Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Dr. C. Kermit Phelps Edition

February 25th, 2021

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!

Sometimes information about KU’s past comes from Spencer collections beyond University Archives. This week’s photo comes from our Kansas Collection.

This week’s post highlights the career of former KU student and faculty member C. Kermit Phelps (1908-2002). He earned his bachelor’s degree (1934), master’s degree (1949, Psychology), and doctorate (1952, Psychology) at the University of Kansas. In earning this last degree, Dr. Phelps became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the university. Phelps later returned to KU as an Associate Professor of Psychiatry; he is considered the school’s first Black faculty member. Dr. Phelps taught in KU’s Department of Psychology from 1955 to 1970.

Photograph of Dr. C. Kermit Phelps administering the Phelps-Scheerer organic battery, 1967
Dr. C. Kermit Phelps administering the Phelps-Scheerer organic battery, a test he originated to determine the extent of a patient’s brain damage, 1967. Dr. C. Kermit Phelps Papers. Call Number: RH MS-P687, Box 1. Click image to enlarge.

You can learn more about Dr. Phelps’s life, work, and achievements at KU and beyond by exploring his collection of papers within Spencer’s Kansas Collection; reading his master’s thesis and Ph.D. dissertation; and listening to an oral history interview with Dr. Phelps conducted by KU’s Endacott Society.

Caitlin Klepper
Head of Public Services

The Black Family: Historical Representations in the Kansas Region

February 23rd, 2021

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) founded the annual February celebration of Black History in 1926 and identified “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” as the theme for 2021.

From Spencer’s African American Experience Collections, I selected the following visual items to highlight the Black Family in the Kansas Region as representations of Black Love, Pride and Strength during the era of Jim Crow.

Photograph of the John Wilson family in front of a house, 1907
John Wilson family of La Cygne, Linn County, Kansas, 1907. O’Dell-Wilson Family Photographs Collection. Call Number: RH PH 63, Box 1, Folder 6. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of the Robert Elliott family homestead, circa 1890s
A sod house on the Robert Elliott family homestead near Montezuma in Gray County, Kansas, circa 1890s. Walker Family Papers. Call Number: RH MS-P 587, Box 1, Folder 44. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of Wedding party of Squire and Edna (Walker) Buster, circa 1920s
Wedding party of Squire and Edna (Walker) Buster at Emma Walker’s homestead in Stevens County, Kansas, circa 1920s. Walker Family Papers. Call Number: RH MS-P 587, Box 1, Folder 36. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of the family of Clay and Mettie O'Dell in Topeka, Kansas, circa 1910
The family of Clay and Mettie O’Dell in Topeka, Kansas, circa 1910. O’Dell-Wilson Family Photographs Collection. Call Number: RH PH 63, Box 1, Folder 7. Click image to enlarge.
Image of the marriage certificate of Lorenzo Drake and Rosa A. Smith, Kansas City, Kansas, 1918
Marriage certificate of Lorenzo Drake and Rosa A. Smith, Kansas City, Kansas, 1918. Lorenzo Drake Family Papers. Call Number: RH MS Q72, Folder 1, Item 1. Click image to enlarge.
Photograph of three generations of the John David Barker family in Topeka, Kansas, 1936
Three generations of the John David Barker family in Topeka, Kansas, 1936. John David Barker Family Papers. Call Number: RH MS-P 775, Box 1, Folder 1. Click image to enlarge.
Image of two poems by John D. Barker in Selected Poems compiled by the Barker family, 1960
Two poems by John D. Barker in Selected Poems compiled by the Barker family, 1960. Call Number: RH C9072. Click image to enlarge.
Members of the Falls, Moore, Frye, Williams, and Brown families in Lawrence, Kansas, circa 1940s. Alberta Pitcher Papers. Call Number: RH MS-P 736, Box 1, Folder 3. Click image to enlarge.

Deborah Dandridge
Field Archivist/Curator, African American Experience Collections
Kansas Collection

Throwback Thursday: Campanile in Snow Edition

February 11th, 2021

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 KU's Campanile in snow, 1970s
The Campanile in snow, 1970s. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Snow 1970s Prints: Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Klepper
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Jayhawk Puzzle Edition

January 28th, 2021

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!

Tomorrow is National Puzzle Day! Celebrate by scrolling down and putting together this week’s image as a jigsaw puzzle.

Lyrics to "Crimson and Blue" in the 1920 Jayhawker yearbook
Lyrics to “Crimson and Blue,” KU’s alma mater, in the 1920 Jayhawker yearbook. Note that KU was called KSU, or Kansas State University, in the song. That’s not a typo, and you’ll see the same reference in other materials from the school’s first decades. University Archives. Call Number: LD 2697 .J3 1920. Click image to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Inauguration Edition

January 21st, 2021

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!

Who spent part of their day yesterday watching the inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris?

Photograph of the inauguration procession of Chancellor Frank Strong, October 17, 1902
Inauguration procession of KU Chancellor Frank Strong, October 17, 1902. The group is standing on the steps of Old Fraser Hall. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 2/8 1902: Chancellors: Frank Strong (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The group in the photo includes, from left to right,

The Lawrence Daily World reported on the inaugural events the following day (October 18, 1902) in multiple articles, as seen below. The newspaper praised all aspects of the inauguration, arguing that overall it was “the most successful event ever consummated in this town” and “one that will live in university history as the greatest educational event in the west up to this time.” Humorously, the newspaper also noted that “while the programme [sic] was long it had to be so. Chancellor Strong has much to say and could not have outlined his policy in fewer words.”

Article, "A New Head at Lawrence," Lawrence Daily World, October 18, 1902
Article, "Merry Banquetters," Lawrence Daily World, October 18, 1902
Article, "It Was Great," Lawrence Daily World, October 18, 1902
Article, "It Was Great," Lawrence Daily World, October 18, 1902
Article, "The Inaugural," Lawrence Daily World, October 18, 1902
Articles about Chancellor Strong’s inauguration in the Lawrence Daily World, October 18, 1902. Images via Newspapers.com. Click images to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services