The University of Kansas

Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Books on a shelf

Welcome to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library blog! As the special collections and archives library at the University of Kansas, Spencer is home to remarkable and diverse collections of rare and unique items. Explore the blog to learn about the work we do and the materials we collect.

That’s Distinctive!: Nineteenth-Century Sketchbooks

March 1st, 2024

Check the blog each Friday for a new “That’s Distinctive!” post. I created the series because I genuinely believe there is something in our collections for everyone, whether you’re writing a paper or just want to have a look. “That’s Distinctive!” will provide a more lighthearted glimpse into the diverse and unique materials at Spencer – including items that many people may not realize the library holds. If you have suggested topics for a future item feature or questions about the collections, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

This week on That’s Distinctive! I am sharing a sketchbook from the Papers of Lady Pauline Trevelyan. As noted in the finding aid, Lady Pauline Trevelyan (1816-1866) was a “writer, traveler, etcher, and painter of watercolors. She was also known as a naturalist and scientist.” Her collection here at the library holds mostly journals, notebooks, and sketchbooks. The collection consists of 69 volumes and one document case.

I actually first came across this collection when we had a researcher viewing it in the Reading Room. Otherwise, I am not sure I ever would have stumbled upon it. While I have not viewed the journals, the sketchbooks fascinated me because they are quite thin and all different sizes. Due to age, some of them are quite fragile. The sketchbook shared today is from Paris in 1863. This particular sketchbook is quite small (similar to a small spiral notepad) which makes the paintings that much more impressive.

To get a “taste” of Pauline Trevelyan’s journals, see the 2012 blog post “An Easter Pizza in Umbria, Italy in 1842” by former Special Collections Librarian Karen S. Cook.

Color sketch of a tan building that is probably a family home.
Color sketch of a green field cut by lines of trees, with a large blue sky overhead.
Two-page color sketch of swans and ducks in nests that sit in water.
Color sketch of a small boat on the edge of a body of water, with trees and pink flowers in the background.
Selected pages from a sketchbook by Lady Pauline Trevelyan in Paris, 1863. Trevelyan Collection. Call Number: MS K1, volume 9. Click images to enlarge.

Tiffany McIntosh
Public Services

An Easter Pizza in Umbria, Italy in 1842

May 24th, 2012

Easter Sunday …  after dinner they brought us an enormous sort of cake to look at – it is made of flour, lard, cheese, & quantities of eggs – the name is Pizza – or Torta – one of these we saw must have been 4 feet in circumference – it is made at Easter – only in this part of the country not in Rome – it is rather good – very light – but too strong of the cheese – they eat this cake – sausages – eggs which have been blessed (so has the cake) and wash it down with the best wine which is stored up for the occasion – such is their Easter feast. …

Entered by Pauline Trevelyan in her diary,  Spoleto, Italy, 27 March 1842 , call number: MS C133

Traditional pizza recipes vary greatly in different regions of Italy. In her journal entry for Easter Sunday 1842 Pauline Trevelyan describes her first taste of Umbrian Easter pizza, a tall round loaf of cheese-flavored bread traditionally served with sliced Italian sausage and hard-boiled eggs. The photograph featured below shows the tasty recreation of that meal submitted to the recent University of Kansas Libraries edible book competition.

Umbrian Easter pizza entry at the Edible Book Festival, 2012
Read the rest of this entry »