When the first shipment of U.S. Senator Willis Smith’s papers arrived at Duke University in 1954, it numbered some 50,000 items—all paper documents. A photograph of that collection’s arrival has been kept in the collections of the University Archives. It shows Mattie Russell, then curator of manuscripts, and Jay Luvaas, then the director of the George Washington Flowers Collection of Southern Americana, sorting through reams upon reams of papers in the Library’s vault—which we still have, incidentally. It looks like something that Al Capone might have used.
Today, the staff of the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library (RBMSCL) still arranges and describes reams of paper documents, although we are honing our computer deconstruction skills as more of those documents are born digital. We also curate collections of rare printed materials, teach classes and organize events, and help people with a broad range of research and information needs. We want to use this blog to inform you about what we do: about our events and exhibits and projects, about our newly-acquired collections and our favorite treasures, and about the many reasons the RBMSCL is such an exciting place. So come visit us often!
And, by the way, the Willis Smith Papers have grown: the collection now contains 97,813 items. That’s over 130 linear feet of archival records. You can check out the collection inventory here.
Search The Devil’s Tale
Tag Cloud2011acquisitions 2012acquisition advertisements advertising African American history artistsbooks audubon civilwar comicbooks conservation diaries digitization documentary dorisduke dukehistory durhamhistory economists events film fullframe games german judaica holidays human rights letterhead literature longcivilrights madmen madmenmondays movediary move prep movinghom oversized photography postcards recipes researchtips rubensteinstaff scrapbooks sports students thanksgiving wola women's history zines
The Devil’s Tale Archive
- Paul Derval, a le plaisir de vous presenter Une vraie folie : superspectacle en 2 actes et 40 tableaux de Michel Gyarmathy.
- Casino de Paris : Tout Paris, revue en 2 actes et 45 tableaux de M.M. Albert Willemetz, Saint Granier et Jean Le Seyeux, présentée par Léon Volterra.
- Premier album descriptif de Montmartre en 1927
- Le tabac et les fumeurs May 20, 2013
- The Whitin Machine Works, Whitinsville, Mass. builders of cotton machinery : cards, railway heads, drawing frames, spinning frames, spoolers, wet and dry twisters, reels, long chain quilling machines, looms, etc., etc May 20, 2013
- A progressive course of inventive drawing on the principles of Pestalozzi : for the use of teachers and self-instruction : also with a view to its adaptation to art and manufacture May 20, 2013
- Bilder aus der Zukunft : zwei Erzählungen aus dem vierundzwanzigsten und neununddreissigsten Jahrhundert May 20, 2013
- Now May 13, 2013