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.
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.
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.
KU athletes Wilt Chamberlain and John Traylor, December 1955.
Lawrence Journal-World Photo Collection, University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG LJW 66/13 Chamberlain, Wilt: Athletic Department: Basketball:
Players (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
This photograph appeared in the Lawrence Journal-World on Monday, December 19, 1955. The caption read as follows:
Two Reasons for the Party’s Success
Saturday afternoon’s Christmas party for about 30 youngsters at the Leavenworth Guardian Angel Home, a Catholic-operated orphan institution, was a raging success primarily because of the appearance of seven-foot Wilt Chamberlain, K. U. freshman basketball star, and John Traylor, 155-pound sophomore halfback for the 1955 Jayhawker football team. Basil Green, Lawrence contractor, planned the party and presented the kiddies with gifts, as well as arranging for the Kansas athletes to be on hand to present the group with some athletic gear. Left to right here are six-year-old Eddie Penrice, Chamberlain, Traylor, and four-year-old Paul Wiley. The youngsters were quick to befriend the two distinguished visitors and soon were bombarding them with all sorts of questions.