Browse Exhibits (40 total)

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

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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.

This is an online version of the exhibit catalog for a physical exhibit that was on display in Kenneth Spencer Research Library, April through June of 2003. The exhibit was created by Sally Haines, Associate Librarian.


Quantrill's Raid

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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.

This is an online version of a physical exhibit that was on display in Kenneth Spencer Research Library, August through October of 2013. The exhibit was created by Sheryl Williams, emeritis curator of the Kansas Collection. For more information or questions, contact


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

This is an online version of a physical exhibit that was on display in Kenneth Spencer Research Library from December 2012 through March of 2013. The exhibit was created by Rebecca Schulte, University Archivist.


Robert Gordon Vosper: A Force for Libraries

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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.