Browse Exhibits (30 total)

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.


Swahili Literature Through the Centuries

This exhibit highlights representative works of Swahili literature from the collection of the University of Kansas Libraries.  It features examples of various literary genres that comprise the most notable items in the Swahili collection.  These include biographical and autobiographical works, drama, fiction, poetry, and works translated into Swahili.  Also featured are the writings of Shaaban Robert (1909-1962), Tanzania’s most well-known literary figure, and examples of the interconnections between language and politics.


Kanga writings



100 Years of the Jayhawk


One hundred years ago a KU student named Daniel Henry "Hank" Maloy drew what became the first "signature" Jayhawk.  The term Jayhawker has been associated with Kansas since the pre-Civil War era and eventually became the symbol for the University of Kansas.  In 1886, the term Jayhawk was incorporated into our world-famous college yell "Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU," although it was not yet portrayed as a bird.  In a pre-Maloy drawing in the 1908 Jayhawker yearbook, a rather prehistoric looking bird is perched on a goalpost heckled a miserable looking Missouri Tiger.

In recollections of his college years, Maloy remembers that he first had the idea of drawing the Jayhawk as a bird in October of 1912 when he saw a stuffed chickenhawk in the Squires photography studio downtown.  He went home and drew a long-legged Jayhawk with big, heavy shoes so that he “could administer more effective justice” towards athletic opponents.

Not surprisingly, most of the items in this exhibit are from the holdings of the University Archives, but we’ve also discovered that the Kansas Collection, and even Special Collections (through writings of H. L. Mencken, no less) have also contributed to 100 Years of Jayhawk!

Many thanks go to Letha Johnson, Sherry Williams, Whitney Baker, and Roberta Woodrick for their assistance in making this exhibition possible.

Becky Schulte, University Archivist


Robert Gordon Vosper: A Force for Libraries

Robert Gordon Vosper served as director of KU Libraries from 1951 to 1960, shaping the collections with many of its most important acquisitions and establishing innovative ways to reach out to students. He was especially known for his defense of intellectual freedom, notably mounting an exhibition on banned books during the height of the McCarthy era, doing so with strong support from Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy.
Robert Vosper was named one of the top 100 most important people in 20th century librarianship by American Libraries, a publication of the American Library Association (ALA). The ALA lauded him “as a force for libraries and for the rights of librarians as partners in scholarly enterprise…. [H]is commitment to the library as an intellectual sanctuary was an inspiration to many.”


Rhythm and Meaning: Jazz at KU

A collaborative jazz exhibit which features the KU Libraries Richard Wright Jazz Archive and donations to the Archive by Film and Media Studies professor, Chuck Berg and his wife, Beth Berg.

The exhibit highlights the Jazz scholarship of KU faculty and students and features the prominent jazz collections of the American Museum of Jazz, the Mid-America Black Archives, the UMKC LaBudde Library, the KU Spencer Museum of Art and the KU Spencer Research Library.


Leon K. Hughes: African American Life in Wichita, Kansas

The Leon K. Hughes Photography Collection is a chronicle of African American family and community life in Wichita, KS from the late 1940s through the 1970s. Hughes (1913-1978) was the leading photographer of this community's family, church and civic events. A self-taught photographer, he established a home-based photography business in 1946 with the assistance of his wife, Mrs. Rosie Knight Hughes. After capturing the community's fond memories for three decades, Mr. and Mrs. Hughes retired their enterprise in 1976.


James Naismith’s Life and Legacy: Celebrating 150 Years


The University of Kansas Libraries' exhibition, “James Naismith’s Life and Legacy: Celebrating 150 Years” celebrates the 150th birthday of basketball’s inventor.  This collection of historic materials includes photographs, a scrapbook, university records and pamphlets from McGill University, Springfield College and the University of Kansas Archives.

The items in this exhibit come from the archives of McGill University, where Naismith graduated; Springfield College, where he was teaching when he invented basketball; and the University of Kansas, where he founded KU’s long-running basketball program and worked for 40 years.


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.