Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: No-Shave November Edition

November 19th, 2020

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!

Looking for some inspiration for Movember/No-Shave November? Look no further than this week’s photo, which features members of KU’s faculty sporting an impressive variety of beards and mustaches in 1885. Click on the image to zoom in and get a closer look!

Photographs of the University of Kansas faculty, 1885
Composite of the University of Kansas faculty, 1885. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 41/0 Faculty 1885 Prints (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Old Fraser Hall Edition

November 12th, 2020

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!

Photograph of University (Old Fraser) Hall, 1870s
KU’s “New Building” (later called University and Old Fraser Hall), 1870s. The structure was located approximately where modern Fraser Hall now stands. Note the lack of trees and relatively few other buildings. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/22/24 1870s Prints: Campus: Buildings: Fraser Hall Old (Photos). This image is a copy of a photograph held in the Robert Benecke Collection at DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Opened in 1872, the “New Building” was KU’s second building. According to an article on the KU History website, “when John Fraser, KU’s second chancellor, took office in 1868, he found the school’s 122 students crammed into a single, 11-room building [North College] with no central heating, although each room did have its own stove.” North College does not appear to be visible in the above photo.

By comparison, the majestic “New Building” boasted the most modern of nineteenth-century amenities:

The entire structure, noted the Fort Scott Daily Monitor on June 6, 1872, “will be heated with steam and lighted with gas, and every room will be supplied with water.” And although electric lights did not appear at KU until 1888, the building featured electrically powered clocks in each room. In addition, mechanically inclined students would also be able to work with steam-driven engines, lathes and other machinery. Being 300 feet long, 100 feet wide, and rising four stories, it was spacious enough to house the entire University: departmental and administrative offices, laboratories, classrooms, the library, a student reading room, even a large, second-floor auditorium.

“New Building” became officially known as University Hall in 1879. KU changed the name of the building to Fraser Hall in 1897 to honor John Fraser, the building’s champion. “Old” Fraser Hall was razed in August 1965 to make way for the “New” Fraser Hall that stands on Mount Oread today.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Election Edition

October 29th, 2020

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!

Election Day is less than a week away. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to get out and vote!

Photograph of KU students voting in student elections, 1980
KU students voting in student elections, 1980. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 3/11 1980 Slides: Governance: Student Senate (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Oral Histories

October 13th, 2020

As Hispanic Heritage Month draws to a close I would like to draw attention to three oral history collections housed in the Kansas Collection at Kenneth Spencer Research Library. These collections speak to the everyday lives and experiences of the Hispanic communities in Garden City, Emporia, and Kansas City, Kansas.

The collection I’m going to highlight is the Oral History Project Regarding the Hispanic Community of Garden City, Kansas (RH MS 750). The collection consists of interview transcripts, audio tapes, and photographs. This project was funded by a grant from what is now Humanities Kansas.  

For example, in her interview Cipriana “Sue” Rodriquez spoke about the harsh conditions and treatment her father faced as part of the working class in Mexico before coming to Garden City to work for the railroad, originally in 1900. Cipriana also discussed living in a railroad house, her experience in school, the family’s work experiences, and the strong sense of community among the Hispanic families.  

Photograph of a railroad crew in Garden City, Kansas, circa 1900
A railroad crew in Garden City, Kansas, circa 1900. Oral history Project Regarding the Hispanic Community of Garden City, Kansas. Call Number: RH PH 183, Box 1, Folder 1. Click image to enlarge.
Portrait of an unknown Hispanic family in Garden City, Kansas, circa 1900
A portrait of an unknown Hispanic family in Garden City, Kansas, circa 1900. Oral history Project Regarding the Hispanic Community of Garden City, Kansas. Call Number: RH PH 183, Box 1, Folder 25. Click image to enlarge.

Similarly, Lydia Mendoza de Gonzalez and Louis Mendoza discussed the conditions in Mexico that lead to family members coming to Garden City around 1900. They spoke of growing up in a culturally traditional Mexican household and the discrimination faced by the Hispanic community. A primary focus of this interview was education and Lydia’s efforts to help members of the community get the financial support they needed to attain a vocational education.

Photograph of a Mexican Fiesta in Garden City, Kansas, circa 1950
A Mexican Fiesta in Garden City, Kansas, circa 1950. Oral history Project Regarding the Hispanic Community of Garden City, Kansas. Call Number: RH PH 183, Box 1, Folder 24. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of graduates Angela and Salina Gonzales, with their mother Lydia, at a commencement ceremony in Garden City, Kansas, circa 1970
Graduates Angela and Salina Gonzales, with their mother Lydia, at a commencement ceremony in Garden City, Kansas, circa 1970. Oral history Project Regarding the Hispanic Community of Garden City, Kansas. Call Number: RH PH 183, Box 1, Folder 31. Click image to enlarge.

The other oral history collections are the Oral History Project Regarding the Hispanic Community of Emporia, Kansas (RH MS 751) and the Kansas City, Kansas, Spanish Speaking Office Interviews and Slides (RH MS 752).

Letha E. Johnson
Kansas Collection Curator

Throwback Thursday: Latin American Student Union Edition

October 8th, 2020

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!

September 15th through October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage Month! To help celebrate, this week’s post offers a peak into the history of the Latin American Student Union.

The KU student organization has been known as LASU since 2017, and the group describes itself as “a non exclusive social space for Latinx students at KU to find community.” According to a 2008 KU news release, LASU was “formed in 1971 as the Association of Mexican American Students.” The group “changed its name in 1974 to Movimiento Estuadiantil Chicano de Aztlan. In 1986, it became known as HALO [Hispanic American Leadership Organization] to better reflect the diversity of Hispanic representation. The group’s mission [was] to meet the academic, social and cultural needs of the Hispanic student population at KU.”

Photograph of a performance showcasing Hispanic music and dance, October 1997
Photograph of a performance showcasing Hispanic music and dance, October 1997
Photograph of two dancers at a music and dance performance sponsored by HALO in front of the Kansas Memorial Union, October 1997
A performance showcasing Hispanic music and dance sponsored by HALO in front of the Kansas Memorial Union, October 17, 1997. Photographs by Scott Harper. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 67/593 1997 Negatives: Student Organizations: Hispanic American Leadership Organization (Photos). Click images to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services