The University of Kansas

Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Books on a shelf

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.

Youth Baseball in Kansas: The NBC “Hap” Dumont Youth Baseball League

April 12th, 2023

As we enter the seventh inning stretch of the Spring 2023 semester, let’s throw it back to a beloved pastime: baseball! Today’s collection highlight, the Jerauld R. Crowell papers, showcases the NBC “Hap” Dumont Youth Baseball League, a league with ties back to Great Depression-era baseball in Kansas.

Black text on a yellow background with a sketch of a young baseball player throwing a ball.
NBC “Hap” Dumont Youth Baseball League rules and regulations booklet. Jerauld R. Crowell Papers. Call Number: RH MS 1551. Click image to enlarge.

In Wichita, Kansas, in 1935, Satchel Paige and his Bismarck, North Dakota, Churchills won the first National Baseball Congress tournament after defeating the Duncan, Oklahoma, Halliburtons in the title game. Raymond “Hap” Dumont, the founder of the tournament, promised Paige $1,000 (around $22,000 in today’s money) to simply play in the newly created tournament. Banking on Paige’s talent and star power to draw crowds, Dumont’s gamble paid off. The tournament was an instant success, drawing over 100,000 spectators over the course of the tournament. “Hap” Dumont used this success to turn the National Baseball Congress, or the NBC, into an institution that would feature some of the best talent in baseball. It is still in play today.

Nearly forty years later, Jerauld R. Crowell with other founding members created the NBC “Hap” Dumont Youth Baseball League, a youth league established in partnership with the NBC. Named after NBC founder “Hap” Dumont, the youth league began as an organization for participants twelve and under. The league would eventually grow to add eleven different age divisions from eight to eighteen years old. The youth league has held tournaments at the regional, state, and national level with teams from around the world. Like the original NBC league, the NBC “Hap” Dumont Youth League is still running the bases and spotlighting young talent today.

Silver metal device that records the number of strikes, balls, and outs.
Umpire counter used in an NBC “Hap” Dumont Youth Baseball game. Jerauld R. Crowell Papers. Call Number: RH MS 1551. Click image to enlarge.
White circle with a blue border and words accented by six red stars.
NBC “Hap” Dumont Youth State Champions patch. Jerauld R. Crowell Papers. Call Number: RH MS 1551. Click image to enlarge.
Baseball (with writing) in front of two flags, in front of a baseball diamond, in front of two bats crossed in an "X."
Pin from an NBC “Hap” Dumont Youth Baseball World Series tournament. Jerauld R. Crowell Papers. Call Number: RH MS 1551. Click image to enlarge.

As you all work to spotlight your own talent, don’t be afraid to swing for the fences as you clean up the semester. Finals week is on deck, but you’re in the home stretch. You’ve earned your curtain call!

Want more baseball? See our previous blog posts on the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Kansas City Monarchs, baseball cards, and the House of David Baseball Team in Kansas, as well as a variety of entries about KU baseball.

Charissa Pincock
Processing Archivist

Spencer Research Library: Home of Kansas’s Apollo 17 Moon Rock

July 17th, 2019

We have previously highlighted the oldest man-made item in Spencer’s collections: a cuneiform tablet that is more than 4,000 years old. You can visit the library and see the tablet on display in the library’s North Gallery exhibit.

But, did you know that there is one item in Spencer’s holdings that is even older than the cuneiform tablet? It’s a moon rock that is approximately 3.7 billion years old!

Photograph of the Kansas Apollo 17 lunar sample display, 1972
Kansas’s Apollo 17 lunar sample display, 1972. Robert Blackwell Docking Papers. Call Number: RH MS VLT 167. Click image to enlarge.

The rock was gathered during the December 1972 Apollo 17 mission, the last human expedition to the Moon. According to information from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum,

[Apollo 17] carried the only trained geologist to walk on the lunar surface, lunar module pilot Harrison Schmitt. Compared to previous Apollo missions, Apollo 17 astronauts traversed the greatest distance using the Lunar Roving Vehicle and returned the greatest amount of rock and soil samples. Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, still holds the distinction of being the last man to walk on the Moon, as no humans have visited the Moon since December 14, 1972.

Specifically, according to a NASA description of the mission, the Apollo 17 astronauts “deployed or conducted ten science experiments, including the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) suite of instruments, took more than 2,000 photographs and collected about 243 pounds (110 kilograms) of soil and rock samples at twenty-two different sites.”

Photograph of the Kansas Apollo 17 lunar sample display, 1972
Photograph of the Kansas Apollo 17 lunar sample display, 1972
Close-ups of the lunar sample in Kansas’s Apollo 17 display. The 1.1 gram rock is encased in a small Lucite ball. Robert Blackwell Docking Papers. Call Number: RH MS VLT 167. Click image to enlarge. Click images to enlarge.

The moon rock now housed at Spencer was part of a larger sample gathered at the end of the third and final Extravehicular Activity (EVA) moonwalk on December 13-14, 1972. Here is what astronaut Eugene A. Cernan said as he collected the sample in the Taurus Littrow Valley. (The section below is excerpted from a transcription of the EVA-3 closeout at the archived Apollo 17 Lunar Surface Journal website. You can also watch footage of the sample being collected by clicking on the 169.41.46 video clip link; the section quoted below starts about a minute and a half into the footage.)

I think probably one of the most significant things we can think about when we think about Apollo is that it has opened for us – “for us” being the world – a challenge of the future. The door is now cracked, but the promise of the future lies in the young people, not just in America, but the young people all over the world learning to live and learning to work together. In order to remind all the people of the world in so many countries throughout the world that this is what we all are striving for in the future, Jack has picked up a very significant rock, typical of what we have here in the valley of Taurus-Littrow.

It’s a rock composed of many fragments, of many sizes, and many shapes, probably from all parts of the Moon, perhaps billions of years old. But fragments of all sizes and shapes – and even colors – that have grown together to become a cohesive rock, outlasting the nature of space, sort of living together in a very coherent, very peaceful manner. When we return this rock or some of the others like it to Houston, we’d like to share a piece of this rock with so many of the countries throughout the world. We hope that this will be a symbol of what our feelings are, what the feelings of the Apollo Program are, and a symbol of mankind: that we can live in peace and harmony in the future.

Photograph of the Kansas Apollo 17 lunar sample display, 1972
A close-up of the state flag on Kansas’s Apollo 17 lunar sample display. Robert Blackwell Docking Papers. Call Number: RH MS VLT 167. Click image to enlarge.

An article on the website Collect Space describes what happened to the larger moon rock when it arrived on Earth.

Three months after Apollo 17 returned home in December 1972, then-U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered the distribution of fragments from the rock that Cernan and Schmitt collected, since labeled sample 70017, to 135 foreign heads of state, the fifty U.S. states and its provinces. Each rock, encased in an acrylic button, was mounted to a plaque with the intended recipient’s flag, also flown to the Moon.

Photograph of Kansas Governor Robert Docking with KU Chancellor E. Laurence Chalmers at a basketball game, circa 1969-1972
Kansas Governor Robert Docking (right) with KU Chancellor E. Laurence Chalmers (left) at a basketball game, circa 1969-1972. Lawrence Journal-World Photo Collection, University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG LJW P/ Robert Docking (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Kansas’s Apollo 17 moon rock is housed at Spencer as part of Robert Blackwell Docking’s papers. Docking was the governor of Kansas at the time of the Apollo 17 mission (1967-1974); he donated his papers to Spencer in 1975.

A similar lunar sample display was presented to each state after the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, the first manned mission to land on the Moon. You can see Kansas’s Apollo 11 moon rock on display at the Kansas Museum of History.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day

November 7th, 2018

While conducting research in a collection of family papers for an exhibit I was putting together, I came across the paper hat shown below. The accompanying note in the box that houses it, provided by Mary P. Miller, gives some context.

This paper hat was worn on Armistice Day (then called “Peace Day”), November 11, 1918, by Eva Lathrop Phillips. Eva was meeting a friend in downtown Kansas City. It took her “all day” because she had to join a parade to move in the direction she wanted to go. Eva was 24 years old and attending business college in Kansas City from her home in Blue Rapids, Kansas. Eva died at age 102.

Image of the paper hat worn by Eva Lathrop Phillips on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918

Paper hat worn by Eva Lathrop Phillips on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.
Nothing in the collection indicates where Eva got it.
Eva Lathrop Phillips Papers. Call Number: RH MS 710. Click image to enlarge.

The Kansas City Star estimated that “60,000 to 100,000 flag waving, cheering men and women” participated in the “monster Victory Parade” in downtown Kansas City – despite the ongoing flu pandemic.

The parade, hastily planned early today, started at 10:30 o’clock from Convention Hall. There was no attempt at organization, because of the lack of time, but was made up for the most of masses of workers from downtown stores and factories, released for the day to celebrate the release of the world from threatened German bondage.

To get a sense of what the scene looked like, check out these photographs of Armistice Day parades in St. Louis (Missouri Historical Society) and Philadelphia (Library Company of Philadelphia).

Photograph of the front page of the Kansas City Star on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918

Image of the article "A March of Victory" in the Kansas City Star on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918

Front page of the Kansas City Star (top) and the article
“A March of Victory” (bottom) on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.
Anschutz Library microfilm collection. Call Number: MRN 0269.
Click images to enlarge.

Somewhere in the crowd of Kansas City revelers described in the Star article was Eva in her paper hat.

Evangeline “Eva” Lathrop was born in Irving, Kansas, on October 1, 1894. Her brother Byron enlisted in the Army and served in France. Around the time of the Armistice, Eva moved to Kansas City to attend school. In 1924, she married Alfred G. Phillips, also a veteran. She lived in Baxter Springs, Kansas, for fifty years.

Photograph of Eva Lathrop Phillips, 1992

Photograph of Eva Lathrop Phillips at age ninety-eight, 1992.
Frowe and Lathrop Families Records. Call Number: RH MS 696. Click image to enlarge.

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services

Summertime in University Archives: Artifacts, Books, and Photographs, Oh My!

August 25th, 2014

As an intern in the University Archives at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library this summer, I experienced and accomplished many projects and duties. It feels like just yesterday that I received an interesting and varied list of assignments at the beginning of June. Where did the summer go? Let me show you.

Photograph of University Archives intern JoJo Palko at the desk

University Archives Intern JoJo Palko. Click image to enlarge.

Part of the story starts back in the fall of the 2013. I was hired as a research assistant for the publication of KU’s 150th anniversary book, Toward the Blue, working out of the University Archives. Fast forward to May and we are selecting the photographs and images to be used in the book. By the end of May, the other research assistant, the editors, and I had compiled a selection of over 200 images from the archives. So what was waiting for me when I started my internship? You guessed it—those photographs (funny how that worked). Over the course of a few weeks, I entered the metadata for each image. Fortunately for me (and you) these photographs are little treasures from the university’s past and I really enjoyed going through every single one. I have selected a few to share here.

Photograph of two KU football fans, 1973

Indeed, Kansas is for lovers! Two football fans show their
spirit in true 70s fashion. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/66/14 1973 Prints: Student Activities: Football (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

 Photograph of the hill and campanile during a football game, 1975-1976

View of the hill and campanile during a
football game, 1975-1976. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/0 1975-1976 Prints: Student Activities (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Grupo de Kansas, 1970

Grupo de Kansas, a group of KU students, arriving in Costa Rica, 1970.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 12/1 1970 Prints: International
Programs: Study Abroad (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Chancellor Chalmers with new Baby Jay at Homecoming, 1971

Chancellor Laurence Chalmers with new Baby Jay at Homecoming, 1971.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 2/13 1971 Prints: Chancellors:
Chalmers (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

One other project that took up most of my time was to reorganize, house, and label the archive’s artifacts and to update the database and spreadsheet to make it more efficient for anyone to look up these items in the future. I started the process with a large book truck full of items that were not labeled, not housed, and not in any order that made sense. I panicked. How was I supposed to go through this truck plus the other two boxes full of items? Luckily, my supervisor, University Archivist Becky Schulte, calmed me down and told me to take it one step at a time. I managed to figure out what record group every object belonged in, found a box for those that needed it, labeled them, and entered the information into the databases. That was the end of a very long first step. The second step was just as much fun. There are three rooms that house the University Archive’s artifacts. In order to make room for the new additions, an entire reorganization of the rooms needed to occur. On the positive side, for those few weeks I did not need to work on my upper body at the gym. On the negative side, artifacts continued to come out their hiding places (behind doors) and others were found that needed labels or boxes. As I put the finishing touches on this project, I am really satisfied with how everything turned out and I loved seeing all the interesting “stuff.” Check out the images below to see the final results!

Photograph of University Archives artifacts room

Photograph of University Archives artifacts room

Photograph of University Archives artifacts room

The three above photos show University Archives artifact rooms after
the completion of my reorganization project. Click images to enlarge.

Photograph of Bolshevik Jayhawk Statue

Photograph of Bolshevik Jayhawk Statue in box

This Bolshevik Jayhawk Statue – also shown in its new housing created by the Libraries’
Conservation Department – was sent to the School of Journalism in 1921 by a
former KU student who found it in a Bolshevik Prison camp. University Archives Artifacts.
Call Number: RG 23/0 School of Journalism (Artifacts). Click images to enlarge.

Besides the larger artifacts and metadata projects, I was kept busy throughout the summer with other tasks. One of the most interesting involved a transfer of items from KU’s Theater Department. Moses Gunn, renowned African American actor, attended KU for his graduate degree. It was here that Moses first performed the role of Othello, a character he would play throughout his career. Moses also went on to co-found the Negro Ensemble Company, receive an Emmy nomination, appear in movie and television roles, and perform in many Off Broadway productions. His collection of items that arrived at the University Archives was a glimpse into this great man’s life. Included were many awards and accolades, theater posters and photographs, art work and artifacts. Two of the artifacts were a bust of Moses and a partial mask with a long black wig attached that he wore in the role of Titus Andronicus. The artwork was beautiful and insightful: most depicted Moses in character on stage, or simply the stage set. All in all, ninety-eight items were received, each one adding to the history of Moses Gunn.

Photograph of a bust of Moses Gunn

Bust of Moses Gunn. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of a mask worn by Moses Gunn in the role of Titus Andronicus

Mask worn by Moses Gunn in the role of Titus Andronicus.
Click image to enlarge.

Throughout my internship I completed several reference and research requests (another one was just handed to me). By completed, I do not mean that I was able to find the information every time, because I quickly learned that sometimes the record or document in question does not exist in the archives. It took me a few of these dead-ends to come to terms with the fact that there are time periods, events, and people missing, with records never being created or donated. However, when I would find the desired document that was one of the best feelings. Most of the requests came from Jayhawk Generations—people wanting to know if their relative attended KU. Others were from researchers wanting to know about a specific topic, or from community members looking for photographs of family members. One of the most personally satisfying research requests was for any information relating to World War I that the archives held. Being a favorite history topic of mine and with the centennial anniversary underway, this was a great topic for me to explore and find all of the related material.

Another aspect of my time here was to learn about a few online archives systems. For this assignment, Assistant University Archivist Letha Johnson showed me the digital ways of archives. One such system was Archives Online. For several weeks I would spend a little bit of time every day entering data and uploading documents to KU’s ScholarWorks website. The documents were mostly weekly newsletters or updates from different KU departments. So now there are 271 new items on this system relating from a week in KU Athletics or the Dole Institute of Politics. Another system that I received an overview about was Archive-It, a site that the archive uses to capture certain websites at a certain time in order to preserve institutional memory and history. The last one was ArchivesSpace, a system that the Kenneth Spencer Research Library is just starting to implement. If time and manpower allow, this database could became the main system for accession records management for the entire library.

Speaking of records management, I was also able to learn about this aspect of the behind the scenes workings of the archive. Records and transfers would come into the University Archives constantly throughout the summer. I worked on one of these transfers with the Moses Gunn records, but then a couple of smaller projects also helped me become familiar with the processing of a university record. Another out of sight aspect of the archives that I received a glimpse into is the wonderful world of conservation. I believe it was my first or second week here that I got a crash course in emergency conservation procedures. There was a large rain storm the night before and in the morning the staff discovered some leaks down in the basement. What else is an intern for than to help out in these types of situations? Working with Assistant Conservator Roberta Woodrick to drape giant plastic sheets over the shelves to protect the items was a fun (because it only lasted an hour) way to get acquainted with conservation work. I also received a grand tour of the conservation workspace from Whitney Baker, Head of Conservation Services, and got to see some of the projects their students were working on at the time.

Finally, I will wrap up by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed my time here (if that wasn’t apparent already!). I never felt that I was just another warm body to be used to make copies all summer. There was always something to do, and not once was I bored. The staff is wonderful, helpful, and always willing to teach me their magical ways of knowing how everything works. I have gained a greater appreciation for just how much they put in to making the institution succeed, and for a couple of months I was glad to be a part of that team.

JoJo Palko
University Archives Intern