Browse Exhibits (18 total)

KU Football: The First Seven Decades

An online exhibition of the first seven decades of KU Football (1890 through 1955), featuring images from the University Archives at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library.

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Free Speech in America: Wilcox Collection at 50

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THE WILCOX COLLECTION OF CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL MOVEMENTS

Fifty years ago Laird Wilcox was a student at the University of Kansas.  Beginning in his teen years he had been collecting political literature, fueled in this interest by his diverse family leanings and volatile discussions over family meals. He wanted to understand what motivated people to believe the things they did and act on those beliefs, especially those beliefs and actions that were viewed as left and right wing.  And he believed passionately in free speech. 

In his student days he served as the chairman of the SUA Minorities Forum at KU, an organization that sponsored many films, talks and programs aligned with free speech and the controversies of the time.  It was the era of the Vietnam War, the draft, the Civil Rights Movement, and student protest.  

By 1964 he had exhibited his collection in the student union at KU, and won an award through the Libraries’ Taylor Book Collecting Contest..  The KU Libraries expressed  interest in acquiring his collection, and in 1965 purchased the four filing cabinets of materials that would form the nucleus of the Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements.   

After leaving the University, Wilcox continued to pursue his long held interest in extremist views, corresponding with many active in a variety of movements, attending rallies and  protests, collecting box loads of materials, publishing  directories of  left wing and right wing organizations.  All this material made its way to Spencer Library where it was added to the Wilcox Collection.

Likewise the library  added to the holdings with paid subscriptions to many serial publications, and the purchase of books, pamphlets and audio recordings.  The Collection  grew rapidly, as box loads of materials were received monthly.  By the 1980s the collection had outgrown the library’s capacity to catalog everything, and a U.S. Department of Education grant  was obtained in 1986, providing some $350,000 over a three year period to catalog all the serial publications and ephemeral files. 

Today the Wilcox Collection is one of the largest assemblages of left and right wing U.S. materials anywhere.  There are thousands and thousands of pamphlets, books, newsletters, audio recordings, and political ephemera such as bumper stickers, posters, flyers, organizational membership mailings, book catalogs, relating to some 10,000 organizations at the fringes of the political spectrum.  There is also a growing component of manuscript collections as well, including Laird Wilcox’s personal papers, and records from such organizations as the New York based  Women for Racial and Economic Equality. 

Researchers come from all over the world to use the Wilcox Collection, finding resources that are hard, if not impossible to come by elsewhere.  The library continues to receive donations from Laird Wilcox, and many others who support the collection.      

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Onitsha Market Literature

Onitsha Market Literature consists of stories, plays, advice and moral discourses published primarily in the 1960s by local presses in the lively market town of Onitsha, an important commercial site in the Igbo-speaking region of southeastern Nigeria. In the fresh and vigorous genre of Onitsha Market Literature, the commoner wrote pulp fiction and didactic handbooks for those who perused the bookstalls of Onitsha Market, one of Africa’s largest trading centers. Twenty-one pamphlets from Onitsha Market appear here fully digitized and annotated to exemplify styles of expression found in this intriguing form of African popular literature. They are part of a unique collection of 101 pamphlets from Onitsha now held at the Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas.

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Nobel Laureates In Literature Around The Globe

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International Nobel Laureates

Featuring books  from:

  • Africa and the Middle East
  • Bosnia (Yugoslavia), Poland, Russia, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)
  • China and Japan
  • Spain, Portugal and Latin America
  • France, Germany, Italy, and India

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Lasting Impact: Brown vs. the Board of Education

"[Education] is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”

Mr. Chief Justice Warren, Brown v. Board of Education 347 U.S. 483,
Argued December 9, 1952. Decided May 17, 1954

 

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Celebrating East Asian Studies Scholarship

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KU Libraries is honored to showcase the work of East Asian Studies scholars at the University of Kansas. This exhibition was created to illustrate the breadth of East Asian resources, support and scholarship found across the University of Kansas community.

Celebrating East Asian Studies Scholarship: an Interdisciplinary Showcase

February 16 through April 13, 2012

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Frosted Windows: 300 Years of St. Petersburg Through Western Eyes

A window lets in light from both sides. But in damp northern climes, it’s often through a glass darkly, be it during the foggy days and White Nights of mid-summer or on snowy evenings surrounding the Winter Solstice when window-panes are frosted and folks darken the chandelier or blow out the candles and crawl early into feather-beds.

Peter the Great’s Sankt Pieter Burkh, founded 300 years ago this year as his “Window on the West,” tempted Europe and the West, much like The Little Match Girl on the coldest night of the year, to come in spiritual and intellectual hunger and in hopes of feeling the warmth and seeing the light-in-the-East they could make out through the almost opaque Petersburg crystal.

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John Gould: Bird Illustration in the Age of Darwin

John Gould (1804-1881) contributed to burgeoning scientific and popular interest in the natural world in Victorian England as an ornithologist, collector, and illustrator and publisher of bird books. He assisted Charles Darwin with classification of bird specimens collected during the H.M.S. Beagle’s visit to the Galapagos Islands in 1835. Gould and his artist wife, Elizabeth (1804-1841) traveled to Australia in 1838. Two years engaged in pioneering studies of Australian wildlife resulted in the seven-volume Birds of Australia (1840-1848) and three-volume Mammals of Australia (1845-1863). Partnering with other illustrators after his wife’s death, Gould published a dozen folio-size books about birds of the world.

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Quantrill's Raid

As part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Quantrill's raid on Lawrence, the University of Kansas Libraries present selections from the Kansas Collection's holdings that illuminate this significant chapter in Kansas history.

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