Nuestra Historia: Developing an Exhibit on the History of Duke’s Latinx Students

Visitors gather at the opening of “Our History, Our Voice/Nuestra Historia, Nuestra Voz.” The exhibition was on display in the Chappell Family Gallery, January-July 2022.

The following excerpt is from Dr. Cecilia Marquez, Hunt Family Assistant Professor of History. Dr. Marquez was one of the speakers at an event celebrating the exhibition, Our History, Our Voice/Nuestra Historia, Nuestra Voz. The exhibition was on display in the Chappell Family Gallery from January through July 2022.

I came to Duke as an Assistant Professor in the History Department in August 2019. Nine months later, just after I had found a doctor, a grocery store, and a routine, the world shut down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with my students, I was reaching for some kind normalcy and some kind of optimism in what was an increasingly bleak world of quarantines, Zoom calls, and isolation. The exhibition Our History, Our Voice/Nuestra Historia, Nuestra Voz can’t be understood outside of this context. As much as the exhibition was a call for recognition, it also became a way to build community when we were scattered across several states.

It feels almost clichéd to say I learned as much from my students as I taught them, and yet it’s true. The students I have encountered at Duke, and those who curated this project, are some of the most resilient and dedicated young people I have ever known. I watched these undergrads withstand an unprecedented and generational trauma because of COVID-19. Through that they produced something truly beautiful and supported each other in the process. Their vision and dedication to this project was the fuel that made it all possible.

 

“In high school, as an AP US history student, my burning question was constantly: where are Latinos in US history? Where were we in the Civil War? Where were we in World War II, and in other big moments in US history? That was my constant burning question.”   Elizabeth Barahona

 

The exhibition is a testament to all parts of Duke really working together: faculty, staff, and students. Too often the emphasis at Duke is on faculty and students but this exhibition would not have been possible without library staff who led the way as we learned what it meant to create an exhibition.

Members of the exhibit curatorial team (left to right): Joan Munne’, Senior Lecturer of Romance Language, Elizabeth Barahona (T ’18), Carlo-Alfonso Garza (T ’22), Benjamin Romero (T ’21), Juanita Vargas Ibanez (T ’23), Karina Moreno Bueno (T ’21), Gabriela Fonseca (T ’22), Leticia Flores, Senior Clinical Research Specialist at Duke University Health System, Damary Gutierrez Hernandez (T ’22), Cecilia Marquez, Hunt Family Assistant Professor of History.

During this project, Assistant University Archivist Amy McDonald taught dozens of my students how to discover and engage with archival material. Meg Brown, head of Exhibition Services, taught them how to make an exhibit, construct a project, and reimagine it again and again. Teaching Latinx history these past two years was a collaborative endeavor with Amy, Meg, and my co-conspirator in this project, Senior Lecturer in Romance Studies, Joan Munné, as we imagined this exhibition and brought it to fruition. At every step, I was reminded that the work we do at Duke is a collective and community effort that is not possible without the library and its staff.

 

“[This exhibit] It’s history in the making. You are witnessing history right now. It’s time to hear about those other stories. Those brown stories that have been here, but are not told because no one is asking us or writing about us.” Elmer Orellana

 

It is my hope that this exhibition is the beginning of telling the history of Latinxs at Duke, not the end. There are many voices that were not represented in the exhibition, maybe some reading this now. The exhibit opened during Black History Month, making us acutely aware that Black Latinx students could not attend Duke until March 1961, when Duke first accepted Black students. Generations of Latinx students were systematically excluded as a result of Duke’s racist admissions policies. Early research from Dr. Javier Wallace, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke, suggests that during this time Black Latinx students found a home at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). The absence of their stories in the early period of the exhibition is notable and an urgently needed future direction of this project. In the process of constructing this exhibition and future projects like this one, we also construct a fuller and more representative archive of what the Latinx community looks like at Duke.

Nuestra Historia was sponsored by the Duke University Libraries and the following Duke entities: Latino/a Studies in the Global South Program, History Department, Romance Studies Department, the Provosts’ office, Dean Valerie Ashby, the Dean of Humanities, the Forum for Scholars and Publics, and the Franklin Humanities Institute who funded a Story+ Program to continue the work of this exhibit in the digital sphere.

Witness to Guantanamo

The data from detainees in Guantanamo was adapted from the ACLU website “Guantanamo by the Numbers”. In an attempt to humanize the information, the graphic was hand painted on the wall of the gallery by local artist Renzo Ortega.

Post by Caitlin Margaret Kelly, Curator of the Documentary Arts & Director of the Power Plant Gallery, and Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist

On January 11, 2002, the first prisoners in America’s War on Terror arrived at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Roughly seven hundred and eighty detainees have been housed at the prison thus far. Most of the men were never charged with a crime, yet many were imprisoned for more than a decade. Over the past twenty years many other lives were drawn into Guantanamo: families of the detained, defense lawyers, prosecutors, doctors, interrogators, military personnel, journalists, and diplomats.

Peter Honigsberg has recorded the stories of the people who lived and worked at the naval base, voices that speak truth to power. He founded the Witness to Guantanamo (WtG) Video Collection to draw the history of Guantanamo out of the shadows and reveal its impact on the lives of individuals as well as our nation. He donated the collection to the Human Rights Archive at the Rubenstein Library in 2018.

Oral histories are displayed on televisions throughout the gallery during the Witness to Guantanamo exhibition at the Power Plant Gallery.

In January 2022, the Human Rights Archive and Archive of Documentary Arts collaborated to mount an exhibition drawn from the collection in the Power Plant Gallery in downtown Durham. The first-hand testimonies were paired with photographs by Duke professor Christopher Sims and drawings by court artist Janet Hamlin, in addition to psyops flyers, infographics and maps locating Guantanamo within both the visual and historical record.

Reflecting on his experience visiting the exhibition with his class, Zac Johnson T’22 writes, “Both pain and perseverance were noticeable in the voices of detainees. They spoke about hunger strikes, learning to build relationships with others, and losing hours of sleep every night. They spoke about being physically weak, but never losing hope for the future, even if they believed the U.S. would never hand it to them. Their voices switched back and forth across languages as they sought the right words to explain the torturous circumstances that surrounded them at Guantanamo.”

Photographs of the day to day landscapes of Guantanamo Navel Base by Christopher Sims, Associate Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy, and Undergraduate Education Director, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University.

Another Duke student explained, “This exhibit was a great opportunity to immerse myself in a project that uses storytelling in such a unique and impactful way… the portrayal of these stories forces the viewer to confront the speaker face to face in a way that felt remarkably similar to a personal conversation. I found myself avoiding the speakers’ eyes when they shared particularly tragic or humiliating details, and I somehow felt rude removing my headphones and leaving the station while the speaker was in the middle of telling their story.”

The exhibit was accompanied by a number of virtual and in-person events, including talks by Christopher Sims and Uyghur American activist and WtG interviewee Rushan Abbas and a panel discussion with Peter Honigsberg; Cahalm MacLaughlin, Director of the Prison Memory Archive; and Duke professor Leela Prasad.

Videos and transcripts from the Witness to Guantanamo Collection are available for public viewing through the Duke Digital Repository.

Franklin Research Center Commemorates 25 Years

Post by John B. Gartrell, Director, John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History & Culture

The 2021-2022 academic year marked the 25th anniversary of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History & Culture. The Franklin Research Center used the theme “Black Lives in Archives” as the thread for a slate of programs that built upon the center’s mission of advancing scholarship on the history and culture of people of African descent.

The anniversary events kicked off in September 2021 with a virtual lecture by Dr. Emilie Boone, Assistant Professor of African American Studies at New York City College of Technology, CUNY. Dr. Boone was invited to respond to an exhibition displayed in the Rubenstein Library’s Photography Gallery entitled “James Van Der Zee and Michael Francis Blake: Picturing Blackness in the 1920s.” Curated by Franklin Research Center director, John B. Gartrell and the center’s 2019-2020 graduate intern, Jessica Stark, the exhibit presented selections from two African American photographers who made portrait style images of everyday African Americans at the height of the “New Negro Movement” of the 1920s.

The Black Lives in Archives virtual speaker series featured (clockwise from top left): Dr. Lisa Bratton, Dr. Brandon K. Winford, Dr. Erik S. McDuffie, Dr. Emilye Crosby, and Dr. Emilie Boone.

Black Lives in Archives virtual speaker series during the fall semester featured four scholars who were previously awarded Franklin Research Center travel grants to come to the Rubenstein Library and utilize the Center’s collections. The speakers invited to participate included Brandon K. Winford (University of Tennessee Knoxville), Lisa Bratton (Tuskegee University), Erik S. McDuffie (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) and Emilye Crosby (SUNY Geneseo). This “return to the archive” by each scholar highlighted the critical importance of Black collections as a foundation for new directions in the field of African and African American Studies.

And in January, the center hosted a special Archivist Roundtable featuring Gartrell, Chaitra Powell (Curator, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill) and Andre Vann (Coordinator of University Archives and Instructor of History, North Carolina Central University). The roundtable was an engaging conversation between three Black archivists discussing the arcs of their respective careers and the challenges and benefits of being caretakers for collections documenting the Black experience. All of the aforementioned virtual events were recorded and are now available through Duke University Libraries’ YouTube channel.

About the Franklin Research Center

In 1995, Dr. John Hope Franklin, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University, donated his personal archive to Duke. In his honor, the Duke University Libraries founded the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture as a designated collecting area specializing in rare book and primary sources documenting people of African descent. Franklin’s archive and his scholarship have been the guiding lights of the Center’s engagement in public programming, teaching, exhibitions, and collaborations. This celebration of “Black Lives in Archives” honored the Center’s role as a premiere destination for researchers near and far over the last twenty-five years.

Black Lives in Archives: Inviting the Community to Explore

Visitors explore Rubenstein Library materials documenting the richness of Black print culture at an open house event in April 2022.

Post by Orilonise Yarborough, Intern, John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History & Culture

This past April, the Rubenstein Library hosted an open house event we called, “I Got a Story to Tell: Black Voices in Print.” On display were a wide range of archival materials covering such topics as Durham’s Black history, pop culture, and literature, including a first edition of the Narrative of Sojourner Truth, flyers and photographs from the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture at Duke, and romance novels written by voting rights activist and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams under the pseudonym Selena Montgomery. Event organizers poured through the Rubenstein’s collections to locate materials we love and know well, and that illustrate the breadth of Black print materials here at Duke. Based on the sheer volume of material, this was no easy feat!

The Rubenstein Library is open to all, and this event was an opportunity to welcome the larger community outside of academics and researchers. Recognizing that academic libraries can seem intimidating and inaccessible to the general public, the event was designed to demystify the Rubenstein Library and show the multiple ways archival material can be utilized. While historical documents are static, the way we engage with them doesn’t have to be. The event was our own contribution to the current discourse on access to archives and collective histories, showcasing the possibilities that our materials and library spaces hold.

John B. Gartrell, Director of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History & Culture noted that such events remind us of what makes archives special by letting people experience “the kind of metaphysical connectivity where you realize that this was held by someone fifty, seventy-five, one hundred years ago.” In these encounters, time collapses, and the experience of witnessing history becomes a shared experience between the living and the departed.

What’s next? “So many things,” according to Gartrell. “The potential for an event like this is endless.” The Rubenstein Library hopes to make it an annual event, much like Anatomy Day, an open house event every fall that draws on the History of Medicine Collections. With thousands of collections encompassing literature, art, diaries, scrapbooks and rare comics, Rubenstein staff will have the ability to investigate and share Black material culture in a variety of expressions and forms.

New & Noteworthy Acquisitions from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History & Culture

Broadside: “Abeng, a Description of Nanny the Leader of the Windward Maroons”

This broadside by Michelle Cliff was printed by the Helaine Victoria Press. The press, which took its name from the middle names of founders Jocelyn Helaine Cohen and Nancy Taylor Victoria Poore, brought together lesbian feminist politics with fine press technique and was famous for its extensive body of women’s history postcards. Born in Jamaica, Cliff was the partner of Adrienne Rich, who also had a limited-edition broadside published by Helaine Victoria Press, which is included in the holdings of the Bingham Center.


Tribal Connexions: A Celebration of 2 years of Aché

This booklet marks the two-year anniversary of Aché, a Black lesbian journal based in the San Francisco Bay Area. A pioneering publication, Aché was “born out of our need, as Black Lesbians in the Bay Area, to have our own issues addressed, separate from the larger ‘Woman of Color’ community” (from the introduction to the first issue). The typical issue contains relevant articles on topics including artists and authors, healing and spirituality, international Black lesbian communities, art, poetry, and interviews. This anniversary booklet includes photographs and biographies of contributors, reproductions of journal covers, and a poem by Storme Webber.


Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction & Fantasy from Transgender Writers

Meanwhile, Elsewhere is winner of the 2018 American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award. The collection brings together twenty short stories of science fiction and fantasy from transgender writers. When its original publisher went out of business the book fell out of print, LittlePuss Press republished the volume in 2021.

2022 HOPE Center Summer Institute Event

Post contributed by Zachary Tumlin (Project Archivist for the Economists’ Papers Archive), Andrew Armacost (Head of Collection Development), Laura Micham (Director of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture), and Vincent Carret (2021-2022 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar and 2022 Summer in the Archives Fellow).

On Monday, June 27th, around two dozen participants in the Center for the History of Political Economy’s (HOPE Center) 2022 Summer Institute met with four staff members from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library for a showing of items from the Economists’ Papers Archive (a joint venture between the HOPE Center and Rubenstein Library). The Summer Institute was started in 2010 with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is a two-week long annual event that brings together faculty and PhD students in economics to examine various topics in the history of the field. This year’s focus was on preparing participants to design and teach their own undergraduate-level course on the history of economic thought, along with showing how such concepts and ideas might be introduced into other classes. The instructors were Duke faculty members Bruce Caldwell (HOPE Center Director), Steven Medema, and Jason Brent.

Golden medallion and large certificate on a brown table.
Kenneth Arrow’s 1972 Nobel Prize medal and certificate.

What follows are contributions from Andrew Armacost (Head of Collection Development), Laura Micham (Director of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture), Zachary Tumlin (Project Archivist for the Economists’ Papers Archive), and Vincent Carret (2021-2022 HOPE Center Visiting Scholar and 2022 Summer in the Archives Fellow) about what they displayed during this event.

Andrew Armacost

While many of the collections in the Economists’ Papers Archive relate to documenting the careers of individual economists, the archive also holds some related collections that offer a larger context for the history and range of work that encompasses this discipline.

Two open books, two gray document boxes, four open folders with papers inside, and one 8x10 inch black and white print on a brown table.

Starting at the bottom right and going clockwise, one goal of the Archive is to chronicle the historical development of the field, and a key early work in this narrative is Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. This work explores the role of markets, international trade, and economic decision making. In it, Smith famously describes market forces acting as an “invisible hand” that guides economic decision making.

Close-up of text on a page.
Place in text where “invisible hand” appears.

The Archive also holds organizational papers, including those of the American Economic Association (AEA; founded in 1885) and its journal American Economic Review. These papers represent more than a century of economic thought and the participation of a broad range of economists, and include correspondence from international economists like John Maynard Keynes, who corresponded on behalf of the Royal Economic Society.

The Archive also holds the papers of economists working in government, such as Federal Reserve Chairman Arthur Burns, who served during the Nixon administration. This collection preserves correspondence between the President and Chairman and their discussions related to economic policy and decisions related to the administration’s ending of the gold standard for US currency.

Laura Micham

The Economists’ Papers Archive holds the papers of several prominent women economists, such as Anita Arrow Summers, Anna Schwartz, Juanita Morris Kreps, Charlotte Phelps, and Barbara Bergmann. Though these scholars emerged from a range of backgrounds and intellectual traditions, and each took different professional paths, they all seem to have been animated by an interest in living independent lives and a realization that financial independence was crucial to that goal.

One open record carton with many folders inside, one open gray document box with folders inside, and five open folders with papers inside on a brown table.

During this event, I shared materials from each of these collections that offer a window into these women’s contributions to the field of economics and to society:

  • Bottom left: Professor Arrow Summers’s graduate student work during the mid-1940s in the University of Chicago Economics Department.
  • Bottom right: Detailed correspondence between Professor Schwartz and Milton Friedman related to their groundbreaking work, A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960 (Princeton University Press, 1963).
  • Top right: Memos and other correspondence between Professor Kreps and President Jimmy Carter when she served as Secretary of Commerce in his administration.
  • Top left: Heavily annotated writings of Professor Phelps documenting her contributions to behavioral economics.
  • Top middle: Handwritten manuscripts detailing Professor Bergmann’s groundbreaking scholarship on women and children.
Handwriting in pencil on yellow lined paper.
Page 1 of “A ‘cost-sharing’ formula for child support payments,” n.d. by Barbara Bergmann from the Barbara Bergmann papers, 1942-2015.

Barbara Rose Bergmann (20 July 1927—5 April 2015) was a feminist economist. Her work covers many topics from childcare and gender issues to poverty and Social Security. She was a co-founder and President of the International Association for Feminist Economics, a trustee of the Economists for Peace and Security, and Professor Emerita of Economics at the University of Maryland and American University. During the Kennedy administration, she was a senior staff member at the Council of Economic Advisers and a Senior Economic Adviser at the Agency for International Development (USAID). She also served as an advisor to the Congressional Budget Office and the Bureau of the Census.

Bergmann’s archival collection consists of published writings, including congressional testimony, as well as research and project files, and a selection of career awards and books from her library. One of the manuscripts included in the display is “A ‘cost-sharing’ formula for child support payments.” This undated piece was written in pencil on sheets from a legal pad, copiously revised, meticulously calculated, and thoroughly argued. She published several scholarly and journalistic articles on the topic of child support, some likely emerging from this piece, including an article co-authored with Professor Sherry Wetchler in Family Law Quarterly, Fall 1995, Vol. 29, No. 3, “Child Support Awards: State Guidelines vs. Public Opinion” [Duke NetID required for access].

Zachary Tumlin

Starting at bottom right and going counterclockwise: Carl Menger papers, Kenneth J. Arrow papers, Vernon L. Smith papers, and Marc L. Nerlove papers.15 open folders with papers inside, one book with a red cover, four small pocket-size notebooks, and one 8x10 black and white print on a brown table.

Since I began in February, I have been processing a new acquisition: the Marc L. Nerlove papers. The papers primarily document the professional career of economist Marc Nerlove, who specializes in agricultural economics and econometrics (the use of economic theory, mathematics, and statistics to quantify economic phenomena). Upon his election to the AEA as a Distinguished Fellow in 2012, he was recognized for creating a widely used template having to do with the dynamics of agricultural supply, pioneering the development of modern time series methods and the analysis of panel data in econometrics, and being the first to apply duality theory to estimate production functions. During his 60-year career, he held appointments at Johns Hopkins, Minnesota, Stanford, Yale, Chicago, Northwestern, Pennsylvania, and Maryland; worked as a consultant at the World Bank, International Food Policy Research Institute, and RAND Corporation; and was awarded the 1969 John Bates Clark Medal from the AEA.

Like what Vincent will detail next about the highly influential economics department at Chicago, I chose material that showcases his own connections there:

  • Material related to his father, Samuel H. Nerlove, who came to the U. S. from Russia as a toddler in 1904 with his parents, who settled in Chicago; Samuel was a professor in business economics at Chicago from 1923-1965:
    • 1939 syllabus for Business Economics 1.
    • 1972 letter and eulogy from former student and then U. S. House Representative Sidney Yates.
    • Volume 22, number 2 of issues/ideas (Graduate School of Business magazine) from 1974, sent by Dean James Harper at the request of Nerlove’s mother Evelyn (with letter indicating this); includes article “Hunt’s ‘Why’ Unveiled” about unveiling of artist Richard’s Hunt sculpture “Why”, commissioned by the Samuel H. Nerlove Memorial Fund.
  • Material from his time as a student at Chicago and Johns Hopkins:
    • 1953 letter from economist John Nash (subject of the book and film A Beautiful Mind), apparently in response to a letter from Nerlove with a question about utility function.
    • Draft of introduction to Studies in the Quantity Theory of Money by Milton Friedman (published in 1956) and class notes for Friedman’s 1955 course on the same topic (including doddles of trains, a subject Nerlove would write about early in his career in the context of railroads).
  • Material from his time as a professor at Chicago from 1969-1974:
    • 8×10 inch black and white headshot.
    • Letter from his secretary Gloria Feigenbaum upon his departure for Northwestern (pictued right), as well as a candid print of the two of them. Such staff maintained his on-campus files, which are now part of this archival collection, but these people can become invisible without thoughtful description. In this letter, she expresses how he had occasionally forgotten his purpose (research), interfered in matters that were her responsibility (administrative), and prevented her from exercising the degree of initiative that she was used to and capable of, but that she chosen to remain quiet to preserve their good working relationship.
    • Folder of early 1970s material from the Political Economy Club at Chicago (graduate student group). It includes three issues of their Journal of Progressive Hedonists Against Rational Thought (JPHART), a caricature of Nerlove that has him beside the White Rabbit and someone as Alice from one of his favorite books—Alice in Wonderland (these sketches appeared at the end of each issue of JPHART), a script of a skit set in the department that mentions Nerlove, and a copy of Sir Dennis H. Robertson’s poem “The Non-Econometrician’s Lament.”

Vincent Carret

What brings together Leonid Hurwicz, Paul Samuelson, Don Patinkin, and Oskar Lange? Apart from the fact that they were all major economists by any standard (two of them received the Nobel Prize), they were also all affiliated with the University of Chicago at some point.

10 open folders with papers, notebooks, and one press binder inside on a brown table.

In the material I presented, this connection is the link between them. Starting at the bottom right and going counterclockwise are a few of Patinkin’s student notebooks, of which there are dozens. At Chicago, Patinkin attended classes taught by the likes of Jacob Viner, Frank Knight, Jacob Marschak, and Oskar Lange—in particular, Lange’s course on Mathematical Economics and Stability Analysis held during the first half of the 1940s.

It was on this very subject of economic stability that Lange corresponded with Samuelson, who earned his undergraduate degree from Chicago. Their letters on the stability of an economic model called general equilibrium were exchanged in 1942, before Lange published his 1944 Cowles Commission monograph on Price Flexibility and Full Employment. These letters, shown here next to Patinkin’s notes, were duly kept by Samuelson and are now available in his collection of papers, rich in hundreds of folders of correspondence with almost every economist of the 20th century.

At one point in their correspondence, Samuelson asks Lange if he could name a few outstanding graduate students at Chicago, as he was looking for a new assistant. The first name on Lange’s list was that of Leonid Hurwicz, a young Polish immigrant who had arrived in Chicago at the beginning of the 1940s after fleeing Europe. Hurwicz became the assistant of Samuelson, now an Assistant Professor at MIT, in 1941, before coming back to Chicago to work in the Meteorology Department during the war. His papers, which I am currently reprocessing, trace his distinguished career at the University of Minnesota, where he stayed at for more than a half century after being recruited in 1951. For his creation of the field of mechanism design theory (the study of efficient allocation of resources), Hurwicz was jointly awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize at age 90.

In addition to Hurwicz’s correspondence and early manuscripts of his publications, I found in his papers the dissertation of Patinkin, which he annotated [this finding aid will be updated in September after reprocessing is completed]. Among Hurwicz’s many notes taken at seminars and conferences, one often finds more or less elaborate doodles—although the word doodle does not do justice to the intricacies of the abstract geometrical forms that are peppered throughout sixty years of thinking about economics!

Elaborate, abstract doodle in pencil on lined paper with handwritten notes.
One of the more elaborate “doodles” by Hurwicz, drawn during a 1965 meeting of the National Science Foundation Commission on Weather Modification.

Duke Libraries Partners with the Civil Rights Movement Archive to Sustain Activist Centered History

Post contributed by John B. Gartrell, Director, John Hope Franklin Research Center

Duke University Libraries is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Civil Rights Movement Archive (CRMA) that designates the Duke Libraries as the stewards who will preserve and sustain the CRMA when the current managers are no longer able to carry the work forward. The Civil Rights Movement Archive is accessible at www.crmvet.org and was established by the Bay Area Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement in 1999 as a web-based platform that is an active social network for movement veterans and a primary resource for those interested in the history of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s-1960s. The site is populated by a roll call, reflections, documents and images all contributed by movement participants. There are also teaching resources and bibliographic sources designed to assist visitors with teaching and understanding this period. The CRMA recently launched a CRMA Video Channel on Vimeo to provide videos created by Freedom Movement veterans (or their immediate families). The site is visited by nearly 350,000 visitors annually, peaking during the school year, proving the value of the site as a research destination.

CRMA Homepage
CRMA Homepage

The John Hope Franklin Research Center will be the curatorial home for the CRMA. This partnership with CRMA is part of the Center’s commitment to preserving the history of grassroots organizing.  The Franklin Research Center is a partner in the Movement History Initiative and also stewards the SNCC Digital Gateway.

Under the terms of the MOU, Duke Libraries is committed to maintaining the site as a free source of Freedom Movement materials and information that is open to all with no paywall, commercial advertising, login requirements or subscription to continue documenting the Civil Rights Movement from /up-from-the-bottom/ and /inside-out/ perspectives and viewpoints.

CRMA Movement Photography
CRMA Movement Photography

Welcome April Blevins!

We recently welcomed April Blevins as a new staff member in the Rubenstein Library’s Technical Services department! We asked April a few questions to help us—and you—get to know her a little better.

Tell us a little bit about your new job at the Rubenstein Library.

As a Technical Services Archivist for the University Archives, I primarily work on processing and arranging collections that a part of the University Archives. Part of my responsibilities include surveying the collection, rehousing and arranging the collection, and creating a finding aid and catalog record for the materials.

Do you have a favorite collection/material type to work with? Tell us why (or why not!).

I do not really have a favorite type of material to work with, but I often enjoy working with correspondence. As handwritten records, the content of these types of materials can be extremely valuable, making them great sources of information. I find it intriguing to read what someone considered important or worth writing about to others and how people communicate. Correspondence can also provide a view into the thoughts and life of the creator while also telling us about what is happening in the world in which the creator lives and, even, how they were impacted by these events.

Tell us about your PhD research.

My research focuses on the documentation strategies and collection origins of African American archives, particularly at HBCUs. The study aims to understand how the institutions documented the involvement of students and faculty in activism pertaining to the Black freedom movement.

What are you most looking forward to in your new job and in Durham?

In my position as Technical Services Archivist, I am most looking forward to working with the collections and learning more about the history of Duke University and the people that are a part of the Duke community. I have always had an interest in institutional memory and how institutions have developed their methods of collecting overtime, especially now with more institutions working towards inclusive collecting practices and reparative descriptions. Being back in Durham is quite interesting as so much has changed since I graduated from North Carolina Central University and moved to Tennessee several years ago. I am most looking forward to refamiliarizing myself with the city of Durham and exploring more of North Carolina.

Tell us something unique about yourself.

On a study abroad trip to Italy, I had the opportunity to go on an impromptu hike up the side of Mt. Vesuvius. Because it was an impulsive decision, I was not wearing the proper shoes and so the trek up was not the most comfortable. However, the gorgeous view from the top made it worth it!

Announcing our 2022-2023 Travel Grant Recipients

The Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022-2023 travel grants. Our research centers annually award travel grants to students, scholars, and independent researchers through a competitive application process. We extend a warm congratulations to this year’s awardees. We look forward to meeting and working with you!

Archive of Documentary Arts

Rebecca Bengal, Independent Researcher, “‘Bad Roads Ruin Even the Best of Cars’: William Gedney’s Kentucky.”

Alexandra Le Faou, Independent Researcher, “James H. Karales European Exhibition.”

Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture (Mary Lily Research Grants)

Brianna Anderson, Ph.D. candidate, Department of English, University of Florida, “‘A Smidgeon of Ecofeminism’: Envisioning Environmental Issues and Activism in Women’s Zines.”

Rachel Corbman, Faculty, Mount Holyoke College, “Conferencing on the Edge: A Queer History of Feminist Field Formation, 1969-1989.”

Benjamin Holtzman, Faculty, Lehman College, “’Smash the Klan’: Fighting the White Power Movement in the Late Twentieth Century.”

Cindy Lima, Ph.D. candidate, Northwestern University, “Transnational Latinas: A Twentieth Century History of Latina Politics.”

Molli Spalter, Ph.D. candidate, Department of English, Wayne State University, “”Feeling Wrong and Feeling Wronged: Radical Feminism and ‘Feeling Work’.”

Emily Hunt, Ph.D. candidate, Emily Hunt, Georgia State University, “‘We are a Gentle Angry People and We are Singing for Our Lives’: A Story of Women’s Music, 1975-1995.”

Felicity Palma, Faculty, Department of Film and Media Studies, University of Pittsburgh, “of flesh and feelings and light and shadows.” (Grant sponsored jointly with the Archive of Documentary Arts.)

Lara Vapnek, Faculty, Department of History, St. John’s University, “Mothers, Milk, and Money: A History of Infant Feeding in the United States.” (Grant sponsored jointly with the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History.)

John Hope Franklin Center for African and African American History and Culture

William Billups, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, Emory University, “”Reign of Terror”: Anti-Civil Rights Terrorism in the United States, 1955-1976.”

Thomas Cryer, Ph.D. candidate, Institute of the Americas, University College London, “’Walking the Tightrope’: John Hope Franklin and the Dilemmas of African American History in Action.”

Mikayla Harden, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, University of Delaware, “Remnants: Captive African Children in the Black Atlantic World.”

Frances O’Shaughnessy, Ph.D. candidate, University of Washington, “Black Revolution on the Sea Islands: Empire, Property, and the Emancipation of Humanity.”

Emily Tran, Ph.D. candidate, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “American Reckonings: Confronting and Repressing the Racist Past and Present, 1968-1998.”

Evan Wade, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, University of Connecticut,” Henrietta Vinton Davis: From Teacher to Black Nationalist– an examination of a Black Woman’s Politics.”

Elizabeth Patton, Faculty, Department of Media and Communication Studies, University of Maryland Baltimore County, “Representation as a Form of Resistance: Documenting African American Spaces of Leisure during the Jim Crow Era.” (Grant sponsored jointly with the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History.)

Harry H. Harkins T’73 Travel Grants for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History

Mori Reithmayr, Ph.D. candidate, University of Oxford, “Community Before Liberation: Theorizing Gay Resistance in San Francisco, 1953-1969.”

Cathleen Rhodes, Faculty, Department of Women’s Studies, Old Dominion University, “Touring Tidewater: An Immersive Virtual Walking Tour of Southeastern Virginia’s Queer History.”

John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History (John Furr Fellowship)

Jennifer Hessler, Faculty, Department of Media, Journalism, and Film, University of Huddersfield, “Television Ratings: From Audimeter to Big Data.”

Conrad Jacober, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University, “Debt Prophets: American Bankers and the Origins of Financialization.”

Jeannette Strickland, Independent Researcher, “Lever Brothers Advertising and Marketing, 1900-1930, in the J. Walter Thompson Archives.”

John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History (Alvin Achenbaum Travel Grants)

Anne Garner, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History and Culture, Drew University, “Recovering Throwaway Histories: Patent Medicine, Black Americans and the Blues in the Postbellum Piedmont.”

Rachel Plotnick, Faculty, Department of Cinema & Media Studies, Indiana University Bloomington, “License to Spill: Where Dry Devices Meet Liquid Lives.”

Elizabeth Patton, Faculty, Department of Media and Communication Studies, University of Maryland Baltimore County, “Representation as a Form of Resistance: Documenting African American Spaces of Leisure during the Jim Crow Era.” (Grant sponsored jointly with the John Hope Franklin Center for African and African American History and Culture.)

Lara Vapnek, Faculty, Department of History, St. John’s University, “Mothers, Milk, and Money: A History of Infant Feeding in the United States.” (Grant sponsored jointly with the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture.)

History of Medicine Collections

Jessica Dandona, Faculty, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, “Skeletons in the Drawing Room: Popular Consumption of Flap Anatomies, 1880-1900.”

Jeremy Montgomery, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, Mississippi State University, “‘Look To Your Map’: Medical Distinctiveness and the United States, 1800-1860.”

Haleigh Yaspan, Master’s candidate, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, “Forceps, Women’s Rights, and Professional Turf War: Pregnancy and Childbirth in the United States, 1914-1962.”

Human Rights Archive

Molly Carlin, Ph.D. candidate, School of Media, Arts and Humanities, University of Sussex, “How to Jail a Revolution: Theorising the Penal Suppression of American Political Voices, 1964-2022.”

Tyler Goldberger, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, College of William & Mary, “”Generalísimo Franco is Still Alive!”: Transnational Human Rights and the Anti-Fascist Narrativization of the Spanish Civil War and Francisco Franco Dictatorship within the United States, 1936-Present.”

Thomas Maggiola, Master’s candidate, Department of Latin American Studies and History, University of California San Diego, “Guatemala’s Transnational Civil War, 1970-1996.”

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Research Travel Grants

Jennifer Doyle, Faculty, University of California Riverside, “Alethurgy’s Shadows: Harassment, Paranoia, and Grief.”

Annie Sansonetti, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Performance Studies, New York University, “Reapproaching Feminine Boys and Transgender Girls in Queer and Trans Theory and Art.”

Post compiled by Roshan Panjwani, Staff Assistant, Rubenstein Library

Writing and Talking about Memoir: a Conversation with Sallie Bingham

Date: Thursday, June 9, 2022
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Register: https://duke.is/cm8ce

Join us for a zoom-based reading and conversation with author Sallie Bingham on Thursday, June 9, at 2:00 p.m. ET (Register here: https://duke.is/cm8ce). In her latest memoir, Little Brother, Bingham reflects on her youngest sibling, Jonathan, a deeply sensitive person who suffered from insecurity, isolation, and difficulty relating to his large family. Bingham draws from archived material including the young man’s journal and letters. As in each of her previous memoirs, in addition to bringing these documents to life she offers critical historical context and makes vital connections across generations to create an intimate portrait of her complex family.Sallie Bingham is a writer, teacher, feminist activist, and philanthropist. In addition to Little Brother, Sallie’s recent books include a collection of short stories, a novella, and a play, entitled Treason: A Sallie Bingham Reader (Sarabande Books, 2020) and The Silver Swan: Searching for Doris Duke (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020).

In 1988, Sallie Bingham endowed a women’s studies archivist position in what is now known as the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, to coordinate the acquisition, cataloguing, reference and outreach activities related to women and gender. The Center was permanently endowed in 1993 and was named the “Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture” in 1999 in honor of Bingham.

This program will be recorded and shared online. Pre-order the book from Sarabande Books.

Dispatches from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University