Tag Archives: holidays

Grumpy Cat helps with Duke Chapel construction, 1932

Thank You, Steven Frownington McWhiskers

During renovations to the Rubenstein Library, a new carving was discovered in a remote corner of the stacks. The image of a fairly grumpy looking cat is a tribute to a campus friend named Steven Frownington McWhiskers—affectionately known as Steve.


Steve was a local farm cat who took a great interest in the construction on West Campus between 1927 and 1932. Present for everything from the placement of the cornerstone in the Union to the erection of the Chapel spire, Steve was a steadfast friend and critic. His smoldering glare reminded the stonecarvers that even a single errant stone would mar the beauty of the campus. With a low growl and a hiss, Steve reminded all that he watched over them—and did not approve of anything short of perfection.

Grumpy Cat at the West Campus cornerstone-laying ceremony, 1928

Grumpy Cat helps with Duke Chapel construction, 1932

We fondly remember Steve today for his efforts to ensure that Duke University would be a place of great beauty for people and cats alike.

Post contributed by Valerie Gillispie, Duke University Archivist.

Screamfest Visitors

Screamfest in Pictures

Look at all of the boys and ghouls (sorry, we had to) at our Haunted Library Screamfest!

Screamfest Visitors

We had materials on display from all of the creepy, spooky corners of the Rubenstein Library, including these items from the History of Medicine Collections:

History of Medicine Collections Materials at Screamfest

And no, the skeleton wasn’t made of white chocolate. Although some of this was!

Screamfest Candy

Visit the Screamfest 2013 set on the Duke University Libraries’s Flickr photostream for more pictures of the fun. And check out Duke Today’s report!

PicMonkey Collage3

Happy 4th of July!

Nothing says Fourth of July like friends and family, outdoor barbeques and, for the adults of course, a cooler of refreshing canned beer.

Check out these examples of vintage beer cans found in the corporate archive of the JWT Advertising Agency in the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Marketing and Advertising History in the Rubenstein Library. The Hamm Brewing Co. was a client of the agency in the 1960s and early 1970s.  The agency collected the beer cans of their competitor’s accounts as part of their market research. And just like clothing and automobiles, there’s something here for everyone.

For the conscientious buyer that appreciates brute honesty in advertising, there’s Gablinger’s Beer, “Not Diatetic or Theraputic.” If an element of regal refinement is more your speed why not try a Duke Beer, “The Prince of Pilsner,” or perhaps a Stite, “Pale and Dry as Champagne.”

Beer Collage

If you’re not easily wooed by fanciful slogans and colorful graphics then there’s the subtle simplicity of “Cold-Aged!” Genese. If you like a beer can that looks like it’s constructed of wood paneling  (and who doesn’t?), then Meister Brau is the beer for you.

PicMonkey Collage1

For all of you classicists, there’s the iconic Leinenkugel’s of Chippewa Falls, WI, and the “Original” Pabst Blue Ribbon.”

PicMonkey Collage3Whatever your choice, we at the Rubenstein wish you a wonderful holiday!

Post contributed by Joshua Larkin Rowley, Research Services Dept.

Workin’ 9 to 5 on Administrative Professionals Day

Administrative Professionals Day began as part of what was originally called “National Secretaries Week,” founded in 1952 by an organization now known as the International Association of Administrative Professionals, both to honor the work of secretaries and administrative professionals and attract people to the career.

When you think of a secretary in the 1950s, an image like this one, from the back of the Smith-Corona’s Complete Secretary’s Handbook (1951) probably comes to mind:

Image from Smith-Corona’s Complete Secretary’s Handbook (1951)

A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that sixty years later, “secretary” is still the most common job for women. In fact, in 2011, 96% of all secretaries and administrative assistants were women.

The Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture has many collections that document organizational efforts to improve job opportunities for women, whether that means advocating for access to jobs higher-paying male-dominated fields or fighting against sexual harassment in the workplace, including the records of the Southeast Women’s Employment Coalition, founded in 1979 in order to expand the limited employment opportunities for women in the rural South, and the papers of labor activist Theresa El-Amin.

Cover of Not Servants, Not Machines by Jean TeppermanOur collection also contains this gem: Not Servants, Not Machines: Office Workers Speak Out by Jean Tepperman (1976). In the acknowledgements, Tepperman explains how women affiliated with the Boston chapter of “9 to 5,” an organization of women office workers, supported the writing of this book which includes interviews with women across the country. Like the “9 to 5″ organization, this book aims to share these women’s experiences of discrimination in the workplace due sexism, and provide information about how to organize and improve women’s working conditions, treatment, and most importantly, their pay.

The Rubenstein Library salutes Administrative Professionals, especially our own Nelda Webb, and honors their contributions, as well as those who have worked to improve conditions and compensation for all women in the workplace.

Post contributed by Kelly Wooten, Research Services and Collection Development Librarian for the Bingham Center.

Cheret, J., "Kola Marque," color lithograph, Paris, c. 1895

Feasting from The History of Medicine Collection

As we sit down to our Thanksgiving dinners, I leave you with a few images from a recent acquisition of thirty-four medical prints collected and donated by William H. Helfand. The posters date mainly from 18th century Paris, but the earliest dates to 1695 (the Kospter poster below) and the latest to 1991. They are all beautiful prints–heavy with political satire and caricatures, quack doctors and alchemy. But they also serve as wise reminders to eat in moderation this season. Happy Thanksgiving from the Rubenstein Library!

Maleuvre, “La Ribotte a nos chants”, color lithograph, Paris 1823
Cheret, J., “Kola Marque,” color lithograph, Paris, c. 1895
Dusort, Cornelius, “Hopster,” engraving, Holland, 1695
Grandville and Forest, “Memento Homo Quia Pulvis…”, hand color lithograph, Paris, 1833
Langlumé, “L’indigestion” from Album Comique, color lithograph, 1823

Post contributed by Joanne Fairhurst, Technical Services Intern and doctoral candidate in the Classical Studies Dept.


The British Are Coming! The Printer is Leaving!

Among the many treasures of the Rubenstein Library is an impressive collection of nearly 3,000 historic American newspapers. As part of our major renovation project, these items along with all our collections are being physically prepared for their impending move. In the case of the newspapers, this is a particularly daunting task. Large in scale, centuries old, sometimes folded, and typically preceded, superseded, and sometimes paralleled with alternative titles, it is often difficult to know what goes together and in what order. While such changes in title and places of publication can befuddle those of us working on rehousing the collection in appropriate order, they sometimes offer remarkable clues about America’s history.

Take, for instance, the Massachusetts Spy. Begun by Isaiah Thomas in 1770, it was the first American newspaper geared toward the middle class.  While an average newspaper of the time might have 400 subscribers, Thomas grew the circulation of his paper to more than 3,500. An adamant patriot with close connections to John Hancock, Paul Revere, and other Sons of Liberty, Thomas used his paper to broadcast anti-British views and inflame the colonists to action. The British considered Thomas so dangerous that his name was on the list of twelve people to be summarily executed if captured.

The last edition we have of the Mass Spy published in Boston is issue number 217 published on March 30, 1775, less than a month before the Battle of Lexington.  Subtitled Thomas’s Boston Journal, Thomas included a version of Benjamin Franklin’s “Join or Die” cartoon in the paper’s masthead.

The paper next appears in Worchester, under a new title—The Massachusetts Spy, Or, American Oracle of Liberty—and with a new masthead—this one proclaiming in large letters “Americans!—Liberty or Death!—Join or Die!”

While changes in newspaper titles and places of publication are common, the significance of this one cannot be overstated.  With tensions rapidly escalating in Boston, and with Thomas on the British’s most wanted list, the printer waited until the last possible moment to smuggle his press and himself out of heart of the controversy and to the relative safety of Worchester, some forty miles west of Boston.  And, when he printed his first issue of the newly reconstituted paper on May 3, 1775 he deliberately changed the subtitle and masthead to reflect the nature and urgency of his message.

On the paper’s front page, Thomas gave his own account of the dramatic events that unfolded in prior weeks: “I accordingly removed my Printing Materials from Boston to this Place, and escaped myself from Boston on the memorable 19th of April, 1775, which will be remembered in future as the Anniversary of the Battle of Lexington!” He devotes much of the issue to firsthand accounts of the battle, the first published: “Americans!  Forever bear in mind the Battle of Lexington!—where British Troops, unmolested and unprovoked, wantonly, and in a most inhuman manner fired upon and killed a number of our countrymen, then robbed them of their provisions, ransacked, plundered and burnt their houses!  nor could the tears of defenceless women, some of whom were in the pains of childbirth, the cries of helpless babes, nor the prayers of old age, confined to beds of sickness, appease their thirst for blood!—or divert them from their DESIGN of MURDER and ROBBERY!”

Given the rarity of this issue with its firsthand accounts of the very first battle of the American Revolution, I was surprised to discover that there are two copies in the Rubenstein Library’s newspaper collection.  A further curiosity is that each is signed by Thomas in the lower left-hand corner.

Closer inspection reveals that the signature is photo-mechanically reproduced, a technology not available in 1775. Both our copies are in fact facsimiles reproduced from Thomas’s own copy which resides at the American Antiquarian Society in Worchester, the nation’s third oldest historical society which Thomas founded after he retired as a printer and editor. The facsimiles were most likely produced in 1876 in celebration of the country’s centennial.

The fact that our copies are facsimiles produced more than 125 years ago is fascinating in its own right, and tells us something about the history of how this country has celebrated anniversaries. I do not know yet how these two copies will be boxed and foldered with other original issues from the Mass Spy; but, I do know that our newspapers will be ready to move out of Perkins in time for the renovation — just like Thomas was ready to move out of Boston in time for the Revolution.

Post contributed by Kat Stefko, Head of the Technical Services Dept. in the Rubenstein Library.

Thomas F. Perry music collection

It’s St. Patrick’s Day (in the morning)!

Thomas F. Perry music collection
First page from the Thomas F. Perry music collection, 1833, which features many Irish melodies.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Rubenstein! Here are the “Irish Quick Step” and “St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning” to enhance your celebrations. These dances and more can be found in the Thomas F. Perry Music Collection, dating from about 1833.

Post contributed by Alice Poffinberger, Archivist/Original Cataloger in the Technical Services Dept.

New Year's Eve Card

Happy New Year from the Rubenstein Library!

As we say good-bye to 2011 and welcome 2012, the staff of the Rubenstein Library would like to thank its researchers, fans, and supporters. This has been an incredibly busy and exciting year!

New Year's Eve Card
New Year's Eve Card, Postcard Collection

Highlights were the generous gifts from David M. Rubenstein and Merle Hoffman.  The library formerly known as the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library is now the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Bingham Center Director Laura Micham is now the Merle Hoffman Director.

We also welcomed wonderful new colleagues! The History of Medicine Collections and their curator, Rachel Ingold, joined us in July.  We are thrilled to add these rich materials, which beautifully complement our existing collections, and such a knowledgeable colleague.  We were delighted to welcome Valerie Gillispie as our new Duke University Archivist and Kat Stefko as Head of Technical Services.  Finally, Molly Bragg, former Drill Intern, has returned to work as our move coordinator, assisting us in preparing for renovation.

The excitement will continue in 2012 as plans for the Rubenstein renovation are finalized.

We wish you all health, happiness, and plenty of good books (and manuscripts!) in the New Year!


Post contributed by Elizabeth Dunn

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Holiday Shopping with Don Draper

Looking through some 1960s print ads from the J. Walter Thompson Competitive Advertisements Collection, we couldn’t help but wonder what would’ve been on Don Draper’s holiday shopping list.  The Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History has a few suggestions for him. . . .

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For Sally: Topper Toys advertised a line of Suzy Homemaker® products for girls who were “square” because they washed regularly, wore shoes rather than beads, and got “more fun out of being a cook than a kook.” Rebellious Sally will surely love spending the day cleaning with her new Vacuum and Super Sweeper, baking Dad a chocolate cake with the High Speed Mixer and Safety Oven, and then getting gussied up at the Vanity before she sneaks out to see Glen. The perfect gift to reinforce traditional gender roles (or perhaps the best way to create a feminist)!

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For Roger Sterling: What could be better than Milton Bradley’s Drop in the Bucket game, the highlight of the next office holiday party! Apparently it was “so zip-zap new” that you would be “hailed like Columbus for discovering it.” Who else would have the nerve to strap a net to his waist as coworkers try to drop “bouncy cubes” in it?  Just add a few martinis and watch the merriment commence!

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For Megan:  Jewelry is the obvious choice for Don’s new young wife, and nothing says “I love you” more than the tagline “Fake hair, fake nails, fake lashes, but real jewelry.”  Only the best for his lovely bride!

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For Betty:  Don still has a soft spot for his ex-wife, so he needs to find something that says “Merry Christmas and I’m sorry I never told you my real name.”  How about astrology soap on a rope!  “Boldly sculptured” in “fragrances and colours to match every personality,” I’m sure he will find the one that fits Betty’s polished, repressed and passive aggressive nature.

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And Don, don’t forget Rover! French’s People Crackers for Dogs would be the perfect choice for the furry member of his family. The dog can literally take a bite out of the mailman, the policeman, and even the dogcatcher!

Don will surely be thirsty after all that shopping.  Since he is cutting back on alcohol, why unwind with some drink ideas from Campbell’s Soup? Perhaps he could make Tomato Ice by freezing Tomato Soup, or chill some Consommé until it jellies and serve it with “a lemon slice, cucumber or sour cream.” And who doesn’t love Beef Broth on the Rocks “poured right from the can over ice”? That’s what we call “Mmm Mmm  Good!” (This ad is from the Roy Lightner Collection of Antique Advertisements.)

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Happy Holidays from the Hartman Center!

Post contributed by Jackie Reid, Director of the Hartman Center, and Liz Shesko, Hartman Center intern.