Category Archives: Notes

Libraries Honor Durden and Middlesworth Prize Winners

Ann Marie Rasmussen and Hannah Craddock
Photo credit: Nelda Webb

On October 22, the Libraries held a special reception honoring the winners of the Chester P. Middlesworth Award and the Robert F. Durden Prize. The Middlesworth Award and Durden Prize recognize Duke University students’ excellence in research, analysis, and writing and their use of primary sources and rare materials held by the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library (Middlesworth Award) and the Libraries’ general collections (Durden Prize). Each award carries a cash prize of $1,000. Pictured here are Professor Ann Marie Rasmussen (left) and Hannah Craddock, recipient of the 2010 Middlesworth Award for best senior honors thesis.

Documenting the Local Church

The Duke Divinity School Library is leading a statewide effort to gather the publications of churches and other religious bodies in North Carolina through a $30,000 planning grant awarded by the State Library of North Carolina. The Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection, a joint project with the libraries at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University, will include the histories of local religious bodies (individual churches, synagogues, etc.) as well as publications of larger North Carolina denominations or cooperative networks. The libraries plan to provide digital access and tools for searching across these significant works.

According to Andy Keck, associate director of the Divinity School Library and project manager, “Local church histories are often self-published for members of a congregation, yet they are indispensable for describing the development of a community, documenting involvement with other religious institutions and communities, illustrating struggles with broader societal events or issues, and illuminating particular religious disputes.”

Word Cloud showing church-related terms
Photo credit: Andy Keck

Dorothy Allison Papers Come to Duke

Dorothy Allison
Photo credit: Brett Hall

A trove of papers documenting the career of award-winning author Dorothy Allison recently arrived at Duke University Libraries, where they will join the literary papers of such celebrated Southern writers as William Styron, Anne Tyler and Richard Bausch. Allison’s papers were acquired by the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, part of Duke’s Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. The acquisition had been on the library’s wish list for almost two decades.

Allison is the author of numerous books and short stories. Her first novel, Bastard Out of Carolina, was a finalist for the National Book Award and became an award-winning movie. Her second novel, Cavedweller, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, won the Lambda Literary Award for fiction, and was a finalist for the Lillian Smith Prize. It was also adapted for the stage and screen. Bingham Center and literary curatorial staff collaborated on the initial acquisition of nearly 60 boxes of Allison’s papers, including drafts of her writings, extensive correspondence and research files, personal journals documenting her life and creative process, and more.


Dave Eggers Comes to Duke

Celebrated author, editor, publisher, and philanthropist Dave Eggers (left) talks with Special Collections conservator Erin Hammeke while getting a tour of the Verne and Tanya Roberts Conservation Lab. Eggers is the author of numerous award-winning books, including Zeitoun, What Is the What, and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. He was on campus to deliver the Weaver Memorial Lecture on November 10. The lecture is hosted every other year by the Duke University Libraries in memory of William B. Weaver, T’72, a former member of the Library Advisory Board. The event was co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center.

Dave Eggers with Erin Hammeke in the Conservation Lab
Photo credit: Aaron Welborn

Events – Fall 2010

January 21

Rare Music in the Rare Book Room

Rare Book Room

“The Red Violin: Contextualizing Music in the Chinese Cultural Revolution,” lecture and performance by Eric Zhou T’10. Sponsored by Duke University Libraries and the Duke Musical Instrument Collections.

Friday, January 21, 4pm, Perkins Library, Biddle Rare Book Room

February 18

Rare Music in the Rare Book Room

“Voice/Flute,” a lecture and performance by Karen Cook, director of the Collegium Musicum at Duke University. Sponsored by Duke University Libraries and the Duke Musical Instrument Collections.

Friday, February 18, 4pm, Perkins Library, Biddle Rare Book Room

February 25

Mad Men… &… Mad Women: The Party

drawing of man

Save the date! The Duke Marketing Club and the Duke University Libraries present Mad Men… &… Mad Women: The Party. This event is free and open to all members of the Duke community.

Friday, February 25, 9pm, Perkins and Bostock Libraries and the von der Heyden Pavilion

February 25, 26

The Atelier @ Duke: The Idea of Archive—Producing and Performing Race

In celebration of the fifteenth anniversary of the John Hope Franklin Research Center, the Duke University Libraries and the Office of the Provost present the inaugural Atelier @ Duke, a series of panel discussions on “The Idea of Archive—Producing and Performing Race.”

Friday, February 25, 1pm-6pm. Saturday, February 26, 9am-12:15pm. Perkins Library, Gothic Reading Room

Exhibits – Fall 2010

Perkins Gallery


Book + Art: Artists’ Books from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture

Image of party dresses
Catherine Michaelis, Party Dress, 2004

Work from the collections of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, all based on the beloved form of the book. Artists’ books combine traditional arts such as graphic design, printmaking, and bookbinding with the full spectrum of contemporary art practice and theory. The artists presented here have expanded upon the book form to investigate social inequities, subvert conventional forms, and explore the intersection of creativity and gender. The exhibit is part of a semester-long celebration of book arts in collaboration with UNC Libraries. For more information, visit the exhibit website at


Philanthropist, Environmentalist, Collector: Doris Duke and Her Estates

Doris Duke
Doris Duke

Most biographies of Doris Duke have focused on her glamorous lifestyle, often overlooking her efforts to make a difference in the world. This exhibit reveals how she continued the family’s quiet but innovative pattern of philanthropy, her drive to address environmental issues, her keen eye for art and design, her passion for preserving colonial-era houses, and her love of music.


Animated Anatomies: The Human Body in Anatomical Texts from the 16th through 21st Centuries

illustration of head“Anatomy of the Head,” from George Bartisch, Ophthalmodouleia, 1583. Colored woodcut.

This exhibit features anatomy books with movable leaves which allow the viewer to participate in virtual autopsies, so to speak. Curated by Valeria Finucci, director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the exhibit will include books from the Duke University Libraries, the History of Medicine Collection from the Medical Center Library, and material from the private collection of Professor Maurizio Rippa-Bonati, historian of medicine at the University of Padua, who is generously sending artifacts from his remarkable (and truly unique) antiquarian collection. The exhibit will be divided between the Perkins Gallery and the Medical Center Library.

Special Collections Gallery


Al Margen: Photographs by Petra Barth

Photo of man and sheep by Petra Barth
Petra Barth, “Calafate, Argentina, March 2010”

A retrospective of Barth’s wide-ranging work in the Caribbean and Latin America from 2004-2010. The exhibit officially opened at the 150th anniversary celebration of the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., in November 2010. Barth’s gelatin silver prints offer a candid picture of the everyday life of people struggling to survive along the margins of society. The exhibition will be divided into two parts and mounted in the Jameson Gallery in the Friedl Building on Duke’s East Campus and the Special Collections Gallery in Perkins Library on West Campus.

Special Collections Biddle Rare Book Room Cases


“To Keep the Future Worthy of the Past”

This exhibit celebrates the centennial of William Preston Few’s inauguration as President of Trinity College on November 9, 1910. Over the next three decades, he would cultivate the strong and growing liberal arts college into a major research university and help shape James B. Duke’s transformative gift. Memorabilia from the inauguration as well as documents and images pertaining to the growth of Trinity into Duke University will be on display. For more information, visit the exhibit website at

Preservation Department Cases


Mastering Craft: Interpreting Historic Bookbindings

This exhibit highlights work from the Triangle Research Libraries Network Master Bookbinders Group. The group consists of staff members from the conservation labs of UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State, and Duke University libraries. Its purpose is to research historic bookbindings to deepen our understanding of the history of the book, and to develop knowledge and skills that help inform daily conservation work. On display outside of the Preservation Department, Perkins Library, Lower Level 1, Room 023.

Traveling Exhibits

“I Have No Right to Be Silent”: The Human Rights Legacy of Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer

Photo of Rabbi Marshall Meyer

Rabbi Marshall Meyer was an ordinary man whose extraordinary convictions, faith, and impetuous personality impelled him to become one of the most important human rights activists during Argentina’s Dirty War (1976-1983). This exhibit not only commemorates Meyer’s social activism and human rights work, but it also explores the making of an activist. Drawing on materials from Duke’s Archive for Human Rights, the exhibit first travels to the headquarters of the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. From there, it will go to New York City in January 2011. The exhibit is a co-project of the Archive for Human Rights at RBSMCL, the Duke Human Rights Center, and the Duke Center for Jewish Studies.

Not Just Mad Men: Real Advertising Careers in the 1960s

An exhibit inspired by the popularity of the AMC television series Mad Men highlights the real-life careers of 1960s advertising professionals. Drawing from materials from the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, the exhibit traveled this fall to Miami International University of Art and Design. From there, it will go the Art Institute of Jacksonville and the Art Institute of Tampa. The exhibit originally debuted in Perkins Library in 2008.

Generally, the Special Collections and Perkins galleries are open Monday–Saturday, 9am–9pm, and 10am–9pm on Sunday. Visit for more information or call (919) 684-3009 to confirm hours.

Notes – Fall 2010

Lester Wunderman
Lester Wunderman, Marketing Pioneer


Works artist Dianna Cohen has fashioned from plastic shopping bags will hang at Perkins Library April 16-30 in conjunction with the Duke LEAF Award weekend, sponsored by the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Cohen, writing on her website, says of her art, “Having worked with the plastic bag as my primary material for the past fifteen years all of the obvious references to recycling, first world culture, class, high and low art give way to an almost formal process which reflects the unique flexibility of the medium.”

Dianna Cohen, us, 2005.
Plastic bags, handles and thread, 72″w x 96″ h; wall installation

Dianna Cohen, pie, 2005.
Plastic bags, thread on wood panel, 30″w x 30″d; framed on linen in plexi-box

15th Anniversary

Cover photo from Mirror to America by John Hope Franklin, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005

The John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture at Duke’s Special Collections Library marks its 15th anniversary this year. Founded in November 1995 with the support of its namesake, the distinguished historian John Hope Franklin, the Center collects, preserves, and promotes the use of materials bearing on the history of Africa and people of African descent.