)

Kansas Commission on Civil Rights film, approximately 1961 (KC AV 72)

John C. Morley architectural drawings, 1958-1985 (RH AD 14, RH MS Q447)

Rexford Scott Sorenson negatives collection, 1957-2009 (RH PH 537)

Norman York and The Invincibles: Interstate Troop of Corresponding Scouts letters, 1914-1916 (RH MS 1482)

Abraham Lincoln portrait, 1911 from an 1860 drawing (RH MS R446)

William E. Barnes collection, 1878-1910 (RH MS 1484)

Elmer and Viola McColm glass plate negative collection, 1900s-1920s? (RH PH 543)

Basketball team portraits, 1912-1917 (RH PH 542)

Personal papers of Shirley L. Patterson, 1950-2018 (PP 607)

Meade, Kansas, glass plate negatives, approximately 1920s (RH PH 544)

Film by Paul Hausman, approximately 1960s (KC AV 71)

Slides of Lawrence, Kansas, churches, approximately 1990s (RH PH P2833)

Lawrence, Kansas, photographs, 1909 (RH PH P2834)

William and Donna Mitchell family papers, 1945-1965 (RH MS 1487)

Dr. Wilda Smith collection of Peggy Hull biographical materials, 1914-1991 (RH MS 1485, RH MS-P 1485, RH MS Q453)

Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, eighth grade class snapshots, 1918 (RH PH P2836)

Katherine Goldsmith papers, 1825-1999 (RH MS 1093, RH MS 569, RH MS 1072, RH MS Q454, RH MS R452, RH MS R453, RH MS S62, KC AV 78)

Florence Harkrader Hastings photographs, 1915 (RH PH 545(f))

James H. Holmes letter, 1856 (RH MS P963)

Martha McCoy dental ledger, volume 1, 1899-1902 (RH MS P965)

Leo L. McKenzie Body Works photographs, approximately 1950s (RH PH P2835)

Papers of Gregory Corso, 1953-1979 (MS 138)

Papers of Jean Ingelow and Mackenzie Bell, 1870-1897 (MS 45, MS R8)

Photograph album of the funeral of Bernardo Soto Alfaro, 1931 (MS K35)

Personal papers of Chuck Berg, 1965-2016 (PP 609)

Personal papers of Ann Hyde, 1934-2008 (PP 610)

Personal papers of R. Keith Lawton, 1951-1982 (PP 611)

Marcella Huggard
Archives and Manuscripts Processing Coordinator

Meet the KSRL Staff: Vannis Jones

June 18th, 2019

This is the fifteenth installment in a recurring series of posts introducing readers to the staff of Kenneth Spencer Research Library. Today’s profile features Vannis Jones, who joined Spencer’s processing unit in February as a manuscripts processor. Welcome, Vannis!

Photograph of Vannis Jones
Photograph of Vannis Jones in Spencer Research Library’s North Gallery. Click image to enlarge.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Kansas City, but I have spent my adult life in India, Scotland, and France until returning to the Kansas City area this January after graduating with my Master of Science (MSc) in Information Management and Preservation (a fancy way of saying archives and records management!) from the University of Glasgow this past November.

What does your job at Spencer entail?

I play a crucial role in rendering collections both discoverable and accessible through physical and intellectual arrangement of materials, the identification of materials in need of preservation action, and the creation of finding aids, which are often a researcher’s first interaction with the Spencer and our collections.

What is one of the most interesting items you’ve come across in Spencer’s collections?

While every collection has its own unique surprises, three particular – and incredibly different – items in come to mind.

  1. Among architectural drawings, specifications, and contracts in the collection of former state architect Charles Marshall is a series of typescript journals by Marshall that he titled “Quips and Observations.” They contain one- to five-line quips, quotes, and vignettes by Marshall that are generally witty in nature and that are drawn from his everyday activities – a trip to the movies, a visit to the bank, grocery shopping, a concert with his wife, etc. Given the generally serious nature of Marshall’s architectural materials, it was fun to get to know the man behind the drawings through these journals.
  2. We hold a lot of scrapbooks at Spencer. Most scrapbooks are a jumble of largely undated and unlabeled newspaper clippings, photographs, ticket stubs, brief notes, and the like, that offer insight into an individual’s interests, but leave a lot up to a reader’s interpretation. An exceptionally unique scrapbook in a collection that I processed recently is one of KU Professor Emerita of English Elizabeth Schultz’s scrapbooks from her teenage years. Schultz’s scrapbook includes specific annotations for each individual object, including cigarette butts, extremely old flowers, a fake diamond ring, chocolate wrappers, a watch (yes, really, a whole wristwatch, glued to a scrapbook page), and more. Through these unconventional items and witty annotations, readers are able to understand Schultz’s thought process in compiling the scrapbook and gain a greater understanding of her playful and creative personality.
  3. A Rosie O’Donnell Barbie doll, completely without context, among the papers of Kristi Parker, the late founder of The Liberty Press, Kansas’s first LGBTQ+ news magazine.

What part of your job do you like best?

I love the opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas with people on my team working on other projects and with people in other departments like conservation. We really do get to learn something new every day!

What are some of your favorite pastimes outside of work?

I love traveling, exploring other cultures, eating new foods, cooking, weightlifting, and dancing. I also love a good walk and a snuggle with my two dogs, a cavalier King Charles spaniel and a westie, after a long day.

What piece of advice would you offer a researcher walking into Spencer Research Library for the first time?

Don’t be shy, tell us about your research! Our reference staff have excellent knowledge of our collections and can likely help you find materials that you may not come across by simply browsing our catalog, and that could greatly enhance your depth of understanding of your subject area. We’re here to help!

Vannis Jones
Manuscripts Processor