St. Louis Jayhawks learn basketball history

Posted on Jul 23, 2013 in News

An Evening with Naismith and KU Libraries | www.kualumni.orgThis is a guest post from Rebecca Smith, executive director for the KU Libraries Office of Communications & Advancement. The KU Alumni Association has been thrilled to partner with KU Libraries to present outstanding events to alumni in a number of cities around the country.

Last night’s “An Evening with Naismith: Artifacts of a KU Legend” brought nearly 90 St. Louis-area alumni to Herbie’s Vintage 72 Wine Cellar. Like similar gatherings held in Denver, Houston and Dallas, the event included an opportunity for alumni to come together for drinks, hors d’oeuvres and conversation as they perused a collection of KU Libraries materials about Dr. James Naismith.

Librarian and university archivist Becky Schulte displayed materials that illustrate KU’s rich history of basketball–a history that dates back to 1898, when James Naismith came to KU just a few years after inventing the original 13 rules of the game. In addition to serving as KU’s first basketball coach (and perhaps ironically the only one with a losing record), Dr. Naismith was also a chapel director and professor of physical education. The display included many artifacts surrounding all aspects of the life and career of Naismith. Alumni held game tickets from nearly a century ago, quizzes from Naismith’s classrooms and even the 1952 championship plaque that KU won under the leadership of Naismith’s protégé Phog Allen.

But it wasn’t all about the game for Naismith; during his 39-year career at KU, he lived by the credo “a sound mind is a sound body.” Naismith always felt it was his mission to help students develop as athletes and as people. His attention to the student experience and their intellectual and social growth is something that KU Libraries are proud to carry forward. KU librarians work directly with student-athletes–and all students, for that matter–to ensure their success at KU and beyond.

We appreciated the opportunity to share insight about Naismith–and the role of libraries and librarians–with KU alumni in St. Louis. We look forward to bringing this exhibit to Omaha, Chicago and perhaps a few more cities in the coming months. In the meantime, you can learn more about KU Libraries at

Check out our online calendar for more events around the country. as the ‘Hawk Days of Summer continues.

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