University of Kansas

Archivist’s Statement

The collections of the University Archives at KU document the nearly 150 year history of the University of Kansas. Dr. James Naismith played a key role in that history. For forty years he devoted his life to the moral, physical and educational well-being of KU students.

Included in the Archives are Naismith’s personal papers, photographs, biographical files and university records that preserve his many contributions.

The June 7, 1898 minutes of the Kansas Board of Regents meeting appointing him as Associate Professor of Physical Culture and Chapel Director are found here as are dozens of photographs of Naismith as basketball inventor and coach, teacher, researcher, fencing instructor, military chaplain (on a horse no less), husband and father and University ambassador.

The 1925 Jayhawker yearbook dedicated to him by the students is housed in the Archives along with scrapbooks, files of newspaper and magazine clippings, Graduate and Alumni Magazine articles, books written by and about Naismith, correspondence with chancellors and a movie film clip of Naismith demonstrating the technique of pushing the ball out of the basket with a long pole to legendary basketball coach Phog Allen.

Dr. Naismith was concerned about the taint of professionalism on a game that he created for fun, recreation and physical development. This too is documented in the holdings of the Archives. His feeling about the importance of sport on the development of young men and women is expressed in his speeches and writings.

Rebecca Schulte
University Archivist
University of Kansas Libraries