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Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

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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.

That’s Distinctive!: Kansas Day

January 27th, 2023

Check the blog each Friday for a new “That’s Distinctive!” post. I created the series because I genuinely believe there is something in our collections for everyone, whether you’re writing a paper or just want to have a look. “That’s Distinctive!” will provide a more lighthearted glimpse into the diverse and unique materials at Spencer – including items that many people may not realize the library holds. If you have suggested topics for a future item feature or questions about the collections, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

This week “That’s Distinctive!” celebrates Kansas Day! This year Kansas Day, which is January 29th, marks Kansas’s 162nd year of statehood. Kansas became the 34th state in 1861. You can find some fun facts about Kansas day via the National Today website and the Kansas State Historical Society’s Kansapedia.

In honor of Kansas Day, I have chosen to exhibit The Kansas Guidebook for Explorers by Marci Penner. The inside cover boasts that “this is the most comprehensive guidebook to exploring Kansas.” The book is split into sections by different areas of the state and then breaks down further into counties and cities/towns. The book boasts over 400 pages of places to visit throughout Kansas. Written in 2005, you may find that some (or many) of the businesses have closed but the most loved are still in existence today. In 2012, Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe set out to release The Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers. Below are a few pages from the 2005 edition (including Lawrence, of course).

Book title in white text against a colored background, with photos of Kansas places above and below.
The cover of The Kansas Guidebook for Explorers, 2005. Call Number: RH C10896. Click image to enlarge.
The inside cover and title page of The Kansas Guidebook for Explorers, 2005. As you can see, the library’s copy is signed by author Marci Penner. Call Number: RH C10896. Click image to enlarge.
Selected pages featuring places to visit in Lawrence, from The Kansas Guidebook for Explorers, 2005. The book offers 3 ½ more pages of Lawrence content, beyond what is shown above. Call Number: RH C10896. Click image to enlarge.

The Kansas Guidebook for Explorers is part of the Kansas Collection at Spencer Research Library. One of the main collecting areas at the library, the Kansas Collection covers regional history in the state and its neighbors from the territorial period up through the present.

Tiffany McIntosh
Public Services