Category Archives: News and Features

Women at Duke Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM-2:00 PM
Location: Edge Workshop Room, Bostock Library
Contact: Kelly Wooten, kelly.wooten@duke.edu or 919-660-5967

Two Women in front of the Washington Duke statue, ca. 1900s. From the University Archives Photograph Collection.
Two Women in front of the Washington Duke statue, ca. 1900s. From the University Archives Photograph Collection.

Join the staff of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture for an opportunity to learn how to edit Wikipedia articles, learn more about the rich history of women at Duke University, and then put that knowledge into action by creating and editing entries that document the lives and contributions of women alumnae, faculty, staff, and community members.

This edit-a-thon is part of a worldwide movement to increase the percentage of women editors and woman-focused articles within Wikipedia.

If you’re planning to attend, create a Wikipedia account in advance and sign up on the edit-a-thon’s meetup page (where you’ll also find a list of proposed Wikipedia articles that you can work on). Bring your laptop to the edit-a-thon if you can. You can also participate from anywhere in the world!

Looking for more information about the edit-a-thon? Read Duke Today’s article or listen to this “State of Things” discussion with local edit-a-thon organizers, including the Bingham Center’s Kelly Wooten!

The edit-a-thon is co-sponsored with the Duke University Archives and the Duke Women’s Center.

Archives Office Hours at the SOURCE

We know, there’s less than a month before LDOC and you need another thing to do like a hole in the head. But, if you’re a leader or an active member of a Duke student group (including graduate and professional student groups), finish out your group’s year by giving documentation about your activities to the Duke University Archives.

By archiving your records, you ensure that your group’s legacy remains part of Duke University’s history, alongside the records of Duke’s presidents and campus offices. It’s your way to make your mark on what future Duke students and scholars will know about Duke history for decades to come.

To help with this, University Archives staff will be holding regular office hours at UCAE’s the SOURCE starting this week through the end of the semester. You’ll find us at the SOURCE on:

  • Thursday, March 26th from 2:00-4:00 PM
  • Thursday, April 9th from 2:00-4:00 PM
  • Thursday, April 23rd from 2:00-4:00 PM

No appointment is necessary—just stop by with any questions about the records collecting process or to tell us more about the records you’d like to archive.

Cast from "The Womanless Wedding," ca. 1890. From the University Archives Photograph Collection.
This group is in the Duke University Archives. Is yours?
Cast from “The Womanless Wedding,” ca. 1890. From the University Archives Photograph Collection.

Need a little background information before coming to visit us?

Read more about the types of documentation we collect—and see some examples of student groups whose records we hold—on our student group records website.

Before you stop by, make a quick canvas of any documentation your group might be ready to place with the University Archives. Think about the types of documentation you have, the dates it covers, and if there are any special formats (do you have tons of video files? do you have a gigantic banner from a group event?). We’ll then help decide what should come to the University Archives.

We’ll also ask you how much documentation you have to give to us, so we can estimate the number of boxes you’ll need (yep, we can provide those) or make arrangements to get digital files from you via DropBox, a flash drive, etc.

Can’t visit the SOURCE during our office hours?

Complete our online form to let us know a little about the records you’d like to donate, and we’ll get in touch with you to discuss next steps. Or send us an email with any questions!

Post contributed by Amy McDonald, Assistant University Archivist.

Author Scott Ellsworth on “The Secret Game”

Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Edge Workshop Room, Bostock Library
Contact: Valerie Gillispie, valerie.gillispie@duke.edu or 919-684-8929

Cover of "The Secret Game" by Scott EllsworthPlease join us on Tuesday, March 31, at 4:00 p.m. for a special reading by historian and Duke alumnus Scott Ellsworth. He will be reading from his new book The Secret Game: A Wartime Story of Courage, Change, and Basketball’s Lost Triumph.

The Secret Game tells the incredible story of a Sunday morning in 1944 when the all-white Duke University military team from the Medical School traveled across town to North Carolina Central College for Negroes (now North Carolina Central University) and played a secret interracial basketball game. Under legendary coach John McLendon, the NCCU Eagles won the match-up. The players then continued to socialize and play a pick-up game that mixed players from each team.

Scott EllsworthAgainst the backdrop of World War II and the Jim Crow South, Ellsworth explores the way this extraordinary game came about, what it meant for the players involved, and how the details of this game were forgotten—and remembered. Ellsworth conducted research in the Duke University Archives, Duke University Medical Center Archives, and NCCU archives in writing the book.

Ellsworth will be introduced by Timothy B. Tyson, Duke University faculty member and author of Blood Done Sign My Name. The event will be followed by a book signing and reception in the Edge Lounge. Copies of The Secret Game will be available for sale by the Gothic Bookshop.

This event is sponsored by the Duke University Archives, the Center for Documentary Studies, the Gothic Bookshop, the Duke University Libraries, and the Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations.

Post contributed by Valerie Gillispie, Duke University Archivist.

Our new home: A sneak peek

It’s confession time: I started working at the Rubenstein after we moved onto the 3rd floor of Perkins. This means that I never gazed up at the ceiling archway of the Gothic Reading Room, and I never wandered our old stacks, traveling the well-trod paths—literally and figuratively– of those librarians who came before me. Our impermanent home is the only one I’ve known. And in truth, I’ve always had a hard time imagining what came before and what comes after. Architectural plans, while incredibly helpful, don’t always capture grand staircases and hidden crannies.

Rare Book Room
Rare Book Room

 

 

Luckily for all of us, Kat Stefko, the head of Rubenstein Technical Services, and I recently returned to our once and future home. We put on our fanciest construction gear and walked around the floors, all the while marveling at the differences in scale between our temporary location and our new one. Check out the maps cabinets! They are the very definition of bright young things.

liz-blog-photo-1
maps cabinets (sideways!)

 

liz-blog-photo-2

With a handy ruler, we were also able to measure the shelf clearance for our new manuscript shelving units. I’m happy to report that our larger manuscript boxes will fit safely and snuggly on each shelf. Can you imagine these filled with boxes?

liz-blog-photo-3

And just because I mentioned the scale earlier, look at how tall these units actually are! I’m not a small person, but these are the equivalent of two of me. (Don’t worry, fellow staff members and curious readers: our ladders will be sturdy and strong.)

Although we at the Rubenstein love a good field trip, we didn’t tour the stacks just to tour the stacks. We wanted to gain a better sense of how to move our materials from our current abode to our new one. As July 1st swirls closer, we need a solid moving plan, one that takes into account tight turns and elevators, lines of visibility and door widths. Our spaces aren’t quite complete, but we found it incredibly helpful to walk the pathways we’ll take in July, to imagine materials moving at fast clips down hallways and into elevators. It was all enormously satisfying: we know that we can make this move happen, and we’re well on our way to figuring out how to do it.

rube on the move

Post contributed by Liz Adams, Rubenstein Move Coordinator. 

 

Crazies in Love: A Valentine’s Open House

Date: Thursday, February 12, 2015
Time: 3:30-5:00 PM
Location: Room 217, Perkins Library
Contact: Amy McDonald, amy.mcdonald@duke.edu

Dearest readers and friends, we long to see you on Valentine’s Day. Won’t you please set our hearts a-flutter and come to our Valentine’s Day open house?

Do you fear that you will be too busy penning epistles of undying love to your own beloveds to join us? Ah, but this event is crafted especially for you: we’ll be sharing the most swoon-worthy of love declarations from the Rubenstein Library’s collections, so you may find just the term of endearment you need to woo your mate.

Perhaps a few examples to help the time pass more swiftly until we meet?

We’re charmed by the simplicity of this short note from the scrapbook of Odessa Massey, Class of 1928:

Note from Odessa Massey's scrapbook
From the Odessa Massey Scrapbook, 1924-1928.

Or the more expressive route taken by Francis Warrington Dawson—writing to Sarah Morgan, his future wife–is always sure to succeed:

Letter from Francis Warrington Dawson to Sarah Morgan, February 10, 1873. From the Dawson Family Papers.
Letter from Francis Warrington Dawson to Sarah Morgan, February 10, 1873. From the Francis Warrrington Dawson Family Papers.

“How deeply should I thank God that he has allowed me to know you, which is to love you, for the sun now has a brighter light & the sky a deeper blue. The whole world seems truer & better, & this pilgrim, instead of lingering in the depths, is breasting the healthy difficulties of existence, with his eyes fast fixed on you. Whatever else may fail, believe always in this devoted & unselfish love of Francis Warrington Dawson!”

Or whose heart wouldn’t melt upon receiving this most adorable valentine, from our Postcard Collection:

Valetine, undated. From the Postcard Collection.
Valentine postcard, undated. From the Postcard Collection.

And there might even be tips on how to present yourself when you present your valentine!

Barbasol advetisement, 1944.
Barbasol advetisement, 1944. http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/adaccess_BH0643/

 

Have we convinced you yet? What if we mention that there will be chocolate and candy?

Until next Thursday,

Your Rubenstein librarians

We’re on the Move!

 

While we at the Rubenstein were unable to commemorate the New Year with a ball (or perhaps pickle?) drop, we do have a lot to be excited for in this newest of years. After a stint on the third floor of Perkins, we’re finally making the trek to our permanent location—a location that while physically close, has occasionally felt as though it were light years away. In July 2015, the staff and collections of the Rubenstein will move (ourselves) home.

Perhaps because we conquered a move once before, we’re feeling ambitious, even a little daring. In addition to moving nearly 18,000 linear feet of onsite material (plus offsite material!), we’re also reclassifying our entire print holdings into a single, unified system: the Library of Congress classification. No longer will we have 120+ different call number systems, ranging from Riess C246I to E F#1275. Now, all our call numbers will follow the same alphanumeric system, one that is used by the larger Duke Libraries system. Here’s how the two call numbers above might be classed in the future:

calll numbers

A brief lesson about Library of Congress classification: those lines of alphanumeric text all have specific meanings outlined the Library of Congress classification schedules and its associated texts. The first lines of letters and numbers (e.g., HV6533) always refer to the subject of the work. In case you were wondering, HV refers to the subject “Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology.” The subsequent lines are then used to provide additional clarity, narrowing in on topics, geographic locations, authors, title, and even formats. The LC classification thus packs a huge amount of information into a scant amount of space.

So how will this help the Rubenstein (and you)? By moving to a single system, we’re making our collections more browsable, both for staff and for researchers. Since every call number has a subject associated with it, we can conduct both granular and broad searches in our catalog (and if you’re staff, in the stacks). We’re also making it easier for our staff to pinpoint the locations of items. With 120+ call numbers, there are lots of pockets in the stacks where an item might live. Library of Congress will not only unify our call number system but will also create stronger shelving practices. There will be a place for everything, and everything in its place.

Some of these advantages won’t be felt until we move into our new space and finish out the reclassification project. Others are already making their presence known. Because our call numbers are now tied to specific subjects, we can use our current data to pinpoint collection strengths, weaknesses, and gaps. We’ve been able to develop some very cool data visualization:

data visualization

While we knew (and probably could have guessed) that a substantial proportion of our print work falls into Language and Literature, other topics are a little more surprising. Who knew we had works about general Agriculture (S), Plant Culture (SB), and Animal Culture (SF)?  I certainly didn’t, but now that I know, I might just be tempted to brush up on my knowledge of farm life.

There’s still a lot to do, but we’re making steady progress in our reclassification project and our many other move preparation projects.  And we’re very happy to say the Rubenstein Library is on the move!

rube on the move

A special thanks to Noah Huffman and Angela Zoss in Data Visualization for creating the incredible visualization featured in this blog post. It’s a real beauty.

 Post contributed by Liz Adams, Collections Move Coordinator at the Rubenstein. 

 

Eating at the Rubenstein Library

We are still digesting the feast that was Wednesday’s Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen tasting event, but the bloating has died down enough for us to be able to share some photos from the celebration!

The Desserts!

Delicious sweet potato custard pie, apple kuchen, and blueberry pie, ready and waiting to be devoured! And we’d only just recovered from Thanksgiving!

There was so much eating to be done, but Duke people are very determined people.

Getting food!So much eating!

Here’s Rubenstein librarian Elizabeth Dunn serving Soldier Soup!

Serving soup!

And, to our very great surprise, the Velveeta-creamed corn ring was gone in the first half hour of the event. We’d even made two! We retract any previous skepticism about the appeal of this most excellent “cheese food.”

No more Velveeta!

Of course, we had the historical cookbooks and advertisements that provided the sources for our wonderful recipes out on display (with the stipulation that there could be no simultaneous browsing and eating; goblin sandwich filling would be tough to get off a 1777 cookbook…..).

Students looking at Rubenstein Library cookbooks!

Our intrepid taste-testers received zines containing all of the recipes and made by Rubenstein Library staff. If you couldn’t make the event, you can download a PDF copy of the zine here: Test-Kitchen-Zine-2014

Thanks to everyone who attended! We’ll have another tasting event—featuring recipes from our next round of test kitchen blog posts—in the late spring!

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!

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!

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.