In the end, we created 32 record groups to represent the history, the administrative departments, and the schools of Duke University. Each group speaks to the breadth of material that tells the story of Duke University and its distinguished alums. While going through each record, and carefully determining its placement in the records groups, I uncovered some fascinating collections. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Sarah P. Duke Gardens Records, 1932-2002. The Duke Gardens is a horticulturist’s sanctuary. As a garden hobbyist, I have enjoyed spending time marveling over its beautiful design of plant life and winding paths. This collection shows the vision of the gardens from the beginning when Mary Duke Biddle donated the land in 1932. Included are blueprints and planting plans that any gardener would relish viewing first hand.
2. Randall Frattini Papers, 1974. University Archives has a copy of Frattini’s eyewitness account of students streaking on campus on the nights of February 28 and March 1, 1974. Albeit comical, this collection also suggests the wide variety of records that document student life at Duke in the Duke University Archives’ collections.
3. Elizabeth Hatcher Conner Photograph Collection. Elizabeth Hatcher Conner attended the Woman’s College during the late 1930s. During that time, she was an active photographer and she often documented the outdoor adventures of the Explorer’s Club. The Explorer’s Club was a group of faculty and students who use to go hiking throughout North Carolina. Her photos give a glimpse into the lives of students at Duke during this time period. Check out some of her photographs on our Flickr site!
These three collections only scratch the surface of the hundreds of records documenting the institutional memory of the University. If you are interested in learning more about the University’s history including a particular school, student life, or athletics; contact University Archives and they can help you uncover your own record gems.
Post contributed by Ashley Brown, William E. King intern at the Duke University Archives.