Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Sweater Weather Edition

November 9th, 2017

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!

Colder temperatures mean it’s time for cozy sweaters like the fabulous one in this week’s photograph.

Photograph of a Women's Rifle Club member, 1925

Junior Nevada Talhelm of the KU Women’s Rifle Club, 1925.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 67/68 1925 Prints:
Student Organizations: Rifle Team and Club (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

World War I Letters of Forrest W. Bassett: November 6-12, 1917

November 6th, 2017

In honor of the centennial of World War I, we’re going to follow the experiences of one American soldier: nineteen-year-old Forrest W. Bassett, whose letters are held in Spencer’s Kansas Collection. Each Monday we’ll post a new entry, which will feature Bassett’s letters to thirteen-year-old Ava Marie Shaw from that following week, one hundred years after he wrote them.

Forrest W. Bassett was born in Beloit, Wisconsin, on December 21, 1897 to Daniel F. and Ida V. Bassett. On July 20, 1917 he was sworn into military service at Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis, Missouri. Soon after, he was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for training as a radio operator in Company A of the U. S. Signal Corps’ 6th Field Battalion.

Ava Marie Shaw was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 12, 1903 to Robert and Esther Shaw. Both of Marie’s parents – and her three older siblings – were born in Wisconsin. By 1910 the family was living in Woodstock, Illinois, northwest of Chicago. By 1917 they were in Beloit.

Frequently mentioned in the letters are Forrest’s older half-sister Blanche Treadway (born 1883), who had married Arthur Poquette in 1904, and Marie’s older sister Ethel (born 1896).

Previous letters have alluded to photographs being exchanged between Forrest and Ava. These photos appear to have not survived with the collection. However, one of the pictures Forrest sent Ava this week has been preserved with the letters, and it’s shown below with his caption.

 

Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, November 11, 1917 Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, November 11, 1917

Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, November 11, 1917

Sunday, Nov. 11, 1917

Dear Marie,

Was glad to hear that you are getting along so well in school. I am afraid that my report for that grade does not come up to yours.

Let’s forget all about that letter. It really was my fault anyway – I am pretty well acquainted with the feeling that prompted you the write that way. Wouldn’t you feel better if you went out more for good times among your boy and girl friends?

Anyway I do understand perfectly, and like you all the more for your mistake – (for it surely was one).

This is a fine afternoon for riding but I don’t feel quite so “funny” now. Stock and I got a few pictures this morning; if they are good I’ll send them later.

We are going to move into “winter quarters” this week. They are wooden cantonment barracks. The brick barracks will be occupied by reserve officers in training. We worked with picks and spades Thursday and Saturday morning at the “shacks.”

Here are a couple pictures that I took Saturday 3rd.

Yours,
F.

Be sure to have Roy take that picture.

Photograph of men on horses, enclosed with Forrest W. Bassett letter to Ava Marie Shaw, November 11, 1917

Photograph of men on horses, enclosed with Forrest W. Bassett letter to Ava Marie Shaw, November 11, 1917

Sg’t Westrum leading. Others: Weber, Gorney, Howe, & Meyers.
This is blurred – thanks to Ten, who was pulling on the rein I had slung on my arm.

 

Meredith Huff
Public Services

Emma Piazza
Public Services Student Assistant

Throwback Thursday: Salute to James Naismith Edition

November 2nd, 2017

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 birthday, James Naismith! The basketball legend was born in Canada on November 6, 1861.

Photograph of a fencing class with James Naismith, 1926

A fencing class with James Naismith, 1926. The group appears to be standing
at a side entrance of the old Robinson Gymnasium, located where
Wescoe Hall now stands. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/20/28 1926: Athletic Department: Women’s Fencing (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Happy Halloween from Spencer Research Library

October 31st, 2017

Spencer Research Library houses the records and films of the Centron Corporation, a production company that specialized in industrial and educational films from the 1940s through the 1990s. Childhood friends and aspiring filmmakers Russell Mosser and Arthur Wolf started working in films together while they were attending the University of Kansas. Their first film was “Sewing Simple Seams,” a one-reel sewing lesson. The rights for this film were purchased by a large instructional film company, and soon Centron grew to be a successful, independent film production company, nationally known in the field. Their most successful film was “Leo Beuerman,” nominated for the Academy Award for best documentary short of 1969.

For your Halloween preparation and enjoyment, here, compliments of Internet Archive, is Centron’s film “Halloween Safety,” produced in 1977 and now in the public domain. This film was directed by Herk Harvey, who would go on to direct “Carnival of Souls,” another excellent film to watch in preparation of Halloween. Be safe out there, little trick-or-treaters!

Image of "Halloween Safety" Film title sequence.

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services

World War I Letters of Forrest W. Bassett: October 30-November 5, 1917

October 30th, 2017

In honor of the centennial of World War I, we’re going to follow the experiences of one American soldier: nineteen-year-old Forrest W. Bassett, whose letters are held in Spencer’s Kansas Collection. Each Monday we’ll post a new entry, which will feature Bassett’s letters to thirteen-year-old Ava Marie Shaw from that following week, one hundred years after he wrote them.

Forrest W. Bassett was born in Beloit, Wisconsin, on December 21, 1897 to Daniel F. and Ida V. Bassett. On July 20, 1917 he was sworn into military service at Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis, Missouri. Soon after, he was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for training as a radio operator in Company A of the U. S. Signal Corps’ 6th Field Battalion.

Ava Marie Shaw was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 12, 1903 to Robert and Esther Shaw. Both of Marie’s parents – and her three older siblings – were born in Wisconsin. By 1910 the family was living in Woodstock, Illinois, northwest of Chicago. By 1917 they were in Beloit.

Frequently mentioned in the letters are Forrest’s older half-sister Blanche Treadway (born 1883), who had married Arthur Poquette in 1904, and Marie’s older sister Ethel (born 1896).

In last week’s letter, Forrest asked Marie “would your Mother let you use my .25 cal. automatic? If you want to shoot, and your folks don’t object, you’re welcome to it.” The answer to the question was apparently “yes,” because in this week’s letters Forrest instructs Marie on how to handle, load, and clean the gun. “I am going into detail so as to be sure you will know how to take good care of it,” he writes, “you know how ‘fussy’ I am about my ‘junk.’”

 

Friday 11-2, 1917

Dear Marie,

I managed to get hold of a Colt instruction sheet and will try to give you a clear explanation of it. (Seeing as how you are only a girl.)

I am going into detail so as to be sure you will know how to take good care of it – you know how “fussy” I am about my “junk.”

Let’s know what the names of the main parts of the pistol are. On the second page is a diagram showing:

No. 1. The receiver.
2. “ slide
3. “ barrel
21. “ Retractor spring guide.
20. The retractor spring.
7. “ Firing pin.
8. “ Mainspring.
9. “ Mainspring guide.

When the gun is taken apart you will have the loose parts shown on the third page. The firing pin – 7, 8 and 9 – will not always fall out.

The end of the barrel where the cartridge is “seated” when fired is the chamber. The other end is the muzzle end.

The magazine – No 23 – is the little box that holds the six cartridges. It must never be in the gun (empty or not) when the gun is being taken apart or put together.

  1. Remove the magazine.
  2. Pull back slide just as if you were going to shoot. This will throw out a cartridge that may be in the chamber of the barrel.
  3. Remove all cartridges from magazine and replace it in gun. Then pull the trigger – just as if you were shooting. When it snaps, the “hammer” is “uncocked.”
  4. Remove magazine.
  5. Hold the pistol in left hand exactly as if you were going to shoot, as shown on fourth page, except, keep your thumb down in normal position and not on the slide. The instruction sheet says to hold the slide back with the left thumb but your hands are too weak to do it this way. Instead – (of right hand) put thumb and index finger on the muzzle end of the slide so as to push it back instead of pulling at the rear.

Push it back far enough so that the muzzle end of the barrel shows as in picture on p. 4. Now, if you placed your thumb and finger right, you can hold the slide back and at the same time turn the barrel to the right a quarter turn, so that the 3 catches show, (as I have marked.)

Let the slide come forward and the gun will fall apart, exactly as shown on p. 3.

Note position of

No. 21 and 21 in

No. 1 and 2. Also 7, 8, &, 9

in No. 2.

Now remove the barrel from the slide by turning the barrel a quarter turn to the left and drawing it out to the rear.

Put the cleaning rod in the barrel with its ring end at the muzzle. Put a small patch of soft cloth (no lint) in the slot and moisten it well with “Hoppe’s Nitro Powder Solvent – No. 9.” Draw this thru the barrel several times – always from the chamber toward the muzzle.

Now wipe dry and apply 3-1 oil in the same manner, leaving a thin coat in the barrel. The first dope cleans only – 3-1 oil lubricates and prevents rusting. <- PLEASE

Now before you put the gun together be sure there are no bits of lint or threads in barrel or working parts. Read the above instructions Chinese fashion and you will know how to put the pistol together. Put the magazine – empty – in last and take the whole outfit to bed with you.

Always be careful to keep dirt out of the barrel so don’t put gun in a dirty sweater pocket.

Don’t let anyone stand at your right hand where he may get hit in the eye by the empty shell which is thrown out.

If the gun is ice-cold, warm it up before cleaning.

“””A gun is always loaded.””””

Do I get your goat at last?

Forrest.

See other letter.

 

Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, November 2, 1917 Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, November 2, 1917

Image of Forrest W. Bassett's letter to Ava Marie Shaw, November 2, 1917

Fri. 11-2, 1917

Dear Marie,

Have just finished writing the “gun” letter so will write another short note and enclose the instruction sheet in this.

I sure do wish I could be there with you but no such luck. Here’s hoping you will get lots of fun out of it. It will keep you busy tutoring to pay for its fodder, but it’s great sport – how is it by you? I am glad you like it so well and want you to keep it for me while I am gone just as if it were yours.

You will find the dope in that black tin box. If there are any of my cartridges in sight burn ‘em up. Gee, if I could only be there to keep you. I like this life here, but there is one big thing missing and that’s You.

How are you coming with the dancing? Hope you will get a chance to try the horseback riding. It sure is good sport.

Forget about the chevrons.

Don’t plan on sending me anything. May think of a stunt later. If there is anything I can do speak out.

Yours,
Forrest.

Don’t forget that picture with S.C. emblem

Sorry about your teeth – know what it is.

See other letter

 

Meredith Huff
Public Services

Emma Piazza
Public Services Student Assistant