Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Collection Snapshot: Is a Picture Worth More Than a Thousand Words?

January 3rd, 2020
Illustration for the Rose-breasted cockatoo or Cacutua Eos (Plate IV, Vol. 5) from John Gould's Birds of Australia (1848), consisting of two birds in greenery.
Rose-breasted cockatoo or Cacutua Eos (Plate IV, Vol. 5) from John Gould’s Birds of Australia. London: Printed by R. and J.E. Taylor: Published by the author, 1848. Call Number: Ellis Aves H141. Click image to enlarge.

This Rose-breasted Cockatoo or Cacatua Eos from John Gould’s Birds of Australia (1848) can be seen online as part of KU Libraries’ larger John Gould Ornithological Collection. The digital collection includes all of Gould’s large-format natural-history books and nearly 2000 preliminary drawings for his books. It is a natural temptation to focus on the beautiful hand-colored lithographs of birds illustrating these books and pay less attention to the text. However, John Gould was a keen observer of the birds of numerous countries, including Australia, and his first-hand descriptions of their behavior enliven the pictures:

The Rose-breasted Cockatoo possess considerable power of wing, and like the house-pigeon of this country [England], frequently passes in flocks over the plains with a long sweeping flight, the group at one minute displaying their beautiful silvery grey backs to the gaze of the spectator, and at the next by a simultaneous change of position bringing their rich rosy breasts into view, the effect of which is so beautiful to be hold, that it is a source of regret to me that my readers cannot participate in the pleasure I have derived from the sight.

–John Gould. Birds of Australia. London: Printed by R. and J.E. Taylor: Published by the author, 1848. (Text for plate IV, vol. 5). Call #: Ellis Aves H141

Karen S. Cook
Special Collections Librarian

Albert Dwight Searl: A Free-State Surveyor in Bloody Kansas

August 13th, 2019

In 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Act opened the Kansas Territory for settlement, destined to become a free or a slave state by popular vote. Conflict between settlers from slave-holding Missouri and anti-slavery New England inspired the nickname “Bleeding Kansas.” Although a free-state Kansas constitution was adopted in 1861, the Civil War prolonged the strife until 1865.

Among the first Kansas settlers were land surveyors needed to lay out land claims and towns. Albert Dwight Searl (1831-1902), a civil engineer from Massachusetts, reached the Lawrence town site in September 1854 with the second group of settlers.

The first group had arrived a month earlier and roughly laid out land claims. As one settler wrote: “After pacing off a half mile square, we drive down a stake at each of the four corners; on one of the stakes we write: I claim 160 acres of the lands within the aforesaid bounds, from the date of claim. This is then copied and taken to the register and recorded.” After Searl arrived they pooled their already staked claims, and he began “to survey farm lots in number equal to the claimants in both parties.” When Searl and an assistant surveyed the Lawrence town site in September, the tall prairie “grass wore out their pants to the knees till they had to cover them with flour sacks for protection.” Searl “established the meridian line …by setting a row of lights up and down Massachusetts Street in the evening and running a line by the North Star.”

Picture of the 1854 Searl Map of Lawrence housed in the Spencer Research Library Lobby

Searl’s plan of Lawrence arrived from the Boston lithographic printer in January 1855. “Map of Lawrence City, Kanzas, Surveyed in Oct. 1854 by A. D. Searl,” which is on display in the Spencer Research Library lobby. Click image to enlarge.


An 1869 bird’s eye view shows Lawrence expanding to fill the grid laid out by Searl. University of Kansas, Spencer Research Library call #: RH Map R140

An 1869 bird’s eye view shows Lawrence expanding to fill the grid laid out by Searl.
Ruger, A. Bird’s eye view of the city of Lawrence, Kansas 1869[Place of publication
not identified: Publisher not identified, 1869]. Call Number: RH Map R140. Click image to enlarge.

He also laid out Topeka, Osawatomie, Palmyra and Prairie City. An 1855 newspaper article said, “Mr. Searl … seems to us well qualified for getting up a complete map of Kansas, and we hope he well [sic] be induced to prepare one immediately after the completion of the surveys.” Soon the Territorial Legislature hired Searl to undertake the map project with a partner, Edmund Burke Whitman. They spent a year traveling the Kansas Territory. In April 1856 the local newspaper praised their draft map for including “all rivers and creeks, with their names, main-travelled roads to the various sections, post offices, towns, trading posts, forts, mission stations, Indian reserves, noted mounds, guide meridians, base and township lines.” In May 1856, before the map was published, pro-slavery raiders attacked Lawrence and burned down the Eldridge Hotel, the Free-State headquarters. The views on Searl and Whitman’s 1856 map of Kansas show the Eldridge Hotel newly built in April and as burned ruins after the May raid.

Searl described damage to his own nearby office: “I had among my papers notes of surveys of different parts of the Territory; … I also had notes of the surveys of Lawrence and Topeka … The transit instrument was injured, the axis of the telescope was bent, and the screw that secures the axis to the upright pieces that support the telescope was broken and rendered the instrument unfit for use; … The door of the office was broken open, some window lights broken, two chairs injured; the drawing table besmeared with whisky and sugar, and the house dirtied up by oyster cans, &c.”

Undeterred, Whitman and Searl opened their Emigrant’s Intelligence Office in Lawrence in May 1856. As general land agents they offered to help clients seeking land in Kansas. According to their prospectus, Searl, who had laid out the city of Lawrence, could “trace back all the lots to their original holders, and show the valid titles.” They were also “prepared to lay out town sites and to survey farm claims, – to negotiate the sale and transfer of town property generally, – to investigate the validity of titles, – to superintend the erection of buildings, and to act as Agents for the care of property owned by non-residents.” The partnership was brief, though, and Burke left Kansas in 1858.

However, Searl, his wife and two children remained in Lawrence. In November 1855 he joined a Free-State Army unit, the Kansas Rifles No.1. Short in stature like most of its members, Searl proposed renaming it the Stubbs. The Stubbs saw much action during 1856. In 1861 Searl joined the 8th Kansas Volunteers as a private, later transferring to the 9th Kansas Cavalry and mustering out as a captain in 1865.

From 1866 to 1871 he supervised the construction of a railroad line from Pleasant Hill in northern Missouri to Lawrence, Kansas.

In 1868 Searl and William Fletcher Goodhue, a younger civil engineer also employed in Kansas railroad construction, undertook a detailed map of Lawrence. A newspaper article said the map would measure 4’4” x 5’10” and cover “three miles square, or nine miles of the country in and about Lawrence.” The margins would include 25 to 30 representations of public buildings, businesses, and the better class of private dwellings. Holland Wheeler, then Lawrence City Surveyor, saw and approved a draft. Goodhue was supposed to oversee the lithographic printing, but errors in numbering city lots occurred when copying the map at the printer. Searl rejected the printed maps sent to Lawrence in August 1870. The defective maps were turned over to a local bookseller. Attempts to use the map in land transactions attracted severe criticism of its errors. Wheeler, Searl, and Goodhue responded in print, defending their work and laying the blame on the printer.

In 1866 Searl and Almerin Tryon Winchell, former manager of the Eldridge House Saloon, became partners in a Lawrence billiard parlor and saloon. Still advertising in 1871, they had ceased business by 1875.

From 1874 to 1875 railroad work took Searl to Ohio. By 1877 he was surveying the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad in Colorado. He also undertook Colorado mining ventures. An 1878 visitor commented that the “indefatigable A.D. Searl… and his lop-eared pony have traveled nearly one thousand miles since he came out. … He looks as tough as rubber.”

However, Searl’s family remained in Lawrence, and he returned often. During one visit in July 1881, friends surprised Searl at his Lawrence home to celebrate his 50th birthday. In 1883 his daughter was married in Lawrence, but by 1890 Searl and wife were living in Leadville, Colorado with their children and grandchildren. When Searl died there in 1902, though, his final wish was for burial in Lawrence.

Karen S. Cook
Special Collections Librarian

To learn more and consult citations, please see Karen’s longer article on the subject:

Cook, Karen S. “Partisan Cartographers During the Kansas-Missouri Border War, 1854–1861” in: Liebenberg E., Demhardt I., Vervust S. (eds) History of Military Cartography. Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography. Springer, Cham. 2016. DOI:

The Art of Nature

July 31st, 2018

Just how heavy is an African elephant? What insects hang out together on milkweed plants? Satisfy your curiosity by visiting Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s summer 2018 exhibition before it closes on August 30.

Image of the T-Shirt Design by D.D. Tyler, "One African Elephant Is as Heavy as…" Milkweed Village T-Shirt design by D. D. Tyler

D.D. Tyler. “One African Elephant Is as Heavy as…” t-shirt and
“Milkweed Village” t-shirt. D. D. Tyler Collection.
Call Number: MS QA 22, Box 4. Click images to enlarge.

The pictorial T-shirts displayed in “The Art of Nature: Natural History Art and Illustrations by D.D. Tyler” answer such questions in the nicest possible way. These beautiful T-shirts selected from nearly 200 designed by natural-history artist D.D. (Diana Dee) Tyler charm the eye while they stimulate the mind. The same is true of her natural-history illustrations for periodicals, guidebooks, and children’s books.

Color drawing by D. D. Tyler of Mother Bear and Cubs for book Bears in the Wild by Ada and Frank Graham, 1981
D.D. Tyler. Mother Bear and Cubs. Color drawing for book
Bears in the Wild by Ada and Frank Graham, 1981.
Addition to the D. D. Tyler Collection received 12/17/2017. Click image to enlarge.

The detailed and scientifically accurate pen-and-ink drawings breathe life into each book author’s written descriptions of animals and their lives. In the exhibition, her impressive original drawings, never meant to be seen, can be compared with the published versions reduced photographically to half-size.

Ink and crayon drawing by D. D. Tyler of a Mother Squirrel Carrying Baby Squirrel for the book We Watch Squirrels by Ada and Frank Graham, 1985

D.D. Tyler. Mother Squirrel Carrying Baby Squirrel. Ink and crayon drawing
for book We Watch Squirrels by Ada and Frank Graham, 1985.
D. D. Tyler Collection. Call Number: MS QA 22, Box 1, Folder 30. Click image to enlarge.

A native Kansan, D.D. Tyler completed a Fine Arts degree at the University of Kansas in 1970. After backpacking around the world, she settled in Maine, where her career as an artist developed in tandem with her interest in the natural world. Now semi-retired, she recently donated her artistic archive representing forty years of work to Kenneth Spencer Research Library, where anyone using our reading room can request and view items from the D.D. Tyler collection, along with the many other books and manuscripts in the library’s collections.  Kenneth Spencer Research Library, located in the central KU Campus on Poplar Lane between Strong Hall and the Campanile, is open Mondays-Fridays 9-5 and (after fall semester classes begin August 20) Saturdays 9-1.

Karen Cook, DD Tyler, and Hank Tyler in front of the main exhibition title for "The Art of Nature," July 12, 2018

The artist, D.D. Tyler (center), and her husband, Hank Tyler (right), at the exhibition
with Karen Cook (left), curator of the exhibition. Click image to enlarge.

Karen Severud Cook
Special Collections Librarian

The George F. Jenks Map Collection

June 13th, 2018

Note: A selection of materials from the Jenks collection, including the items shown here, were exhibited in the library’s North Gallery in June-July 2018. An online version of the exhibit is now available.

This past semester I helped process the George F. Jenks Map Collection under the guidance of Spencer Special Collections Librarian Karen Cook. Jenks (1916-1996) taught in KU’s Geography Department from 1949 to 1986, and during his tenure he established a renowned cartography program and became internationally recognized as a preeminent cartographer and scholar. The collection is composed of hundreds of maps, graphics, and associated artwork that he produced for publication and in support of his research. In this post I highlight a few items from the collection to illustrate the scope of Jenks’ career.

Jenks spent much of the 1950s producing statistical maps of Kansas. Representative examples of this work can be found in A Kansas Atlas (1952) and the maps he designed for the Kansas Industrial Development Commission. At a time when most state mapping agencies were either nascent or nonexistent, having a cartographer of Jenks’ caliber proved to be a boon for both the state and private industry. A Kansas Atlas was a rarity upon publication: a multi-color in-depth statistical atlas devoted to a single state. Jenks mapped an exhaustive variety of topics, ranging from population dynamics to agricultural productivity, using a variety of cutting-edge symbolization techniques. It should be noted that Jenks pioneered or fine-tuned many of the map symbolization methods used in this atlas and still in use to this day.

Image of the "center of the nation" map in A Kansas Atlas, 1952

Image of a map of the population of Kansas in A Kansas Atlas, 1952

Image of a map of Kansas mineral resources in A Kansas Atlas, 1952

Selected maps from A Kansas Atlas (1952).
George F. Jenks Map Collection. Click images to enlarge.

The Kansas Industrial Resources atlas (1956) is a masterclass in two-color map design and artful cartographic generalization. Jenks took mundane topics such as railroad freight service and electricity grids and simplified them to create visually arresting, statistically accurate maps. This is no small feat: to this day mapmakers struggle with the challenge of generalizing data so that important information stands out while preserving the accuracy of that information.

Image of the fuel resources map spread in Kansas Industrial Resources, 1956

Image of the fuel resources map spread in Kansas Industrial Resources, 1956

Fuel resources map spread, Kansas Industrial Resources (1956).
George F. Jenks Map Collection. Click images to enlarge.

Generalization was a key theme of Jenks’ research in the 1960s and 1970s. Two of his publications, “Generalization in Statistical Mapping” (1963) and “Class Intervals for Statistical Maps” (1963), remain staples in the cartographic literature. Through this research, Jenks helped to systematize the process for classifying spatial data and devised rules to guide the selection of effective classification methods. The collection contains the maps and graphics Jenks created to illustrate these concepts, many of which are still used in cartography textbooks. Examples from his 1963 articles are below. Also included in the collection are hundreds of the maps he used in in his various generalization experiments.

Image of graphics from “Class Intervals for Statistical Maps,” 1963

Graphics from “Class Intervals for Statistical Maps” (1963) illustrating the
process of data generalization. Different class intervals affect the appearance of the
data on the map. George F. Jenks Map Collection. Click image to enlarge.

Another staple of Jenks’ work are three-dimensional map. Starting in the mid-1960s until the end of his academic career, Jenks refined three-dimensional mapping techniques, first by hand and later using computers. He recognized the potential of representing spatial phenomena in three dimensions, running many experiments and publishing many papers exploring the issue. One publication, “Three Dimensional Map Construction” (1966), remains highly recognizable within cartographic circles, and it also featured one of Jenks’ most famous maps: a three-dimensional representation of population density in central Kansas.

Image of a three-dimensional “smoothed statistical surface” map in the article Three-Dimensional Map Construction, 1966

A three-dimensional “smoothed statistical surface” map representing
population density in central Kansas. This graphic graced the cover of the
November 18, 1966 issue of Science. Jenks originally created this graphic for his
class intervals research. George F. Jenks Map Collection. Click image to enlarge.

This post only skims the surface of Jenks’ celebrated career and barely hints at the contents of the Jenks Map Collection. Readers should keep in mind that while many of the maps featured in this post may not appear noteworthy by today’s standards or software capabilities, they were considered at the cutting edge in their time. Perusing both his personal papers (also maintained at Spencer Research Library) and this map collection reveals the breadth and depth of his cartographic expertise. Jenks was an innovator in many areas; in addition to his aforementioned research interests, he was also recognized as an expert in the areas of curriculum design, cartographic reproduction techniques, and the links between cartography, psychology, and human factors. The Jenks Map Collection preserves a wide assortment of the preliminary and production artwork underpinning his academic and professional careers. The collection finding aid is undergoing finalization and should be published to the Spencer Research Library website in the coming months.

Travis M. White
Special Collections Cartography Intern and 2018 KU graduate (Ph.D., Geography)


Jenks, George. (1952). A Kansas Atlas. Topeka: Kansas Industrial Development Commission.

Jenks, George. (October 1956). Kansas Industrial Resources. Topeka: Kansas Industrial Development Commission.

Jenks, G. F. (1963). Generalization in statistical mapping. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 53(1), 15-26.

Jenks, G. F., Coulson, M. R. C. (1963). Class intervals for statistical maps. International Yearbook of Cartography. 119-134.

Jenks, G. F., Brown, D. A. (November 1966). Three-dimensional map construction. Science. 154(3751), 857-864.

A Holinshed’s Chronicles Provenance Puzzle

February 6th, 2018

Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland is widely regarded as a book that inspired and informed many of William Shakespeare’s history plays, as well as tragedies such as Macbeth and King Lear. Last year Kenneth Spencer Research Library (KSRL) purchased the first edition (1577) with the aim of making the book and its 212 lively woodcut illustrations available to visiting classes and researchers. The bookseller’s description said that this copy had been in private family ownership for generations, but we never dreamed that it would be possible to trace the book back to its original owner. After unpacking the two volumes, we leafed through them page by page looking for manuscript annotations.

On the title page of volume one “William Kyllygrewe” had signed his name twice in Tudor script:

Title page of volume 1 of Holinshed's Chronicles (1577), with William Killigrew's signature

Title page of Volume 1 of Raphael Holinshed’s
Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande.
At London: Imprinted for Iohn Hunne, 1577.
Call Number: Pryce D11. Click image to enlarge.

Could William Kyllygrewe have been the original owner of the book? Browsing through the rest of the book revealed some marginal notes and manicules (sketches of a pointing hand) marking passages of interest to some past reader. There is no other handwritten evidence of ownership.

However, there is an eye-catching pictorial map in the section about the reign of Queen Elizabeth I that concludes volume two. The text recounts the conflict between the Catholic forces supporting Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Protestant forces of Queen Elizabeth during 1571-1573. The hostilities culminated in the “Lang Siege” of Edinburgh Castle.

The map shows the Protestant artillery bombarding Edinburgh Castle before achieving victory.

Map showing the Protestant artillery bombarding of Edinburgh Castle from volume 2 of Holinshed's Chronicles, following p. 1868

Map of the siege of Edinburgh Castle, from Vol. 2 (following page 1868) of
Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande.
Call Number: Pryce D11. Click image to enlarge.

Text on the back side of the map lists the chief participants in the siege. General Sir William Drurie commanded the Protestant forces with the aid of ten Gentlemen and Captaines. One of them was “Henrie Killigrew hir maiesties ambassadoure at that present in Scotland.” Listed next are thirteen “Gentlemen as went thither to serve of their owne free willes.”

Among the gentlemen who participated “of their own free willes” is William Killigrew.

List of participants in the Siege of Edinburgh Castle, including the names of Henry and William Killigrew.

List of participants in the siege from the verso of the map of Edinburgh castle,
from Vol. 2 (following page 1868) of Holinshed’s Chronicles of England,
Scotlande, and Irelande
. Call Number: Pryce D11. Click image to enlarge.

Allowing for the variations in spelling usual at that time, could he be the William Kyllygrewe who owned this book? In his shoes, wouldn’t you want to own a book in which you and your brother are mentioned as major players in a recent military victory?

Some genealogical investigation of the Killigrew family tree with its numerous Henrys and Williams revealed that the Henry Killigrew (d. 1603) and William Killigrew (d.1622) were the fourth and fifth sons of John Killigrew and Elizabeth (née Trewennard) of Arwennack in Cornwall. As younger sons they needed to make their own way in the world and did so successfully as royal courtiers. William was elected Member of Parliament a number of times and was appointed to various government offices, including Groom of the Privy Chamber to Elizabeth I in 1576 and Chamberlain of the Exchequer under James I in 1608.  In 1594 he took an 80-year lease on Kempton and Hanworth, adjoining royal manors in Middlesex near London. In 1603 he was knighted.

While the biographical information did not answer the question whether this William Killigrew had owned our copy of Holinshed’s Chronicles, his prominence suggested that surviving documents signed by him might be located and compared with our owner’s inscription. The Discovery database at the website of The National Archives at Kew near London in England led to an archival record in the Surrey History Centre for a letter held written by William Killigrew to Sir William Moore on 3 June 1579, just two years after the publication of Holinshed’s Chronicles.

Killigrew’s letter concerns the Bishop of Winchester’s meadow at Farnham in Surrey.

Letter from William Killigrew to Sir William Moore, 3 June 1579

Letter from William Killigrew to Sir William Moore, 3 June 1579.
Surrey History Center. Letter Ref. Number 6729/1/56.
Reproduced by permission of the More-Molyneux family and
Surrey History Centre. Click image to enlarge.

Killigrew planned to pasture his horses there but was asking Moore, one of the Bishop’s executors, to reduce the rent because the meadow was “very much choked with sand and gravel by reason of the great floods.” It was exciting for us to discover that the Killigrew signature on the letter is a close match to the ownership inscriptions in our Holinshed’s Chronicles.

William Killigrew signature detail from the title page of volume 1 of Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande. William Killigrew signature from a letter from William Killigrew to Sir William Moore, 3 June 1579

Details of William Killigrew’s signatures: Holinshed’s Chronicles (left)
and the letter to Moore (right). Click image to enlarge.

In fact, the search for a William Killigrew signature need not have led so far afield. Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s large collection of English Historical Documents includes, as it turns out, a 26 October 1601 deed of covenant by William Killigrew and his son, Robert, agreeing to sell a messuage (dwelling house, outbuildings, and land) in Clerkenwell Parish, Middlesex to John Gregorye and his wife, Judith.

William Killigrew’s signature is clear at the bottom of the deed, although Robert’s signature to the right is only partly legible

Deed of covenant by William Killigrew and his son, Robert, agreeing to sell a messuage (dwelling house, outbuildings, and land) in Clerkenwell Parish, Middlesex to John Gregorye and his wife, Judith.

Deed of covenant signed by William Killigrew, 26 October 1601.
A Miscellany of Deeds and Manorial, Estate, Probate and Family Documents, 1194-1900.
Call Number: MS 239: 2357. Click image to enlarge.

Once again, the signatures match.

William Killigrew signature detail from the title page of volume 1 of Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande. William Killigrew signature detail from 1601 deed of covenant.

Details of William Killigrew’s signatures: Holinshed’s Chronicles (left)
and Killigrew-Gregorye deed (right). Click images to enlarge.

The manner in which the copy of Holinshed’s Chronicles descended from the hands of William Killigrew in family ownership until Kenneth Spencer Research Library purchased it is still uncertain. The bookseller’s description suggests that a female Killigrew relative may have taken the book with her when she married into the Grenville family. More research remains to be done.

Karen Severud Cook
Special Collections Librarian