Category Archives: Fall / Winter 2018-19

A Big Lift for Lilly

Lead Gifts Support Planned Renovation and Expansion

By Aaron Welborn, Director of Communications

First-year students in the Class of 2022 ham it up before the class photo in front of Lilly Library on East Campus, August 2018. Photo by Jared Lazarus/University Communications.

In December, President Vincent E. Price shared with the Duke community some tidings of comfort and joy. The Duke University Libraries had received $10 million, Price announced in a press release, in support of the planned renovation and expansion of Lilly Library, one of Duke’s oldest and most architecturally significant buildings.

The donation is comprised of three gifts: a $5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., $2.5 million from Irene and William McCutchen and the Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Foundation, and $2.5 million from Virginia and Peter Nicholas.

Altogether, the gifts represent approximately one-fourth of the projected renovation cost. And they come from a family with a long association with Duke, and with Lilly Library in particular.

Rendering of the renovated and expanded Lilly Library, including a planned new entrance on the west side of the building. Image by Dewing Schmid Kearns Architects and Planners.

Lilly Library is named for Ruth Lilly, the famed philanthropist and last great-grandchild of pharmaceutical magnate Eli Lilly. In 1993, Lilly made a gift to “renovate and computerize” the library where her two nieces, sisters Irene “Renie” Lilly McCutchen and Virginia “Ginny” Lilly Nicholas, spent time as they attended the Woman’s College at Duke, graduating in 1962 and 1964, respectively. The gift renamed the building and provided the first significant upgrade to the stately Georgian edifice since it was built in 1927.

Renie and William McCutchen, a 1962 graduate of Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, have a history of giving to Duke, primarily toward the Duke Divinity School.

Ginny and Peter Nicholas, a 1964 graduate of the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, are also longtime donors to Duke, most notably for their naming gift for the Nicholas School of the Environment.

Among the members of the McCutchen and Nicholas families and their children, ten have attended Duke (one Nicholas grandchild is enrolled currently), and both families have a distinguished tradition of generosity and service to the university.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family—J. K. Lilly Sr. and sons J. K. Jr. and Eli—through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. In keeping with the wishes of the three founders, Lilly Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education, and community development. Throughout its history, the endowment has made grants totaling nearly $9.9 billion to almost ten thousand charitable organizations. At the end of 2017, the endowment’s assets totaled $11.7 billion.

More than 1,700 first-year students make East Campus their home every year and rely on Lilly Library for their academic success. Photo by Jared Lazarus/University Communications.

“These remarkably generous gifts from the Nicholas and McCutchen families and the grant from Lilly Endowment will enable us to dramatically improve the academic experience for Duke students and faculty, while preserving the charm and character of Lilly’s most beloved spaces,” said Deborah Jakubs, the Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University Librarian and Vice Provost for Library Affairs. “While Lilly Library and its staff are popular with first-year students and other library users, the lack of services and adequate space prevents it from fully meeting their needs. Many of the library services and spaces today’s students need to succeed are available in Perkins and Bostock Libraries on West Campus, but not yet on East.”

The planned renovation and expansion will update facility needs—including enhanced lighting, technology infrastructure, and furnishings—to meet today’s standards of safety, accessibility, usability, and service. Anticipated changes will also extend to the elegant Thomas, Few, and Carpenter reading rooms while maintaining the charm and character of these favorite spaces.

The library under construction in 1926. It served as Duke’s first library while West Campus was being built.

The proposed renovated building will also feature several new spaces for collaborative research and academic services, such as tutoring space for the Thompson Writing Program, event space for the Duke FOCUS Program, a student-testing facility, and an exhibit gallery. An anticipated added entrance and commons space holds promise to become the crossroads for East Campus that the von der Heyden Pavilion is for West, a place where students and faculty can meet over coffee.

“Our family’s commitment to restore and expand Duke’s library that bears the Lilly name comes from our hearts,” said Renie McCutchen and Ginny Nicholas. “We are happy to continue to support the same exceptional education and student experience as Duke has provided for three generations of the Lilly family.”

The building now known as Lilly Library opened in 1927 as Duke University’s first library on East Campus while West Campus was being constructed. At that time, it had a collection of around 100,000 books and was designed to serve a population of some 1,400 students. For more than four decades it served as the Woman’s College Library. When the Woman’s College merged with Trinity College of Arts & Sciences in 1972, the library was renamed the East Campus Library until 1993, when it was rededicated in honor of Ruth Lilly.

The Trinity College seal over the entry door of Lilly Library.

Over the course of that history, the very nature of libraries has also been redefined several times by technology, educational trends, and the demands of library users.

Today, more than 1,700 first-year Duke students make East Campus their home every year, and Lilly serves as their gateway to the full range of library collections and services. Faculty and graduate students whose departments are on East Campus also depend on Lilly for library services and materials, as does anyone who uses the art, art history, and philosophy collections housed there.

The total projected cost of the renovation and expansion is anticipated to be $38 million, which will largely be funded through philanthropy.

The Lilly family has been long been known for its support of libraries. In addition to Duke’s Lilly Library, there are Lilly libraries at Indiana University-Bloomington (with separate libraries named after Ruth Lilly at IU’s schools of law and medicine), Wabash College, Earlham College, and the Ruth Lilly Library at the Indianapolis Art Center.

“Since the war began ‘times ain’t what they used to be'”

Life at Trinity College During the Great War

By Mandy Cooper, Ph.D.

First Lieutenant Robert “Kid” Anderson, Trinity Class of 1914, in his service uniform (third from left) and as captain of the baseball team during his senior year. Anderson was the first Trinity alum casualty of the war and the first North Carolinian to receive the Distinguished Service Cross (posthumously). Photographs courtesy of Mr. Jesse Clayton.

One hundred and one years ago, the doors to the East Duke Parlors were “thrown open” and “tables and machines [were] hauled in” along with “oilcloth, bleaching, hammer and tacks.” Led by Trinity College’s newly established branch of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), the women at Trinity College and in the surrounding community turned the East Duke Parlors into a Red Cross room.

According to Trinity’s YWCA president Lucile Litaker, the room was now “splendidly equipped” and “great bundles of material began to appear.” Throughout the next year, women at Trinity were joined by women from Durham to roll and send bandages overseas. The Red Cross room was officially open every Tuesday and Friday afternoon 2:00-4:30, with the Trinity Chronicle reporting in February 1918 that between forty and fifty women had worked in the room the previous Friday. The women at Trinity were determined to do their part for the war effort.

They were not the only ones. By the 1917–1918 school year, the United States had officially entered World War I, and Trinity was feeling its effects. The impact on enrollment was immediate. Trinity saw a decrease of over one hundred enrolled students during the 1916–1917 and 1918–1919 academic years. President William P. Few was alarmed and attempted to boost enrollment in multiple ways: he encouraged current students to remain at Trinity until they were drafted; he toured North Carolina to promote the need for college-educated men to rebuild a war-ravaged Europe; and, like many other North Carolina universities, he started a Student Army Training Corps (SATC) unit on campus. The young men who enrolled in the SATC officially joined the U.S. Army, but remained students at their institutions and were protected from the draft while receiving the training necessary to be considered for officer positions after graduation. Special classes were established for the SATC to ensure that those enrolled received the necessary training. The War Department required that Trinity create a course for the SATC that covered the “remote and immediate causes of the war and on the underlying conflict of points of view.” This course was intended to enhance the SATC’s morale and help them understand the “supreme importance to civilization” of the war.

Trinity College students in the Student Army Training Corps. Students enrolled in the SATC were protected from the draft and received training to be considered for officer positions. University Archives Photograph Collection.

Few’s worries that Trinity would lose many students “to government service of one kind or another” proved apt. Although Few tried to dissuade freshman Charlton Gaines from leaving Trinity when he heard of his plans, Gaines enlisted and was sent to Camp Meigs for training. He apologized to Few shortly after arriving at Camp Meigs for leaving “without giving you notice of my departure.” Gaines served throughout the war, attaining the rank of Sergeant in the Quartermaster Corps, and never returned to Trinity College.

Even those students who remained at Trinity felt the effects of the war. Friends and former students who had joined the military often returned to campus to visit on the weekends. The Chronicle reported in January 1918 that there would be no Chanticleer for the 1917–1918 year, largely because of the war. In addition to financial woes carried over from the previous year, the editor-elect had failed to return to Trinity in fall 1917—presumably because he joined the army. As the Chronicle writer reported, though, Trinity was not the only college (even just in North Carolina) that had been forced to cancel the yearbook for the year. In the end, the writer told students that they must “patriotically adapt” themselves to this situation because “since the war began ‘times ain’t what they used to be.’” The Chanticleer returned in 1919 as a special edition. It was issued at the end of the war, published as Victory, 1919, and highlighted the victory of the United States and its allies in the war.

Completed in 1923 and dedicated to the “one thousand and twenty-nine sons of Trinity who entered the service of their country in the World War,” the Alumni Memorial Gymnasium on East Campus was funded through the donations of hundreds of Trinity alumni. In 1996, the Brodie Recreation Center was added to the existing Memorial Gymnasium. These dedications are on the second floor.

The war had some unexpected effects on Trinity as well. Football had been banned at Trinity since 1895, and in 1918 students petitioned for its return. They argued that a football program would help build a manly physique during a time when there was “a distressing need for physically well-developed men.” As the war was ending, the administration lifted the ban and football returned to Trinity.

Trinity’s connection to the war was never more clear than in the masses of letters that alumni and former students sent to friends still at Trinity, to President Few or other faculty, to the Trinity Chronicle, or to the Alumni Register. Lt. R. H. Shelton wrote to Duke Treasurer D. W. Newsome from the front in France, telling him that he had seen “some of the worst over here.” Shelton continued, “Sherman certainly knew what he was talking about, but his was an infant.” Alumni like Shelton made the horrors of war clear to everyone still at Trinity. The pages of the Alumni Register for the war years are filled with letters from the front, placed in the same volumes as the President’s updates on the war’s effect on the college.

Duke’s Blue Devil mascot traces its origins to World War I. The Chasseurs Alpins—nicknamed “les Diables bleus”—were an elite French military unit known for their courage and skill in fighting on mountainous terrain. When the U.S. entered the war, units of the French Blue Devils toured the country to raise money for the war effort. Their distinctive blue uniform with flowing cape and jaunty beret captured the public imagination. As the war was ending, Trinity lifted its quarter-century ban on football and the Chronicle began advocating for a catchy name for the team. In 1922, Blue Devils was eventually chosen out of the suggestions (which also included Blue Titans, Blue Eagles, Royal Blazes, and Polar Bears). Postcard from Francis Eugene Seymour Papers, Rubenstein Library.

The Alumni Register and the Chronicle both regularly reported on the service of Trinity alumni and students overseas, including the first alumnus killed in action. First Lieutenant Robert “Kid” Anderson was among the first wave of American soldiers sent overseas. Part of the class of 1914, he was killed in action on May 29, 1918, at the Battle of Cantigny in France—the first major American engagement in the war. The news of Anderson’s death was sent both to his family and to President Few. The Alumni Register announced that Anderson had been killed in action in its July 1918 issue. The Register profiled his time at Trinity and his military service before reprinting an account of the memorial service held in his honor in his hometown of Wilson, North Carolina, a letter to Anderson’s parents from a fellow soldier that described his bravery in action, and portions of Anderson’s letters to relatives and friends.

To honor the centennial of the end of the First World War, selected items from the Duke University Libraries are on display in the Mary Duke Biddle Room as part of the exhibit Views of the Great War: Highlights from the Duke University Libraries. In addition to the impact of World War I on Trinity College and other people back home, the exhibit highlights aspects of the Great War and tells the personal stories of a few of the men and women (whether soldiers, doctors, or nurses) who travelled to France with the American Expeditionary Force during the “war to end all wars.” The exhibit is on display through February 2019.

Mandy Cooper is a Duke History Ph.D. and former Research Services Graduate Intern with the Rubenstein Library. She is one of the curators of the exhibit Views of the Great War.

It Pays to Do Your Research

Catching Up with Our Research and Writing Prize Winners

By Keegan Trofatter

Every year we run a series of essay contests recognizing the original research and writing of Duke students and encouraging the use of library resources. These include the Aptman Prizes, for use of our general collections; the Middlesworth Awards, for use of our special collections and rare materials; the Holsti Prize, recognizing research in political science or public policy; and the Rosati Creative Writing Award. Winners of these awards receive impressive cash prizes of $1,000 or $1,500 as well as recognition at a reception during Duke’s Family Weekend.

We thought it would be fun to catch up with a few of this year’s winners and ask what they planned to do with their winnings.

Hanna Watson

Double-Winner, Aptman Prize and Middlesworth Award

As a Robertson Scholar, Hanna had the opportunity to spend one semester of her undergraduate years at UNC as a full-fledged Duke student. Though her time at Duke may have been limited, the impact it had on shaping her work was anything but. An African American Studies major, Hanna is interested in religious history in black communities both in America and globally. Her paper, “Seeking Canaan: Marcus Garvey and the African American and South African Search for Freedom,” was so good it had the rare distinction of winning both an Aptman Prize and a Middlesworth Award.

Now it appears Hanna’s future writing career may take a different turn. When asked what she planned to do with her winnings, she responded, “Recently, I’ve decided I want to actively pursue performance poetry. However, that requires having a car. The money I won is going directly towards my car-fund, in the hopes I’ll be able to go on a travel tour of writing and performing my work.”

Hanna also has eyes on divinity school (Duke’s perhaps?) and hopes to continue her historical inquiries through exploration of primary research and materials.

Gabi Stewart

Middlesworth Award Winner

Choosing to study Classical Languages, Greek Literature, and History at Duke may not be the popular path, but it proved to be interesting and rewarding for Gabi. Though she was the only Classical Languages major to graduate in the Class of 2018, she still thinks Duke was one of the best places to write and research her passion.

As a student, Gabi interned with the American Society of Papyrologists. As it happens, the ASP is headquartered at Duke, which is also home to countless papyrus materials in the Rubenstein Library. Gabi attributes the line of inquiry that inspired her paper—“Rostovtzeff and the Yale Diaspora: How Personalities and Communities Influenced the Development of North American Papyrology”—to her relationship with ASP and the ease to which she could access rare materials.

As Gabi delves into the next chapter of her studies at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, she remarks that she hasn’t yet had the opportunity to travel as much as she’d like.

“I’m planning to use the prize money from the Middlesworth to take one of my first trips abroad—to Paris!” she said.

Andrew Tan-Delli Cicchi

Middlesworth Award Winner

As a student of Global Cultural Studies and founder of the Duke Men’s Project, Andrew was accustomed to exploring and interrogating narratives in his environment while at Duke. Choosing to spend his summer as one of the first participants in our Duke History Revisited program—a six-week immersive research experience uncovering previously under-researched or unexplored areas of Duke history—Andrew was able to delve deep into the relationship between Duke and Durham through the lens of housing and gentrification.

Andrew’s research, culminating in “Neighbors: A Narrative and Visual History of Duke’s Influence on Durham’s Low-Income Housing,” was different than work he’d ever done. It gave him a sense of empowerment over his studies.

“It’s so gratifying to know that this research is read,” Andrew stated, “that it has a place in the scholarship of a subject I care deeply about and a city that means a great deal to me. I’m honored to receive the prize.”

Though his time at Duke has come to an end, Andrew continues his pursuit of uncovering knowledge. He is currently researching domestic labor in Hong Kong, and hopes to use the prize money to further his travels around the region.

Alex Sanchez Bressler

Rosati Award Winner

Following your passions can often take you down roads you never expected. That’s the case for Alex, a recent graduate with a Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies major, Environmental Science minor, and Latina/o Studies certificate. His unique combination of degrees was a result of his desire to understand people and how they interact within the world.

Alex’s creative writing piece, a series of vignettes titled “Reports from South Texas,” followed his interests and experiences. Inspired by his mother’s house in San Antonio, the piece reflects on the contradiction between sentimental memory and physical rot. In writing it, Alex found a way to hold onto a place that may be slipping away. He is grateful he didn’t have to undergo the process alone.

“Mentors are huge,” he said. “It’s hard to know when to slap someone in the face with critique and when to applaud. A mentor knows the right balance.”

Since graduation, Alex has remained at Duke as an Arts Administration Fellow. He imagines using the prize money to enjoy some local treats, such as buying the “nice” loaves of bread from the Durham Farmer’s Market and taking himself out on a couple of dates.

Valerie Muensterman

Rosati Award Winner

Some might know Valerie as the President of Duke Players, the student theater group supporting new work from the Duke community, or as an actress in campus productions. However, behind the curtain, Valerie is often responsible for the writing herself. A junior, Valerie unites her studies in English, Creative Writing, and Theater Studies to create her very own plays and even see them to production.

Her three-part collection of plays, “Ditch,” embodies Valerie’s interests in human miscommunication, loss, and the surreal and was a result of Valerie’s efforts over the span of a couple of different dramatic writing courses. Her writing hasn’t stopped there.

Valerie is currently working on a screenplay. Before she graduates, she hopes to write a full-length play and produce it for an audience. As every writer knows, it can be difficult to find the time and resources to devote yourself to your craft. Valerie hopes the prize money will give her the opportunity to spend her summer writing and exploring her passion.

Keegan Trofatter (T’19) is an English major and student worker in the Library Development and Communications department.

Complete List of This Year’s Winners

Lowell Aptman Prize
Recognizing excellence in undergraduate research using sources from the Libraries’ general collections

  • Hanna Watson: “Seeking Canaan: Marcus Garvey and the African American and South African Search for Freedom”
  • Chloe Ricks: “‘Last Stop Destination’: Poverty, Anti-Blackness, and University Education in the Mississippi Delta and the Baixada Fluminense”

Chester P. Middlesworth Award
Recognizing excellence of analysis, research, and writing in the use of primary sources and rare materials held by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

  • Gabrielle Stewart: “Rostovtzeff and the Yale Diaspora: How Personalities and Communities Influenced the Development of North American Papyrology”
  • Andrew Tan-Delli Cicchi: “Neighbors: A Narrative and Visual History of Duke’s Influence on Durham’s Low-Income Housing”
  • Hanna Watson: “Seeking Canaan: Marcus Garvey and the African American and South African Search for Freedom”

Ole R. Holsti Prize
Recognizing excellence in undergraduate research using primary sources for political science and public policy

  • Anna Katz: “The Road to the White (Nationalist) House: Coded Racial Appeals in Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign”

Rudolph William Rosati Creative Writing Award
Recognizing outstanding undergraduate creative writing

  • Valerie Muensterman: “Ditch,” a collection of plays
  • Vivian Lu: “Triptych,” a collection of short stories
  • Alex Bressler: “Reports from South Texas, 1995-1999,” a series of vignettes
  • Samantha Meyers: “BLUE,” a play

How to Build a Better Book Cart

By Aaron Welborn, Director of Communications

The most enduring technologies are often the simplest, as well as the easiest to take for granted. Consider the humble book cart. It’s basically a shelf on wheels. Yet for moving lots of books around, its efficient design would seem to offer little room for improvement. That is, unless you’ve ever tried maneuvering one across a floor of Duke stone.

For some time now, staff in the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library have struggled with a basic design problem. The same stone that gives Duke’s campus its timeless Gothic charm turns out to make a bumpy road for books. Its hard, uneven surface transforms a routine cruise down the hall with a cart full of books into a teeth-rattling steeplechase. This is especially problematic when the books on the move are rare, fragile, and of inestimable value. And then there’s the noise. A decibel meter recently clocked a rackety Rubenstein book cart at roughly the same volume as a lawnmower. Far be it from us to shush anybody.

Rubenstein Research Services Archivist Trudi Abel (center) with members of the All-Terrain Manuscript Team (left to right): Joey Zhou, Kevin Kerner, Vineet Alaparthi, Aneesh Gupta, and Keyu Han.

So what’s a poor librarian to do? Rubenstein Research Services Archivist Trudi Abel recently turned to an unlikely source for help—Dr. Ann Saterback, director of the new “First-Year Design” course at the Pratt School of Engineering.

Each incoming class of Pratt undergrads is required to take “First Year Design.” The course divides students into teams and matches them with “clients” around campus and the local community who have real-world design problems in need of solutions. In her proposal, Abel laid out the library’s dilemma and challenged the future Duke engineers to devise a better book cart.

Happily, one group of students was up to the task. Keyu Han, Aneesh Gupta, Joey Zhou, Vineet Alaparthi, and Kevin Kerner dubbed themselves the All-Terrain Manuscript Team. After visiting the Rubenstein Library and test-driving the book carts for themselves, they began isolating the key engineering problems of vibration, load displacement, and noise. Over the course of several weeks, they researched existing design solutions—including carbon fiber loop wheels, dampers, and shock absorbers—and began the long iterative process of design, trial, error, and redesign.

The same stone that gives Duke’s campus its timeless Gothic charm turns out to make a bumpy road for books.

Their new-and-improved cart had to meet strict criteria. It needed to be easy to use, capable of bearing 500-600 pounds, no more than 32 inches wide, audible only to the person operating it, durable enough to last ten years, and affordable at under a thousand dollars. Oh, and one more thing: it should provide such a smooth ride that a book in transit wouldn’t budge more than a single inch. Easy, right?

At the end of the semester, the All-Terrain Manuscript Team unveiled their prototype. Its lightweight steel frame was mounted on a chassis with a simple suspension system and pneumatic tires, which could traverse bumpy stone and elevator-floor transitions with cushiony ease. Protective railings around the shelf area would keep priceless tomes from falling off, while a thin layer of acid-free, conservation-quality foam provided additional grip and padding. Every design requirement was neatly checked off the list. Best of all, they kept the cost to around $500, half of what they’d been permitted.

The cart made its relatively noiseless debut to resounding appreciation by Rubenstein Library staff. Although it’s too early to say whether the students’ design can be produced at scale, it was a worthwhile learning opportunity all around. Library staff were impressed with the engineering students’ elegant solution to a vexing problem, while several of the students admitted they had no idea Duke held such literary treasures. Indeed, they were surprised at the level of public access allowed. “You mean we have books worth $2 million,” one of them said, “and anyone can just ask to see them?”

Indeed they can. What’s a book but another simple technology that has endured a few bumps along the road?

Monster, Myth, or Medical Condition?

By Keegan Trofatter

The Italian Renaissance naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605) was known for his systematic observations of animals, plants, and minerals. During his tenure as a professor of logic and philosophy at the University of Bologna, he was arrested for heresy, appointed by Pope Gregory XIII as inspector of drugs and pharmacies, and authored several published encyclopedias.

The rest of his written work remained unpublished until after his death. One of these volumes, the Monstrorum Historia (History of Monsters), published in 1642, was recently acquired as part of the History of Medicine Collections in the Rubenstein Library. Depicting legendary creatures, unusual congenital abnormalities, and lots of hybrid combinations, it would be easy to confuse it as a work of mythological, rather than medical, history.

The Monstrorum is part of a larger, thirteen-volume encyclopedia compiled by Aldrovandi’s students and protégés, meant to catalog the world in its entirety. Today, the work stands as an important piece of medical history as it includes some of the earliest documentation of rare medical conditions. While some parts of the book are more akin to fairytale than to fact, Aldrovandi assiduously cataloged and preserved the rare, marvelous, and imaginative prodigies of his time.

Can you spot the scientific from the supernatural? Check out some of Aldrovandi’s most marvelous of monsters.

Keegan Trofatter (T’19) is an English major and student worker in the Library Development and Communications department.