If you live or have spent much time in Durham, you’ve probably seen a few of the annual Duke men’s basketball posters in stores and restaurants. Every year since Coach K arrived at Duke, the men’s basketball team has released a limited-edition team poster featuring that season’s players looking ready to rumble. Each of these posters has a theme, which vary from the inspirational (Believe) to the cinematic (Goodfellas) to the trendy (Networking) to the punny (Duke Rocks).
A few weeks ago, Jim Jarvis, the graphic designer designer who collaborated with Mickie and Debbie Krzyzewski to create these images, gave many of his basketball posters to the University Archives. The majority of them are signed by the entire team and Coach K himself, who often wrote a personal thank-you to Mr. Jarvis on the poster. Many were framed, and hung proudly in Mr. Jarvis’s home for years.
During processing, we almost always remove items from their frames. We do this for a few reasons, mainly to protect and preserve the item, and to make it easier to store and access. Aside from not having enough walls to display the many awesome items in our collections, ambient light shining on displays leads to fading and damage to the materials over time. Sometimes the glass in a frame adheres to the poster, photograph, or document in the frame, leading to irreversible damage to the original, and most materials used in commercial or home framing are not archival quality, meaning acid and other chemicals present accelerate the deterioration of the framed items.
Happily for everyone, Mr. Jarvis’s posters are in great condition. University Archives Drill Intern Jamie Burns and I worked on removing them from the frames, which come in two basic styles: metal 4-piece frames and wooden frames. The metal frames are four metal sides kept together with metal brackets and screws, and are fairly easy to disassemble and reassemble using just a screwdriver.
The wooden frames secure the poster using small metal pieces nailed into the wood before the whole back of the frame is covered in paper. These frames require a sharp blade to remove the paper and small pliers to carefully work out the “nails.”
Once removed from their frames, the posters were placed in very large folders and will be kept in the Rubenstein Library stacks in either large boxes or very large cabinets, often called map cases. Mr. Jarvis’s posters will form the core of a Men’s Basketball Posters Collection, together with some basketball posters previously collected by the Archives, all of which will be available to researchers who want to view them in person.
Receiving this collection was great fun for Tech Services staff, most of whom gathered at my processing table at some point during this process to exclaim over their favorites. New to Duke or a longtime veteran, casual or serious sports fan, we all enjoyed the creative effort and love of the team that went in to these posters.
All of the men’s basketball posters (though not the ones signed to Mr. Jarvis) have been made digitally available through Blue Planet Shots, and you can find them here.
Post contributed by Tracy Jackson, Technical Services Archivist.