As we rush headlong into exams, we at the Duke University Archives thought everyone could use an entertaining diversion. So we’re embracing the Duke Squirrels meme, and adding a historical perspective—courtesy of our collections!
In the 1930s, Pee Wee the Squirrel was a frequent visitor to the offices of the Duke University Press (when it was based in East Duke Building). Exie Duncan, a longtime employee of the press, snapped this picture of Pee Wee having his mid-day snack.
The squirrels had many favorite eateries on West Campus, too. (This is before Armadillo Grill, so they had to make do with something other than queso!)
When they weren’t busy snacking, the Duke squirrels occupied themselves with photobombing would-be-charming photos of campus buildings. We imagine this photo below (of the Bryan Center walkway) never made it into a Duke promotional brochure.
Following those brief adventures, the squirrels went right back to eating. Our favorite find was an August 11, 1966 letter from Security Division chief W. C. A. Bear to director of operations Henry F. Bowers. The letter is a carbon copy, so it’s tricky to read (click on the image to enlarge it)—but well worth it!