|Arrows, Possibly from the Fiji Islands. From the Trinity College Historical Society Collection. Photo by Mark Zupan|
The Duke University Archives is home to scores of manuscripts, records, and publications documenting Duke University’s history—and a set of fierce arrows possibly from the Fiji Islands; a pair of wooden shoe soles bought by a former slave in 1865; and two cloth-covered buttons from the clothing of Louis XVI.
These and other artifacts—along with manuscripts and historically-significant publications—once belonged to the collection of the Trinity College Historical Society, a student organization established in 1892 to encourage original research in Southern history. Their collection, the precursor to the RBMSCL and the University Archives, forms the subject of our new exhibit, “‘As Far as Possible from Forgetfulness’: The Trinity College Historical Society.”
|Pewter Wig Sprayer. From the Trinity College Historical Society Collection. Photo by Mark Zupan.|
Assuming the leadership of the Society in 1894, professor of history John Spencer Bassett renewed the Society’s charge to collect manuscripts, books, pamphlets, and objects of enduring historical value, including those artifacts mentioned above. He addressed his undergraduate collectors and historians in 1897, telling them that they would “be doing work for eternity . . . [and] centering the eyes of the centuries on this institution.” This exhibit is proof of their legacy.
For more information about the Trinity College Historical Society and its collections, or if you won’t be able to visit the exhibit in person, visit the exhibit website. Photos of the exhibit’s installation are available on the RBMSCL’s Flickr photostream.
And remember to mark your calendars for a gallery talk with the exhibit’s curators on Tuesday, September 28 at 3:30 PM in the Rare Book Room!