Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

“A Spin Down the Road”: Photographs of Kansas Cyclists

May 30th, 2017

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes stories, in Scientific American, 1896

May is National Bike Month, so this week we’re sharing some photographs from the Kansas Collection that show turn-of-the-century Kansans with their bicycles.

Photograph of a group of bicyclists, 1896

Group of bicyclists participating in a Leavenworth-Kansas City bicycle race, 1896.
Leavenworth Public Library Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH 72.
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Mattie Parrish with a bicycle, 1897

Mattie Parrish with a bicycle, Junction City, Kansas, 1897.
Joseph J. Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of F, 1 Bicycle Corps with their Bicycles, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1897

F, 1 Bicycle Corps with their bicycles, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1897.
Joseph J. Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of Samuel Elliott with his children on a bicycle, circa 1904

Samuel Elliott with his children Maude, Jeannette, Sam,
and Louise on a bicycle, circa 1904. Photo by Alfred Lawrence,
734 Massachusetts, Lawrence, Kansas. Elliott Family Papers.
Call Number: RH MS-P 338. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of a group sitting on a loading dock with a bicycle, circa 1913

Group sitting on a loading dock with a bicycle, circa 1913.
Kansas Collection Photographs. Call Number: RH PH P1088.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Be sure to also check out additional digitized photos of bicyclists in the Pennell Collection.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Thanksgiving on the Post: Images from the Pennell Collection

November 20th, 2015

The following images were taken by Joseph Judd Pennell, a professional photographer in Junction City, Kansas, from 1888 to 1923. The images in the collection represent a comprehensive record of life in a turn-of-the-century small Kansas town and the nearby army post of Fort Riley.

Photograph of a football team on Thanksgiving Day, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1896

Football team on Thanksgiving Day, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1896.
Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

A major U.S. Army post, Fort Riley was the site of a light artillery unit; several cavalry units, including the 9th and 10th black cavalry troops; one of the best cavalry schools in the world; and Camp Funston, a major army induction center during World War I.

Photograph of 20th Battery Dining Hall prepared for Thanksgiving meal, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1904

Kitchen staff in the 20th Battery Dining Hall prepared for Thanksgiving dinner, Fort Riley,
Kansas, 1904. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of soldiers in the 20th Battery Dining Hall for Thanksgiving meal, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1904

Soldiers gathered in the 20th Battery Dining Hall for Thanksgiving dinner, Fort Riley,
Kansas, 1904. Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Although primarily a studio portrait photographer, Pennell also went out into the community to photograph. He recorded business, social, church, and school activities; people’s prized moments and possessions; and events that touched everyone’s lives, such as floods, parades, President Theodore Roosevelt‘s visit, the racket nine-cent sale, polo games, and Chautauqua. Revealed within the photographs is the detail and complexity of rural and urban life. The collection as a whole shows how a town and its people changed over time, evidenced in things like the styles of fashion and consumer goods, the appearance of new buildings as the town grew, and the entrance of technology into everyday life. One of the most notable technological changes that Pennell documented was the gradual movement from horse to automobile power.

Photograph of a dining room set for Thanksgiving dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1905

Dining room set for Thanksgiving dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1905.
Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of the 6th Band dining room set for Thanksgiving dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1913

6th Band dining room set for Thanksgiving dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1913.
Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Spencer’s Pennell collection consists of approximately 30,000 glass plate negatives, 6,074 contact prints (some dry-mounted on boards), 302 original Pennell photographs, and ten studio register books containing Pennell’s negative identification system. The glass plate negatives vary in size from 4″ x 5″ to 12″ x 20″, with the bulk of the collection in the 5″ x 7″ format. There are also a small number of flexible negatives and forty-six large panoramic negatives.

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services

Kansas Christmases Past

December 18th, 2014

Several archival collections in our Kansas Collection contain images showing Christmas scenes from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We’ve selected a few to show here; we hope they help get you in the holiday spirit!

Photograph of a room interior with Christmas tree, 1896

Room interior with Christmas tree and presents, 1896.
Leavenworth Public Library Photograph Collection.
Call Number: RH PH 72. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Louise and Margaret Walbridge at the Christmas tree, circa 1897

Louise and Margaret Walbridge sitting under the Christmas tree
with their toys, Profile Ranch, Russell County, Kansas, circa 1897.
Louis Chester Walbridge Collection. Call Number: RH PH 21. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of 7th Battery dining hall set for Christmas Dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1906

7th Battery dining hall set for Christmas dinner, Fort Riley, Kansas, 1906.
Joseph Judd Pennell Photograph Collection. RH PH Pennell.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of Douglass Grade School, Manhattan, Kansas, Christmas 1945

Douglass Grade School, Manhattan, Kansas, Christmas 1945.
James E. Butler Collection. Call Number: RH MS-P 507. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of John A. Hodge with his grandson, Johnnie L. Hodge, Christmas 1949

John A. Hodge with his grandson, ten-year-old Johnnie L. Hodge, Christmas 1949.
The pair are examining Owen Wilson’s new “knockdown” electric train cars.
Photograph by Dowdal H. Davis, son-in-law. Dorothy Hodge Johnson Collection.
Call Number: RH MS-P 549. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of the winner of Christmas decoration contest, Topeka, Kansas, circa 1950s

Winner of Christmas decoration contest, Topeka, Kansas, circa 1950s. Photograph by Joe Douglas.
Joe Douglas Collection. Call Number: RH PH 90. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Christmas decorations on Massachusetts Street at 7th, Lawrence, Kansas, undated

Christmas decorations on Massachusetts Street at 7th, Lawrence, Kansas, undated.
Lawrence Photo Collection. Call Number: RH PH 18H.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Thanksgiving in Kansas (1889, 1896, 1904, and 1953)

November 21st, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from the Kenneth Spencer Research Library! As you eat your turkey (or tofurky) and pumpkin pie this holiday, enjoy a taste of Thanksgivings past from the Kansas Collection.

Image of Thanksgiving Proclamation, Kansas 1889
Above: Humphrey, Lyman Underwood (Kansas Governor 1889-1893). Thanksgiving Proclamation.
Topeka, KS: [State Printer?], 1889. Call Number: RH P872. Click image to enlarge.

Image of Football Team Thanksgiving Day, Fort Riley.  1896.
Above: Pennell, Joseph Judd (photographer). Football Team Thanksgiving Day, Fort Riley.  1896.
Pennell Photography Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell: print 64.2: box 3: Pennell number 9401.
Click image to enlarge.

Image: Men Gathered in 20th Battery Dining Hall, Fort Riley, for Thanksgiving Dinner.  1904.
Above:  Pennell, Joseph Judd (photographer). Men Gathered in 20th Battery Dining Hall, Fort Riley, for Thanksgiving
Dinner.  1904. Pennell Photography Collection. Call Number: RH PH Pennell: print 64.2: box 3: Pennell number 9401.
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Graves-Williams-Dandridge family at Thanksgiving.  Wichita, Kansas. 1953.
Above:  Hughes, Leon K. (photographer). Graves-Williams-Dandridge Family at Thanksgiving.  Wichita, Kansas. 1953.
L. K. Hughes Photography Collection.  Call Number: RH PH506, box 12, folder 8. Click image to enlarge.

Want to see more?  Visit the newly launched Leon K. Hughes: African American Life in Wichita Kansas online exhibition (and contribute identifications and additional information through its interactive comment feature).  Browse photographs from the Kenneth Spencer Research Library in the University of Kansas Luna Insight Image Collections.