Category Archives: Exhibits

New Exhibit! Malignant Fever: Benjamin Rush and the 1793 Epidemic in Philadelphia

Please visit our new exhibition Malignant Fever: Benjamin Rush and the 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia, curated by Mandy Cooper, PhD candidate in Duke University’s History Department. The exhibition will be on display in the Mary Duke Biddle Room through March 11, 2016.

This exhibit highlights the effects of epidemic diseases on society by examining one of the most famous outbreaks in U.S. history – the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia. Drawing chiefly on letters written by Dr. Benjamin Rush, an eighteenth-century physician and U.S. Founding Father, to his wife Julia Stockton Rush, the exhibit examines the timeline of the outbreak, early responses, stages and symptoms, and the “cure” for yellow fever that Rush developed. Finally, the exhibit looks at the anatomy of an epidemic, focusing on the social and psychological effects exemplified by Rush’s emotion-filled letters, as well as stories that emphasize the fear, panic, and mental anguish that accompany epidemic disease outbreaks even today.

Coinciding with this exhibition is a new digital collection of the Benjamin and Julia Stockton Rush papers held by the History of Medicine Collections in the Rubenstein Library.  We encourage you to visit the exhibition and check out the new digital collection as well.

A gallery talk led by Mandy Cooper will be held on Friday, February 26, at 2 pm in the Mary Duke Biddle Room. All are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

Post contributed by Rachel Ingold, Curator of the History of Medicine Collections

“From Sit-Ins to Hashtags” on Display at Perkins Library

Culture Clash is a series of exhibits, created by the Center for Multicultural Affairs (CMA), traditionally hosted in the Alcove outside of the CMA Lounge. Culture Clash aims to provide multicultural and social justice education to build and/or strengthen bridges between different communities at Duke and beyond. The exhibit provides members of the Duke community and guests of the CMA the opportunity to explore the intricacies of the human experience with the focus on building sustainable, authentic, and healthy relationships and communities.

This year’s culture clash, which is on display through February 1st, 2016 at Perkins Library’s Campus Club Wall, is entitled “From Sit-Ins to Hashtags”. The exhibit explores the patterns of student social justice work and activism both at Duke and beyond throughout history. The photos depict different trends and styles of activism in the different decades.

Students protest in favor of the Black Faculty Initiative, April 1988.
Students show support for the Black Faculty Initiative, April 1988.

Curating Culture Clash has been a wonderful learning experience. I have a new appreciation for museums and exhibits; until now I never really realized how much thought and effort goes into a project of this nature. From beginning to end, this project has been about learning. The research aspect of the project was fairly intuitive because here at Duke we are always doing research. Finding movements to document and represent wasn’t overly challenging. Even finding an equal representation of photos from each decade was a fairly smooth process due to the help of the University Archives.

The challenge in this project came with deciding on how to visually present all of the photos. Juggling some 70 odd photos and 19 photo frames and 126 square feet of wall space was an experience. For me especially, I struggle with visualizing; I need something concrete to look at. The later part of the curation process involved a lot of cutting paper models and trying to learn how to visualize the small picture within the big picture. However, teamwork makes the dream work here at the Center. As a team, we made all the pieces come together in the end. We are very happy with the final outcome of the project.

We hope that from this exhibit students can understand how student social justice work has transpired in the past, and perhaps find inspiration to be an advocate for a cause that moves them.

We would like to give a special thanks to Margaret Brown, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation Exhibits Coordinator, and Amy McDonald, Assistant University Archivist, for all of their help throughout the curation process.

Related Resources:

Post contributed by Vanessa Lusa, Class of 2018 and Center for Multicultural Affairs Student FACE.

Seen and Heard in the Rubenstein Library – The Emancipation Proclamation

Seen and Heard in the Rubenstein Library – The Emancipation Proclamation

Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Time: 12:00 PM

Location: Hosti-Anderson Family Assembly Room, Rubenstein Library 153

cobb580_cropPlease join us for a showcase of new exhibits in the Rubenstein Library. Professor Jasmine Nichole Cobb will share reflections on the Emancipation Proclamation. Visitors are encouraged to view the exhibitions on display in the Mary Duke Biddle Room including a rare State Department copy of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation on loan from David M. Rubenstein (T’70). Light lunch will be served.

Celebrating the 13th Amendment

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

December 6, 2015, marks the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment ended slavery in the United States and marked the first substantive change to America’s conception of its liberties since the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. Its passage permanently freed four million African Americans (almost a third of population of the Southern States) from involuntary bondage.

David M. Rubenstein (T’70) has loaned a manuscript copy of the amendment to the Duke Libraries, and it will be on display in the Mary Duke Biddle Room in the Rubenstein Library until December 13, 2015.

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The 13th Amendment as part of our “Dreamers and Dissenters” exhibit

On the day the amendment was passed by Congress, several Congressmen had clerks engross souvenir copies, which were then passed around for the signatures of those who had voted for its approval.  This is one of those copies, and it was signed by 34 Senators and 93 Congressmen.  In the confusion of the moment, several of them signed the page more than once.

The 13th amendment was the first of three amendments passed in the wake of the Civil War that significantly expanded American civil rights.  The 14th amendment (1868) granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” including those recently freed from slavery.  The 15th amendment (1870) declared that no man could be denied the right to vote based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

Coming Soon! Pop-Up Displays on Student Organization History

With so many meetings, events, exhibits, performances, and games each day, it might seem difficult to set aside time to learn about your Duke student organization’s history. The University Archives, which collects student organization materials, knows how busy you are and we want to help!

Starting on October 20th, we’ll be holding a series of pop-up displays on student organization history, featuring historical materials from our collections. We’re calling this YOLO@UA: Your Organizations Live on @ the University Archives.

Each Tuesday, you’ll find us at a table just outside the Von der Heyden Pavilion from 2-3 PM, ready to show some cool stuff and answer your questions about student organization history.

We’ll be changing the display focus each time, so here’s the schedule:

October 20: Cultural Groups

October 27: Arts Groups

November 3: Student Government & Political Groups (Happy Election Day!)

November 10: Sororities, Fraternities, & Living Groups

November 17: Student Publications

Don’t worry if your organization isn’t covered with this schedule. We’ll plan more pop-up displays with different focuses during the spring semester. And you’re always welcome to get in touch with us to discuss how you can research your organization’s history at the University Archives!

P.S. Do you have student group materials that you’d like to archive at the University Archives? Learn more, and complete a form to let us know about your materials, here!

Cast of "The Womanless Wedding," ca. 1890s
Cast of “The Womanless Wedding,” ca. 1890s

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.

Tramps Like Us: Springsteen and Whitman

You may have heard the news: a working draft of one of the iconic songs in American music, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” will be displayed in Perkins Library on May 8-11, and then here in the Rubenstein Library from May 12-June 27.  While at the Rubenstein, Springsteen’s draft, owned by Floyd Bradley, will be in the very good company of one of the largest collections of manuscripts by another favorite son of New Jersey, Walt Whitman, in the Trent Collection of Whitmaniana.

Walt Whitman, 1869, from the Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, box III-6C (Saunders 29); Bruce Springsteen, on the cover of the album Born to Run, 1975.
Walt Whitman, 1869, from the Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, box III-6C (Saunders 29), by M. P. Rice; Bruce Springsteen, on the cover of the album Born to Run, 1975, by Eric Meola.

Both Whitman and Springsteen felt and expressed a deep connection with working-class Americans.  After a transient childhood, Whitman worked as a journeyman printer before becoming the “Good Gray Poet”; Springsteen’s mother famously took out a loan to buy him a guitar when he turned sixteen, and years of honing his musical craft at small venues for low pay preceded the breakthrough of “The Boss.”

The working draft of “Born to Run” includes many passages that were changed or excised from the final lyrics, but the chorus “tramps like us, baby we were born to run” is already in place.

The chorus of "Born to Run" in the working draft. Image courtesy of Sotheby's.
The chorus of “Born to Run” in the working draft. Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

“Tramps,” or homeless itinerants looking for steady work and a place to live, became a particular concern in the United States (and for Whitman) during and after the “long depression” of the 1870s.  Whitman wrote about this phenomenon in many different contexts, perhaps most memorably in a fragment entitled “The Tramp and Strike Questions.”  In a sentence that gets to the core of an element of “Born to Run” and other Springsteen songs, Whitman writes there: “Curious as it may seem, it is in what are call’d the poorest, lowest characters you will sometimes, nay generally, find glints of the most sublime virtues, eligibilities, heroisms.” A volume in the Trent Collection, given by Whitman the title “Excerpts &c Strike & Tramp Question,” contains manuscripts and newspaper stories annotated by Whitman in preparation for a lecture on the topic, which was never delivered.

Two prose fragments from "Excerpts &c Strike & Tramp Question," Trent Collection of Whitmaniana Box II-7B.
Two prose fragments from “Excerpts &c Strike & Tramp Question,” Trent Collection of Whitmaniana Box II-7B.

We’re excited to host the “Born to Run” draft, and please contact us if you’d like to take the chance to see this treasure of American culture alongside items in the Trent Collection of Whitmaniana.

Post contributed by Will Hansen, Assistant Curator of Collections.

Unveiling the Haitian Declaration of Independence

HaitiDeclaration1blog
The first page of the manuscript copy of the Haitian Declaration of Independence now at the Rubenstein Library.

Date: Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Time: 5:00-7:00 PM
Location: John Hope Franklin Center for International and Interdisciplinary Studies, 2204 Erwin Road, Room 240
Contact Information: Will Hansen, william.hansen(at)duke.edu

The Rubenstein Library has acquired a very rare manuscript copy of the Haitian Declaration of Independence.  This declaration by the army of black Haitians, of liberty from French colonial rule or death, made on 1 January 1804, carries strong echoes of the rhetoric of the American Revolution some thirty years earlier.  It established the first black republic in the world, and is the first declaration of independence written after the American version of 1776.

The scribal copy of the Declaration now at the Rubenstein was found in the papers of Jean Baptiste Pierre Aime Colheux de Longpré, a French colonizer of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) who fled the country during its revolution and settled in New Orleans.  The copy was very likely made shortly after the Declaration took effect on 1 January, 1804. It is one of only a few contemporary or near-contemporary manuscript copies known to scholars, joining copies at the British Library, the French National Archives, and the National Library of Jamaica.

HaitianDeclarationLiberte

A celebration of the Haitian Declaration of Independence will be held on 21 January at the John Hope Franklin Center for International and Interdisciplinary Studies, in collaboration with faculty and staff from Duke’s Haiti Lab.  A round table of scholars of the Haitian Declaration, including Duke Professors Laurent Dubois and Deborah Jenson, Assistant Prof. (and Duke PhD) Julia Gaffield of Georgia State University, and Prof. Richard Rabinowitz and Lynda Kaplan of the American History Workshop, will discuss its history and creation.  The Rubenstein Library’s manuscript copy of the Declaration will be on display in the Center’s gallery. Haitian specialties will be served.

Celebrating 175 Years of Duke History

Date: Friday, December 6, 2013
Time: 3:00-5:00 PM
Location: Perkins Gallery
Contact Information: Amy McDonald, amy.mcdonald(at)duke.edu

Join the staff of the Duke University Archives for a reception celebrating the exhibit, “Outrageous Ambitions: How a One-Room Schoolhouse Became a Research University,” currently on display in the Perkins Gallery.

175th Exhibit Banner, part 1

Enjoy light refreshments while you trace Duke University’s 175-year history through fascinating artifacts, photographs, architectural drawings, and other historical materials. The reception will also be an excellent chance to get a look at some of the University Archives’ recent acquisitions, which will be on display for the first time.

The exhibit will be on display through February 16, 2014 and was curated by Maureen McCormick Harlow, 175th Anniversary Intern in University Archives, and Valerie Gillispie, University Archivist.

Unable to make the reception? Visit the online exhibit!

175th Exhibit Banner, part 2

Honickman First Book Prize in Photography Reception and Artist’s Talk

gaskinDate: November 7, 2013
Time: 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Location: Center for Documentary Studies, 1317 W. Pettigrew Street, Durham, NC 27705
Contact: Kirston Johnson, kirston.johnson@duke.edu

Please join us on November 7 at 5:30pm for an artist’s talk and reception for the book and exhibit Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene photographs by Gerard Gaskin.  The event will take place at the Center for Documentary Studies and is co-sponsored by the Archive of Documentary Arts.

Gerard H. Gaskin is the winner of the 2012 Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography. Renowned curator and photographer Deborah Willis chose Gaskin’s longtime project for the prestigious biennial prize: color and black-and-white photographs that document the world of house balls, underground pageants where gay and transgender men and women, mostly African American and Latino, celebrate their most vibrant, spectacular selves as they “walk,” competing for trophies based on costume, attitude, dance moves, and “realness.”

The exhibition, in the Juanita Kreps Gallery at the Center for Documentary Studies, is on view from November 4, 2013, through Februrary 22, 2014.  The photographs will then be placed in the Archive of Documentary Arts in Duke University’s Rubenstein Library.

Gaskin’s book, Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene, published in Fall 2013 by Duke University Press in association with CDS Books of the Center for Documentary Studies, will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

For more information about the prize and to see images from Legendary: firstbookprizephoto.com

Learn more about the Archive of Documentary Arts.