Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Ice Cream Cone Edition

September 21st, 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 fall equinox may be tomorrow, but we’re still experiencing hot weather on Mount Oread. Luckily, though, tomorrow is also National Ice Cream Cone Day! Celebrate and cool off with a delicious cold treat, just like the KU students in this week’s photograph.

Photograph of KU students at the Memorial Union, 1939-1940

KU students at the Memorial Union, 1939-1940. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/0 1939/1940 Prints: Student Activities (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Dandelion Days Edition

April 21st, 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 27,000 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

If you’ve seen the recent proliferation of dandelions on Mount Oread, you might think KU needs to bring back a short-lived springtime event from the 1940s: Dandelion Days.

Photograph of several people pulling dandelions on lawn in front of Old Fraser Hall, 1940s

Several people pulling dandelions on the lawn in front of Old Fraser Hall, 1940s.
Seen in the photo are Dyche Hall and, beyond, the Union. Kansas Alumni photo.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/3 1940s Prints: Student Activities:
Dandelion Days (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of several people pulling dandelions in front of Strong Hall, 1940s

Pulling dandelions in front of Strong Hall, 1940s. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/3 1940s Negatives: Student Activities: Dandelion Days (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of several people pulling dandelions in grove of trees, 1940s

Pulling dandelions in a grove of trees, 1940s. Green Hall (now Lippincott) is
seen in the background. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/3 1940s Negatives:
Student Activities: Dandelion Days (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

An article in Kansas Alumni (1999, volume 97, number 3) describes what Dandelion Days were all about:

The University’s first Dandelion Day took place April 23, 1941, amid the hype of reporters and photographers, students and University dignitaries. The mission? Eradicating the pernicious yellow pests that littered the Hill and kept Buildings and Grounds workers fighting a losing battle for green grass. In all, 3,400 students and faculty, including Chancellor Deane Malott and his wife, Eleanor, turned out to battle the baneful blossoms, collecting 93,000 pounds of dandelion debris in a mere three hours. The Lawrence Journal-World reported that “it was a total war against the yellow flower with a hey-nonny-nonny and a rah-rah-rah.”

Despite the roaring success of the first Dandelion Day, which was sponsored by the Men’s Student Council and featured picking teams, carnival concessions and a street dance, the day’s durability was doomed. Within months, Pearl Harbor was attacked and World War II enveloped KU. In 1946, Dandelion Day was resurrected, complete with a Dandelion King and Queen and photographers from Life and Look magazines on hand to capture the merry moments of postwar college life. However, the return of the fight against the yellow flowers was short-lived. The next years were ruined by bad weather and, by 1949, the erstwhile diggers had so thoroughly eliminated the difficult dandelions that the day was declared defunct (60).

Check out more Dandelion Days photographs online.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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

Throwback Thursday: Jayhawk Edition

April 7th, 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 26,300 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Photograph of the Jayhawk mascot hanging out behind the counter in the union store, 1963/1964

The Jayhawk mascot hanging out behind the counter in the Union store, 1963/1964.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/25 1963/1964 Prints:
Campus: Jayhawk mascot, dolls, etc. (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

Throwback Thursday: Basketball Game Watch Edition

March 10th, 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 23,200 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

March Madness is one of our favorite times of the year, and we’re excited to spend many hours in the next few weeks watching the Jayhawks in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. Rock Chalk!

Photograph of KU fans watching basketball in the Memorial Union, 1951-1952

KU basketball fans watching the NCAA championship game in the
Memorial Union, 1952. Kansas defeated St. John’s, 80-63.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/66/13 1951/1952:
Student Activities: Sports: Basketball (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

Throwback Thursday: Dance Edition

July 23rd, 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 5,700 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Follow the lead of these KU students and put on your dancing shoes; this Saturday is National Dance Day!

Photograph of the Homecoming dance in Kansas Union Ballroom, 1956

Homecoming dance in the Kansas Union Ballroom, 1956. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/1 1956: Student Activities: Homecoming (Photos).
Click on image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Popular pianist and bandleader Frankie Carle provided the music at the dance. Watch him perform with his orchestra in 1947, via footage available through YouTube.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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