It is a rare treat for me to have a chance to process some 19th century family letters. The family papers of Col. David S. Wilson, from Dubuque, Iowa, arrived in March 2014, thanks to a generous donation from the Kirby, Pfohl, and Quigley Family. The collection was discovered in an attic. It reached the [...]

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Duke College?

On August 13, 2014 By

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 [...]

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Every visitor to Technical Services likes to peek down the accessioning shelves and see what new collection materials have recently arrived. One of the most unusual accessions we’ve ever received is a birdhouse, which arrived this spring as part of an addition to the Evans Family Papers. It is a [...]

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Anyone who’s ever been to a doctor’s office or clinic has encountered a vast array of items: calendars, pens, coffee mugs, Post-Its, paperweights, tent signs and other items promoting some brand of medicine. This kind of material is routinely distributed along with free samples by traveling route salespersons and representatives for pharmaceutical companies, [...]

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Today the Abraham Joshua Heschel papers are officially opened and available for use. Having just finished processing the collection with a crack team of interns (thank you Adrienne Krone, Sam Kessler, Annegret Oehme, and Emanuel Fiano!), I can attest to the richness of the collection and am thrilled that patrons will be [...]

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Doc and Doe

On June 27, 2014 By

This marks my last contribution to the Devil’s Tale blog, as I’m moving on to another position at a different institution. I’ve enjoyed my time working for the Rubenstein Library, helping to arrange and describe the rich material housed within the Duke University Archives.  Over the past several years, I’ve become quite fond of several [...]

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A group of three uniformed men stand together in silence and black-and-white, engaged in what one imagines is small talk.  They are outside, others like them mill about, the mood one of dulled anticipation.  The men are obviously enjoying the extended gaze of the camera but not certain what to do with it.  [...]

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Finding a gem in a jumbled box of papers and images is always a fulfilling feeling, whether it be an arresting photograph, a revealing letter, or even a scrap of someone’s mundane—but relatable—life.  Of course, some of these gems are hidden and thus require a bit of searching before their worth can be noticed.  Much [...]

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In 2009, a single-item addition to our Charles Alexander Gore papers turned up in my cataloging queue. The letter surfaced while preparing some collections to move off-site before renovation of the Rubenstein Library began.  When I recalled the appropriate box and pulled the folder into which I was going to place the addition, I noticed that the handwriting [...]

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Mary Samouelian, the Heschel Processing Archivist here at the Rubenstein Library, has created a short documentary. “The Guardians of History” features seven archivists working in our Technical Services Department and explores why archivists do what we do.  In Mary’s words, the documentary “reveals our intimate relationship with the historical materials we work with, why [...]

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