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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: Homecoming Queen 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 6,700 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

We’re excited that Homecoming is right around the corner, so this week’s photograph shows 1938 Homecoming Queen Dorothy “Denny” Lemoine (center) and her court, Helen Johnson (left) and Elizabeth Kemp (right). Lemoine was chosen by the football team.

Photograph of KU Homecoming queen and court, 1938

The KU Homecoming Queen and her attendants with campus officials on the field at
Memorial Stadium, November 1938. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/1 1938 Prints: Student Activities: Homecoming (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

According to an article on the KU History website, the first Homecoming Queen was crowned at KU in 1925. The “ceremony did not become a tradition until 1933. A new queen was crowned each year until 1969, when anti-war demonstrations and stormy race relations led to the committee’s decision that it was ‘more appropriate to recognize those who embody the academic spirit for which this community was established.'”

From left to right in the photograph are:

  • Colonel Karl F. Baldwin: A career Army officer, Baldwin (1885-1967) was a Professor of Military Science and Tactics and the ROTC commandant at KU from 1936 to 1941. Born in Iowa, Baldwin spent part of his childhood in Kansas. He received a B.S. in civil engineering (1908) and an M.A. (1918) from Norwich University, then The Military College of the State of Vermont.
  • Chancellor Ernest H. Lindley: A native of Indiana, Lindley received his B.A. (1893) and M.A. (1894) degrees in psychology from Indiana University before obtaining his Ph.D. in psychology from Clark University in 1897. He spent over twenty years as professor of psychology and philosophy at Indiana before becoming the president of the University of Idaho in 1917. Lindley (1869-1940) served as the Chancellor of KU from 1920 to 1939.
  • Attendant Helen Virginia Johnson: Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, Helen graduated from KU in 1941 with a major in English. While at the university she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and the Young Women’s Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.). She also served on the Women’s Student Government Association (W.S.G.A.) and was the Vice President of her junior class. Helen was also a Kansas Relay Queen and a Jayhawker Queen.
  • Homecoming Queen Dorothy Deneise Lemoine: Dorothy graduated from KU in 1940 with a degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Also from Kansas City, Missouri, she was an intramural manager and a Hobo Queen, plus a member of Pi Beta Phi, Sociology Club, the Women’s Athletic Association (W.A.A.), and French Club. She became engaged to star KU halfback Dick Amerine about a month after this photo was taken.
  • Attendant Elizabeth Ellinor Kemp: A member of the Class of 1939, Elizabeth majored in Spanish. The Kansas City, Missouri, native was also a member of Spanish Club and Alpha Delta Pi.
  • Ralph T. O’Neil, Chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents: O’Neil (1888-1940) was born in Osage City, Kansas. He obtained an A.B. from Baker (1909) and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Harvard (1913). A World War I veteran, O’Neil was a long-time attorney in Topeka who also served as the national commander of the American Legion (1930-1931) and the president of the Kansas Bar Association (1939-1940).

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