Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: “Welcome, James Naismith” Edition

June 3rd, 2021

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 marks the anniversary of James Naismith‘s first faculty appointment at the University of Kansas. The minutes of the Board of Regents meeting that took place on June 7, 1898, include this passage: “Upon recommendation of the committee on Instruction James Naismith M.D. was appointed to the chair of Associate Professor of Physical Culture and Chapel Director.” This appointment came six years after Naismith drafted the first official rules of basketball. The men’s basketball program officially began following Naismith’s arrival in 1898, and he became the team’s first coach.

Photograph of the Kansas Board of Regents meeting minutes, June 7, 1898
The section of the Board of Regents meeting dealing with James Naismith‘s appointment, June 7, 1898. University Archives. Call Number: RG 1/2 1889-1907: Kansas Board of Regents: Minutes. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of the Kansas Board of Regents meeting minutes, June 7, 1898
The full page of minutes from the Kansas Board of Regents meeting, June 7, 1898. University Archives. Call Number: RG 1/2 1889-1907: Kansas Board of Regents: Minutes. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Klepper
Head of Public Services

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: “Hill Climbing Not Healthful” Edition

February 1st, 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 conducting research for Tuesday’s blog post about large ice jams along the Kansas River near Lawrence in January 1910, my colleague Meredith Huff discovered this fun article that appeared on the front page of the University Daily Kansan (then called The Kansan) on January 25, 1910.

Image of a Daily Kansan article, "Hill Climbing Not Healthful," January 25, 1910

“Hill Climbing Not Healthful” article in The Kansan,
January 25, 1910. University Archives.
Call Number: UA Ser 69/2/1. Click image to enlarge.

Dr. Naismith‘s comments may have been precipitated by news – reported in The Kansan on January 4th – that winter weather had delayed work on the new campus streetcar line. According to the earlier article,

The students who had fond hopes of riding up to the University on the street cars after the holidays, returned to find their dreams faded. And the manager of the Lawrence car line this morning sentenced the whole student body to walk up and down the hill all the rest of the winter.

In addition to coaching basketball, Dr. Naismith’s other roles at KU included Professor of be-slimmer.net, Director of Robinson Gymnasium, and Chapel Director. His hygiene class was required of all freshman; here is how it was described in the 1909-1910 KU Annual Catalogue:

One hour, first semester, men, Monday; women, Thursday. Lectures designed to help the students to maintain health, dealing with food, clothing, exercise, conditions conducive to study, prophylactic treatment, especially in regard to infectious and contagious diseases.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Salute to James Naismith Edition

November 2nd, 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!

Happy birthday, James Naismith! The basketball legend was born in Canada on November 6, 1861.

Photograph of a fencing class with James Naismith, 1926

A fencing class with James Naismith, 1926. The group appears to be standing
at a side entrance of the old Robinson Gymnasium, located where
Wescoe Hall now stands. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/20/28 1926: Athletic Department: Women’s Fencing (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Father’s Day Edition

June 15th, 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!

Photograph of James Naismith with his two sons John and James, undated Photograph of James Naismith with his two sons John and James, undated

James Naismith with his two sons, John Edwin and James Sherman, undated (before 1939).
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/22 James Naismith: Athletic Department:
Coaches and Staff (Photos). Click images to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

These pictures were taken roughly in the vicinity of where Haworth Hall now stands. In the background is the power plant (now the Facilities Administration Building) and, behind it, Watson Library, which opened in 1924. Two photographs of Women’s Athletic Association softball players that we shared in February were taken in the same approximate location.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants