Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Faculty Vacation Edition

August 3rd, 2017

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!

The new school year is just around the corner, but there’s still time for travel and vacation. When you go, be sure to take along some KU gear – just like the faculty members and their families in this week’s photograph did in 1921.

Photograph of KU faculty group in California, 1921

A group of KU faculty members with their wives and children in
Laguna Beach, California, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 41/0 Faculty 1921 Prints (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Back row: Frederick Billings.

Second Row: William Chase Stevens, Mrs. William C. [Ada E. Pugh] Stevens, Harriet Greissinger, Lucinda Griffith, Mrs. William A. [Ida Greeley Smith] Griffith, Carrie Watson, Jane Griffith, Mrs. Frederick [Louise M.] Billings, Mary Maud Smelser.

Front Row: Bertha Mae Billings, Ida Griffith Jr., Francis Billings.

Here is some additional information about each faculty member.

Frederick H. Billings (circa 1869-1964): Billings taught in the department of bacteriology (1907 to 1917) and served as its first chairman. He was then at the University of Redlands in southern California, where he was a professor of biology and bacteriology for nineteen years, until his retirement in 1940.

Harriett Greissinger (1876-1941): A KU alumna (1895), Greissinger was an Instructor (1902-1907) and Assistant Professor (1907-1921) of piano at the university. It appears she married John Wallace Brown around 1921 and moved to Santa Barbara, California, where she lived for the rest of her life.

William Alexander Griffith (1866-1940): Griffith came to KU in 1899 to establish the department of drawing and painting. During his tenure at the university, Griffith lobbied Sallie Casey Thayer to donate her art collection to KU; it forms the basis of what is today the Spencer Museum of Art. Griffith resigned his position at KU in 1920, relocating to Laguna Beach, California, to focus full time on landscape painting.

Mary Maud Smelser (1873-1960): Smelser studied music at KU (1891-1894) and returned to the university in 1903 to continue her studies. She worked at KU Libraries for fifty years as a reference assistant (1903-1905); an accessions librarian and, in her spare time, a collector of Kansas historical materials (1905-1950); and the head of the Kansas Historical Collections, which became the foundation of Spencer’s Kansas Collection (1950-1953).

William Chase Stevens (1861-1955): Stevens received his B.S. (1885) and M.S. (1893) at KU. He taught botany at his alma mater for forty-eight years, from 1889 to 1937. “I will do botanical work as long as I am able to wiggle,” Stevens declared to the University Daily Kansan on his eighty-seventh birthday (February 24, 1948).

Carrie Watson (1858-1943): Watson survived Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence as a young child and went on to study at KU, earning degrees in 1878 and 1880. She was hired as an Assistant Librarian in 1878 and promoted to Head Librarian in 1887, a position she held until her retirement in 1921. Known as a disciplinarian, the Kansas City Star once reported that Watson “quieted [unruly students] with a chiding eye” and always insisted that “the library was a place for study rather than flirting.”

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Sundress Edition

July 27th, 2017

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 three students at Potter Lake, 1981

Students at Potter Lake, 1981. T. Ontko, photographer.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Potter Lake 1981 Prints:
Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Women’s Tennis Edition

July 13th, 2017

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!

Wimbledon is underway this week, so today’s photograph features some of KU’s early tennis players.

Photograph of the KU women's tennis club, 1892

The KU women’s tennis club, 1892. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/20/18 1892 Prints: Athletic Department: Women’s Tennis (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Information on the back side of the photograph indicates that it was taken at Christmas in 1892. From left to right, standing, are Jeannette Wheeler, Grace Colwell, Genevieve Howland Chalkley, Edith Snow, May Gardner, Hattie Ayres, and Jo Bassett. Seated from left to right are Grace Poff, Louise Towne, Anna Drake, and Madge Bullene.

Note that the left side of the image is stamped “DaLee’s Art Gallery, South Tennessee St., Lawrence, Kas.” Lawrence city directories place the gallery at 1537 Tennessee, which is the current address of KU’s Pi Kappa Phi fraternity chapter. Amon G. DaLee was an early photographer in Lawrence, arriving by 1860. DaLee passed away in 1879, and the 1880 census lists his widow Martha working as a photographer, apparently maintaining her husband’s business. By 1890-1891, photographer Elmer E. Willis was the manager of DaLee’s Studio.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt
Public Services Student Assistant

Throwback Thursday: Barbecue Edition

July 6th, 2017

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!

Summer is great time for grilling and barbecuing!

Photograph of a buffalo barbecue at Memorial Stadium, 1961

Buffalo Barbecue at Memorial Stadium (visible in the background), 1961.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/66/14 1961/1962 Prints:
Student Activities: Sports: Football Fans (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The Buffalo Barbecue was held on Saturday, April 22, 1961, just after the Kansas Relays parade in downtown Lawrence.

Reporting on a dry run of the event earlier in the week, the Lawrence Journal-World stated that “entertainment at the barbecue includes square dancing, western band, barber shop quartet and folk singing. Tickets are $1.50 each. Four serving lines will ensure quick service for everyone.” The newspaper anticipated that 2,000 people would attend.

The barbecue also culminated a week of campus celebrations marking the centennial of Kansas statehood. According to the 1961 Jayhawker yearbook:

Hooped skirts and cowboy boots prevailed in campus dress during the K.U. Centennial Week, April 17-22. The western flavor was encouraged by the Centennial Co-ordinating Committee, composed of the major Hill organizations, the dormitory councils, the Douglas County Centennial Committee, and the K.U. administration. Even Chancellor Wescoe yielded to the spirit of pioneer Kansas with a carriage ride to his office Thursday. Drama was added Friday noon when the Registrar’s office suffered a staged payroll robbery. Four of the kidnapper-gunmen were captured in a running battle with the sheriffs on Strong Hall lawn, to the delight of the spectators. A Zone X square dance Friday night led into the Centennial K.U. Relays the next day (446-447).

Whether or not buffalo was actually on the menu at the barbecue remains undetermined.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt
Public Services Student Assistant

Throwback Thursday: Handshake Edition

June 29th, 2017

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!

This week’s photograph was selected in honor of National Handshake Day, which is observed annually on the last Thursday in June.

Photograph of Phog Allen with two KU basketball players, 1947

Phog Allen with two KU basketball players, 1947. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/22 Phog Allen: Athletic Department: Coaches and Staff (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants