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Come See “Something Special” – Exhibit highlighting the History of the Rubenstein Library and Special Collections at Duke

Post contributed by Roger Peña, Research Services Librarian

Wood paneled room with glass exhibit cases. The items in the cases cannot be clearly seen but look like books and other publications.
Stone Family Gallery on West Campus

What do a Nobel Prize, the first issue of Marvel’s Fantastic Four, a 2000-year old beer receipt, a 1925 advertisement for Heinz Ketchup and a page of the Gutenberg Bible have in common? All these items call Duke University’s Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library home and are currently on display in the Stone Family Gallery on West Campus.

Special collections at Duke have a long history and the university’s collections of rare books, manuscripts, and archives have grown in both size and scope since it first began collecting rare materials in the 1890s (when it was known as Trinity College). Today the Rubenstein Library holds more than 400,000 rare books and over 12,000 manuscript collections, documenting over twenty centuries of human history, culture, and society. Collections range from ancient papyri to colonial and Civil War era manuscripts, and from first editions of literary classics to social media and born-digital files. Thousands of students, visitors and researchers use the library’s resources each year, both online and in-person.  The growing collections of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library have helped to make Duke University a world renowned institution of primary source research. But where did it all begin?

“Something Special” examines the history of special collections at Duke University, from the Trinity College Historical Society and the Duke endowment of 1924 to the growth and expansion of Duke Libraries into the 21st Century. “Something Special” welcomes you to explore a (small) selection of materials collected throughout the history of Duke’s special collections – on display in the Stone Family Gallery (located on the 1st floor between the Rubenstein Library and Perkins).

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