Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Junior Promenade Edition

April 22nd, 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!

"The First Junior Promenade, April 12, 1895" in the 1896 KU yearbook
Illustration, “The First Junior Promenade, April 12, 1895” in the 1896 KU yearbook, A Kwir Book. The event was what we would call a prom today; the word “prom” originated as a truncation of “promenade.” University Archives. Call Number: LD 2697 .J3 1896. Click image to enlarge.

The Lawrence Daily Gazette described the event in an article on April 13, 1895:

“To the class of ’96 of the State University belongs the credit of introducing into college circles of the west, that social function so famous in eastern colleges – the Junior promenade. The Fraternal Aid hall [in downtown Lawrence on the southeast corner of Eighth and Vermont streets] as the scene last evening of the pleasant college gathering…The hall was handsomely decorated with cut flowers and potted plants and the class colors, cream and crimson. The refreshments were served on the stage and the balcony was fitted up with tables for crokinole cards and checkers. Dancing was the order of the evening.”

Caitlin Klepper
Head of Public Services

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

Throwback Thursday: Togetherness Edition

December 26th, 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!

We hope all Jayhawks are enjoying a very merry holiday season with their families and friends!

A portrait of a group of KU students, 1912-1913
A group of KU students, 1912-1913. Note the KU pillows on their laps. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/0 1912/1913: Student Activities (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Nightshirt Parade Edition

August 29th, 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!

We’re looking forward to the first home game of the KU football season on Saturday. During the first half of the twentieth century, that event would have been celebrated with a Nightshirt Parade tomorrow night.

Photograph of the KU Nightshirt Parade, 1951
KU students in the Nightshirt Parade, 1951. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/17 1951 Negatives: Student Activities: Nightshirt Parade (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The article “Nighty Night for the Nightshirt Parades” on the KU history website describes the event.

Nightshirt Parades became a venerable KU tradition. Typically, on the night before the first home game of the season, hundreds of students wearing nightshirts (usually over top of their clothing) would make their way north through campus to Sixth Street, then march east along Sixth until they reached Massachusetts Street. At this point, students would form “into one continuous serpentine line,” which amounted to a fair approximation of a conga line. Single file and holding the person in front of them, the students would weave their way down Massachusetts until they reached South Park where a bonfire would be held in anticipation of the next day’s game. At other times, the route was essentially reversed, with the procession beginning in the park and winding its way onto campus…

The onset of World War II marked the beginning of the end for the traditional Nightshirt Parade. Student enrollments dropped, and the annual procession filled in the depleted ranks by including coeds for the first time. When enrollments revived in the post-war years, the student body contained many veterans attending on the GI Bill. Serious, older, and less impressionable, these students were ill inclined to participate in or otherwise put up with anything they considered collegiate foolishness. They brought an end to the freshman cap tradition at KU, and saw little reason to don pajamas for a public event. Nonetheless, a version of the Nightshirt Parade continued well into the 1950s. However, the event had lost much of its original spontaneity and student enthusiasm for it dwindled.

The last Nightshirt Parade took place in 1957, replaced the following year with a “Traditions Rally.”

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: Student Election Edition, Part II

April 13th, 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!

With Student Senate elections taking place today, this week’s photograph highlights the election for class officers that took place at KU during the fall semester in 1919.

Photograph of student election posters, 1919

Student election posters, 1919. Strong Hall is
in the background. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/0 1911 Prints: Student Activities (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

An advertisement for the Loyalty ticket ran in the Daily Kansan student newspaper on October 16, the day before the election: “Loyalty stands for class spirit, student government, faculty student cooperation, [and] better athletic support.”

On October 18, 1919, the day after the election, the Lawrence Daily Journal-World reported the results in a story entitled “Big Vote Was Out at Hill Election.”

The “Status Quo” Senior ticket at K. U., meaning “As It Was Before the War” went “over the top” in the class elections yesterday. Wint Smith being elected president of the senior class with a majority of twenty-five votes over Basil T. Church. Both are Lawrence men. Smith’s whole ticket carried, Eileen Van Sandt of Chanute for secretary running high with 200 votes. Fred Pausch was elected vice-president on the ticket and Warren Blazier of Lawton, Okla., was elected treasurer…

A larger per cent of the students voted in the elections Friday than in any previous year and showed a great amount of interest where there was a contest. Of 350 seniors 320 voted…

In 1947, senior class president Wint Smith was elected to represent Kansas’s (now obsolete) 6th Congressional District. Voters sent Smith to Congress for six more consecutive terms, and he served until 1961.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants