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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: “Hill Climbing Not Healthful” Edition

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

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