Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: McCollum Hall Edition

November 19th, 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 11,400 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Photograph of construction on McCollum Hall, 1965

Construction nears completion on McCollum Hall, 1965. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/45 1965: University General: Buildings: McCollum Hall (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

As part of the goal to transform undergraduate education on the KU campus, two new residence halls opened on Daisy Hill in 2015. To make way for the new halls and a parking lot, McCollum Hall will be razed next Wednesday, November 25th. This selection of photographs highlights the fifty-year history of the building and those that lived there.

Aerial view of Daisy Hill, 1968

Aerial view of Daisy Hill, 1968

Aerial view of Daisy Hill and Iowa Street looking north (top) and southeast (bottom), 1968.
McCollum Hall is the t-shaped building. Lawrence Journal-World Photo Collection,
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG LJW 0/24/1 Daisy Hill 1968:
University General: Campus: Areas and Objects: Daisy Hill (Photos).
Click images to enlarge.

Opened in the spring semester of 1965, the dormitory was planned as the fifth and last along Iowa between 15th and 19th streets in the area known as Daisy Hill. The hall was originally built as an all-male dorm to house 976 students. It has since become a co-ed dorm, dominating the Daisy Hill skyline. Thousands of students have called this hall home while at KU.

Photograph of McCollum Hall residents reading newspapers in the main lounge, 1965

McCollum Hall residents read newspapers in the main lounge, 1965.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 56/15 1965: Housing:
McCollum Hall (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of four students at the crossroads of McCollum Hall, 1967

Students in McCollum Hall, 1967. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 56/15 1967: Housing: McCollum Hall (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of a student carrying clothes into McCollum Hall, 1978/1979

A student carries clothes into McCollum Hall, 1978/1979.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 56/15 1978/1979:
Housing: McCollum Hall (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of students in their dorm room at McCollum Hall, 1993

Students in their dorm room at McCollum Hall, 1993.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 56/15 1993:
Housing: McCollum Hall (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

McCollum Hall was named after two noteworthy Kansas brothers, Elmer and Burton McCollum, who are among the University’s most distinguished graduates and the nation’s men of science. Elmer (1879-1967) discovered vitamins A, B, and D while Burton (1880-1964) developed many of the processes for finding underground oil with sound waves. The two brothers worked their way from impoverished youths on their family farm to remarkably successful and parallel careers, graduating together from KU in 1903. They never forgot their early struggles to earn an education. Burton designated that half his estate be used to aid deserving students and the University. The generosity, tenacity, and brilliance of the McCollum brothers made their name a natural one for a campus building.

Photograph of Elmer McCollum

Elmer McCollum, undated photograph. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: P/McCollum, Elmer (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Painting of Burton McCollum

Portrait of Burton McCollum by Kansas City artist
Daniel MacMorris. The painting, along with one of his brother Elmer,
previously hung in the lobby of McCollum Hall. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: P/McCollum, Burton (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

JoJo Palko
KU 150 Research Archivist
University Archives

Achievement of a Dream: The Birth of the University of Kansas

September 18th, 2015

Achievement of a Dream: The Birth of the University of Kansas, Spencer Library’s newest exhibit, opened on September 11, 2015.

The exhibit, developed in conjunction with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the University, was curated by University Archivist Rebecca Schulte and Assistant Archivist Letha Johnson, with assistance from KU 150 Research Archivist JoJo Palko. It highlights original documents, photographs, and memorabilia that tell the story of the early years of the University from its beginnings in 1865 to the turn of the twentieth century. Exhibition items include Chancellor John Fraser’s Civil War-era Union lieutenant’s uniform and sword, early student activity photographs, and the diploma of KU’s first graduate, Flora Richardson. Whitney Baker, Head of Conservation Services at KU Libraries, and Angela Andres, Library Preservation Assistant, provided display support and conservation guidance.

Photograph of Flora Richardson

Flora Richardson, valedictorian of KU’s first graduating class (1873).
University Archives Photos. Call Number: P/ Richardson, Flora: People (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

List of degrees conferred, 1873

“Degrees Conferred. Commencement 1873, on Examination, Class of 1873.”
University Archives. Call Number: LD 2693 .U55 1873.
Click image to enlarge. See more documents from KU’s first
commencement
at Archives Online, part of KU ScholarWorks.

There had been many female students at the University of Kansas since it first opened in 1866 as a preparatory school, but only one has the double distinction of first graduate and class valedictorian: Flora Richardson. Flora graduated with the first class in 1873, earning a Bachelor of Arts. At commencement she spoke at length on the “Uses of Superstition.” She argued that superstition, though allegedly “hurtful to man’s progress,” actually furthered intellectual inquiry by inspiring reverent curiosity about the world. The speech was a success; the Daily Kansan Tribune lauded her performance, declaring that “the young lady came forward tastefully and elegantly attired in white, and delivered her oration in a firm, though pleasant voice.”

Flora’s remarkable collegiate career included joining the Oread Literary Society and being a founding member of the Kappa chapter of the “I.C. Sorosis” sorority, which in 1888 changed its name to Pi Beta Phi. She even created KU’s first entomological collection, a 140-specimen group including everything from cockroaches to walking sticks, as a pupil of Professor (and later Chancellor) Francis Huntington Snow.

 Image of Flora Richardson's KU diploma, 1873

Flora Richardson‘s diploma from the University of Kansas, 1873.
This was the first diploma ever awarded by KU.
Generously loaned to University Archives from Flora Richardson’s family.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Flora’s diploma, the first ever awarded by KU, is now on display at Spencer Research Library as part of Achievement of a Dream: The Birth of the University of Kansas. The exhibit is free and open to the public in the Spencer Exhibit Space, located on the library’s third floor. The library is open Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm; during the fall and spring semesters, when KU classes are in session, it is also open on Saturday, 9:00am to 1:00pm. For other closings and hours during semester breaks and holidays, see our Exception Dates.

JoJo Palko
KU 150 Research Archivist
University Archives

Bob Timmons, June 1924-August 2015

August 25th, 2015

The University of Kansas lost another leader three weeks ago on August 4, track & field and cross country coach Bob “Timmie” Timmons. A U.S. Marine who spent time deployed in the South Pacific during World War II, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of Kansas. Timmons then joined the KU track team’s coaching staff in 1964 and became head coach in 1966. He led the Jayhawk track team to four NCAA titles, 13 Big Eight indoor titles, and 14 outdoor titles before his retirement in 1988. During that time he coached several Olympic athletes, including runners Billy Mills and Jim Ryun. In 2011 he was inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.

 Photograph of Coach Bob Timmons with two National Championship trophies

Coach Bob Timmons with two National Championship trophies.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/22 Prints:
Athletic Department: Coaches: Bob Timmons (Photos).
Click on image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections.)

Photograph of Coach Bob Timmons instructing a shot-put athlete during practice

Coach Bob Timmons instructs a shot-put athlete during practice.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/22 Prints:
Athletic Department: Coaches: Bob Timmons (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

After his retirement, Timmons developed the Rim Rock Farm cross country course on his property north of Lawrence. In 2005, he and his wife Pat donated the course, one of the best in the country, to KU.

Coach Timmons is remembered for his attention to detail and his desire to promote education and character-building through college athletics. Current KU Athletic director Sheahon Zenger said, “KU has lost a true treasure. Coach Timmons was one of the all-time greats. His legacy though does not end with championships and medals. His real legacy is how much he cared about his student-athletes and the University of Kansas.”

Photograph of Coach Timmons holding up a time card to signal to athletes

Coach Timmons holds up a time card to signal to athletes.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/22 Prints:
Athletic Department: Coaches: Bob Timmons (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

JoJo Palko
KU 150 Research Archivist
University Archives

Robert E. Hemenway, August 1941- July 2015

August 10th, 2015

Chosen as the 16th Chancellor of the University of Kansas in 1995, Robert Hemenway passed away July 31 at the age of 73. During his years as Chancellor he focused on the improvement of the student experience, the achievement of a National Cancer Institute designation for the KU Cancer Center, and setting record-high fundraising levels that benefited both the University and the state of Kansas. Upon retirement in 2009, his legacy was honored by the establishment of the Dole Institute Robert Hemenway Award for Outstanding Public Service, and by the naming of the Robert E. Hemenway Life Sciences Innovation Center, a research facility on the KU Medical Center campus.

Chancellor Hemenway reading a story at Mayfest, Potter Lake, 1998

Chancellor Hemenway reading a story at Mayfest, Potter Lake, 1998.
Photograph by KU University Relations. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 2/19 1998 Prints: Chancellors: Hemenway (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

Zach Hemenway recalled his father’s passion for education saying, “He really instilled that in all of us—the value of learning and being curious and challenging yourself.” That passion made Hemenway a beloved Chancellor and colleague. Current Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little issued a heartfelt message about the Chancellor who always preferred to be called “Bob.”

Throughout his tenure Chancellor Hemenway taught English and American Studies courses. Here he is shown as a guest speaker in “Feminist Theory in Anthropology.” Photograph by KU University Relations. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 2/19 2001 Prints: Chancellors: Hemenway (Photos).

Throughout his tenure Chancellor Hemenway taught English and American Studies courses.
He is pictured as a guest speaker in “Feminist Theory in Anthropology.”
Photograph by KU University Relations. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 2/19 2001 Prints: Chancellors: Hemenway (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

You can learn much more about Chancellor Hemenway at Spencer Research Library. As the repository of the University’s official documents, University Archives houses the papers and correspondence of all KU chancellors. Please note that the records of the sitting chancellor as well as the preceding chancellor require permission from the Office of the Chancellor for access. Spencer is also home to Dr. Hemenway’s personal papers, which include administrative documents from previous posts at the University of Kentucky, the University of Wyoming, and the University of Oklahoma; research, teaching materials, and course notes on American literature, particularly African American literature; research related to his literary biography of Zora Neale Hurston, and his dissertation on Charles Brockden Brown.

JoJo Palko
KU 150 Research Archivist
University Archives

The Streetcar of Old K.U.

July 6th, 2015

Streetcars once scaled Mt. Oread. From 1910 until 1933 the electric streetcar carried students and faculty up, across, and down the campus. The date of the first complete trip was May 26, 1910, when the Kansan reported, “The first car to complete the circuit on the Tennessee-Mississippi line carried a party of citizens and newspaper people over the Hill this afternoon.” There are reports of earlier trips on April, 9, 10, or 19, but these trips were most likely not a complete trip like that of May 26th.

Streetcar on KU Campus, Mississippi St. looking north  Streetcar on Mississippi St., Lawrence

Left: Front of a streetcar on Mississippi St. looking north. Right: Streetcar line up Mississippi Street. Call number 0/24/1/Streetcars.
From KU Luna image collections.

At the height of streetcar popularity, there were three service routes. Known as the KU Loop, the run started at 8th and Massachusetts, ran west to Mississippi St., then south to McCook Field (near present-day Memorial Stadium). There was a single track from McCook Field to the top of the hill, and a double track switch near the old Robinson Gymnasium. The cars came down by the same route, running on a single track. Two cars on this line provided service to KU every 15 minutes.

1993 KU Campus Map

A 1933 campus map created by F.A. Russell for the 25th Anniversary Reunion of the Class of 1908.  The streetcar line is shown running from north to south along Mississippi St.
Call number 0/24/Campus Map/1933.

Students exiting streetcar, KU Campus

Students exiting and entering a streetcar. Call number 0/24/1/Streetcars/1925.
From KU Luna image collections.

With the advent and popularity of buses in the 1930s, the streetcar system was no longer in use by 1933. The streetcar then entered into popular university lore, with stories of mischief and adventure told by those who got to experience a unique part of campus history.

Streetcar in front of Strong Hall, KU Campus. 0.24.1_streetcars_1925_0002

Streetcar in front of Strong Hall after it crossed over Jayhawk Boulevard in 1925. Call number 0/24/1/Streetcars/1925.
From KU Luna image collections.

Just recently some pieces of that history were uncovered when construction began on Phase 2 of the Jayhawk Boulevard reconstruction in the summer of 2014. Sections of the track were found and a few pieces are now housed in the University Archives, with a large piece of the track on display in the Kansas Union.

KU streetcar token   KU streetcar nails

Left: KU streetcar token. Right: KU streetcar nail spikes found in 2014.

KU Streetcar rail fragment view 2    KU streetcar rail fragment view 1

Two views of a KU streetcar rail fragment uncovered in 2014.

JoJo Palko
KU Sesquicentennial Research Assistant
University Archives