Aug. 19, 2004

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Contact: Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785) 864-8858

Second KU chancellor's Civil War saber, uniform to get rare display Aug. 21

LAWRENCE -- The Civil War uniform and saber of John Fraser, the second chancellor of the University of Kansas, will make a rare trip outside the Spencer Research Library Saturday as part of a presentation on the anniversary of Quantrill's Raid.

The artifacts will accompany Lt. Col. Brian DeToy when he gives a presentation at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Watkins Community Museum of History, 1045 Mass. St. in downtown Lawrence. The lecture is one of several that day at the museum about the Aug. 21, 1863 Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence, a stronghold of support for abolitionists during the Civil War. During the raid, 150 residents were murdered and most of the city burned to the ground.

DeToy, chief of research and publications at Fort Leavenworth˙s Combat Studies Institute, was professor of military science and head of the Army ROTC program at KU from 2001 to 2004. His presentation will focus on Fraser˙s experiences as a Union officer during the Civil War.

The uniform was given to the Spencer Research Library in 1907, according to archivist Becky Schulte, and is still in remarkably good condition for its age. As with other KU chancellors, the library has also preserved more of Fraser˙s history, including a diary he wrote while in a Confederate prison camp and photographs from his lifetime. Fraser rose to the rank of brigadier general and was a prisoner of war for more than eight months during the last year of the war. He was later the chancellor of what would become Penn State University and also KU.

DeToy first became interested in Fraser's history while creating a walking tour covering KU's military history for ROTC cadets and their families. "As I looked at the school˙s history and examined the background to each building's name, I discovered Chancellor Fraser was often called 'General' Fraser back in his days on campus," DeToy said.

Guessing that the chancellor had been a veteran of the Civil War, DeToy conducted research on Fraser at Spencer and Watson libraries, as well as at the U.S. military academy at West Point. He also made several visits to the Gettysburg battlefield to complete his study.

For more information about Chancellor Fraser's life, please visit


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