Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Away Game Edition

November 14th, 2019

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 34,800 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Photograph of KU football fans on a train headed for Lincoln, Nebraska, 1939-1940
KU football fans on a train headed for Lincoln, Nebraska, 1939-1940. The girls in white outfits were members of the Jay Janes spirit or pep squad. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/66/14 1939/1940: Student Activities: Sports: Football (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Beat Oklahoma Edition, Part III

October 3rd, 2019

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 34,800 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

A covered wagon in front of Strong Hall with a “Sooner Late Jayhawk Sooner” banner, 1938-1939. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/66/14 1938/1939 Negatives: Student Activities: Sports: Football (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Cheerleader Edition

September 19th, 2019

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 34,800 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Who’s excited to cheer on the Jayhawks at this Saturday’s game against West Virginia?

Photograph of three KU cheerleaders with a young boy, 1922-1923
KU cheerleaders, 1922-1923. From left to right, they are Robert L. Gilbert, Assistant; Virgil Miller, Head Cheerleader; and Mark Waggner, Assistant. The boy is Johnnie Logue. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/23 1922/1923 Prints: Athletic Department: Cheerleaders and Pompom Girls (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Nightshirt Parade Edition

August 29th, 2019

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 34,800 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

We’re looking forward to the first home game of the KU football season on Saturday. During the first half of the twentieth century, that event would have been celebrated with a Nightshirt Parade tomorrow night.

Photograph of the KU Nightshirt Parade, 1951
KU students in the Nightshirt Parade, 1951. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/17 1951 Negatives: Student Activities: Nightshirt Parade (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The article “Nighty Night for the Nightshirt Parades” on the KU history website describes the event.

Nightshirt Parades became a venerable KU tradition. Typically, on the night before the first home game of the season, hundreds of students wearing nightshirts (usually over top of their clothing) would make their way north through campus to Sixth Street, then march east along Sixth until they reached Massachusetts Street. At this point, students would form “into one continuous serpentine line,” which amounted to a fair approximation of a conga line. Single file and holding the person in front of them, the students would weave their way down Massachusetts until they reached South Park where a bonfire would be held in anticipation of the next day’s game. At other times, the route was essentially reversed, with the procession beginning in the park and winding its way onto campus…

The onset of World War II marked the beginning of the end for the traditional Nightshirt Parade. Student enrollments dropped, and the annual procession filled in the depleted ranks by including coeds for the first time. When enrollments revived in the post-war years, the student body contained many veterans attending on the GI Bill. Serious, older, and less impressionable, these students were ill inclined to participate in or otherwise put up with anything they considered collegiate foolishness. They brought an end to the freshman cap tradition at KU, and saw little reason to don pajamas for a public event. Nonetheless, a version of the Nightshirt Parade continued well into the 1950s. However, the event had lost much of its original spontaneity and student enthusiasm for it dwindled.

The last Nightshirt Parade took place in 1957, replaced the following year with a “Traditions Rally.”

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Football Practice Edition

August 8th, 2019

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 34,800 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Photograph of a University of Kansas football practice, 1930s
KU football practice, 1930s. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 66/14 1930s: Athletic Department: Football (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

This photo was taken approximately where the football team’s current outdoor practice field stands. Mississippi Street is visible on the left. In the background, from left to right, are the Kansas Union, Dyche Hall, and Green (now Lippincott) Hall.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services