Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Fishing Edition, Part II

June 14th, 2018

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!

Next Monday is National Go Fishing Day!

Photograph of Dr. James Naismith fishing in Canada, 1936

Dr. James Naismith (left) fishing in Canada, 1936. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/22 James Naismith: Athletic Department: Coaches and Staff (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Robert F. Kennedy Edition

June 7th, 2018

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!

In April we shared a photograph of KU students in front of Strong Hall honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. after his assassination in 1968. This week’s photograph commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of a second assassination: that of Senator Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968.

Kennedy announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on March 16, 1968. He launched his campaign two days later with speeches at Kansas State University and KU.

Photograph of Robert F. Kennedy speaking in Allen Fieldhouse, March 18, 1968

Robert F. Kennedy speaking in Allen Fieldhouse, March 18, 1968. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/19 Robert F. Kennedy 1968: University General: Visitors (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Kennedy’s speech in Allen Fieldhouse began at 1:30pm, and KU classes scheduled at that time were cancelled. “I don’t know whether you’re going to like what I’m going to say today but I just want you to remember, as you look back upon this day, and when it comes to a question of who you’re going to support – that it was a Kennedy who got you out of class,” he joked. The University Daily Kansan reported that the speech lasted sixty-five minutes; Kennedy apparently spent half that time delivering prepared remarks and the other half answering questions from students, who submitted them in writing to ushers they entered the Fieldhouse.

According to the Kansan, an estimated 20,000 people attended the event. (Approximately 15,800 students were enrolled on the Lawrence campus in Fall 1967.)

Instead of going directly to the podium [when he arrived at the Fieldhouse] Kennedy wandered around the basketball court shaking hands and waving to the students. It was a full minute-and-a-half before the initial applause faded out and he took his seat…

Kennedy’s normally flat, laconic speaking tone raised and nearly broke at times, as he spoke of his convictions concerning America’s problems and tried to battle the surges of applause, foot-stamping and screaming…

His final words were drowned by roars from the crowd as students surged toward him…

“It was the largest crowd we’ve ever had in Allen Field House,” said James E. Gunn, administrative assistant to the chancellor.

 

Photograph of Robert F. Kennedy with KU students outside Allen Fieldhouse, March 18, 1968

Robert F. Kennedy with KU students outside Allen Fieldhouse, March 18, 1968.
Lawrence Journal-World Photo Collection, University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG LJW 0/19 Robert F. Kennedy 1968: University General:
Visitors (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The Kansan also described the scene as Kennedy departed.

By the time the senator tried to make his exit it seemed likely that KU’s enthusiasm would pull him apart. Throughout the speech the audience had crept closer to Kennedy like rising floodwater. Then, when he tried to make his exit, he discovered that he would haave to fight his way through 500 feet of human barricades…

East exits from the Field House were blocked by an estimated 20,000 people, as the Senator wedged his way through a screaming, solidly-packed mob.

Additional information about Kennedy’s KU visit are available online, including photographs (KU Libraries), a transcript of the speech (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum), and an audio recording of the speech (YouTube).

Film footage of the speech can also be viewed as part of the permanent exhibit in Spencer’s North Gallery.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Doughnut Edition

May 31st, 2018

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!

Tomorrow is National Doughnut Day! How will you celebrate?

Photograph of Joe's Bakery in Lawrence, Kansas, 1970s

Doughnuts at Joe’s Bakery, 1970s. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/30 Joe’s Bakery 1970s Prints: Student Activities: Student Hangouts (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Joe’s Bakery was formerly located at 616 W. Ninth Street in Lawrence. Popular among generations of KU students, the bakery opened in 1952 and closed in 2007.

Additional digitized photos of Joe’s are available online.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

World War I Letters of Forrest W. Bassett: Epilogue

May 29th, 2018

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 selected letters from Forrest 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).

 

Photograph of Forrest Bassett in The Beloiter yearbook, 1916

Forrest Bassett’s senior picture in the
Beloit Memorial High School yearbook, The Beloiter, 1916.
The quotation accompanying his picture is “without my camera, I would be lost.”
Image courtesy of the Beloit Historical Society. Click image to enlarge.

We have reached the last of Forrest’s letters from Fort Leavenworth. By May 31, 1918, he had reached Camp Wadsworth, South Carolina. Forrest’s experiences there are documented in a collection of his letters at the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina. According to Army Transport Service passenger lists, Forrest and the other members of Co. A left New York City, heading for Europe, on July 7, 1918, aboard the Darro. He returned to the United States almost a year later: on June 3, 1919, he set sail from Brest, France, on board the USS Mount Vernon. This was almost eight months after the armistice but only a week after the Treaty of Versailles formally ended World War I.

Forrest and Marie were married on March 6, 1920, in Beloit, Wisconsin. They had two children: Sally Ann Bassett (1930- ) and Terrence Shaw Bassett (1932-1996).

Photograph of Forrest and Marie Bassett on their twenty-fifth anniversary, March 6, 1945

Forrest and Marie Bassett on their twenty-fifth anniversary, March 6, 1945.
Image courtesy of the Beloit Historical Society. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Sally Ann Bassett's twentieth birthday, March 22, 1950

Forrest, Marie, and Terrence Bassett celebrating Sally’s twentieth birthday, March 22, 1950.
A note on the back of the photograph says “Ethel [Marie’s sister?] came down and took this for us.
(The cake is a chocolate ice box cake made with ladyfingers. It was good. You’d have liked it, I know.)”
Image courtesy of the Beloit Historical Society. Click image to enlarge.

According to Forrest’s obituary in the Janesville (Wisconsin) Gazette, he was employed for forty years at Yates-American Machine Co. After retiring, he worked for ten years in the credit department at Dane Aluminum Co. Forrest was a member of numerous community organizations, including American Legion Post No. 48, William J. Huemphner World War I Barracks, the Second Congregational Church, and the Men’s Garden and Beloit Camera clubs.

According to Marie’s obituary in the Janesville Gazette, she was a teacher of speech and oral interpretation for many years. She also worked as a secretary for the Freeman Shoe Company, Yates-American Machine Co., Fairbanks Morse, and the Second Congregational Church, and she served as coordinator of volunteers at the Beloit Senior Center. An “accomplished actress, singer, and solo dramatist,” Marie was a founding member of Beloit Civic Theatre and served on its board of directors. She was also a member and former president of the group Treble Clef.

Photograph of the Bassett family, undated

Forrest and Marie Bassett with their children Sally and Terrence, undated.
Image courtesy of the Beloit Historical Society. Click image to enlarge.

Forrest died on August 3, 1985; Marie died October 8, 1992. They are both buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Beloit, Wisconsin.

Special thanks to the staff at the Beloit Historical Society for locating and scanning the images included in this post.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Meredith Huff
Public Services

Emma Piazza
Public Services Student Assistant

Throwback Thursday: Golf Edition

May 24th, 2018

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!

Good luck to the KU women’s tennis doubles team and men’s golf team playing in their respective NCAA championships today and this weekend. Rock Chalk!

Photograph of the KU men's golf team, 1950s

KU men’s golf team, 1950s. Photograph by Duke D’Ambra.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/15 Team 1950s Prints:
Athletic Department: Golf (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services