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Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

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Welcome to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library blog! As the special collections and archives library at the University of Kansas, Spencer is home to remarkable and diverse collections of rare and unique items. Explore the blog to learn about the work we do and the materials we collect.

Throwback Thursday: Arbor Day Edition, Part II

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!

Happy Arbor Day Eve, Jayhawks! How will you be celebrating tomorrow?

Photograph of "Lover's Lane" in Marvin Grove, 1948
“Lover’s Lane” in Marvin Grove, 1948. University Archives Photos. Call Number: RG 0/24/1 Marvin Grove 1948: Campus: Areas and Objects (Photos). Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Did you know that Lawrence’s first Arbor Day celebration took place on March 29, 1878? Chancellor James Marvin – an avid amateur horticulturist – declared a general university holiday, and local residents joined KU students and faculty to plant more than 300 young trees in North Hollow, the area that became known as Marvin Grove.

KU alumnus and Greek professor Miles Wilson Sterling described the event in an article “The Trees of the Campus,” which appeared in the December 1909 issue of the The Graduate Magazine

“I have a vivid recollection of the day and the circumstances of the first planting of trees in the north hollow. At that time the ground was covered chiefly by prairie grass. There were a few clumps of crab apple and wild plum along the ravine, but nothing that could grow into a respectable forest tree. The Douglas County Horticultural society furnished free of charge several wagon loads of young elms, honey locusts, hackberries, evergreens, and other varieties of trees.

Early in the morning, several members of the faculty and several scores of young men led by Dr. Marvin, began the task of planting. The early part of the day was cloudy and chilly but the interest and rivalry in the work kept everybody warm and cheerful. Dr. Marvin went about personally directing the proceedings and sometimes taking a spade in hand to show how the planting should be done. Before noon it began to rain, and sometime later to snow; but by that time all the stock of trees had been properly placed.”

Caitlin Klepper
Head of Public Services

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