Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Spooner Hall Edition

October 10th, 2019

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!

A postcard featuring Spooner Hall, 1920s
A postcard featuring Spooner Hall, 1920s. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/22/83 1920s Prints: Campus: Buildings: Spooner Hall (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: First Chancellor’s Residence Edition

July 11th, 2019

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!

Did you know that KU did not have an official residence for the Chancellor until 1893, when the university was almost thirty years old? This first residence wasn’t The Outlook, the home of Jabez and Elizabeth Watkins that became the Chancellor’s Residence in 1939. It was another home at 1345 Louisiana that was demolished in 1953 to make way for present-day Douthart Hall.

Photograph of the KU Chancellor's Residence at 1345 Louisiana, 1897
The KU Chancellor’s Residence at 1345 Louisiana, 1897. It was located just behind Spooner Hall, the corner of which is visible on the left. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/22/11 1897 Prints: Campus: Buildings: Chancellor’s Residence (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The article “An Old Friend” on the KU history website tells the story of how the first Chancellor’s Residence came to be built.

In 1891, the University had received a generous $91,618 bequest from the estate of William B. Spooner, a successful Boston leather merchant and philanthropist. Spooner, the uncle of then-KU Chancellor Francis Huntington Snow, had placed no restrictions on the use of his donation. The bulk of these funds, approximately $80,000, thus went to fill a desperate University need, that being a new freestanding library. Completed in 1894 and named in honor of its benefactor, the Henry van Brunt-designed Spooner Library – now known as Spooner Hall – stands today as Mount Oread’s oldest continually used academic structure.

Adequate library space was hardly the only thing the not yet 30-year-old University of Kansas lacked at this time. Also missing was an official chancellor’s residence, which forced KU’s early chief executives to keep their own private homes in town. Perhaps it was only fitting, then – considering the Spooner endowment’s familial origins – that when KU decided to spend the remaining $12,000 to construct a proper chancellor’s quarters, Chancellor Snow should be the first one to benefit.

Another van Brunt creation, the three-story, early Prairie Style home located at 1345 Louisiana Street welcomed the Snow family in December 1893.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Early Campus View Edition

February 28th, 2019

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 a view of the KU campus, 1890s

View of campus looking south along Oread Avenue, 1890s. University Archives
Photos. Call Number: RG 0/24/P 1890s Prints: Campus: Panoramas (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

From left to right are Spooner Hall, Old Blake Hall, Old Fraser Hall (roughly where modern Fraser Hall is located), and Old Snow Hall. Also visible is Marvin Grove – the area of trees on the right side of the photo. The empty area on the right is where Dyche Hall and the Kansas Union now stand.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: S.A.T.C. Edition

October 4th, 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!

One hundred years ago this week – on October 1, 1918 – almost 2,500 young men were inducted into KU’s unit of the Student Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.).

Photograph of members of KU's Student Army Training Corps in formation, 1918

Members of KU’s S.A.T.C. in formation on campus, 1918.
Spooner Hall is in the background. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 29/0 1918 Prints: Military Service and ROTC (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

According to a “Descriptive Circular” from October 1918, the primary purpose of the S.A.T.C. was to

utilize the executive and teaching personnel and the physical equipment of the educational institutions to assist in the training of our new armies [fighting in World War I]. These facilities will be especially useful for the training of officer-candidates and technical experts of all kinds to meet the needs of the service. This training is being conducted in about 600 colleges, universities, professional, technical and trade schools of the country.

The October 1918 edition of KU’s Graduate Magazine provided these additional details.

A contract to maintain an S. A. T. C. of two thousand members consisting of men over eighteen, who have had a high school education, was made with the University of Kansas by the government. The members are to be given full army uniforms and equipment, are to be lodged and fed in barracks by the government, will have all their university or college tuition paid by the government and will receive thirty dollars a month. Later it was decided to take over the 450 men of the technical training detachment already on the campus, and to organize a naval training camp for two hundred students. Some eighteen hundred men have already registered in the S. A. T. C., so that present indications point to the residence of 2,500 men at the University (16).

At that time, the highest total enrollment on the Lawrence campus had been 2,711 students in Fall 1916.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Umbrella Parade Edition

May 10th, 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!

This Sunday, KU graduates will take part in the tradition of walking down the hill from the Campanile to Memorial Stadium for the Commencement ceremony. This week’s photo shows an early version of this procession, which followed roughly the same route that this year’s graduates will take.

Photograph of an umbrella parade during Commencement, 1908

An umbrella parade to McCook Field – located roughly where Memorial Stadium
now stands – during Commencement week festivities, June 9, 1908. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/17 1908 Prints: University General: Commencement (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

You can see the umbrellas more clearly by clicking on the photo and then zooming in. You’ll also see that some participants – presumably KU seniors – are wearing graduation caps and gowns.

Notice Dyche Hall and Spooner Hall in the background. The large open space to their left is where the Memorial Union now stands.

The Lawrence Daily World newspaper previewed the umbrella parade in an article on May 20, 1908: “Another unique feature [of this year’s Commencement] will be the alumni umbrella parade. Gorgeous red and blue umbrellas decorated with the class numerals have been provided, under the gentle shade of which the visiting alumni will parade from Fraser hall to [t]he gymnasium [Robinson Gymnasium, where Wescoe Hall is now] for the alumni banquet, and then to McCook field for the senior-alumni baseball game.”

Image of the schedule of Class Day events, 1908

Image of the schedule of Class Day events, 1908

The schedule for Class Day, 1908. The umbrella parade took place between 3:45 and 4:00pm.
During KU’s early years, Class Day was one of the features of Commencement,
which included several days of celebrations and events beyond the graduation ceremony itself.
University Archives. Call Number: LD 2693 .U55 1908. Click image to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services