Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Alumni Welcome Edition

October 20th, 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 29,500 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

It’s Homecoming week at KU, and a sentiment expressed in 1925 still rings true today: “Welcome grads, we’re glad you’re here!”

Photograph of a Homecoming welcome sign, 1925

Homecoming welcome sign in front of Old Fraser Hall, 1925.
Old Snow Hall, which was located roughly in the area that is now
Watson Library’s front lawn, is in the background. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/1 1925 Prints: Student Activities: Homecoming (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: Homecoming Queen Edition

October 8th, 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 6,700 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

We’re excited that Homecoming is right around the corner, so this week’s photograph shows 1938 Homecoming Queen Dorothy “Denny” Lemoine (center) and her court, Helen Johnson (left) and Elizabeth Kemp (right). Lemoine was chosen by the football team.

Photograph of KU Homecoming queen and court, 1938

The KU Homecoming Queen and her attendants with campus officials on the field at
Memorial Stadium, November 1938. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/1 1938 Prints: Student Activities: Homecoming (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

According to an article on the KU History website, the first Homecoming Queen was crowned at KU in 1925. The “ceremony did not become a tradition until 1933. A new queen was crowned each year until 1969, when anti-war demonstrations and stormy race relations led to the committee’s decision that it was ‘more appropriate to recognize those who embody the academic spirit for which this community was established.'”

From left to right in the photograph are:

  • Colonel Karl F. Baldwin: A career Army officer, Baldwin (1885-1967) was a Professor of Military Science and Tactics and the ROTC commandant at KU from 1936 to 1941. Born in Iowa, Baldwin spent part of his childhood in Kansas. He received a B.S. in civil engineering (1908) and an M.A. (1918) from Norwich University, then The Military College of the State of Vermont.
  • Chancellor Ernest H. Lindley: A native of Indiana, Lindley received his B.A. (1893) and M.A. (1894) degrees in psychology from Indiana University before obtaining his Ph.D. in psychology from Clark University in 1897. He spent over twenty years as professor of psychology and philosophy at Indiana before becoming the president of the University of Idaho in 1917. Lindley (1869-1940) served as the Chancellor of KU from 1920 to 1939.
  • Attendant Helen Virginia Johnson: Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, Helen graduated from KU in 1941 with a major in English. While at the university she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and the Young Women’s Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.). She also served on the Women’s Student Government Association (W.S.G.A.) and was the Vice President of her junior class. Helen was also a Kansas Relay Queen and a Jayhawker Queen.
  • Homecoming Queen Dorothy Deneise Lemoine: Dorothy graduated from KU in 1940 with a degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Also from Kansas City, Missouri, she was an intramural manager and a Hobo Queen, plus a member of Pi Beta Phi, Sociology Club, the Women’s Athletic Association (W.A.A.), and French Club. She became engaged to star KU halfback Dick Amerine about a month after this photo was taken.
  • Attendant Elizabeth Ellinor Kemp: A member of the Class of 1939, Elizabeth majored in Spanish. The Kansas City, Missouri, native was also a member of Spanish Club and Alpha Delta Pi.
  • Ralph T. O’Neil, Chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents: O’Neil (1888-1940) was born in Osage City, Kansas. He obtained an A.B. from Baker (1909) and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Harvard (1913). A World War I veteran, O’Neil was a long-time attorney in Topeka who also served as the national commander of the American Legion (1930-1931) and the president of the Kansas Bar Association (1939-1940).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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

Throwback Thursday: Dance Edition

July 23rd, 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 5,700 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Follow the lead of these KU students and put on your dancing shoes; this Saturday is National Dance Day!

Photograph of the Homecoming dance in Kansas Union Ballroom, 1956

Homecoming dance in the Kansas Union Ballroom, 1956. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/1 1956: Student Activities: Homecoming (Photos).
Click on image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Popular pianist and bandleader Frankie Carle provided the music at the dance. Watch him perform with his orchestra in 1947, via footage available through YouTube.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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

Throwback Thursday: Hobo Day Edition

November 20th, 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!

This week we’re highlighting an old and disbanded fall tradition at KU: Hobo Day.

Photograph of Hobo Day, 1930-1931

Students dressed up for Hobo Day, 1930-1931. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/9 1930-1931 Prints: Student Activities: Hobo Day (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Kevin Armitage from KU’s Department of History describes the event in “No More Hobohemia” on the KU History website:

Enterprising students soon developed the idea of combining the [then-annual] beer bust [in Kansas City] with a special event that featured old clothes, and Hobo Day was born. Prohibition briefly derailed the celebration, but in 1923 students reinvented the tradition as a massive pep rally held before the annual Kansas-Missouri football game.

The rehabilitated event featured students dressed in outlandish Hobo costumes, pep rallies, dances, bonfires and, at times, property damage and fisticuffs between students and professors. An article in the Kansan described the required outfit: “Old clothes, the older the better, plenty of paint, burnt cork, and…a corn-cob pipe are the main essential of makeup of a good ‘hobo.’” A red bandana carrying one’s worldly possession was recommended, but not considered absolutely essential.

Hobo Day was inadvertently discontinued in November 1939 so students could attend the national cornhusking championship near Lawrence.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Brian Nomura
Public Services Student Assistant

Floating through Homecoming

October 3rd, 2013

The tradition of Homecoming, or welcoming back alumni to the University, conjures up images of crisp fall weather, football teams battling on the gridiron, dancing couples, and . . . floats! For many years KU groups have created floats from chicken wire, wood, crepe paper, and other materials to display in the Homecoming parade.

Photograph of students constructing a homecoming float.

Students construct a Homecoming float in 1969.
Call number: 71/1 /1969/0347. University Archives. Click image to enlarge.

The theme of the floats most typically involves the Homecoming football game–Jayhawk victoriously represented and opponent mascot whimpering in defeat–but not always.

Photograph of a homecoming float.     Photograph of a homecoming float.

Homecoming floats from 1937 (left) and the 1950s (right).
Respective call numbers: 71/1/1937/005 and 71/1/1950s/0110, University Archives. Click images to enlarge.

Enjoy some pictures from the University Archives of Homecoming floats of the past. For more images see the University’s Archives digital collections.

Photograph of a homecoming float.  Photograph of a homecoming float.

A snowman float (?!) from 1946 (left) and a cowboy Jayhawk from 1980 (right).
Respective call numbers: 71/1/1946/0076 and 71/1/1980/0518. University Archives. Click images to enlarge.

Whitney Baker
Head, Conservation Services