Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: Robert F. Kennedy Edition

June 7th, 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!

In April we shared a photograph of KU students in front of Strong Hall honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. after his assassination in 1968. This week’s photograph commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of a second assassination: that of Senator Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968.

Kennedy announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on March 16, 1968. He launched his campaign two days later with speeches at Kansas State University and KU.

Photograph of Robert F. Kennedy speaking in Allen Fieldhouse, March 18, 1968

Robert F. Kennedy speaking in Allen Fieldhouse, March 18, 1968. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/19 Robert F. Kennedy 1968: University General: Visitors (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Kennedy’s speech in Allen Fieldhouse began at 1:30pm, and KU classes scheduled at that time were cancelled. “I don’t know whether you’re going to like what I’m going to say today but I just want you to remember, as you look back upon this day, and when it comes to a question of who you’re going to support – that it was a Kennedy who got you out of class,” he joked. The University Daily Kansan reported that the speech lasted sixty-five minutes; Kennedy apparently spent half that time delivering prepared remarks and the other half answering questions from students, who submitted them in writing to ushers they entered the Fieldhouse.

According to the Kansan, an estimated 20,000 people attended the event. (Approximately 15,800 students were enrolled on the Lawrence campus in Fall 1967.)

Instead of going directly to the podium [when he arrived at the Fieldhouse] Kennedy wandered around the basketball court shaking hands and waving to the students. It was a full minute-and-a-half before the initial applause faded out and he took his seat…

Kennedy’s normally flat, laconic speaking tone raised and nearly broke at times, as he spoke of his convictions concerning America’s problems and tried to battle the surges of applause, foot-stamping and screaming…

His final words were drowned by roars from the crowd as students surged toward him…

“It was the largest crowd we’ve ever had in Allen Field House,” said James E. Gunn, administrative assistant to the chancellor.

 

Photograph of Robert F. Kennedy with KU students outside Allen Fieldhouse, March 18, 1968

Robert F. Kennedy with KU students outside Allen Fieldhouse, March 18, 1968.
Lawrence Journal-World Photo Collection, University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG LJW 0/19 Robert F. Kennedy 1968: University General:
Visitors (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

The Kansan also described the scene as Kennedy departed.

By the time the senator tried to make his exit it seemed likely that KU’s enthusiasm would pull him apart. Throughout the speech the audience had crept closer to Kennedy like rising floodwater. Then, when he tried to make his exit, he discovered that he would haave to fight his way through 500 feet of human barricades…

East exits from the Field House were blocked by an estimated 20,000 people, as the Senator wedged his way through a screaming, solidly-packed mob.

Additional information about Kennedy’s KU visit are available online, including photographs (KU Libraries), a transcript of the speech (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum), and an audio recording of the speech (YouTube).

Film footage of the speech can also be viewed as part of the permanent exhibit in Spencer’s North Gallery.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

KU’s Danforth Chapel

May 18th, 2018

Photograph of Danforth Chapel, 1971

Danforth Chapel, 1971. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/14 1971: Campus: Buildings: Danforth Chapel (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

In 1927, William H. Danforth, founder of the Ralston-Purina Company in St. Louis, Missouri, created the Danforth Foundation. It provided college scholarships, supported revitalization projects in St. Louis, and funded the Danforth Chapel Program. Danforth recognized the need for a place of spiritual meditation on college campuses. The Chapel Program funded twenty-four chapels around the country, fifteen of those on college campuses. A few still stand today, including the one at the University of Kansas. The architect for KU’s Chapel was Edward W. Tanner, who declined payment for his work. Tanner also designed The Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.

Photograph of William H. Danforth and Chancellor Deane W. Malott at the Danforth Chapel dedication, 1946

William H. Danforth (left) and KU Chancellor Deane W. Malott (right)
at the dedication of Danforth Chapel, 1946. University Archives.
Call Number: RG 0/22/14/i 1950s Prints: Campus: Buildings: Danforth Chapel (Photos).
Click on image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Image of a Daily Kansan article about the dedication of Danforth Chapel, April 2 1946

Article about the dedication of Danforth Chapel in the
University Daily Kansan student newspaper, April 2, 1946.
University Archives. Call Number: UA Ser 69/2/1. Click image to enlarge.

Danforth Chapel was constructed during World War II. Locally imprisoned German POWs did much of the labor. The contractors in charge of the building project hired them and paid them for their work. They worked eight hours a day, six days a week. Part of the labor agreement stipulated that the POWs would work on the chapel only when not needed by local farmers or industry. They worked under guard and returned to their barracks at the end of each workday. They wore denim jackets and t-shirts with the letters “PW” boldly printed on them. Once completed, the chapel furnishings were acquired with money raised by the campus Danforth Chapel Committee. One of the members of this committee was Forrest C. “Phog” Allen, the legendary basketball coach. Donations came from faculty, staff and students.

Photograph of Danforth Chapel under construction, 1942

Danforth Chapel under construction, 1942. University Archives.
Call Number: RG 0/22/14 1942: Campus: Buildings: Danforth Chapel (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Today Danforth Chapel remains nondenominational. Renovated and re-dedicated in 2007, it still provides a quiet place for individual prayer and meditation, weddings, christenings, memorials and student activities.

Image of Daily Kansan article about the first wedding in Danforth Chapel, March 20 1946

University Daily Kansan article about the first wedding
in Danforth Chapel, March 20, 1946. University Archives.
Call Number: UA Ser 69/2/1. Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of a a wedding at Danforth Chapel, circa 1953

A wedding at Danforth Chapel, circa 1953. University Archives.
Call Number: RG 0/22/14 circa 1950s: Campus: Buildings: Danforth Chapel (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Kathy Lafferty
Public Services

Throwback Thursday: “Hill Climbing Not Healthful” Edition

February 1st, 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!

In conducting research for Tuesday’s blog post about large ice jams along the Kansas River near Lawrence in January 1910, my colleague Meredith Huff discovered this fun article that appeared on the front page of the University Daily Kansan (then called The Kansan) on January 25, 1910.

Image of a Daily Kansan article, "Hill Climbing Not Healthful," January 25, 1910

“Hill Climbing Not Healthful” article in The Kansan,
January 25, 1910. University Archives.
Call Number: UA Ser 69/2/1. Click image to enlarge.

Dr. Naismith‘s comments may have been precipitated by news – reported in The Kansan on January 4th – that winter weather had delayed work on the new campus streetcar line. According to the earlier article,

The students who had fond hopes of riding up to the University on the street cars after the holidays, returned to find their dreams faded. And the manager of the Lawrence car line this morning sentenced the whole student body to walk up and down the hill all the rest of the winter.

In addition to coaching basketball, Dr. Naismith’s other roles at KU included Professor of Physical Education, Director of Robinson Gymnasium, and Chapel Director. His hygiene class was required of all freshman; here is how it was described in the 1909-1910 KU Annual Catalogue:

One hour, first semester, men, Monday; women, Thursday. Lectures designed to help the students to maintain health, dealing with food, clothing, exercise, conditions conducive to study, prophylactic treatment, especially in regard to infectious and contagious diseases.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Throwback Thursday: War Declaration Edition

April 6th, 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!

The United States entered World War I on this date one hundred years ago by declaring war on Germany. Shown here is the front page of the University Daily Kansan from April 4, 1917. This was two days before the declaration, but war seemed imminent.

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson went before a joint session of Congress to request a declaration of war against Germany. Wilson cited Germany’s violation of its pledge to suspend unrestricted submarine warfare in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, as well as its attempts to entice Mexico into an alliance against the United States, as his reasons for declaring war. On April 4, 1917, the U.S. Senate voted in support of the measure to declare war on Germany. The House concurred two days later (U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian).

Front page of the University Daily Kansan, April 4, 1917

Front page of the University Daily Kansan, April 4, 1917.
Note other headlines unrelated to the war,
like “No More Paddling of Freshman, Says Senate.”
University Archives. Call Number: UA Ser 69/2/1.
Click image to enlarge.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services

Melissa Kleinschmidt and Abbey Ulrich
Public Services Student Assistants

“The Bleachers are Dead! Long Live the Stadium!”

May 10th, 2016

Ninety-five years ago today saw an impressive event at the University of Kansas. As summarized by an article by John H. McCool, “Chancellor Lindley declared May 10, 1921, to be Stadium Day and turned loose hundreds of male students and faculty who proceeded to physically tear down the [McCook Field] bleachers in only 78 minutes.”

Photograph of the KU v. MU football game at McCook field, 1910

The marching band playing at halftime of the KU v. MU football game, McCook Field, 1910.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 71/66/14 1910: Student Activities:
Sports: Football (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

McCook was KU’s “original outdoor athletic grounds,” and by 1920 the 25-year-old wooden bleachers were considered dilapidated, uncomfortable, and inadequate. According to McCool, “these conditions, coupled with a steady rise of alumni and student interest in KU football, made construction of a new, permanent stadium a top priority, and if it also served a commemorative function [to memorialize KU students, alumni, and faculty who had died in World War I], then so much the better.”

Photograph of McCook Field bleachers, 1920

McCook Field bleachers prior to demolition, 1920. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1920 Prints: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

The University Daily Kansan announced Stadium Day on May 9th with a front page article. “Each student will have his chance to show just what his true relations to his University and his feelings toward it really are,” it read, continuing:

The removal of the old bleachers is not such an event in itself. The participation in clearing the ground for the new structure is the big feature of the entire school year. The ground is to be broken for the new stadium. The old gives place to new and every one present will witness the beginning of the biggest building project that K. U. has to date hoped to attain…This is the one big day of the entire school year, the last all-university holiday and frolic. Tuesday is the day! McCook Field is the place! You are the individual responsible! Be there!!

Reporting on Stadium Day on May 11th, the Kansan proclaimed that it was “a grand and howling success.” Below are some photographs of the event, accompanied by further descriptions from the Kansan.

University Daily Kansan, May 11, 1921: “In alphabetical order, the workers gathered at various sections of the bleachers, and began their task of lifting planks, removing joists, and prying side-pieces. As soon as a swarm of students would remove the ancient timber, another group would begin to carry it off the field…While the bleachers were undergoing their last rites, an immense company of men was building portable bleachers to contain crowds at the two track meets to be held here yet this year. This bunch of men were aided by two power saws, and the short time consumed in the construction of these temporary stands was miraculous.”

Photograph of Stadium Day, bleachers being disassembled, 1921

Bleachers being disassembled, 8:30am on Stadium Day, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of Stadium Day, bleachers being disassembled, 1921

Stadium Day, south bleachers at 9:00am, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Photograph of Stadium Day, bleachers being disassembled, 1921

Stadium Day, north bleachers at 9:30am, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921 Prints: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Stadium Day workers, 1921

Stadium Day workers, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921 Prints: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

Photograph of Stadium Day, men carrying logs, 1921

Students working on Stadium Day, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/0 1921: Student Activities (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

University Daily Kansan, May 11, 1921: “Although by far the great majority of students turned out to assist in the destruction, a few sluggards stayed in their homes. Toward the censure of these, a personnel squad turned out, thirty-five strong, and made a tour of the Hill. Armed with paddles, the squad discovered sixty men, and the sixty were soon with the multitude of laborers.”

Photograph of the Stadium Day paddle squad, 1921

Stadium Day paddle squad, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921 Prints: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

University Daily Kansan, May 11, 1921: “But work wasn’t the main pleasure of the day. Just after a bunch of Kansas City alumni and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce pulled up Illinois Avenue headed by a band, fifteen ‘chow’ lines were put into motion, and 4,000 persons were fed in less than an hour. The fifteen lines proceeded past tables which were presided over by ten or twelve University women. Heaped upon these tables were thousands upon thousands of sandwiches – peanut butter, pimento cheese, and freshly barbecued beef, giant quantities of beans, pickles, innumerable ice cream cones, and gallon after gallon of steaming coffee. An orderly crowd then took plates to the cars and curbings on Illinois street, and was soon stuffed. ‘Seconds’ were allowed those who came back for more. Never before in the history of the University had such a feed been held, and never before anywhere had 4,000 appetites been so thoroughly satisfied.””

Photogrpah of Stadium Day barbecue, 1921

Stadium Day barbecue, 1921. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921 Prints: Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos).
Click image to enlarge.

University Daily Kansan, May 11, 1921: “A pushball contest was announced, the thousands adjourning to Hamilton Field. After this sport had resulted in countless bruises and boundless enthusiasm, the last scheduled event of the celebration took place.”

Phototograph of Stadium Day pushball contest, 1921

Stadium Day pushball contest, 1921. Many of the day’s activities were
filmed by a Pathé News cameraman. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921 Prints: Campus:
Buildings: McCook Field (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

University Daily Kansan, May 11, 1921: “Clad in overalls, Chancellor Lindley plowed a straight furrow across McCook Field. The ground for a new half-million dollar project was broken. The bleachers are dead! Long live the Stadium!” Earlier in the day, Lindley had “sounded the keynote of the holiday in a short speech. ‘The students of Kansas deserve everything that is given to the students at Princeton, Yale, and Harvard,’ he said, ‘and they are going to have it.'”

Photograph of Chancellor Lindley at Stadium Day, 1921

Chancellor Ernest Lindley (left, hat in hand) at Stadium Day, 1921.
University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/22/47 1921 Prints:
Campus: Buildings: McCook Field (Photos). Click image to enlarge.

Construction of the new Memorial Stadium began on July 16, 1921. But, as John H. McCool wrote, “with only a quarter-million in the bank, the Memorial Corporation could only pay for the east and west sides; rounding off the U would not be possible until 1927 (when full capacity reached 38,000), and only then after raising ticket prices and floating hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bonds.”

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services