James Naismith’s Life and Legacy: Celebrating 150 Years


James Naismith

The University of Kansas Libraries' exhibition, “James Naismith’s Life and Legacy: Celebrating 150 Years” celebrates the 150th birthday of basketball’s inventor.  This collection of historic materials includes photographs, a scrapbook, university records and pamphlets from McGill University, Springfield College and the University of Kansas Archives

Athletics scrapbook pertaining to Professor Barnjum, 1864-1909

Page of news clippings and flyer on James Naismith and the invention of basketball Page 57, titled “James Naismith, 1890”

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Source: McGill University Archives

McGill University football team, including James Naismith

McGill University football team, including James Naismith (middle row, far right). Inscribed on verso: #25 McGill Football Team, which played against Varsity in Toronto, November 7th, 1885


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Source: McGill University Archives

James Naismith, Director of Gymnasium

James Naismith, Director of Gymnasium
Inscribed on recto in pen and ink: Dr. James Naismith / Director of Gymnasium / 1883-93 [sic]
Imprint on recto: Geo H. Van Norman, 310 Main Street, Springfield, Massachusetts.

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Source: McGill University Archives

Dr. James Naismith

Dr. Naismith in one of many publicity photos taken by University photographer and good friend, Duke D’Ambra, 1932?

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Source: KU University Archives, 66/22, 1932?

James Naismith and Phog Allen

The father of basketball with the father of basketball coaching, Phog Allen. Photo taken in 1932 by Duke D’Ambra

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Source: KU University Archives, 66/22, 1932

Dr. Naismith as captain and Chaplain of the First Regiment, Kansas Volunteer Infantry

Dr. Naismith as captain and Chaplain of the First Regiment, Kansas Volunteer Infantry, 1916. He was sent to serve in the Mexican Border War for 4 months and worked to protect soldiers from involvement with prostitutes and other vices.

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Source: KU University Archives, 66/22 Naismith, 1916

Dr. Naismith instructing the women’s fencing team.

Dr. Naismith instructing the women’s fencing team. Photograph from the Dec. 1936 Jayhawker yearbook

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Source: KU University Archives, 69/1/Dec1936 Jayhawker

“Triangle” magazine cover

Original page from the January 15, 1892
“Triangle” magazine in which the game of basketball is introduced.

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Source: Springfield College Archives

The Library Gallery is the major exhibition space of the University of Kansas Libraries. The gallery features five floor and wall cases and a multimedia display. Revolving exhibits highlight library collections and campus scholarship through the exploration of different themes.