Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

My Human and Me: Pennell Portraits that Include Dogs

December 8th, 2020

Dog owners love their dogs. This was as true one hundred years ago as it is today. Below are some portraits from the Joseph J. Pennell Collection that feature human subjects who have chosen to include their dog – or dogs – in their photo portrait. If you pay close attention to things like body positions and facial expressions, you will see how these human subjects feel about their pets. 

From the 1890s to the 1920s, Joseph J. Pennell photographed life in Junction City, Kansas, and the nearby Army base, Fort Riley. The strength of the collection, in my opinion, is that Pennell wasn’t content to just stay in his studio, taking portrait photography. He went out into the community to photograph its people, businesses, activities, groups, and families. And Pennell was inclusive of community members from diverse groups, revealing a fuller and richer story of Junction City. Because of his work, we are provided with a comprehensive view of life in a moderately-sized Midwestern army-post town on the Great Plains from the 1890s to the early 1920s.

Please enjoy this sample from the collection, and visit Kenneth Spencer Research Library’s website to see more.

A double portrait of Ellen Marks holding a dog, 1899
A double portrait of Ellen Marks, 1899. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 466.3, Box 13. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Portrait of Fred Durand with a dog, 1901
A portrait of Fred Durand, 1901. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 700, Box 19. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Portrait of Sgt. Blake (Fourth Cavalry Band) with a dog, 1901
A portrait of Sgt. Blake (Fourth Cavalry Band), 1901. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 785, Box 20. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
The Newman siblings with a dog, 1905
A portrait of the Newman siblings, 1905. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 1539, Box 35. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Portrait of Lieut. G. L. Morrison's child with a dog, 1908
A portrait of Lieut. G. L. Morrison’s child, 1908. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 1951, Box 43. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Portrait of Robert Carr and a dog, 1919
A portrait of Robert Carr, 1919. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 3039, Box 68. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services

Lucy McLinden: KU Student Nurse During the 1918 Flu Pandemic

October 20th, 2020

In the fall of 1918, the University of Kansas was swept up in the flu pandemic that was raging across the country and world. Out of a student population of approximately 3,000, it is estimated that there were as many as 1,000 cases of flu on campus, with up to 750 of those being ill at the same time. In addition to the main campus hospital, make-shift infirmaries were set up on campus to handle the vast number of servicemen and students who were getting sick. Doctors, nurses and volunteers worked tirelessly to care for them. One of the volunteers was Lucy McLinden. From my research, I estimate that thirty-two deaths actually occurred on campus, all of those male except for one, that being Lucy.

Photograph of Lucy McLinden, circa 1918
A photograph of Lucy McLinden in World War Roll of Honor, 1917-1920: Marion County, Kansas (page 216). Call Number: RH D448. The full text of this book can be accessed online via HathiTrust. Photo accessed via the Find A Grave website. Click image to enlarge.

Lucy was born on July 6, 1897, and lived in Cedar Point, Kansas. In the fall of 1918, she was a sophomore at KU. She was working her way through school as a librarian in the Physiology Library. When volunteers were needed, she was among the first to sign up. She worked in the Student Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.) hospital almost as soon as the epidemic started. She continued to nurse the sick even after she began to develop flu symptoms herself. When she finally succumbed to the illness, her mother and father came to care for her. Sadly, Lucy developed pneumonia and died on Saturday, November 9, 1918. She was twenty-one years old.

"Death of Volunteer Nurse," (Lawrence, Kansas) Daily Gazette, November 9, 1918
An obituary for Lucy McLinden in the (Lawrence, Kansas) Daily Gazette, November 9, 1918. Article accessed via Newspapers.com. Click image to enlarge.

Want to learn more about this topic? Explore our online exhibition, “The 1918 Influenza Epidemic at KU.”

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services

Spencer Public Services Working from Home

July 14th, 2020

Spencer Research Library has been closed since March due to the coronavirus, with in-person services unavailable and staff members working from home with little or no access to physical collection materials. So, what do librarians in a unit with “public” in it’s title do when the building is closed to the public? The answer is to continue serving patrons remotely as best as we can while working on myriad behind-the-scenes projects that will hopefully benefit users long after the current pandemic.

Even though we have not been able to interact with our library patrons face-to-face for several months, our underlying purpose remains the same: providing high-quality services that encourage and welcome users to engage with Spencer librarians and collections in ways they find interesting, exciting, thought-provoking, and meaningful.

Read on to see what each member of the Public Services team has been working on from home.

Caitlin Donnelly Klepper, Head of Public Services

What have you been working on?

Since March, I have taken over the daily monitoring of Spencer’s reference email account (ksrlref@ku.edu), answering some research queries and forwarding others to colleagues. Like my coworkers, I’ve also attended a good number of KU, KU Libraries, and Spencer Research Library meetings, town halls, and virtual updates. While some are new since covid-19, most others are Zoom and phone versions of the in-person meetings I would normally attend.

My other projects have included cleaning up statistics and corresponding reports, updating the Spencer website, catching up on a backlog of professional reading, and clearing out my email inbox. I’ve also attended many webinars and other online professional development opportunities. This month, much of my focus has shifted toward working with colleagues to develop plans for reopening Spencer’s Reading Room and providing instruction this fall.

Why is this work important to the library?

Much of my work at home has directly or indirectly helped maintain some of Spencer’s core operations; other projects have contributed to new initiatives at the Libraries and improved my personal ability to better serve our users.

What will you miss about working from home when we return to Spencer?

My husband and I purchased our first home in early March, and despite the current circumstances I’ve appreciated getting to spend so much time enjoying our new space. I’ll miss things being able to do things like eating at my desk and taking periodic breaks throughout the day to tackle some housework or walk on the treadmill.

Photograph of the view from Caitlin's home workspace
The view from Caitlin’s home workspace. Click image to enlarge.

Meredith Phares, Spencer Research Library Operations Manager

What have you been working on?

I have been working on a legacy project of our individual photo collections in the Kansas Collection. There are roughly 2,500 images that do not have a finding aid or catalog record. Patrons can only access these photos by reviewing a three-inch three-ring binder full of dividers and charts that is located in our Reading Room. I’ve been entering the details about these images into our ArchivesSpace database; from there, Manuscripts Coordinator Marcella Huggard and her team can take the information and create finding aids and catalog records. 

When I have had enough of data entry, I have been working on a training manual for our Public Services student assistants, along with data cleanup in our Aeon system, which tracks the circulation of Spencer materials. 

Since late April, I have been able to work in Spencer a couple of hours each week. I have kept up on my temperature and relative humidity monitoring of the stacks and have been able to get some stacks projects accomplished.

Why is this work important to the library?

Entering our individual photo collections into ArchivesSpace gets us a step closer to having our photograph collections more accessible. Data cleanup in Aeon allows me to be sure everything has been re-shelved correctly after it’s been used by researchers and staff members. Regular monitoring of our stacks environment is essential for the safety and preservation of our collections.

What will you miss about working from home when we return to Spencer?

I commute from Topeka, so I will miss the quick commute to my living room, the flexible work schedule, and spending time with my newly-adopted dog Edgar. He has been my companion and entertainment since March. 

Photograph of Meredith with her dog Edgar
Meredith with her dog Edgar. Click image to enlarge.

Emily Beran, Library Assistant

What have you been working on?

While Spencer Research Library has been closed, I have had the opportunity to work on projects that I normally would not have time to do. One of the most notable ones has been creating transcriptions for some materials in our manuscript collections. Transcriptions are typed copies of handwritten documents. Currently, my favorite transcription I am working on is for the diary of New York suffragist Lillian North. The diary covers her daily life from 1915 into 1917; it not only provides great insight into her involvement in the women’s suffrage movement but also gives readers such a fun look at her life and what she considered important.

Why is this work important to the library?

While our manuscript collections are invaluable sources of information, some of them can be hard for researchers to read and work with because the documents are handwritten. Transcriptions provide a more readable version of these handwritten documents, making the information more accessible for researchers. Additionally, by having transcriptions, we can utilize these documents for more activities (classes, tours, etc.) where being able to read something quickly is necessary because time is limited.

What will you miss about working from home when we return to Spencer?

I am not a morning person so the ability to sleep in and start working later in the day has been great for me. Also, the schedule flexibility really has allowed me to work on projects when I can be the most productive and focused – evenings, weekends, when I can’t sleep, etc. So while I am excited to be back in Spencer, I will miss the extra sleep and that scheduling freedom!

A portion of Emily's transcription project
A portion of Emily’s transcription project. Click image to enlarge.

Kathy Lafferty, Copy Services Manager

What have you been working on?

Since Spencer closed in March, I’ve processed fifty-six copy requests submitted by patron and fourteen inter-library loan requests by going in to the library building once, and sometimes twice, each week.

Additionally, I created an online version of “The 1918 Influenza Epidemic at KU,” which began as a temporary exhibit in Spencer’s North Gallery. I was able to add a lot more information because I had more space and time to do extensive online research. I have also written two blog posts, one for Mother’s Day and another for Father’s Day. For the Father’s Day blog, I used photographs from the Joseph Pennell Collection that are available online and did some online research to find out more information about the subjects in the photographs.

Up next is completing a new online version of the Library’s twenty-fifth anniversary exhibit catalog.

Why is this work important to the library?

The Libraries are trying hard to minimize obstructions to research support and provide access to library materials during the pandemic shutdown. By working from home and going in when I can, I am doing my part to contribute to that effort.

What will you miss about working from home when we return to Spencer?

I will miss my cat, Knick, snuggling next to me while I work. I will also miss eating at my desk and setting my own schedule. I will miss working from home, but it will be good to be back in the library full-time.

Photograph of Kathy and her cat Buzz
Kathy and her cat Buzz. Click image to enlarge.

Shelby Schellenger, Reference Coordinator

What have you been working on?

I’ve been working on all sorts of things…which is largely part of my job in any case. I’ve been working with digital reference, reviewing training documents, watching professional development webinars, and more. One of the things I do now that I don’t enjoy is telling people that we’ll be later than usual in getting their research questions answered due to decreased access to the physical collections. 

Why is this work important to the library? 

This work is important to the library because serving the research and reference needs of students, faculty, and the public is an integral part of library operations. What I’m doing from home is that reference or working to improve our ability to do that reference. 

What will you miss about working from home when we return to Spencer?

I think I will miss being able to do my daily work with music playing. I like being able to play music to match my mood/activities and that isn’t practical in the quiet Reading Room environment! 

Photograph of Shelby's at-home coworkers Nikolai and Wallace
Shelby’s at-home coworkers Nikolai and Wallace. Click image to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Joseph Pennell Collection: Fathers with Their Children

June 18th, 2020

In honor of Father’s Day, please enjoy this selection of photographs of fathers with their children, taken from the Joseph Pennell photograph collection of Fort Riley and Junction City, Kansas.

Photograph of Sgt. Lynch with his baby, 1898
Sgt. Lynch with his baby, 1898. Just a year later, on October 6, 1899, the Junction City Union reported the death of Sgt. Lynch. He was killed in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 315, Box 10. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Photograph of D.N. Hicks with his son, Lieutenant Harold Hicks, 1914
D.N. Hicks with his son, Lieutenant Harold Hicks, 1914. Just a year before this photograph was taken, the Junction City Sentinel carried the obituary of Mrs. Hicks, wife and mother. Lieutenant Hicks went on to be promoted to Colonel. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 2748, Box 59. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Photograph of John Orr with two of his sons, 1919
John Orr with two of his sons, 1919. The Orrs had three sons: John E. Orr, Jr., Wilbur and Roy. All three enlisted during World War I, and all three were wounded and gassed on the front in France, but survived the war. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 3074, Box 69. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Photograph of Lieutenant George Patton with his daughter, Beatrice, 1914
Lieutenant George S. Patton with his daughter, Beatrice, 1914. Patton was stationed at Fort Riley from 1913 to 1915. He was assigned to the Mounted Service School, and became the school’s first Master of the Sword, teaching a course in swordsmanship while a student. Patton would go on to become a general in command of the U.S. Seventh Army in the Mediterranean theater of World War II and the U.S. Third Army in France and Germany after D-Day. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 2759, Box 59. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

More photographs from the Pennell Collection follow, but unfortunately no other information could be found about the people in them.

Photographh of the Lopez family, 1920-1921
The Lopez family, 1920-1921. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 3177.14, Box 72. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Photograph of Lieutenant Dorsey with his baby, 1902
Lieutenant Dorsey with his baby, 1902. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 918.1, Box 24. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Photograph of Lieutenant R.L. Cox with his baby, 1920-1921
Lieutenant R.L. Cox with his baby, 1920-1921. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 3257.6, Box 74. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Photograph of Alex Johnson with members of his family, 1913
Alex Johnson with members of his family, 1913. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 2645, Box 56. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Photograph of Captain Kinnington with his daughters, 1909
Captain Kinnington with his daughters, 1909. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 2180, Box 47. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Photograph of Major Baird with his children, 1920-1921
Major Baird with his children, 1920-1921. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell, Print 3257.2, Box 74. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services

The Photographs of Frank C. Morrow, Leavenworth, Kansas

March 3rd, 2020

In 1985, librarian Winnie Lichtenwalter was rummaging around in the basement of the Leavenworth Public Library. She was preparing for the move from the old Carnegie Library to the library’s new building when she discovered several boxes of glass plate negatives. The images depicted the city of Leavenworth, Kansas, at the turn of the twentieth century. Initially no one among the library staff knew anything about the photographs. After conducting some research into the library’s records, they found that Leavenworth resident and amateur photographer Frank C. Morrow was the one who had made them.

Photograph of Frank C. Morrow, circa 1900
Frank C. Morrow, circa 1900. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:125. Click image to enlarge.

Morrow was born in Pickway, Ohio, on May 15, 1867. By 1885, at the age of 18, he was living in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he worked for the Great Western Stove Company. He worked there for fifty years, retiring one year before his death in 1936. His wife, Anne Zipp Morrow, died in 1945. They had one son who was born in 1899 and died in 1923.

Lichtenwalter, knowing that her library could not properly house and care for Morrow’s collection, contacted Nicolette Bromberg, a former photo archivist at Kenneth Spencer Research Library. By their nature, glass plate negatives are very fragile. In addition to the risk of breakage, the delicate chemical emulsion will peel and crack on the glass without proper storage and suitable environmental conditions, and Morrow’s plates were already showing signs of stress. Spencer Research Library houses and cares for several glass plate collections, so acquiring Morrow’s plates was a natural fit. When Bromberg went to the Leavenworth Public Library to pick up the boxes, she searched around the basement a little more and found yet another box of negatives that the staff had missed. In all there are 314 glass negatives.

Following are some examples of Morrow’s work, now known as the Leavenworth Public Library Photograph Collection.

Photograph of the Great Western Stove Company and Leavenworth, circa 1900
A view of the Great Western Stove Company and Leavenworth, circa 1900. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:114. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of electric streetcar lines on Delaware Street in Leavenworth, circa 1896
Electric streetcar lines on Delaware Street in Leavenworth, circa 1896. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:73. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of three girls looking at a book, circa 1900
Three girls looking at a book, circa 1900. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:164. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of the Fort Leavenworth guard mount (1st Regiment of Dragoons), circa 1900
The Fort Leavenworth guard mount (1st Regiment of Dragoons), circa 1900. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:27. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of a flood on the Missouri River, 1903
Flooding on the Missouri River, 1903. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:48. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of the 20th Regiment leaving Union Station for the Philippines during the Spanish American War, 1895
The 20th Regiment leaving Union Station for the Philippines during the Spanish American War, 1895. Leavenworth Public Library Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72:210. Click image to enlarge.

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services