Find Collections

You can find information about – and digitized surrogates of – Spencer collection materials in a variety of places.
Traffic includes streetcars, automobiles, and horse-drawn carriages. One- and two-story buildings, most red with white awnings, flank the street.
A postcard showing Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence, Kansas, 1910. Call Number: RH PH 18, Box 9, Folder H:31.

KU Libraries Catalog

You can find information about the majority of Spencer Research Library’s holdings by searching the KU Libraries online catalog.

Follow these steps to limit your search results to just the materials in Spencer Research Library:

  1. Go to the Libraries catalog and select "Advanced Search" to the right of the search box. If you're starting on the Libraries homepage, you can get to the online catalog by selecting “Advanced Search” under the main search box.
  2. At the top of the screen, find “Search for” and select “Books and more.”
  3. Enter your search term(s) and select “Search.”
  4. From the results, find “Tweak my results” on the right. Scroll down to the “KU Libraries” section and select Spencer.
  5. The default setting in the catalog is to sort results by relevance. Consider re-sorting your results in chronological order using the "Sort by" drop-down menu under "Tweak my results." This would, for example, bring primary sources about the American Civil War (written during and just after the conflict) to the beginning of your results list and secondary sources (written after the conflict up to the present) to the end of the results list.
  6. Select an item's title to see the catalog record, which contains more information about that particular resource.

    Finding Aids

    Search finding aids that describe archival collections, which generally contain unpublished materials such as letters, diaries, drafts of literary works, financial records, meeting minutes, reports, scrapbooks, memorabilia, photographs, and audiovisual materials. A finding aid is a document created by archivists to aid researchers in navigating an archival collection and finding information about subjects, people, places, and events within it.


    Subject Guides (LibGuides)

    Spencer Librarians have created a number of subject guides (also known as LibGuides) to aid you in finding resources by subject or topic.


    Online Exhibitions

    Some of these exhibits are digitized versions of previous physical exhibits at Spencer Research Library. Others have been created solely as digital exhibits. All share highlights from Spencer's collections.


    "Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog"

    Spencer librarians and student assistants contribute weekly articles to the blog. Entries highlight materials from across Spencer's collecting areas, share library updates, provide behind-the-scenes looks at projects undertaken by staff members, and more. The blog is searchable, or you can browse by category.


    Digital Collections

    KU Libraries Digital Collections provide free, public access to thousands of objects digitized from across Spencer's holdings, including photographs, documents, and audiovisual materials.




    Digital Collections

    • Leon K. Hughes Photography Collection

      A chronicle of African American family and community life in Wichita, Kansas, from the late 1940s through the 1970s.

    • Mediterranean Travel and Trade, 1300-1800

      A multinational, multilingual collection of contemporary works on Mediterranean travel and trade.

    • Phog Allen Papers

      Correspondence and related materials from the basketball coach's office at KU when Forrest C. "Phog" Allen held the position.

    • Public Notice Newsletter

      A newsletter published by the Community Mercantile Food Cooperative in Lawrence, Kansas, from 1974 to 1981.

    • Robert B. Riss Collection

      Writings by authors, artists, American presidents, nobility, royalty, and other notable persons from the U. S., the British Isles, and Continental Europe.

    • Rossetti Family Collection

      Correspondence of the Rossetti family, a British family whose members influenced art and literature during the second half of the 19th century.

    • Simons Family Papers

      The bulk of the collection relates to W.C. Simons, founder of the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper of Lawrence, Kansas.

    • Special Collections

      Manuscript and print volumes, many from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Early Modern period.

    • Territorial Kansas Online

      A virtual repository for the history of Territorial Kansas containing documents from Spencer and the Kansas State Historical Society.

    • University Archives Photographs

      A sample of historical images from the one million photographic items in University Archives.

    • University Archives Records

      Selected print materials including the first volume of Board of Regents meeting minutes and documents related to basketball.

    • University Archives Videos

      Historic moving images that capture a wide range of KU history including sporting events, university celebrations, and student activities.

    • Web Archives

      An archive of official University of Kansas websites and websites captured in the Kansas Collection.

    • World War I Letters

      Two collections of letters written by soldiers: Kansan Milo H. Main and Wisconsin native Forrest W. Bassett, who was stationed at Fort Leavenworth.

    • World War II: The African American Experience

      Audio recorded interviews that document the experiences of African American World War II veterans.