All posts by Amy McDonald

Welcome, Tracy Jackson!

Tracy JacksonWe recently welcomed a new staff member Tracy Jackson to the Rubenstein Library! We asked her a few questions to help us—and you—get to know her a little better!

Tell us a little bit about your new job at the Rubenstein Library!

My job here at the Rubenstein is Technical Services Archivist for University Archives. I’ll be overseeing the processing of University related collections, including the arrangement, description, and preservation of current and new materials, and I’ll also be a part of the Technical Services Management Team. Since I’m new to Duke, I’m really excited to be working with such great collections and knowledgeable colleagues.

How did you become an archivist?

I knew I was interested in archives when I went to library school, but couldn’t have said why until I started working in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives at UNC. I just loved getting to know the materials, seeing the faces and personalities of people from the past, and since I also worked the reference desk in the graduate library, getting to tell people about all the cool stuff I’d found and why they should go see it, too. Getting to work in-depth with collections is what makes this job so great.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve discovered in an archival collection and why?

With a small collection of family photographs, I discovered a gold-plated, decorative set of make-up cases from the 1940s. There was a powder compact with mirror and a lipstick case, and they were beautiful. In collection of family letter from the 18th and 19th century there was a young woman’s dance card from a ball, with a tiny pencil still attached. I love finding the unexpected in collections, especially the things that remind me how much the people who created them were really not very different from us.

What aspect of your new job are you most excited about?

I’m so excited to get to know the collections here. Duke has such rich collections, and the University Archives document the incredibly diverse activities of the University. I’m very excited about diving in and getting to know, then getting to share, what we have.

Tell us something unique about yourself.

I tried a couple of careers before becoming an archivist, and for a short time I lived in Los Angeles and tried out special effects make-up artistry. I worked on a few student films and ultra-low-budget movies, and even though I didn’t do it for long, it was a lot of fun. These days I only use those skills at Halloween, though!

Thanks, Tracy! We’re so glad you’re here!

ice-cream-icon

Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen: Ice Cream No. 3 (1899)

Welcome back to the Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen! Every Friday between now and Thanksgiving, we’ll be sharing a recipe from our collections that one of our staff members has found, prepared, and tasted. We’re excited to bring these recipes out of their archival boxes and into our kitchens (metaphorically, of course!), and we hope you’ll find some historical inspiration for your own Thanksgiving.

With the warm North Carolina temperatures hanging on for dear life, now seems like the perfect time for a summer throw-back recipe, to take us back to moments hanging out by the pool and lingering over sweet, crisp ice cream. And what could better conjure up those images than a dairy free, nut based ice cream from Mrs. Almeda Lambert’s A Guide for Nut Cookery; together with a brief history of nuts and their food values?

I didn’t intend to make a dairy free recipe. When searching through our catalog, I hoped to find a rich, creamy dessert, preferably one containing my two favorite foodstuffs: heavy cream and sugar. While I did find lots of those, Almeda Lambert and her 1899 work ultimately piqued my interest. And once I noted the brevity of “Ice-Cream No. 3,” I knew there was no other recipe for me.

The story of how Almeda Lambert became a vegetarian cookbook author begins in Cereal City (Battle Creek, Michigan) and could fill an entire weeks’ worth of blog posts. Her husband, Joseph Lambert, worked for the famous John Harvey Kellogg (he of famous cereals) at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, a health and wellness center dedicated to Seventh-day Adventist principles. While there, Mr. Lambert saw the birth of peanut butter unfold at the Sanitarium. The Lamberts were quick studies and knew then what we all know now: peanut butter is delicious. They soon decided to strike out on their own, opening up their own nut mill business, “Joseph Lambert & Co.” (Smith, 2007.)

They were also fans of built-in advertising! An ad for “wholesome nut foods” created by the Lamberts can be found at the back of A Guide for Nut Cookery:

Advertisement from A Guide for Nut Cookery

Although peanut butter became the Lamberts’ bread and butter (I’m so sorry!), Mrs. Lambert also had higher ambitions for her 434 page tome:

“It is the object of the author [Almeda Lambert] to place before the public a book treating upon the use of nuts as shortening, seasoning, etc., to be used in every way in which milk, cream, butter or lard can be used, and fully take their place.” (p. 6).

Within her work, Mrs. Lambert tested out recipes for mock fish, for the exotically named meat substitute “nutmeato,” and for custards, pies, drinks, and many other imaginative takes on traditional recipes. And while I’m not sure that her recipes have taken the world by storm since 1899, I hope that the proliferation of nut butters, flours, and oils out there would be a balm to her soul.

And now, on to the recipe! Below are some glamour shots of the recipe and the main lineup of ingredients:

Recipe for Ice Cream No. 3

Ice Cream No. 3 Ingredients

Luckily for me, “Ice-Cream No. 3” only calls for six, very common ingredients: nut butter, water, sugar, vanilla extract, egg, and corn starch. While there are recipes for nut butter in A Guide for Nutcookery, I was not bold enough to make my own and instead bought natural peanut butter from my local store.

As noted in Aaron’s and Patrick’s blog posts, historical recipes don’t tend to provide a lot of context, and “Ice-Cream No. 3” stays true to that established form. After assembling all the ingredients and reading the directions, I was still a little confused but decided to go with my gut instinct. This was pretty easy to do when there were only six ingredients involved.

To create the nut cream, I boiled until the nut butter and water reached a thick, seemingly ice cream like consistency. A small snafu with the eggs and sugar ensued (I forgot to pre-mix them), but vigorous whisking saved the day and the ice cream. Vanilla extract and cornstarch were then added, and my cream(y) concoction was ready to go into the freezer. All told, the entire recipe came together in twenty minutes. Now, that’s my kind of cooking.

Only after I put the cream in the freezer did I begin to wonder about how the ice cream would taste. Some in my household speculated that it would freeze into a giant ice cube, and that it would only be edible after melting. My fervent hope was that the egg would lend the ice cream a custard-y texture, so that I would never have to buy custard again.

Sadly, my dream proved elusive. In texture and in taste, “Ice-Cream No. 3” bore a strong resemblance to an Italian ice. My spoon did not glide through the ice cream; rather, I chiseled away at the block, making small inroads until a suitable amount had accumulated. It was the best workout I’d had in quite a while, and by the end, I felt like I had really earned my dessert.

Finished Ice Cream No. 3

Verdict: Although not quite ice cream by today’s creamy standards, “Ice-Cream No. 3” is a deliciously easy variation. The peanut butter taste runs strong and true, and it tasted exactly what you would imagine something combining peanut butter, sugar, and water to taste like: wonderfully.


Does the thought of a Nineteenth Century vegetarian cookbook pique your interest? Good news, readers! Almeda Lambert’s A Guide for Nutcookery also lives on the Internet Archive. You too can try out any number of ice creams or even dare to be bold and make nutmeato sandwiches!


 Citations:

Lambert, A. (1899). Guide for nut cookery; together with a brief history of nuts and their food values. Battle Creek, Mich.: J. Lambert & Co.

Smith, A. (2007). Peanuts: The Illustrious History of the Goober Pea. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Post contributed by Liz Adams, our awesome Stacks Manager.

rice-apples-feature

Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen: Rice Apples (1777)

Want to make history this Thanksgiving? Every Friday between now and Thanksgiving, we’ll be sharing a recipe from our collections that one of our staff members has found, prepared, and tasted. We’re excited to bring these recipes out of their archival boxes and into our kitchens (metaphorically, of course!), and we hope you’ll find some historical inspiration for your own Thanksgiving.

For my shift in the Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen, I wanted to try something truly old-school. (When the idea for this series of blog posts was first proposed, one of the names we considered calling it was “Antiquarian Culinarian,” with the idea of recreating the flavors of times gone by.) Browsing the library catalog for cookbooks of yore, I came across a title that looked promising: The Young Ladies’ Guide in the Art of Cookery, Being a Collection of useful Receipts, Published for the Convenience of the Ladies committed to Her Care, by Elizabeth Marshall (T. Saint: Newcastle, England: 1777).

The 200-page volume is part of the collections of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, and it’s one of many titles the Bingham Center holds that offer a fascinating window into the domestic and social life of women in the eighteenth century.

Marshall (1738-?) ran a cooking school in Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 1770 to 1790. Such schools were not uncommon at the time and catered to women who aspired to work as housekeepers or cooks for the wealthier class. As Marshall explains in her preface, the book came about after frequent solicitations from her former pupils to put her most sought-after recipes in writing:

LADIES,

It is at your urgent and frequently repeated request that the following Receipts have at length come abroad. – You were sensible of the necessity of having an assistance of this sort to your memory; and the difficulty as well as expense of procuring the Receipts in manuscript, suggested the present form as the most proper and convenient for answering your intentions. – I hope this will be considered as a sufficient apology for the design. For its execution I have less to say. – The subject does not admit of elegance of expression, though I acknowledge the language might have been more correct. It was my wish to have rendered it so, but the various other duties in which I am engaged, would not allow me leisure sufficient for the purpose. – Such as the work is, I hope it will be received with candour, and consulted with advantage.

The eighteenth century wasn’t exactly the heyday of British cuisine, and many of the dishes in Marshall’s book hopefully won’t be making a comeback anytime soon. There are entries on how to make Herring Pudding, Calf’s Foot Jelly, Stewed Turbot’s Head, Eel Pye, and something called “White Soop.”

Inspired by the changing of the seasons, I opted for something a little more autumnal (and less zoological): Rice Apples! The recipe not only looked relatively easy and tasty, but it also presented a rare opportunity to use my apple-corer, a handy but sadly neglected implement in my kitchen that only gets a chance to shine once every couple of years.

Here’s the recipe, which I’ve transcribed below in case it’s difficult to read the old-fashioned ligatures:

Rice Apples Recipe

  • Boil a quarter of a pound of rice in three pints of water for a quarter of an hour
  • Strain off the water, and put to the rice, one pint of milk, one pint of cream, a stick of cinnamon, and lemon skin
  • Let them boil, and sweeten to your taste
  • Beat four eggs, leaving out two whites, put them to the rice, and let it stand on a slow fire a little
  • Keep it stirring till cool
  • Pare and cut the core out of your apples, put them in a dish well buttered, and strewed over with grated bread and sugar
  • Fill them with the above mixture, and cover them over with it
  • Strew it over with bread crumbs and sugar, and bake it a fine brown
  • Melt butter with sack and sugar, and cover them before they go to table

One thing you immediately notice about eighteenth-century recipes is their lack of helpful specifics. How many apples should you use, and what kind? Should the lemon skin be peeled or grated? (I went with grated.) Exactly how many minutes is “a little”?

Modern cookbooks don’t leave much room for interpretation. They give exact measurements, precise times and temperatures, and sometimes even brand-name ingredients, so that your dish looks and tastes as close as possible like the one in the book.

Not so with Mistress Marshall. Her instructions are more like general guidelines. A little this, a little that. But I actually appreciated that about her style. Cooking is more fun when it’s improvisational and you have to use your own judgment. In keeping with m’lady’s free-spiritedness, I even made a few modifications along the way, whenever I thought they might improve the final result. I’ll describe those here.

The recipe calls for three pints of water to cook the rice. That’s six cups of water, which is way more than you need for less than a cup of rice, and it would take forever to boil. I reduced the water to two cups, which was enough for the rice to absorb without having to strain any off.

I chose small snack-size Golden Delicious apples, the kind you can buy in a bag, instead of the jumbo-sized genetically modified ones you often see in the grocery store. The smaller ones seemed more historically authentic, closer to the size of apples you would probably find two hundred years ago. After coring and peeling the apples, I put them in a bowl of water with a little lemon juice to keep them from browning.

After adding the eggs to the milky rice mixture, you’re supposed to let it stand over low heat for “a little” and stir. I did this for about 15 minutes, until it started to thicken. Then I took it off the burner and stirred periodically for another 15 minutes or so, until it had the consistency of lumpy cottage cheese.

Instead of store-bought breadcrumbs, I bought a baguette and used a food processor to make fresh ones. And before popping the whole thing in the oven, I sprinkled a little ground cinnamon on top for good measure, because cinnamon and apples were made for each other. I think this was a good addition. I used a 350-degree oven and baked the dish for one hour.

The final step of the recipe calls for pouring over the apples a mixture of butter, sugar, and “sack.” I had to look up what sack was. Turns out it was a kind of sweet, fortified white wine from Spain, the forerunner of sherry. I’m not a big sherry fan, but I picked up a cheap golden variety in the wine aisle at the grocery store.

The verdict: Quite delectable, by Jove! The apples were tender and sweet, and the milky-rice-breadcrumb mixture was like an envelope of bread pudding. The sherry added a subtle boozy kick that seemed especially English. I would have no qualms serving this to company, however high or low their station.

 

Guest post by Aaron Welborn, Director of Communications, Duke University Libraries. Special thanks to Gwen Hawkes (T’16), Library Communications Student Assistant, for her help in researching this recipe and its historical context.

Birthday Party, ca. 1916. From the Benjamin Newton Duke Papers.

Our Fifth Birthday

Happy birthday to our super blog, which turns five today! We took a quick look at some numbers (although apparently age is more than just that) and found that the blog racked up 54,901 pageviews this year—so thank YOU, dear readers, for coming along with us on our explorations of the Rubenstein Library’s very cool collections (and the very cool people who work with them). We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have!

We went looking for something appropriately celebratory to share, and didn’t have to look farther than the papers of our own Benjamin N. Duke. Isn’t this just about the fanciest birthday party you’ve ever seen?

Birthday Party, ca. 1916. From the Benjamin Newton Duke Papers.

The photo dates from around 1916 and includes Mr. Duke himself (he’s standing behind the bouquet on the table). It was taken in New York City, at the house next door to Mr. Duke’s own mansion at 1009 Fifth Avenue (2 East 82nd Street, to be exact).

We’re not certain, but we’re wondering if this might be a birthday party for Mr. Duke’s grandson (and future U.S. ambassador), Angier Biddle Duke, who was born in 1915. If only the baby seated at the head of the table on a plump cushion had his head turned toward the camera. . . . If you have any information about the photo, send us an email!

Also, inspired by this photograph, we are thinking of trying to invent the combination piñata-chandelier. If you have any ideas about that, send them to us in an email as well.

Hat tip to Mary Mellon, Technical Services Intern, who found and scanned the photo!

Isobel Craven, ca. 1937. From the 1937 Chanticleer.

Thank You, Isobel Craven Drill

Isobel Craven, ca. 1937. From the 1937 Chanticleer.
Isobel Craven, ca. 1937. From the 1937 Chanticleer.

I work each day under a portrait of Braxton Craven, the first president of Trinity College. Braxton and Irene Leach Craven, his wife, were visionaries in forming a degree-granting college out of what had been a tiny schoolhouse. The Craven family has remained involved in Duke University, and last week, we learned that Braxton and Irene’s great-granddaughter, Isobel Craven Young Lewis Drill, had passed away at the age of 98.

Isobel Craven Drill was a woman of astonishing ambition and strength. She graduated from—where else?—Duke in 1937, and married Baxter Clay Young, Jr. in 1939. Widowed with two children in 1960, she took over the Maybelle Transport Company and Buck Young Oil Company. A natural leader, she excelled in running these companies, as well as participating in numerous charities and groups, including the Duke Board of Trustees. She was an exceedingly generous donor to many units of Duke University, and to progressive political causes including civil rights and women’s rights.

Duke University Board of Trustees, 1977. Mrs. Drill is seated second from the left. From the University Archives Photograph Collection.
Duke University Board of Trustees, 1977. Mrs. Drill is seated second from the left. From the University Archives Photograph Collection.

We in the University Archives will be always grateful for Isobel Craven Drill’s interest in documenting Trinity and Duke history, and her establishment of the Isobel Craven Drill fund, which provides income for the University Archives to use in collecting, processing, describing, preserving, and sharing historical information. Funding from the Drill Endowment helped us publish Duke Illustrated, host events and meetings, purchase special archival supplies, and so much more.

One very special way that we have employed the funds is through the Drill Internship, an internship that allows graduate students to learn about all aspects of institutional archives. I myself was a Drill Intern in 2003 and 2004-2005. The experience was the most important one of my entire education, one which provided me with deep insight into what it means to be the custodian of a cultural heritage institution, especially within a university as complex as Duke University. I received a hands-on education and the opportunity to work with archival professionals on all components of institutional archives. The experience of the Drill Internship is very much what brought me back to Duke in 2011 as University Archivist, and I am proud to continue this legacy of training new professionals.

We asked several of our current and former Drill Interns to comment on the role of the internship in their careers, which reveal the deep and lasting impact of Mrs. Drill’s gift. We send our condolences to her family, and remember, with respect and affection, the woman that University Archivist Emeritus William King called a “Patron Saint of the Archives.”

The Drill Internship gave me the opportunity to work with the incredible collections and caring staff of the Duke University Archives. It was an invaluable experience during the transition between my archival studies and professional work as an archivist. I still appreciate the knowledge, skills, and professional network of colleagues I gained during this internship.

—Jill (Katte) Vermillion, Drill Intern, 2002, and current Education Content Relations Manager, Apple Inc.

Even though I didn’t know Mrs. Drill personally, I will always be grateful to her for the opportunity to be the Drill intern from 2007-2008. Under the guidance of former Duke University Archivist Tim Pyatt, I gained valuable, “real-life” experiences that laid a solid foundation for my first professional position as an archivist. As a Drill intern I also developed a deep appreciation and fondness for Duke history which served me well when I returned to Duke in 2010 to process the Doris Duke Collection. Regardless of where my career takes me in the future I will always remember my beginnings as a Drill intern.

—Mary Samouelian, Drill Intern, 2007-2008, and current Project Processing Archivist, Rubenstein Library

I was the Isobel Craven Drill Intern in the University Archives during the 2008-2009 academic year.  Although I never had the opportunity to meet her, I was extremely honored to have been chosen for the internship that bears her name.  The internship served as my introduction to the field and provided me with the skills and experience that have propelled my professional career.  Perhaps of more importance to me, the internship introduced me to a wonderful group of passionate professionals at Duke that I will forever value as mentors, colleagues, and friends.  I will always be grateful for the experience that Isobel Craven Drill’s generosity provided me and many other young professionals.

—Joshua Larkin Rowley, Drill Intern, 2008-2009, and current Reference Archivist, John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, Rubenstein Library

The internship Mrs. Drill endowed was one of the best opportunities I have had professionally. Her gift has made it possible for graduate students training to be Archivists to get the experience necessary for entry into a challenging, competitive field and job market. Not only did we learn the nuts and bolts of processing, but we got to work with great people and awesome material. The training and experience I received as a Drill Intern helped me land my first professional job out of graduate school. I never got to meet Mrs. Drill but I will be forever thankful for her generosity and the boost it has given me as an early professional.

—Matthew Shangler, Drill Intern, 2009-2010, and current Assistant Archivist, Duke University Medical Center Archives

Just before the internship began I had the opportunity to have lunch with Mrs. Drill, her daughter and a few colleagues in the Biddle Rare Book Room. Getting to spend some time with the family was  a truly inspiring kick off to my intern year.

The internship was a huge opportunity that continues to pay off four years later.  I honed my archival skills processing collections, fielding reference questions, and even collaborated on an exhibit. Throughout the year I studied university history, got to know the campus through a construction research project, and learned from fabulous colleagues, many of whom I have the good fortune to still work with today.

Early on in my internship, I remember telling a friend (not a librarian or archivist) how much I enjoyed the internship and how happy I was to be taking this new direction in my life.  I still feel that way today. Thank you Mrs. Drill, for your generosity and for helping me find such professional happiness.

—Molly Bragg, Drill Intern, 2010-2011, and current Digital Collection Program Manager, Duke University Libraries

The Drill Internship was my first paid job after graduating from library school–I got hired right out of library school and the impact on me was tremendous. Having the opportunity to become immersed in the University Archives at Duke was a formidable experience that provided me with incredible mentors, whose guidance continues to help me personally and professionally. Ms. Drill’s generosity gave me the chance to learn new techniques firsthand, work with amazing archival collections, and become part of a professional community. I count myself very lucky to have benefited from her kindness and support.

—Rosemary K. J. Davis, Drill Intern, 2011-2012 and Samuel French Collection Processing Archivist, Amherst College

My time as the 2012-2013 Drill intern at Duke has been invaluable to my career.  As an intern, I was able to get hands-on experience in all aspects of archival work, including curating an exhibit, processing collections, and conducting reference work in the reading room and remotely.  The experience was incredibly important to me, and remains the job on my resume that people ask about most frequently.  After completing my Drill internship, I worked at Duke for another three months preparing and curating an exhibit on Duke’s 175th anniversary.  From there, I was a member of the first cohort of National Digital Stewardship Residents in Washington, DC, working at the National Library of Medicine in their History of Medicine Division.  And now, I’m the Digital Librarian at PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service).  I still use the skills I honed at Duke daily in my work.  None of this would have been possible without Mrs. Drill’s generosity, and I’m so grateful to her for giving me the opportunity to work at Duke in the University Archives.

—Maureen McCormick Harlow, Drill Intern, 2012-2013, and current Digital Librarian, PBS

Mrs. Drill’s generous support of the internship has helped aspiring archivists like me and others before me to put theory into practice as students, offering the chance to immediately apply what are learning in classes. It is one thing to discuss concepts like original order and appraisal in class, and quite another to apply them to real collections! I feel I have learned just as much, if not more, about the profession from my internship as from my coursework. I appreciate the opportunity to learn new skills, gain experience in the many different roles that archivists play, and be surrounded and mentored by the excellent staff in University Archives and the Rubenstein Library, thanks to Mrs. Drill’s gift.

—Jamie Patrick-Burns, Drill Intern, 2014-2015

Post contributed by Valerie Gillispie, Duke University Archivist, with help from our Drill interns!

Pictured above: Not John Wilkes Booth. From the James Thomas Powers Papers.

What’s Not a Photograph of John Wilkes Booth?

Pictured above:  Not John Wilkes Booth. From the James Thomas Powers Papers.
Pictured above: Not John Wilkes Booth. From the James Thomas Powers Papers.

In a recent appearance on Jeopardy!, former Rubenstein Library intern Josh Hager announced that he had discovered a previously unknown image of John Wilkes Booth in the James Thomas Powers papers at Duke. That would have been exciting—if it were true.

Hager thought there was a resemblance between the man in the image and the images of Booth he found online, and he wrote a post about the apparent resemblance on this very blog in 2010. This was jumping the proverbial gun—on the blogger’s part as well as ours. More work was needed to verify this conclusion. And indeed, a little further research confirms that the image is not Booth. We appreciate the comments from those who saw Hager on Jeopardy! and then wrote us to question the accuracy of the post. They are right—we never should have published it. In the interest of setting the historical record straight (and protecting the innocence of the unknown man in the photo), we have taken it down and added this new post.

Alex, we’ll have “Mea Culpa” for $1,000.

Benjamin Newton Duke

Duke College?

Benjamin Newton Duke
Benjamin Newton Duke

Our colleague Mary Mellon is currently reprocessing the Benjamin Duke Papers to provide more refined description. Among the many fascinating pieces of correspondence within the collection, she has found a letter, dated November 16, 1896, from Trustee A. P. Tyer to Ben Duke. In it, he makes a not-so-modest proposal: that Duke give a $500,000 endowment and that the school be renamed Duke College.

“The only hope that Trinity College has of ever being endowed is found in the Dukes. I therefore ask that you give the College five hundred thousand dollars as endowment and allow the Trustees to name it “Duke College.”

In 1896, the school was just four years old in its new Durham location. There was great concern about longterm viability, despite the generosity of the Duke family up to that point, including providing the funds to bring the school to Durham. $500,000 in 1896 would have been around $13 million in today’s money.

To sweeten the deal, Mr. Tyer added,

“This will forever take away the feeling of uncertainty, make the college an assured success forever, put the Dukes in front of all southern benefactors, largely increase the number of students, bring even a better class of patronage to the college, make it possible for others to give to it, be the greatest monument any southern man will ever build, be a perpetual benefit and blessing to the human family, and constantly glorify God your Father.”

Ben Duke remained a steady and heavily involved benefactor, but never made a gift at the level requested in the letter. The month after this letter was received, Washington Duke, Ben’s father, gave a $100,000 endowment, contingent on women being admitted on equal footing with men. In 1924, Ben’s brother, James B. Duke, established the Duke Endowment, which helped fund a massive expansion of the college, and led to the renaming of the school—not to Duke College, but to Duke University.

aptyer-pg1-small
Click to enlarge.
A. P. Tyer to Benjamin N. Duke, page 2
Click to enlarge.
A. P. Tyer to Benjamin N. Duke, page 3
Click to enlarge.

Post contributed by Valerie Gillispie, University Archivist, with assistance from Mary Mellon, Technical Services Intern.

Professor James Cannon beneath the Bo tree, March 6, 1951.

A Bo Tree Grows in Durham

I was looking through the May 1944 issue of Duke’s Divinity School Bulletin when I came across a brief article about a Bo tree (Ficus religiosa) presented to the Divinity School in honor of then-Ivey Professor of the History of Religion and Missions James Cannon III. (He’d later serve as the Divinity School’s dean from 1951 to 1958.)

You’ve possibly heard the tradition that Gautama Buddha was sitting beneath a tree when he attained Enlightenment. That tree was a Bo, or Bodhi, tree, and it is, as a result, sacred to Buddhists.

Professor Cannon’s Bo tree had its own august history, as the article relates:

The Cannon Bo-tree is descended from the Bo-tree planted at the ruined city of Anuradhapura, near Kandy, in Ceylon. In the year 288 B.C., King Asoka of India sent a shoot from the parent tree to Ceylon. To this day the tree is worshiped by throngs of pilgrims. In 1929 an American tourist obtained a shoot from the Ceylon Bo-tree, planted it on his Florida estate, and several months ago presented a shoot to Duke.

We found snapshots of Professor Cannon with his Bo tree in his papers. He looks very serene, doesn’t he? A note from the back of one of the snapshot states that his “topcoat is supposed to represent Buddha’s ‘yellow robe.’”

Professor James Cannon beneath the Bo tree, March 6, 1951.
Professor James Cannon beneath the Bo tree, March 6, 1951.

We’re not certain of the current whereabouts of Duke’s Bo tree. Do you have any information about it?

Portrait photos by Hugh Mangum. From the Hugh Mangum Photographs, #N258.

Hugh Mangum Exhibit at Durham History Hub

Portrait photos by Hugh Mangum. From the Hugh Mangum Photographs, #N258.
Portrait photos by Hugh Mangum. From the Hugh Mangum Photographs, #N258.

The portraits of Durham photographer Hugh Mangum are the subject of a new exhibit, opening July 22nd at the Museum of Durham History’s History Hub. “Hugh Mangum on Main Street: Portraits from the Early 20th Century” shows Mangum’s largely unknown portraits of Southern society after Reconstruction.

Mangum was born in Durham in 1877 and began establishing studios and working as an itinerant photographer in the early 1890s. During his career, Mangum attracted and cultivated a clientele that drew heavily from both black and white communities, a rarity for his time. Mangum’s photographs are now part of the Rubenstein Library’s Archive of Documentary Arts.

“Although the late-19th-century American South in which he worked was marked by disenfranchisement, segregation and inequality — between black and white, men and women, rich and poor — Mangum portrayed all of his sitters with candor, humor, and spirit. Each client appears as valuable as the next, no story less significant,” said curator Sarah Stacke. “His portraits reveal personalities as immediate as if the photos were taken yesterday.”

Stacke, a photographer and a 2014-2015 Lewis Hine Fellow at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, and Margaret Sartor, who teaches at CDS, are working together on a book about Mangum’s life and work. This new exhibit expands on “Keep All You Wish,” an exhibit of Mangum’s work that Stacke curated for CDS in 2012.

“Hugh Mangum on Main Street: Portraits from the Early 20th Century” opens at the History Hub, 500 W. Main St., on Tuesday, July 22 and runs through August. The exhibition will be in the Our Bull City area.

The public is invited to a launch party for the exhibition on Wednesday, July 23, from 5:30pm to 7pm, and a program on Mangum and his work at 3pm on Sunday, August 10.There is no charge for the exhibit, program, or party. The Hub is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

If It Walks and Quacks Like a Duck . . .

Professor Irving E. GrayIn late August 1945, Dr. George Salmon, Jr. of New Jersey wrote a letter to Duke’s Zoology Dept., asking for help in identifying whether a tibia bone he sent belonged to a duck or to a chicken.

I found the description amusing as to why he wanted to know this as well as the fact that he actually mailed the bone in question.

Equally as amusing to me is that Irving Gray, Chair of the Zoology Dept., took the time to reply.

Just for fun, please see both letters below.

 

 

Front of letter from Dr. George Salmon.

Back of Letter from Dr. George Salmon

 

Reply from Dr. Irving Gray.

Post contributed by Kim Sims, Technical Services Archivist for the Duke University Archives.