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Lawrence, Kansas photographs collection

Call Number: RH PH 18


This collection of photographic materials relating to Lawrence, Kansas and its residents, businesses, buildings, and events spans the early 19th century through the late 20th century, therefore also spanning the history of photography itself. This is an artificial collection, meaning that the photographs herein come from a wide variety of sources and have been compiled by the Spencer Research Library into this single collection organized by subject matter.


  • Creation: 1847 - 1997

Conditions Governing Access

Glass plate and flexible negative originals are only issued if the curator or head of Public Services gives permission.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.


14.75 Linear Feet (32 document cases + 1 slide box, 2 card file boxes, 11 oversize boxes, 10 oversize folders) : Document cases vary in height but are all 0.25-0.5 linear feet in width.

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Lawrence photo collection consists of a wide variety of photographic media, including prints, stereographs, ambrotypes, daguerrotypes, glass plate negatives, glass plate positives, nitrate negatives, and other flexible negative types. There are also a few non-photographic media types throughout the collection, including paintings, drawings, and etchings, which appear in the photographic prints sub-series.

The images show exclusively Lawrence, Kansas and natural features immediately surrounding the city, documenting the city's buildings, including churches, schools, businesses, and the "Dutch" windmill formerly located on West Ninth Street; individuals, both prominent local figures and unidentified individuals; events, including parades, ceremonies, Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence, the floods of 1876, 1892, 1903, 1908, and 1951, and the tornado of 1911. Also included are two family albums, from the Eli Hunter and Kennedy families, respectively, showing daily life in Lawrence and a number of local people and businesses.

Where possible, the names of photographers have been noted, however this information is unavailable for a number of photographs in the collection.


This collection has been arranged by subject matter into the following series: businesses and public spaces; churches; residences; schools; the "Dutch" windmill; bridges and rivers; cityscapes and environs; street scenes; group portraits; portraits and families; events and ceremonies; disasters; transportation; unidentified portraits by Lawrence photographers; albums; and miscellaneous. Each series has been divided into sub-series of photographic prints and negatives, and then further broken down by specific photographic media type within each of these sub-series.

Items are frequently undated. It should be noted that numerous photographs could pertain to multiple series - for example, photographs of a parade, present in the "Events and ceremonies" series, might also show local businesses in the background, street scenes, public officials, and buildings.

It should also be noted that in some instances, there are no corresponding prints for certain negatives in the collection, and these subjects are therefore represented only within the negatives sub-series.

The collection is physically arranged by series, size, and photographic media type. Oversize photographs housed in boxes are denoted by an 'f' following their box number and those housed in oversize folders are denoted by 'ff' following their folder number. Nitrate and flexible negatives are housed together in boxes, glass plate negatives are housed in several separate boxes, glass plate positives are housed in a separate box, and slides are housed in a slide box (box 24). The negatives in box 25 are generally 5x7" in size, in boxes 26-28 generally 8x10", in boxes 29, 30, and 32 generally 4x6", and in boxes 31, 33, and 34 generally 4x5". Stereographs are housed with the regular photographic prints in box 23, denoted by an "s" following the folder number.

Physical Location

RH PH 18

Physical Location

RH PH 18(f)

Physical Location

RH PH 18(ff)

Other Finding Aids

Additional detailed information about several photographs in the collection is available on-site; contact Spencer Research Library staff for assistance if wishing to see this more detailed information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Kate and May Riggs, 1931; Dora Renn Bryant, 1938; University of Kansas Alumni Association, 1945; Earl W. Shimmons, 1971; Ed L. Griffin, 1972, 1984; Mrs. Robert Embers, 1982; New York School, 1982; Elizabeth Raymond, 1982; University of California-Los Angeles Archives, 1982; Mrs. Chester, 1983; Mary Frances Durr, 1983; Marion Springer Ulrich, 1984; Nellie Shepard Waywick, 1985; David Dary, 1988; Rich Clarkson, 1999; Mrs. Donal Young, date unknown; other unknown donors and dates. Purchases, Miller Print Shop, 1986; Frank Wood, 1995, 2008. Transfer from University of Kansas University Archives.

Separated Materials

Photographic print of Watkins National Bank, previously housed at RH PH 18 A:42, is now part of the Duke D'Ambra collection at RH PH 69.

Photographic print of 1414 Tennessee Street, Mayreas residence, previously housed at RH PH 18 C: 22, has been transferred to RH PH 176, University of Kansas publications photographs.

Photographic print of "Aunt Abbie's house," previously housed at RH PH 18 C: 27, has been transferred to RH PH 176.

Photographic print of an unidentified frame home, previously housed at RH PH 18 C: 31, has been transferred to RH PH 176.

Photographic print of "The Shade of the Elm" from July 1911, previously housed at RH PH 18 C: 51, transferred to RH PH 176.

Photographic prints of hyperbolic paraboloid house, previously housed at RH PH 18 C: 52-53, transferred to RH PH 176.

Slides of 1613 Tennessee Street, Maupin house, previously housed at RH PH 18 C: 78, transferred to RH PH 176.

Photographic print [no metadata available] previously housed at RH PH 18 C: 87, transferred to RH PH 176.

VHS tape of Lawrence High School class of 1987 photo montage, previously housed at RH PH 18 D: 34, removed from collection for separate cataloging.

Flexible negatives of various events in Lawrence previously housed at RH PH 18 Box 35 as well as corresponding prints transferred to the Lawrence Journal-World photograph collection [no call number available].

Guide to the Lawrence Photo Collection
Lawrence, Kansas photographs collection
Finding aid prepared by vej, 2019. Finding aid encoded by vej, 2019. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2020; ew, 2020, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Lawrence, Kansas photographs collection, RH PH 18, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States