Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: North Gallery Edition

August 31st, 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!

Spencer’s North Gallery has been the library’s iconic space since the building opened in 1968. Earlier this summer we finished a renovation of the space and installed a new permanent exhibit featuring a snapshot of Spencer’s collections.

Come see the changes in the North Gallery any time Spencer Research Library is open, or attend the grand reopening next Thursday, September 7th, 3:00-4:30pm. The opening reception is free and open to everyone, and we hope to see you there!

Photograph of the Spencer Research Library North Gallery, 1960s

The North Gallery at Spencer Research Library, 1960s.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/22/82/i 1960s Prints:
Campus: Buildings: Spencer Research Library: Interior (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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: Library Study Session Edition, Part II

September 15th, 2016

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 28,000 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Photograph of two female students at Watson Library, 1959

Two female students at Watson Library, 1959.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 32/0 1959 Negatives:
University of Kansas Libraries (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

Flashback Friday: Hinman Collator Edition

April 15th, 2016

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 26,900 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

This week we’re celebrating National Library Week! First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.

The theme of this year’s National Library Week is “Libraries Transform,” so today’s entry highlights a transformational piece of equipment that can be found in numerous libraries across the country, including Spencer. It’s a Hinman Collator, and it was invented by former KU English professor Charlton Hinman in the late 1940s. The machine was used to compare pairs of documents or books for differences in the text.

Photograph of woman using Hinman Collator, 1959

Woman using a Hinman Collator at Watson Library, 1959. The machine was moved to
Spencer Research Library sometime after it opened in 1968. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 32/37 1959 Negatives: University of Kansas Libraries:
Special Collections (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Here’s how the Hinman Collator worked (as described on the blog of the Folger Shakespeare Library): The user placed a book in each of the two holders so that they were aligned when s/he looked through the eyepiece. The Collator then “used strobe lights to rapidly alternate between views of the two pages [i.e. superimposing them], and any differences would jump out at the viewer, seeming to lift off the page.”

One scholar has described the Hinman Collator as “one of the most important applications of technology to the study of literature ever made.” This was because, according the Folger blog, it “rapidly increased the rate at which two texts could be compared. The manual method that preceded Hinman’s mechanical collator consisted of placing one finger on each text and looking back and forth between them…[It] was not only slow, but potentially inaccurate.”

The Collator’s inventor, Charlton Hinman (1911-1977) attended the University of Colorado, Cornell, and Oxford before receiving his Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia in 1941. He held positions at the University of Missouri (1937-1939) and Johns Hopkins University (1946-1950) before arriving at the University of Kansas in 1960; he taught at KU until he retired in 1975. Hinman’s areas of specialization included Shakespeare and Elizabethan drama as well as analytical bibliography.

Photograph of Charlton Hinman working at his desk, circa 1960-1975

Charlton Hinman working at his desk, circa 1960-1975. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 41/ Faculty and Staff: Hinman, Charlton (Photos).
Click image to enlarge; you can see this and other pictures of
Charlton Hinman and KU’s Collator at Spencer’s digital collections.

As Shakespeare Quarterly reported in a remembrance piece on Hinman, his “academic endeavors were twice interrupted by military service: he distinguished himself in naval intelligence and communications both during World War II and during Korean conflict.” Hinman got the idea for the Collator as a result of his wartime work comparing aerial reconnaissance photographs for evidence of bombing damage.

According to the Folger blog, “with his mechanical collator and the large collection of First Folios at the Folger, Hinman was able to compare each page–indeed, each impression of inked type–of fifty-five copies, leading to his monumental work exploring the process by which Shakespeare’s collected plays were printed, Printing and Proof-reading of the First Folio of Shakespeare (1963).” The effort took him almost a decade to complete, but Hinman once estimated that without the machine, it would have taken him more than forty years, if he had been able to complete the project at all.

Hinman Collators are generally not used today, but be sure to see the one at Spencer the next time you visit the library.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt, Megan Sims, and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Throwback Thursday: Library Nap Edition

December 10th, 2015

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 15,100 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Good luck to KU students as they wrap up the Fall 2015 semester today and take final exams next week!

Photograph of a student asleep on a pile of journals in library, 1978

Student asleep on a pile of journals in the Science Library, 1978. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 32/34 1978 Prints: University of Kansas Libraries: Anschutz (Science) Library (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt, Megan Sims, and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants