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Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

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Welcome to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library blog! As the special collections and archives library at the University of Kansas, Spencer is home to remarkable and diverse collections of rare and unique items. Explore the blog to learn about the work we do and the materials we collect.

My Human and Me: Pennell Portraits that Include Dogs

Dog owners love their dogs. This was as true one hundred years ago as it is today. Below are some portraits from the Joseph J. Pennell Collection that feature human subjects who have chosen to include their dog – or dogs – in their photo portrait. If you pay close attention to things like body positions and facial expressions, you will see how these human subjects feel about their pets. 

From the 1890s to the 1920s, Joseph J. Pennell photographed life in Junction City, Kansas, and the nearby Army base, Fort Riley. The strength of the collection, in my opinion, is that Pennell wasn’t content to just stay in his studio, taking portrait photography. He went out into the community to photograph its people, businesses, activities, groups, and families. And Pennell was inclusive of community members from diverse groups, revealing a fuller and richer story of Junction City. Because of his work, we are provided with a comprehensive view of life in a moderately-sized Midwestern army-post town on the Great Plains from the 1890s to the early 1920s.

Please enjoy this sample from the collection, and visit Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s website to see more.

A double portrait of Ellen Marks holding a dog, 1899
A double portrait of Ellen Marks, 1899. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 466.3, Box 13. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Portrait of Fred Durand with a dog, 1901
A portrait of Fred Durand, 1901. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 700, Box 19. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Portrait of Sgt. Blake (Fourth Cavalry Band) with a dog, 1901
A portrait of Sgt. Blake (Fourth Cavalry Band), 1901. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 785, Box 20. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
The Newman siblings with a dog, 1905
A portrait of the Newman siblings, 1905. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 1539, Box 35. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Portrait of Lieut. G. L. Morrison's child with a dog, 1908
A portrait of Lieut. G. L. Morrison’s child, 1908. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 1951, Box 43. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Portrait of Robert Carr and a dog, 1919
A portrait of Robert Carr, 1919. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 3039, Box 68. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services

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