Welcome to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library blog! As the special collections and archives library at the University of Kansas, Spencer is home to remarkable and diverse collections of rare and unique items. Explore the blog to learn about the work we do and the materials we collect.
Check the blog each Friday for a new “That’s Distinctive!” post. I created the series because I genuinely believe there is something in our collections for everyone, whether you’re writing a paper or just want to have a look. “That’s Distinctive!” will provide a more lighthearted glimpse into the diverse and unique materials at Spencer – including items that many people may not realize the library holds. If you have suggested topics for a future item feature or questions about the collections, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.
This week “That’s Distinctive!”celebrates Kansas Day! This year Kansas Day, which is January 29th, marks Kansas’s 162nd year of statehood. Kansas became the 34th state in 1861. You can find some fun facts about Kansas day via the National Today website and the Kansas State Historical Society’s Kansapedia.
In honor of Kansas Day, I have chosen to exhibit The Kansas Guidebook for Explorers by Marci Penner. The inside cover boasts that “this is the most comprehensive guidebook to exploring Kansas.” The book is split into sections by different areas of the state and then breaks down further into counties and cities/towns. The book boasts over 400 pages of places to visit throughout Kansas. Written in 2005, you may find that some (or many) of the businesses have closed but the most loved are still in existence today. In 2012, Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe set out to release The Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers. Below are a few pages from the 2005 edition (including Lawrence, of course).
The Kansas Guidebook for Explorers is part of the Kansas Collection at Spencer Research Library. One of the main collecting areas at the library, the Kansas Collection covers regional history in the state and its neighbors from the territorial period up through the present.
Happy birthday, Kansas! Kansas Day is this Sunday, January 29th, and we’re celebrating with a fun photograph from the 1954 Kansas Relays Parade.
A Kansas-themed float in the Kansas Relays Parade, 1954. The year marked
the 100th anniversary of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which established Kansas Territory. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/2 1954 Prints:
Student Activities: Kansas Relays (Photos). Click image to enlarge.
The picture was taken on Massachusetts Street just south of Eleventh. The Watkins Museum of History is prominent in the background; the building originally housed the J. B. Watkins Land Mortgage Company and the Watkins National Bank, and it served as Lawrence’s City Hall from 1929 to 1970.
This week’s photo was selected in honor of Kansas Day, which is observed each year on January 29th to celebrate the Sunflower State’s admission into the Union on that date in 1861.
Girls in sunflower costumes on a float in the Kansas Relays Parade, 1949.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/2 1949 Prints: Student Activities:
Kansas Relays (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Want to learn more about the events that led up to Kansas becoming the thirty-fourth state? Explore hundreds of personal letters, diaries, photos, and maps from the period 1854 to 1861 at Territorial Kansas Online.
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