Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Streetcar Edition

June 8th, 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 a streetcar in front of Bailey Hall, 1910

A streetcar in front of Bailey Hall, 1910. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Streetcars 1910 Prints: Campus: Areas and Objects (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: Wescoe Boardwalk Edition

May 25th, 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!

It’s another busy summer at KU, with lots of campus construction projects underway. This week’s photograph features a pedestrian walkway that was built along Jayhawk Boulevard during the construction of Wescoe Hall, which began in May 1971.

Photograph of Wecsoe Boardwalk, 1972

Wescoe Boardwalk, September 1972. Kansas Alumni photo by Hank Young.
Note the KU logo in the upper left corner of the sign. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Wescoe Boardwalk 1972 Prints: Campus: Areas and Objects (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: Dedication Edition

April 20th, 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 34,500 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Next Monday, April 24th, marks the 62nd anniversary of the dedication of the Chi Omega fountain.

Photograph of the Chi Omega fountain dedication ceremony, 1955

Photograph of the Chi Omega fountain dedication ceremony, 1955

Photograph of the Chi Omega fountain dedication ceremony, 1955

Photographs of the dedication ceremony for the
Chi Omega fountain, Sunday, April 24, 1955. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Chi Omega Fountain 1955 Negatives:
Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos). Click images to enlarge.

The speakers, from left to right, are Ethel Murphy Filkin, Jessie Parker Filkin, Nellie Barnes, Mrs. E. J. Wilson (Chi Omega housemother), Dorothea Engel Thomas, Jim Bass, Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy, Gretchen Guinn, Father Andrew Berry, and Rev. A. G. Parker.

The Lawrence Journal-World reported on the ceremony the day after it occurred.

The Chi Omega sorority fountain, located at the west end of Jayhawk Drive at Kansas University, officially was dedicated and presented to the University in ceremonies Sunday afternoon at the fountain circle. Approximately 300 students, Chi Omega alumnae and K.U. officials attended the event.

Gretchen Guinn [KU journalism junior], Delmar, N. Y., president of Lambda chapter of Chi Omga, presented the structure to K.U. and Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy accepted it.

In receiving the fountain Dr. Murphy said, “It represents another step in the beautification of the naturally beautiful K.U. campus. The fountain shows the University is interested not only in utilitarian things but in beauty as well.”

“The fountain was copied from a structure in front of an 18th century manor house in Northumberland, England. It was selected because it harmonized with the Chi Omega house which is of English design.”

Mrs. C. Y. Thomas, Kansas City, Mo., gave the greeting from the alumnae and introduced two of the founders of Lambda chapter, Mrs. Roy S. Filkin, 1800 Ind. St., and Mrs. Walter Filkin, Olathe. She also introduced Nellie Barnes, assistant professor of English who did the research on mythology connected with Chi Omega sorority, and Jim Bass, the man [KU fine arts senior] who designed the mythological figures on the lead tank.

The invocation was given by Rev. Albert G. Parker, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. Rev. Andrew W. Berry, Episcopal student minister, gave the benediction.

Sunday’s activities brought to a conclusion a drive which began in the fall of 1952 at the 50th anniversary of Lambda chapter. Mrs. Warren Woody, Wilmette, Ill., originated the idea for the fountain and led the drive for funds. She was unable to attend the dedication.

Actual work on the fountain began last fall and it was completed more than a month ago. Erkins Studio in New York City designed and constructed the structure and Constant Construction Co. installed it.

Total cost of the fountain was $11,793.88. Chi Omega alumnae contributed $5,000 and the remainder of the money came from the Elizabeth M. Watkins fund of the K.U. Endowment Association.

Photograph of workers finishing the Chi Omega fountain, 1955

Workers finishing the Chi Omega fountain, 1955. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Chi Omega Fountain 1955 Negatives:
Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Throwback Thursday: Dandelion Days Edition

April 21st, 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 27,000 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

If you’ve seen the recent proliferation of dandelions on Mount Oread, you might think KU needs to bring back a short-lived springtime event from the 1940s: Dandelion Days.

Photograph of several people pulling dandelions on lawn in front of Old Fraser Hall, 1940s

Several people pulling dandelions on the lawn in front of Old Fraser Hall, 1940s.
Seen in the photo are Dyche Hall and, beyond, the Union. Kansas Alumni photo.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/3 1940s Prints: Student Activities:
Dandelion Days (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of several people pulling dandelions in front of Strong Hall, 1940s

Pulling dandelions in front of Strong Hall, 1940s. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/3 1940s Negatives: Student Activities: Dandelion Days (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of several people pulling dandelions in grove of trees, 1940s

Pulling dandelions in a grove of trees, 1940s. Green Hall (now Lippincott) is
seen in the background. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/3 1940s Negatives:
Student Activities: Dandelion Days (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

An article in Kansas Alumni (1999, volume 97, number 3) describes what Dandelion Days were all about:

The University’s first Dandelion Day took place April 23, 1941, amid the hype of reporters and photographers, students and University dignitaries. The mission? Eradicating the pernicious yellow pests that littered the Hill and kept Buildings and Grounds workers fighting a losing battle for green grass. In all, 3,400 students and faculty, including Chancellor Deane Malott and his wife, Eleanor, turned out to battle the baneful blossoms, collecting 93,000 pounds of dandelion debris in a mere three hours. The Lawrence Journal-World reported that “it was a total war against the yellow flower with a hey-nonny-nonny and a rah-rah-rah.”

Despite the roaring success of the first Dandelion Day, which was sponsored by the Men’s Student Council and featured picking teams, carnival concessions and a street dance, the day’s durability was doomed. Within months, Pearl Harbor was attacked and World War II enveloped KU. In 1946, Dandelion Day was resurrected, complete with a Dandelion King and Queen and photographers from Life and Look magazines on hand to capture the merry moments of postwar college life. However, the return of the fight against the yellow flowers was short-lived. The next years were ruined by bad weather and, by 1949, the erstwhile diggers had so thoroughly eliminated the difficult dandelions that the day was declared defunct (60).

Check out more Dandelion Days photographs online.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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

Throwback Thursday: Commons Fire Edition

March 3rd, 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 23,200 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

A dramatic event occurred at KU just after 7:00pm on this date in 1943: the Commons – a one-story frame building located at the southwest corner of Jayhawk Boulevard and Sunflower Road, neighboring Watson Library – burned to the ground.

An article on the front page of March 4th University Daily Kansan reported that “firemen, aided by sailors, fought to prevent the fire from spreading to the rest of the campus by the high southeast wind.” According to the UDK, “a bus driver reported last night that the blaze from the burning building could be seen as far as Tonganoxie. Citizens and farmers from miles around got into their cars and headed for the campus.”

Photograph of the Commons fire, 1943

The Commons on fire, March 3, 1943. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/12 1943 Negatives: Campus: Buildings: Commons (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Aerial photograph of the Commons, 1940s

The Commons in the 1940s; Watson Library is located just off the left side of the photo.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/22/12 1940s Negatives: Campus: Buildings:
Commons (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

According to an article about “lost” campus buildings in the March 1982 issue of Kansas Alumni, the Commons housed a cafeteria from 1921 until 1927, when the Kansas Union’s first cafeteria opened. The building then was then home to offices for the Jayhawker yearbook and the Stenographic Bureau, and the University Orchestra had a practice room. The Anatomy department established offices and began holding classes in the building in 1932.

The University Daily Kansan reported on the Commons fire for at least two days. Here are excerpts from the paper’s coverage.

March 4th: “The officer of the day at the Naval Training school turned in the fire alarm. The fire was reported to him by Tom Lydon, yeoman third class, who was in charge of the gangway desk. The alarm was turned in at 7:05 and according to Lydon the first fire truck arrived at 7:15 and the second at 7:20…By the time the fire trucks had arrived the fire was out of control.”

March 4th: “The greatest loss of an individual probably was suffered by Dr. H. C. Tracy, professor of anatomy, who lost much of his life work, and nearly all of his personal library, one of the finest medical libraries in the world. This loss of books is irreplaceable.”

March 4th: “Because much of the valuable equipment had been placed in the fire-proof vault the damage was not nearly as high as it could have been. Nearly all of the department’s microscopes had been placed in the vault, along with priceless slides, drawings, instruments, and models.”

March 4th: “Medical students stood guard last night over the still-steaming vault where equipment valued at thousands of dollars was stored. Upon examination this morning the equipment was found to be intact.”

March 4th:”The cadavers on the main floor of the building have been moved to the basement of Lindley hall. Workmen are cleaning the wreckage that is covering the tanks in which approximately fifty cadavers are supposedly in excellent condition. These cadavers have not been used by medical students and were being stored in these underground tanks. As soon as the wreckage is removed the bodies will be moved to the basement of Lindley hall.”

March 4th: “Of the 225 University Library books in the medical library in the Anatomy building, only 12 were salvaged this morning, according to Charles M. Baker, director of University libraries. The loss of over 200 anatomy books in the fire was estimated by Mr. Baker to be at least $3000. Many of these books which were lost cannot be replaced now.”

March 5: “Snow and cold weather have stopped workmen from completing the job of removing debris from the ruins of the Anatomy building.”

March 5th: “A further search through the ruins raised the total damage nearer to $50,000 than the $35,000 first reported.”

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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