Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Christmas Tree Edition

December 20th, 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!

A lot was happening at KU fifty years ago! Spencer Research Library opened for researchers on December 2nd, and about a week later a dramatic, holiday-themed event took place across the terrace in Strong Hall.

Photograph of the Chancellor's Christmas tree in Strong Hall, 1968

Photograph of the Chancellor's Christmas tree in Strong Hall, 1968 Photograph of the Chancellor's Christmas tree in Strong Hall, 1968

The Chancellor’s Christmas tree in Strong Hall, December 1968. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Christmas 1968: Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos).
Click images to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

An article in the University Daily Kansan on December 13, 1968 – entitled “Strong Hall Tree a Giant Nuisance” – describes the scene shown in the photos above.

Most people have enough trouble with the small Christmas tree they put up in their homes, but the Buildings and Grounds crew had giant-sized problems with the Chancellor’s tree yesterday.

First of all, the tree was too large for the doorway to Strong. A 20-foot tall Scotch Pine had been cute from the site of the new Humanities Building [Wescoe Hall]. The tree’s branches extended laterally about half its height, so workmen disassembled the center section of the double doors to make room for the tree’s entry.

The tree then proved too big for the ceiling of the Rotunda, so the bottom was sawed off.

Erecting the tree was accomplished by laying a scaffolding across the observation deck and hoisting the tree into position.

The tree revolves in its stell base and the balancing operation is delicate. Harry Buchholz, superintendent of the physical plant, said the balancing of the tree was the most difficult part of the entire job.

Over 475 lbs. of lead weights balance the tree as it revolves twice each minute.

The decoration process seemed easy. Workmen used a portable extension ladder to reach the topmost branches, then plugged in the tree and let it wind the lights and streamers around itself.

Spencer Research Library will be closed from December 22nd through January 1st. We will reopen on January 2nd and look forward to sharing more of our collections with you in 2019!

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Holiday Family Time Edition

December 22nd, 2016

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 34,500 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Happy holidays, Jayhawks! We hope all of you will be able to spend time with loved ones during the holidays this year.

Remember that Spencer Research Library will be closed tomorrow (December 23rd) through Monday, January 2nd.

Photograph of the Phog Allen family in front of a Christmas tree, circa 1955

Members of Phog Allen‘s family in front of a Christmas tree, circa 1955.
Preliminary research suggests that the gentleman is Phog’s son Milton (“Mitt”)
with his wife Isabel and their children (from left to right) Judith, Jennifer, and Milton Jr.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/22 Forrest C. Allen Family
Undated Negatives: Athletic Department: Coaches and Staff (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Throwback Thursday: Holiday Party Edition

December 31st, 2015

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 17,900 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

We hope all of our researchers, visitors, friends, and supporters enjoy fun and safe celebrations to welcome in the new year! Spencer Research Library is closed through the weekend and will reopen on Monday, January 4th.

Photograph of Beta Theta Pi members at Christmas, 1935

Members of Beta Theta Pi celebrating at Christmastime, 1935.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 67/24 1935 Prints:
Student Organizations: Beta Theta Pi (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt, Megan Sims, and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Throwback Thursday: Holiday Edition

December 25th, 2014

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 1,700 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all of our friends, supporters, researchers, and visitors! Please remember that Spencer Research Library will be closed through Sunday, January 4, 2015. We have more exciting resources to share in the new year, and we look forward to discussing them with you!

Photograph of a Christmas tree in Strong Hall, 1980

 Christmas tree in Strong Hall, 1980. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Christmas 1980 Prints: Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Brian Nomura
Public Services Student Assistant

Kansas Christmases Past

December 18th, 2014

Several archival collections in our Kansas Collection contain images showing Christmas scenes from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We’ve selected a few to show here; we hope they help get you in the holiday spirit!

Photograph of a room interior with Christmas tree, 1896

Room interior with Christmas tree and presents, 1896.
Leavenworth Public Library Photograph Collection.
Call Number: RH PH 72. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Louise and Margaret Walbridge at the Christmas tree, circa 1897

Louise and Margaret Walbridge sitting under the Christmas tree
with their toys, Profile Ranch, Russell County, Kansas, circa 1897.
Louis Chester Walbridge Collection. Call Number: RH PH 21. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of 7th Battery dining hall set for Christmas Dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1906

7th Battery dining hall set for Christmas dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1906.
Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of Douglass Grade School, Manhattan, Kansas, Christmas 1945

Douglass Grade School, Manhattan, Kansas, Christmas 1945.
James E. Butler Collection. Call Number: RH MS-P 507. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of John A. Hodge with his grandson, Johnnie L. Hodge, Christmas 1949

John A. Hodge with his grandson, ten-year-old Johnnie L. Hodge, Christmas 1949.
The pair are examining Owen Wilson’s new “knockdown” electric train cars.
Photograph by Dowdal H. Davis, son-in-law. Dorothy Hodge Johnson Collection.
Call Number: RH MS-P 549. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of the winner of Christmas decoration contest, Topeka, Kansas, circa 1950s

Winner of Christmas decoration contest, Topeka, Kansas, circa 1950s. Photograph by Joe Douglas.
Joe Douglas Collection. Call Number: RH PH 90. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Christmas decorations on Massachusetts Street at 7th, Lawrence, Kansas, undated

Christmas decorations on Massachusetts Street at 7th, Lawrence, Kansas, undated.
Lawrence Photo Collection. Call Number: RH PH 18H.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services