Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

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.

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

Kansas Collection Artificial Photograph Collections

June 11th, 2019

Sometimes archivists and special collections librarians “create” collections for their institutions by grouping together like items that came from different sources. We call these artificial collections, and we typically do this in order to make materials more physically manageable and/or more easily accessible to researchers.

A real photographic postcard of the Wallace County Courthouse in Sharon Springs, Kansas
A real photographic postcard of the Wallace County Courthouse in Sharon Springs, Kansas. Artificial Kansas-Based Photographs Collection. Call Number: RH PH 535. Click image to enlarge.

From the 1980s through early 2000s, archivists in Spencer’s Kansas Collection , focusing on regional history, worked with dealers specializing in photography to purchase a wide variety of photographs of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, and other surrounding states. These photographs display street scenes and aerial views of small towns; exterior (and sometimes interior) shots of churches, schools, courthouses, and other public buildings; interior and exterior shots of drugstores and other commercial buildings; residences; portraits of individuals and groups; rodeos, theatrical entertainments, and opera houses; and a wide variety of other subjects. Staff carefully chose these hundreds, even thousands, of images for their subject matter and content.

At that time, Kansas Collection staff had a practice of describing these images individually on paper worksheets, assigning each image its own call number, and placing the worksheets in notebooks for patrons and staff to access in the reading room. This practice became untenable over time, particularly as the library moved away from analog description to online finding aids, and hundreds of these images remained inaccessible in an unprocessed backlog.

In the past year, processing staff – in collaboration with curators and public services staff – developed a new workflow for managing these photographs through the creation of three artificial photographic collections: one for Kansas images, one for non-Kansas images, and one strictly for portraits (i.e. individuals typically formally posed in a photographic studio, rather than large groups at church or fraternal meetings, or athletic teams, or other images of people that could fit into a subject theme). These images are now described online in Spencer Research Library’s finding aid system and available for research.

The artificial Kansas collection of photographs includes images from across the state. It is organized by county and then by town or other political boundary within each county. These images are further categorized by subjects such as agriculture, education, recreation, social customs, etc.

A color lithographic postcard of a street scene from Sylvia, Reno County, Kansas. One of the dealers with whom Kansas Collection staff worked most frequently came from Reno County, leading to a large selection of images of that area. Artificial Kansas-Based Photographs Collection. Call Number: RH PH 535. Click image to enlarge.

Non-Kansas images are organized alphabetically by state and then simply by town or other political boundary. 

Men standing and sitting on what appears to be a large pile of buttons at the Iroquois Pearl Button Company in Sabula, Iowa, 1911
Men standing and sitting on what appears to be a large pile of buttons at the Iroquois Pearl Button Company in Sabula, Iowa, 1911. Artificial Non-Kansas Photographs Collection. Call Number: RH PH 539. Click image to enlarge.
A photograph of Fourth and Broadway in Kansas City, Missouri, 1869
According to the caption on the back, this mounted print shows Fourth and Broadway in Kansas City, Missouri, 1869. Included is Sheridan’s pond, as photographed from Sheridan’s residence. The Missouri photographs include a small set of Kansas City street scenes from the late 1860s and early 1870s. Unfortunately, they are in poor physical condition. Artificial Non-Kansas Photographs Collection. Call Number: RH PH 539. Click image to enlarge.

Portraits are organized either alphabetically by family name, if provided, or grouped by babies, children, men, women, and groups of people when individuals are unidentified.

Portrait of Ivan Bowers
Portrait of Ivan Bowers. A note accompanying this unusually mounted print states that Bowers was born in North Lawrence, Kansas, spent many years in the military, and married late in life, and that the photograph was taken by the A. Lawrence Photo Studio. Artificial Portraits Collection. Call Number: RH PH 540. Click image to enlarge.
Portrait of an unidentified woman
Portrait of an unidentified woman. The back of this carte de visite lists Mrs. M. Gainsford of Great Bend, Kansas, as the photographer. Artificial Portraits Collection. Call Number: RH PH 540. Click image to enlarge.

Many of the images in these artificial collections are real photographic postcards, typically sent between 1900 and 1920; many of these same postcards have messages on the back. The artificial collections also include mounted prints, glass plate negatives, cabinet cards, cartes de visite, and other photographic formats and processes.

An exaggeration postcard by Frank D. Conard, a noted photographer based in Garden City, Kansas. Conard excelled at exaggeration postcards, or a kind of trick photography that makes normally small things such as farm crops, rabbits, and grasshoppers appear much larger than they ever do in reality. While some of Conard’s images appear to be based in Garden City, many are not; as a result, processing staff categorized several of these images in the non-Kansas topical photographs. Artificial Non-Kansas Photographs Collection. Call Number: RH PH 539. Click image to enlarge.

When a photographic collection comes from a singular donor, such as a photographic studio or collector of photographs or a local family, these images will continue to be handled as separate and unique collections. The Kansas Collection has a rich and varied set of photographic collections; these artificial collections both supplement and complement what is available in other collections at Spencer Research Library and at other collecting institutions in Kansas and the surrounding states.

Please feel free to explore these newly processed collections!

Marcella Huggard
Archives and Manuscripts Processing Coordinator

New Finding Aids, July-December 2018

January 15th, 2019

If you have conducted research at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library in the past, then perhaps you already know about some of the collections listed here as having “new” finding aids. The library has been in physical existence for 50 years, and KU Libraries started collecting archival and manuscript materials long before there was a separate building to house them. However, KSRL has only been producing online finding aids for 20 years. This means that over those same 20 years, manuscripts processing staff have added information about legacy collections online as time and resources permit.

We added several legacy collection finding aids in the last six months of 2018 that you will see on this list, but we also worked on new collections!  Whether you want to know more about how basketball came to China, the Lawrence, Kansas literary scene, or prominent African American families of Kansas, we have something for everyone at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library.

Photograph of the 1928 Tientsin Civilian Basketball Team, from the volume Tientsin Civilian Basketball Team Season 1927-28 Records 1926-28 in the personal papers of Charles A. Siler

Photograph of the 1928 Tientsin Civilian Basketball Team,
from the volume Tientsin Civilian Basketball Team
Season 1927-28 Records 1926-28 in the personal papers
of Charles A. Siler. Call #: PP 595, box 1 folder 30.
Click image to enlarge.

Image of a concrete poem that begins "Progress / Today Yesterday [...]" in the collection of John Fowler

Concrete poem by John Fowler, from his collection.
Call #: MS 344 box 1 folder 11.
Click image to enlarge.


Image of a page from the passport of Annabelle Sawyer, revealng stamps from France and the Consulate of Lebanon in New York.

A page from Annabelle Sawyer’s passport;
she served as a missionary in Sierra Leone as well as
traveled for pleasure. Nathaniel Sawyer family papers.
Call #: RH MS 1460, box 1 folder 47. Click image to enlarge.  


Finding aids newly published online in July-December 2018:

“Frozen in Time” J. J. Pennell exhibit photos, 1896-1922 (RH PH 48)

Photographs of Oklahoma scenes, approximately 1901-1903 (RH PH 150)

Josea M. Tyler collection, 1972-2014 (RH MS 1456, RH MS Q442)

Reese-Hanlon family photographs, approximately 1890-1967 (bulk 1890s-1940s), RH PH 181

Personal papers of James E. Dykes, 1960-1966 (PP 598)

Personal papers of F. Allan Hanson, 1961-1963 (PP 597)

Personal papers of Charles A. Siler, 1890-1982 (PP 595)

Glen Kappelman World War II photographs collection, 1944-1945, 1999, 2000 (bulk 1944-1945) (RH PH 533, RH PH 533(f))

Douglas County Genealogical Society records, 1975-2002 (RH MS 1450)

Edward Everett Hale letter, May 14, 1854 (RH MS P960)

Lawrence Memorial Hospital architectural records, 1933-1996 (RH AD 12, RH MS 1451)

Typescript of Destiny’s Road by Larry Niven, September 1996 (MS 343)

Personal papers of John B. Bremner, 1930-1986 (PP 600)

“Visualizing Muscles” scrapbook, 1995 (PP 599)

Papers of Arla Jones & Kimberly Kreicker, 1980s-2009 (RH MS 1452, RH MS S57)

President Obama’s Kansas Heritage oral history project, 2009-2017 (RH MS 1462, KC AV 55)

C.Y. Thomas collection, 1887-1981 (bulk 1940s-1970s) (RH MS 539, RH MS Q437, RH MF 192)

Nathaniel Sawyer family papers, circa 1880-2012 (bulk 1950s-1990s) (RH MS 1460, RH MS-P 1460, RH MS R437)

John Fowler collection, 1965-2015 (MS 344, MS Q76)

Personal papers of David Guth, 2013-2015 (PP 603, UA AV 5)

Personal papers of Margaret L. Anderson, 1963-1972 (PP 602)

Personal papers of Richard Dyer MacCann, May 1999 (PP 601)

Harold Covington collection, 1980-2011 (RH WL MS 52)

Funeral service programs from the Topeka, Kansas-based African American community, 1956, 1962, 1964 (RH MS P961)

Hutchinson, KS NAACP collection, 1982-2017 (RH MS 1457, RH MS-P 1457(ff))

Rhoda Louise Meredith’s “Book of Stunts and Frolics,” circa 1929-1937, 1977 (RH MS BK8)

“Shawnee Indian History, 1688-1832” manuscript, undated [not before 1832] (RH MS P385)

Richard B. Sheridan papers, 1906-2005 (RH MS 1468, RH MS-P 1468, RH MS-P 1468(f), RH MS R439)

Voth, Unruh, & Banman families collection, 1865-2009 (RH MS 1455, RH MS-P 1455, RH MS-P 1455(f), RH MS Q441, RH MS R434, RH MS R435)

North family papers, approximately 1250-1856 (bulk 1500-1797) (MS 240A, MS D128, MS Q5, MS Q17, MS Q75, MS Qa1:5-6, MS Qa14)

Personal papers of Arthur Binion Amerson, Jr., 1961-1962 (PP 605)

Personal papers of Kristine McCusker, 1990s (PP 604)

Post by
Marcella Huggard
Archives and Manuscripts Processing Coordinator