Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Union Dedication Edition

April 26th, 2018

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!

Next Monday, April 30th, marks the anniversary of the 1926 dedication ceremony to lay the cornerstone of the Memorial Union. Along with the stadium, it was built to honor the 129 KU men and women who died in World War I.

Photograph of the dedication ceremony for the Kansas Union, 1926

Dedication ceremony for the Memorial Union, April 30, 1926. Note the
construction materials in the foreground. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/54 1926 Dedication Prints:
Campus: Buildings: Memorial Union (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

The building across the street from the Union is Myers Hall, the home of KU’s religious studies department before the construction of Smith Hall at the same location in the 1960s.

In its coverage of the ceremony, the University Daily Kansan student newspaper estimated that “3,000 students, soldiers, families of soldiers who fought in the World War,” and alumni were in attendance.

Here is another view of the ceremony, looking the opposite direction.

Dedication ceremony for the Memorial Union, April 30, 1926.
More visible is the platform for the speakers. Note Strong Hall in the background.
Photograph by Duke D’Ambra. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/54 1926 Dedication Prints:
Campus: Buildings: Memorial Union (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

The April 1926 Graduate Magazine provided a preview summary of the event, which followed a parade down Jayhawk Boulevard, from Robinson Gymnasium (located where Wescoe Hall now stands) to the Union site.

Image of a description of the Union dedication ceremony in the Graduate Magazine, 1926

Description of the Union dedication ceremony in the Graduate Magazine, April 1926.
University Archives. Call Number: LH 1 .K3 G73 1925-1926. Click image to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Kansas Relays Edition

April 19th, 2018

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 91st Kansas Relays began yesterday and will be underway through Saturday. Are you attending any of the events?

Photograph of six athletes running the hurdles at the Kansas Relays, 1936

Six athletes running the hurdles at the Kansas Relays, 1936.
The event took place at Memorial Stadium, which hosted the Relays
from 1923 through 2013. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 66/19 1936: Athletic Department: Track (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Note the campus buildings seen in the background of this week’s photo; from left to right, they are the Kansas Union, Dyche Hall, Old Green (now Lippincott) Hall, Old Fraser Hall, and Watson Library.

Additional photos of previous Kansas Relays are available online through Spencer’s digital collections.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

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