Tag Archives: durham

What’s on our accession shelf?

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 nearly identical miniature of the family’s Durham house, which is still standing (and occupied) on Dacian Avenue. According to the family, the original house was modeled on the style of Le Corbusier. It was built in 1938, making it one of the first examples of “modern architecture” in Durham.

birdhouse
The Evans Family Birdhouse, with a photograph of the original house for comparison.

The family moved away from Durham in 1950, and kept the birdhouse as a fond token of their former home. We were relieved to learn upon intake that no birds ever took up residence. (That would have made for some interesting conservation concerns!)

Post contributed by Meghan Lyon, Technical Services Archivist.

“Soul & Service”: The North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, 115 Years and Counting

MutualJohnMosesAveryBlogExhibit Dates: October 24-December 20, 2013
Opening Reception: October 24, 2013, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Location: The Porch of the Center for Documentary Studies, 1317 West Pettigrew Street, Durham (directions)
Contact: John B. Gartrell, john.gartrell(at)duke.edu

The John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture and North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company present, “Soul & Service,” a historical exhibition celebrating the 115th anniversary of North Carolina Mutual. This Durham institution is the nation’s oldest and largest insurance company with roots in the African American community. The photos and documents featured in the presentation were drawn from the North Carolina Mutual Company Archives, jointly held by the Rubenstein Library and the University Archives and Records Special Collections at North Carolina Central University. “Soul & Service” will be on display of the porch of the Center for Documentary Studies from October 24-December 20, 2013.

Mandy Carter, Peace Walker

Since starting my internship with the Sallie Bingham Center last August, I’ve spent time each week processing the papers of Mandy Carter, a self-described “southern out black lesbian social justice activist.”

This year Carter celebrates 45 years of social, racial, and lesbigaytrans justice organizing, and it’s almost impossible to summarize all that she has done—beginning with peace activism in the late 1960s and continuing today in her role as National Coordinator for the Bayard Rustin Commemoration Project of the National Black Justice Coalition. So instead, here’s one small peek.

Though based in Durham for much of her career, Carter has traveled up, down, and around the country in support of her activism–and in the summer of 1983, she walked from Durham, North Carolina to Seneca, New York as part of the Women’s Peace Walk.

From left to right: Judy Winston, Mandy Carter, Elana Freedom. The trio completed the entire 600+ mile walk. Along the way, other women joined for a day, weekend, week, or longer. Newspaper clipping, 1983, Mandy Carter Papers
From left to right: Judy Winston, Mandy Carter, Elana Freedom. The trio completed the entire 600+ mile walk. Along the way, other women joined for a day, weekend, week, or longer. Newspaper clipping, 1983, from the Mandy Carter Papers.

Organized by the Southeast Regional Office of the War Resisters League—where Carter worked at the time—the Women’s Peace Walk aimed to draw attention to and protest the build-up of nuclear arms and specifically, the planned deployment of Cruise and Pershing II missiles to Europe later that year.

Women’s Peace Walk brochure, 1983.  From the Mandy Carter Papers.
Women’s Peace Walk brochure, 1983. From the Mandy Carter Papers.

Organizers timed the end of the walk to coincide with the beginning of the Women’s Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice, and the destination itself held particular significance. The area was not only home to the Seneca Army Depot, a nuclear bomb and missile storage site, it was also where women of the Iroquois Nation met in 1590 to demand an end to war among the tribes and where more than 300 men and women came together in 1848 for the nation’s first women’s rights convention.

If you’re interested in learning more about Mandy Carter, her lifelong activism, and social change in Durham over the past 30 years, head down to the Durham County Library at 5:30pm on Wednesday for a panel discussion featuring Carter, Caitlin Breedlove (Co-Director, Southerners On New Ground) and Steve Schewel (Founder, Independent Weekly). Event details are available here.

Post contributed by Stephanie Barnwell, Bingham Center Intern.

The Power of This Story: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality in Durham 1960-1990

Whole Women Carologue

 

The Sallie Bingham Center has partnered with the Women’s Studies Senior Seminar to present a series of public conversations exploring how social change happened here in Durham. Each panel features individuals and representatives of organizations whose papers are held by the Bingham Center.  Please note the different locations for each panel.

 

 

Panel 1:

Joanne Abel, YWCA’s Women Center, Triangle Area Lesbian Feminists, and War Resisters League
Barb Smalley, Ladyslipper Music
David Jolly, NC Lesbian and Gay Health Project

Date: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Time: 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Reception to follow)
Where: East Duke Parlors, East Campus, Duke University

 

Panel 2:

Jeanette Stokes, Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South
Kat Turner, Lesbian Health Resource Center and NC Lesbian and Gay Health Project
Donna Giles, Triangle Area Lesbian Feminists and Feminary

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Time: 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Reception to follow)
Where: Perkins Library, Room 217, West Campus, Duke University

 

Panel 3:

Mandy Carter, Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and War Resisters League
Caitlin Breedlove, Southerners on New Ground (SONG)
Steve Schewel, Founder, Independent Weekly

Date: Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Time:  5:30-6:30 p.m. (Reception to follow)
Where: Durham County Library, 300 N. Roxboro Street, Durham, NC

 

Sponsored by Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, Rubenstein Library; Durham County Library; Duke Program in Women’s Studies; Vice Provost of Academic Affairs; the Pauli Murray Project; and in conjunction with Women’s Studies Senior Seminar.

Durham Tobacco History, In a Box

As a new research services librarian at the Rubenstein Library, it’s been fascinating to explore what we have in the library. People have this idea that our collections are made up of only old books and paper, but our holdings are far more diverse than that, as I’m sure our blog readers know. Recently, a researcher was looking at a box from the Julian Shakespeare Carr Papers and when they returned the box I noticed it was oddly light and also labeled as fragile. Curious, I opened the box to find strange dark brown lumps sealed in plastic bags.

Box 2 of the Julian Shakespeare Carr Papers
Box 2 of the Julian Shakespeare Carr Papers
Tobacco Twists
Tobacco Twists

Fortunately there was small piece of paper in the box explaining that I was looking at tobacco twists from 1885 that were made in Durham, N.C. by the W. T. Blackwell & Company, which Julian Shakespeare Carr became a partner of in 1871. Tobacco twists were made by braiding and twisting tobacco leaves together into a sort of rope that could then be knotted or coiled, like these examples. While tobacco twists are strange looking today, they were one of the most common forms of tobacco in the 1800s. Consumers could cut off as much tobacco as they needed, whether it was headed for their pipe for smoking or straight into their mouths for chewing.

Bull Durham Cigarettes
Bull Durham Cigarettes

However, in the late 19th century Americans began to move away from chewing tobacco and pipes toward cigarettes. This box contains another Blackwell & Company product: Bull Durham cigarettes. These cigarettes are still wrapped in their paper pack, so you can’t get a good look at them, but if you could you would find filterless, hand-rolled cigarettes. At this time the cigarette production hadn’t been mechanized so it was an incredibly time-consuming and labor-intensive process. Even the best factory workers were only able to roll 4 or 5 cigarettes a minute.

Blackwell’s competitor and Durham neighbor,  W. Duke, Sons & Company pioneered the use of the recently invented cigarette rolling machine in 1884, enabling them to produce up to 200 cigarettes a minute from one machine and sell those cigarettes at a substantially lower cost. By the end of the century W. Duke, Sons & Company became the dominant tobacco company in Durham and the country, and Blackwell & Company and its Bull Durham brand eventually ended up as part of the Duke’s growing tobacco empire.

Post contributed by Kate Collins, Research Services Librarian.