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University of Kansas Libraries

Library Overview

The Kenneth Spencer Research Library was built in the late 1960s, the gift of the late Helen Foresman Spencer in memory of her husband, specifically to meet the needs of users of rare books, manuscripts, regional history sources, and the university's own archives. Holdings include some 350,000 printed books, approximately 500,000 manuscripts, and more than 2 million photographs.

Special collections are particularly strong in medieval and Renaissance studies, economic and legal history, 18th-century France and England, Anglo-Irish culture, natural history, exploration and travel, and various minor literary genres. Major collections focus on the 16th through 17th centuries in Europe, particularly Spanish, French and Italian imprints; 16th- through 19th-century natural history, with notable strength in ornithology, botany and taxonomy, and Linnaeana; 18th-century British studies, particularly Edmund Curll, the Bond Collection of newspapers and periodicals, political and economic history, and various literary figures; the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; and Tennyson and W. B. Yeats.

The Kansas Collection is the regional history division of University of Kansas Libraries, with extensive holdings of primary source materials that document the history of Kansas and the region. Its holdings of African-American materials are nationally recognized. There is a wealth of diaries, letters, scrapbooks, business records, church and club records, maps, architectural drawings and blueprints, books, and more than 1 million photographs. The Joseph J. Pennell Collection consists of some 30,000 glass plate negatives made by this noted Junction City photographer between 1891 and 1923. His often-published images portray many dimensions of life in a special small town at the turn of the last century.

University of Kansas
Kenneth Spencer Research Library
1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence, Kansas 66045
(785) 864-4334 (t)
(785) 864-5803 (f)