Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

The Photographs of Frank C. Morrow, Leavenworth, Kansas

March 3rd, 2020

In 1985, librarian Winnie Lichtenwalter was rummaging around in the basement of the Leavenworth Public Library. She was preparing for the move from the old Carnegie Library to the library’s new building when she discovered several boxes of glass plate negatives. The images depicted the city of Leavenworth, Kansas, at the turn of the twentieth century. Initially no one among the library staff knew anything about the photographs. After conducting some research into the library’s records, they found that Leavenworth resident and amateur photographer Frank C. Morrow was the one who had made them.

Photograph of Frank C. Morrow, circa 1900
Frank C. Morrow, circa 1900. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:125. Click image to enlarge.

Morrow was born in Pickway, Ohio, on May 15, 1867. By 1885, at the age of 18, he was living in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he worked for the Great Western Stove Company. He worked there for fifty years, retiring one year before his death in 1936. His wife, Anne Zipp Morrow, died in 1945. They had one son who was born in 1899 and died in 1923.

Lichtenwalter, knowing that her library could not properly house and care for Morrow’s collection, contacted Nicolette Bromberg, a former photo archivist at Kenneth Spencer Research Library. By their nature, glass plate negatives are very fragile. In addition to the risk of breakage, the delicate chemical emulsion will peel and crack on the glass without proper storage and suitable environmental conditions, and Morrow’s plates were already showing signs of stress. Spencer Research Library houses and cares for several glass plate collections, so acquiring Morrow’s plates was a natural fit. When Bromberg went to the Leavenworth Public Library to pick up the boxes, she searched around the basement a little more and found yet another box of negatives that the staff had missed. In all there are 314 glass negatives.

Following are some examples of Morrow’s work, now known as the Leavenworth Public Library Photograph Collection.

Photograph of the Great Western Stove Company and Leavenworth, circa 1900
A view of the Great Western Stove Company and Leavenworth, circa 1900. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:114. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of electric streetcar lines on Delaware Street in Leavenworth, circa 1896
Electric streetcar lines on Delaware Street in Leavenworth, circa 1896. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:73. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of three girls looking at a book, circa 1900
Three girls looking at a book, circa 1900. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:164. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of the Fort Leavenworth guard mount (1st Regiment of Dragoons), circa 1900
The Fort Leavenworth guard mount (1st Regiment of Dragoons), circa 1900. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:27. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of a flood on the Missouri River, 1903
Flooding on the Missouri River, 1903. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:48. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of the 20th Regiment leaving Union Station for the Philippines during the Spanish American War, 1895
The 20th Regiment leaving Union Station for the Philippines during the Spanish American War, 1895. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:210. Click image to enlarge.

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Rock Chalk Revue Edition

February 27th, 2020

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!

We’re excited about the 71st annual Rock Chalk Revue this weekend! Who will be attending one of the shows?

Photograph of a chorus line in the Rock Chalk Revue, 1977
A chorus line in the Rock Chalk Revue, 1977. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/4 1977 Prints: Student Activities: Rock Chalk Revue (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Manuscript of the Month: Putting the Spotlight on the Once Influential Translation ‘On the Life of a Tyrant’ by Leonardo Bruni

February 25th, 2020

N. Kıvılcım Yavuz is conducting research on pre-1600 manuscripts at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. Each month she will be writing about a manuscript she has worked with and the current KU Library catalog records will be updated in accordance with her findings. 

According to our records, it has been some years since any researcher looked at Kenneth Spencer Research Library, MS C68, a paper manuscript of 16 leaves arranged in a single quire. MS C68 contains a single text, a translation into Latin of a work in Greek called the Hiero by Xenophon. Xenophon (c. 431 BCE–354 BCE) was an ancient Greek historian and the Hiero is significant as being his first work to be translated into Latin as far as we know. This translation into Latin by Leonardo Bruni was completed at the very beginning of the fifteenth century, in May 1403, under the title of the De vita tirannica [‘On the Life of a Tyrant’]. Leonardo Bruni (1370-1444), a renowned Italian humanist, translated several classical works from Greek into Latin including those of Aristotle and Plato as well as other works by Xenophon.

Xenophon’s Hiero is a short piece, set as a dialogue between Hiero I, tyrant of Syracuse in Sicily from 478 to 467 BCE, and Simonides of Ceos (c. 556–468 BCE), a lyric poet. They discuss how the lives of a tyrant and an ordinary citizen differ with regard to joys and sorrows. Framed as a conversation between a ruler and a wise man, the Hiero is left somewhat open-ended, with Hiero arguing that a tyrant has far fewer pleasures and many more and much greater pains than an ordinary person and Simonides offering advice on how to improve Hiero’s life by enriching himself with friends and employing deeds of kindness.

Image of the leaf, with ornamental initial, giving the beginning of Leonardo Bruni's preface to his Latin translation of Xenophon's De vita tirannica. Italy, first third of the fifteenth century. Call # MS C68
Beginning of Leonardo Bruni’s preface to De vita tirannica, his Latin translation of Xenophon’s Hiero. Italy, first third of the fifteenth century. Call # MS C68. Click image to enlarge.

Knowledge of the Greek language was very rare in the Latin West in the later Middle Ages. Leonardo Bruni learned Greek from Manuel Chrysoloras (c. 1355–1415), who was a diplomat of the Byzantine Empire in Italy. In 1396, Chrysoloras was invited to come to Florence as a professor of Greek by Coluccio Salutati (1331–1406), the Chancellor of Florence, who was also a renowned humanist scholar and a book collector. Salutati was also the patron of Bruni, who succeeded Salutati as the Chancellor of Florence. In his preface to the translation, Bruni refers to the De vita tirannica as a libellus–a little book or a booklet–and dedicates it to Niccolò Niccoli, who he thinks would “embrace Xenophon with a particular love.” Another Florentine and a friend of Bruni, Niccolò Niccoli (1365–1437) was also a protégée of Salutati and is credited for developing the Italian cursive script.

Opening showing the end of the preface and beginning of Xenophon's De vita tirannica in a Latin translation by Leonardo Bruni. Italy, 14--. (MS C68)
End of the preface and beginning of De vita tirannica in MS C68. Click image to enlarge.

The lack of interest in MS C68 may be explained with what Brian Jeffrey Maxson calls a “small amount of scholarship” on the work in modern times. Even though Bruni’s De vita tirannica had made available to readers in Latin an otherwise inaccessible text in Greek and was very popular during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it has received little attention in modern scholarship. There is neither a modern edition nor a translation of the work into a modern language. Nor are there any comparative studies dealing with both the Greek and the Latin versions of the story. We know, for example, that Coluccio Salutati published a treatise titled the De tyranno [‘On the Tyrant’] in 1400 and the topic of good rulership was being discussed in his political and scholarly circles. Therefore, it can hardly be a coincidence that Bruni titles his translation the De vita tirannica instead of keeping the original, that is the tyrant’s name, Hiero. Another indicator that Bruni’s translation was read and circulated widely is that this short translation was published in print editions at least eight times within a span of thirty years between 1470s and the end of the century, and our MS C68 is one of estimated 200 manuscript witnesses of the translation that survive today.

Neither the origin nor the early history of MS C68 is known. However, the examination of script and the watermarks in the manuscript put the date of origin to somewhere in the first third of the fifteenth century. This means that MS C68 was probably copied during Bruni’s lifetime.

Image of the bookplate of Bookplate of Sigurd & Gudrun Wandel in MS C68, which features a cherub riding a tortoise.
Bookplate of Sigurd and Gudrun Wandel on the front pastedown of MS C68. Click image to enlarge.
Oil portrait of elf portrait of Sigurd Wandel, painting in front of easel with Gudrun Wandel. Denmark, early 20th Century.
Self-portrait of Sigurd Wandel with Gudrun Wandel. Denmark, early 20th century. Source: Lauritz Christensen Auctions, Denmark.

As it currently stands, MS C68 has a modern binding, perhaps from the nineteenth century, and carries the bookplate of Sigurd and Gudrun Wandel on the front pastedown. Sigurd Wandel (1875–1947) was a Danish painter, who later became the director of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and Gudrun Wandel (1882–1976) was his first wife. At least two other books with the same bookplate from their collection in Denmark ended up in the United States and are now at the Penn Libraries.

The Kenneth Spencer Research Library purchased the manuscript from Bernard M. Rosenthal Inc. in July 1960, and it is available for consultation at the Library’s Marilyn Stokstad Reading Room.

  • Read a translation from Greek into English of Xenophon’s Hiero on Perseus.
  • Read more about translations from Greek into Latin in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries here: Paul Botley. Latin Translation in the Renaissance: The Theory and Practice of Leonardo Bruni, Giannozzo Manetti and Desiderius Erasmus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN: 978-0521837170
  • Read more about the context in which Leonardo Bruni translated the Hiero here: Brian Jeffrey Maxson. “Kings and Tyrants: Leonardo Bruni’s Translation of Xenophon’s Hiero.” Renaissance Studies 42.2 (April 2010): 188–206. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1477-4658.2009.00619.x

N. Kıvılcım Yavuz
Ann Hyde Postdoctoral Researcher

Throwback Thursday: Snyder Book Collecting Contest Edition, Part III

February 20th, 2020

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!

So what is this group (semi-)smiling about? The Snyder Book Collecting Contest, of course! In case you can’t tell by the hair and the clothes, the year was 1973, but you don’t have to travel back in time to join in the book-related fun because the 64th Annual Snyder Book Collecting Contest is now open and accepting entries. KU undergrads and grad students, scan your shelves and submit your collections by March 22, 2020, 11:59 p.m. to win cash prizes as well as a gift card from contest co-sponsor Jayhawk Ink!

Photograph of judges and contestants at the 1973 Snyder Book Collecting Contest
Judges and contestants at the 1973 Snyder Book Collecting Contest, including contest founder and sponsor, Elizabeth Morrison Snyder (seated, left). University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 32/40 1973: University of Kansas Libraries: Book Contests (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

The contest offers the following awards in both Graduate and Undergraduate divisions:

  • First Prize: $500
  • Second Prize: $350
  • Honorable Mention: $100

Each winner will also receive a gift card in the following amounts from contest co-sponsor Jayhawk Ink, a division of KU Bookstore:

  • First Prize: $100
  • Second Prize: $50
  • Honorable Mention: $25

The first place winners in each division are eligible for the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, which awards a top prize of $2,500.

In fact, the student representative on this year’s judging panel, History graduate student Paul T. Schwennesen, first won the graduate division of the 2018 Snyder Book Collecting Contest with his collection “Borderlands — A Manifesto on Overlap,” and then went on to take second place at the national contest in Washington, DC. Since 2014, KU students have won prizes at the national level three (!) times.

The speaker for this year’s awards ceremony on April 14 is also a Snyder Contest alumnus: Danny Caine. Since placing second in the graduate division of the 2016 Snyder competition, Danny has made a life in books. Not only is he a poet whose books include Continental Breakfast (2019) and El Dorado Freddy’s (with Tara Wray, 2020), but he owns and runs Lawrence’s Raven Book Store. In 2019, he was selected as the Midwest Bookseller of the Year.

Danny Caine with his collection "Rust Belt Splendor: Hustle, Music, and Identity in the Post-Industrial Midwest" at the 2016 Snyder Book Collecting Contest
Bonus throwback to the not-so-distant past: Danny Caine with his collection “Rust Belt Splendor: Hustle, Music, and Identity in the Post-Industrial Midwest,” which placed second in the Graduate Division of the 2016 Snyder Book Collecting Contest. Image courtesy of KU Libraries. For an album of images from the 2016 competition, click here!

To learn more about the Snyder Book Collecting Contest and how to enter, please visit the contest page on the KU Libraries website. There you will find the contest rules, a handy FAQ, as well as selected essays, bibliographies, and a sample collection to help you on your way.

Whether the subject of your collecting passion is Writings from the Black Revolution, Susan Sontag, Contemporary Theatre of the Southern Cone, or Vintage Textbooks of the Natural and Physical Sciences, start thinking (and writing!) about your collection. Contest entries are due by 11:59pm on Sunday, March 22, 2020.

Elspeth Healey
Special Collections Librarian

Throwback Thursday: DJ Wilt Chamberlain Edition

February 13th, 2020

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!

Happy World Radio Day, Jayhawks!

Photograph of Wilt Chamberlain looking at vinyl records in a radio studio, 1955-1958
KU basketball player Wilt Chamberlain looks at vinyl records in a radio studio, 1955-1958. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/13 Chamberlain, Wilt: Athletic Department: Basketball: Players (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

According to the article “Center of Attention” on the KU History website, Chamberlain “had his own thirty-minute weekly radio show on student station KUOK” during his time at the University of Kansas. “‘Flip’er with Dipper’ featured current hit records and Chamberlain’s banter, as well as occasional guest appearances by his fellow Jayhawks.”

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services