Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

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: Bird’s-Eye View Edition

March 16th, 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 34,500 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

Photograph of campus looking north from Old Fraser Hall, 1910s

View of campus looking north from Old Fraser Hall, 1910s.
Old Fraser was located roughly where modern Fraser now stands.
Visible are Dyche Hall (left) and Spooner Hall (right). University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/P 1910s Prints: Campus: Panoramas (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Throwback Thursday: Snowy Campus Edition

January 5th, 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 34,500 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

It’s a snowy day on Mount Oread, so this week’s photo shows what a snow-covered KU looked like roughly one hundred years ago.

Photograph of campus in snow, 1915

View of campus, covered in snow, looking south, 1915.
From left to right are Spooner Hall (then Spooner Library), Dyche Hall,
Green (now Lippincott) Hall, Old Fraser Hall, Chemistry Hall, Old Snow Hall,
Bailey Hall, Strong Hall, Robinson Gymnasium, Old Haworth Hall, and
Marvin Hall. Potter Lake is also visible. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Snow 1915 Prints: Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

Throwback Thursday: Sledding Edition

December 8th, 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 32,900 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

We were excited about yesterday’s snow – the first of the year – even though it wasn’t enough for the type of fun shown in this week’s photograph.

Photograph of Chancellor Frank Strong's children sledding, 1900s

Sledding on campus, 1900s. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Snow 1900s Prints: Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

In the background of the photograph are the old chancellor’s residence (left) – located at 1345 Louisiana, where Douthart Scholarship Hall now stands – and Spooner Hall, then the campus library (right).

Notation on the back of the photograph indicates that one of the children on the sled is Evelyn Strong, the daughter of Chancellor Frank Strong and his wife Mary. Evelyn was born around 1896 and graduated from KU in 1917. With her is Elfriede Fischer (1896-1992), who was also a 1917 KU graduate; she donated the photo to Spencer Research Library.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants