Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Thanksgiving on the Post: Images from the Pennell Collection

November 20th, 2015

The following images were taken by Joseph Judd Pennell, a professional photographer in Junction City, Kansas, from 1888 to 1923. The images in the collection represent a comprehensive record of life in a turn-of-the-century small Kansas town and the nearby army post of Fort Riley.

Photograph of a football team on Thanksgiving Day, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1896

Football team on Thanksgiving Day, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1896.
Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

A major U.S. Army post, Fort Riley was the site of a light artillery unit; several cavalry units, including the 9th and 10th black cavalry troops; one of the best cavalry schools in the world; and Camp Funston, a major army induction center during World War I.

Photograph of 20th Battery Dining Hall prepared for Thanksgiving meal, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1904

Kitchen staff in the 20th Battery Dining Hall prepared for Thanksgiving dinner, Fort Riley,
Kansas, 1904. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of soldiers in the 20th Battery Dining Hall for Thanksgiving meal, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1904

Soldiers gathered in the 20th Battery Dining Hall for Thanksgiving dinner, Fort Riley,
Kansas, 1904. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Although primarily a studio portrait photographer, Pennell also went out into the community to photograph. He recorded business, social, church, and school activities; people’s prized moments and possessions; and events that touched everyone’s lives, such as floods, parades, President Theodore Roosevelt‘s visit, the racket nine-cent sale, polo games, and Chautauqua. Revealed within the photographs is the detail and complexity of rural and urban life. The collection as a whole shows how a town and its people changed over time, evidenced in things like the styles of fashion and consumer goods, the appearance of new buildings as the town grew, and the entrance of technology into everyday life. One of the most notable technological changes that Pennell documented was the gradual movement from horse to automobile power.

Photograph of a dining room set for Thanksgiving dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1905

Dining room set for Thanksgiving dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1905.
Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of the 6th Band dining room set for Thanksgiving dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1913

6th Band dining room set for Thanksgiving dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1913.
Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Spencer’s Pennell collection consists of approximately 30,000 glass plate negatives, 6,074 contact prints (some dry-mounted on boards), 302 original Pennell photographs, and ten studio register books containing Pennell’s negative identification system. The glass plate negatives vary in size from 4″ x 5″ to 12″ x 20″, with the bulk of the collection in the 5″ x 7″ format. There are also a small number of flexible negatives and forty-six large panoramic negatives.

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services

Thanksgiving in Kansas (1889, 1896, 1904, and 1953)

November 21st, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from the Kenneth Spencer Research Library! As you eat your turkey (or tofurky) and pumpkin pie this holiday, enjoy a taste of Thanksgivings past from the Kansas Collection.

Image of Thanksgiving Proclamation, Kansas 1889
Above: Humphrey, Lyman Underwood (Kansas Governor 1889-1893). Thanksgiving Proclamation.
Topeka, KS: [State Printer?], 1889. Call Number: RH P872. Click image to enlarge.

Image of Football Team Thanksgiving Day, Fort Riley.  1896.
Above: Pennell, Joseph Judd (photographer). Football Team Thanksgiving Day, Fort Riley.  1896.
Pennell Photography Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell: print 64.2: box 3: Pennell number 9401.
Click image to enlarge.

Image: Men Gathered in 20th Battery Dining Hall, Fort Riley, for Thanksgiving Dinner.  1904.
Above:  Pennell, Joseph Judd (photographer). Men Gathered in 20th Battery Dining Hall, Fort Riley, for Thanksgiving
Dinner.  1904. Pennell Photography Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell: print 64.2: box 3: Pennell number 9401.
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Graves-Williams-Dandridge family at Thanksgiving.  Wichita, Kansas. 1953.
Above:  Hughes, Leon K. (photographer). Graves-Williams-Dandridge Family at Thanksgiving.  Wichita, Kansas. 1953.
L. K. Hughes Photography Collection.  Call Number: RH PH506, box 12, folder 8. Click image to enlarge.

Want to see more?  Visit the newly launched Leon K. Hughes: African American Life in Wichita Kansas online exhibition (and contribute identifications and additional information through its interactive comment feature).  Browse photographs from the Kenneth Spencer Research Library in the University of Kansas Luna Insight Image Collections.