Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Freshman Toss Edition

August 23rd, 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!

One of the fun topics you can learn about in University Archives is the history of traditions at KU, especially those observed during the university’s early decades but no longer practiced today.

One contentious custom required all freshmen to wear tiny caps (beanies) and to tip it before the school flag, faculty members, and seniors. According to an article on the KU History website, the punishments for not doing so included “a severe paddling, an involuntary dip in Potter Lake, or having oneself tossed repeatedly into the air from huge canvas blankets, held by members of the Men’s Student Council and the K-Club, which was composed of lettermen from all University sports.”

Photograph of a group of men tossing a freshman caught without his cap, 1914

Photograph of a group of men tossing a freshman caught without his cap, 1914

Freshmen being tossed in the air after being caught without a cap, 1914.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/66/14 1914 Prints:
Student Activities: Sports: Football (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Both of the above photos were taken in 1914 during KU football games at McCook Field, located roughly where Memorial Stadium now stands. The opponents were the College of Emporia (October 10, top) and the University of Missouri (November 21, bottom).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Student Conversation Edition

August 10th, 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!

Fall classes start in a little over one week, and students are already starting to return to Mount Oread.

Photograph of two KU students on campus, circa 1940-1949

Two students on campus, circa 1940-1949. Note the freshman beanie.
Photo by Duke D’Ambra. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/0 1940s Negatives: Student Activities (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The students in the photo are standing in front of Old Fraser Hall (located roughly where modern Fraser now stands). Our best guess is that they’re on the east side of the building, near the lilac hedges across from Battenfeld and Watkins Scholarship Halls on Lilac Lane.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services